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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

No Trial Date Set in 2015 Adams Terrorism Case
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:46PM / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — It likely will be at least mid-June before there is any talk of a trial date in the case of the United States vs. Alexander Ciccolo.

On Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Robertson set June 20 for the next hearing in the case, which has dragged on for more than 18 months while the Adams man accused of federal terrorism offenses is held in a Rhode Island detention facility.

Robertson also ordered the exclusion of the time between Wednesday and June 20 from the speedy trial rules while Ciccolo's counsel and the U.S. Attorney's Office continue to discuss what evidence needs to be turned over to the defense.

On Wednesday, Assistant U.S.

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Biz Briefs: Stop & Shop Donates $5,000 to Berkshire Dream Center
12:43PM / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Great dream: Stop & Shop North Adams store presented a check for $5,000 to the Berkshire Dream Center. Stop & Shop associate Karen Britten and store manager Dan Jowett presented the check to Dream Center founder and executive director Katelynn Miner.

The Berkshire Dream Center began from the vision that Miner received during her trip to the Los Angeles Dream Center in 2007. The LA Dream Center was founded by Pastor Matthew and Tommy Barnett in 1994 and is a volunteer driven organization that has more than 273 different types of outreaches. In the summer of 2011, the Berkshire Dream Center was founded and found its home in the Morningside neighborhood of Pittsfield. Shortly after

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Use Your Tax Refund Wisely
10:49AM / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It's tax time again – which for many Americans means that a tax refund is on its way. If you're going to get a refund this year, how can you use the money to your best advantage?

Of course, it's always tempting to spend the check from Uncle Sam on something fun. But a tax refund could be sizable – the average amount in 2016 was $2,857, according to the IRS – so putting this money to work could help boost your progress toward your financial goals.

Here are some possibilities for using your refund:

* Help fund your IRA. If you were to receive a tax refund of $2,857, you'd have slightly more than half of the $5,500 annual IRA contribution limit for 2017,

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$30 Million Expansion Project Planned for Tanglewood
Staff Reports,
09:01PM / Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An artist rendering of the exterior of the new campus. LENOX, Mass. — Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is planning to build a $30 million complex to enhance its offerings.   The orchestra announced the investment on Tuesday night. The four-building complex is being designed to support the performance and rehearsal activities of the Tanglewood Music Center and will be the focus point of the new Tanglewood Learning Institute.   The complex is expected to open in summer 2019 and is being designed by William Rawn Associates of Boston, which designed the Seiji Ozawa Hall. It will be the largest building project at the site since the 1994

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AAU Girls Basketball Team Seeks Players
10:00AM / Tuesday, February 21, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Team "Squad" is looking for seventh- and eighth-grade girls interested in playing limited AAU Basketball from March to June 2017.   The emphasis will be on basketball skills, and the team will face teams out of Berkshire County, including from Albany, Saratoga, Springfield and Hartford area.   Please contact Michael Balcom at (413) 446-5370 or email at MKFB397@gmail.com for more information.

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Berkshires Beat: Bad Weather Doesn't Stop Lenox Robotics Team
09:37AM / Monday, February 20, 2017

Way to go: When Lenox High School's robotics team, Team Enginuity, canceled its field trip to the First Technology Challenge qualifier in Dedham, Mass., on Feb. 11 because of bad weather, two students persevered.

Ella King, senior and founder of Team Enginuity, received a group text between runs at a FIS Giant Slalom Race at Sugarbush Mountain in Vermont that her team was not going to the robotics meet. She knew this qualifier was the last one before the state championship and it would be critical for the team to attend. She called her dad, who was still in Lenox, and asked him to pick up the robot from school. The family's plan was to meet on the eastern side of the state

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Berkshire Scenic Releases Strong Ridership Numbers For Inaugural Year
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:16AM / Monday, February 20, 2017

The railway is a volunteer-run organization that offers rides through the summer and fall in North Adams. NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Some 9,600 passengers rode the rails between North Adams and Adams during the Hoosac Valley Service's freshman year.

The 8-mile ride from the city to Renfrew and back in a restored 1955 Budd car kicked off in October 2015 with a few pilot rides. It returned for a few more in December and then went full speed ahead on Memorial Day weekend last year. The nearly 10,000 passengers is more than the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum carried during its first year in its old home of Lenox, according to President Jay Green.

"Berkshire Scenic is back on

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Holiday Hours: Presidents Day
11:28AM / Sunday, February 19, 2017

Gen. George Washington taking command of the Continental Army in Cambridge in 1775.

Washington's Birthday will be celebrated on Monday, Feb. 20.

The holiday was first enacted by Congress in 1879 to mark George Washington's birthday on Feb. 22 and later moved to the third Monday in February in 1968. While the name of the federal holiday remains Washington's Birthday, it is more often referred to as Presidents Day to include the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12.

Washington was born in 1732 (or Feb. 11, 1731, according to the old-style calendar) in Colonial Virgina. A Founding Father, he would lead the new nation as head of the Continental Army in the Revolution and as

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BMC Rebuilt Surgical Residency Program Earns New Accreditation
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:36AM / Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dr. Michael DiSiena worked to revamp the residency program, which received a new accreditation last month. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It was 2014 when news came down that Berkshire Medical Center was losing most of its surgical residency program.   The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education pulled its accreditation and with it, a large part of the surgical unit's identity was going to change. The pool of residents shipped off to other hospitals and universities, dropping the total number of residents from around 15 to just two. The program head resigned.   Things were looking bleak and no matter what, the hospital had to find a way to

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Pittsfield Officer to Carry Torch in Austria For Special Olympics World Games
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:39AM / Saturday, February 18, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The job of a police officer means dealing with people on their worst days, day after day.   And it wears on the officers. Eight years ago, Officer Darren Derby started getting involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraising efforts for the Special Olympics. He's raised more than a half-million dollars in support of those athletes.   He does it because he feels those athletes do more for him than he could ever do for them. They give him a joy that gets torn away from officers on a daily basis dealing with the worst of the worst.   "The job itself brings a tremendous amount of stress. A lot us wonder 'is this the right job for us,

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'The Oscar Picks: Betrayed': The Great Goldberger Squirrel Conspiracy of 2017
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:20PM / Friday, February 17, 2017

OK, maybe the Academy Award leak previously alleged to exist, the one the squirrels in my back yard either engineered or facilitated and which allowed me to successfully predict a good percentage of last year's Oscar winners, indeed exists. But first a little backstory for those unfamiliar with the bushy-tailed adventures of the Goldberger Squirrels.

Thankful for the assorted nuts I've occasionally thrown on the lawn to ensure their strength and safety against neighboring squirrels and other varmints who would illegally cross property lines to take what is rightfully theirs, last year the Goldberger Squirrels showed their loyalty with a bold act. Braving the gridlock caused by the

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Jacob's Pillow Dance Announces New Board of Trustees Members
01:44PM / Friday, February 17, 2017

BECKET, Mass. — Jacob's Pillow Dance has appointed four new members to its Board of Trustees: MacArthur Genius Fellow and Jacob's Pillow Dance Award recipient Kyle Abraham; former New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan; lawyer, teacher and active member of the Massachusetts community Diane Patrick; and Berkshires-based gallerist Sienna Patti.

Jacob’s Pillow, located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, is a National Historic Landmark, National Medal of Arts recipient, and home to America's longest running dance festival.

"Bringing these esteemed individuals onto the Pillow's board shows the intent of our future as an organization,"

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