Ripton in the News

This little town in the quiet hills of the Berkshires has been involved in its share of action, often getting covered by those nosy folks at the Associated Press.

In 1983, Ripton officials complained to the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to clean up Darey's Pond, and in 1984, the state approved $10,000 for the weed control project.

More environmental concerns were addressed in 1984 when $50,000 was approved for rip-rapping and stream clearance of the Lazy River. Also in 1984, Ripton was included in a group of nine towns in Massachusetts authorized to receive $150,000 in local aid.

In July of 1985, Ripton offered to locate proposed Air Force communications antennas in Ripton. Proposed locations for the antennas in other communities in the Berkshires such as Hawley and Ashfield received opposition from the town and U.S. Rep. Silvio Conte. However, the citizens of Ripton, recognizing the "overriding issue of national defense" offered Ripton as an alternative in a letter dated July 9, 1985 addressed to U.S. Air Force Major Kenneth Small from Ripton's Board of Selectmen. Plans to include nesting sites on the towers to complement the eagle restoration project on the Quabbin Reservation were also proposed. Despite the offer from Ripton, the towers were never built.

Also in July of 1985, the state Commissioner of Food and Agriculture, Gus Schumacher, Jr., proposed to give Ripton gurry, remains of fish (heads and other parts) leftover after processing, from Gloucester to use as landfill material for the proposed Air Force communication towers. There was speculation that the proposal was a joke, but since the towers were never constructed the gurry was not needed.

Meredith Woodward published an article in the July 16, 1985 edition of the Boston Globe titled "Where's Ripton? Town Can't be Found." Robbins Phillips, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, responded in a letter to Kirk Scharfenberg, Editor of the Editorial Page, commenting on the poor perception of western Massachusetts by those "sophisticated urbanites" out east and included a copy of a map of Ripton.

In 1985, Mabel Swanson, curator of the Richard Salter Storrs Museum in Longmeadow, discovered a reference to Reverend Mills of Ripton in the June 5, 1773 diary entry of Rev. Stephen Williams, the first pastor of the First Congregational Church. According to Serenity Bell, the Town Librarian and Chairman of the Historical Commission, Rev. Mills led Ripton's congregation during the late 1700's. A tablet commemorating Rev. Mills' devotion is in the former rectory.

March, 1991, Hazel Bentley began writing the history of the Ripton Land Trust, from the Air Force tower episode to recent land acquisitions. The book was to go to the printer that fall.

In March of 1991, Robbins Philips, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, wrote Mr. DeLillo, ?, offering to site a proposed landfill in Ripton. Controversy over siting the landfill in Hinsdale spurred the Selectmen to make the offer. Two sites were picked by the Town's engineer, Leighton Grady of Parsons and Dietrich Engineering and Surveying.

In June of 1991, Ripton's Board of Selectmen voiced their opposition to Rep. Daniel Bosley's intention to file a Bill to change the name of the Town of Savoy to Ripton.

The House approved $75,000 in 1991 for the "Town of Ripton Restoration Project."

One of the proposals by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for sludge pellets that are the byproducts of sewage treatment of the Greater Boston area was to distribute the pellets over state forests such as Ripton State Forest by shooting them through cannons over the forest. The plan would need DEM approval before it could be brought before the Ripton Board of Selectmen. In July of 1993, Robbins Phillips, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, addressed a letter to Peter Webber, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Management, stating the unlikeliness of the Board's approval for any such proposal.

The 1994 Budget Recommendations prepared by the House Committee on Ways and Means included an appropriation of $1,356,921 for a feasibility study of extending Boston's Red Line to Ripton.