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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Local Libraries Turn to Digital Services During Pandemic
Staff Reports, iBerkshires Staff
01:30AM / Friday, April 10, 2020
With many people spending more time at home, we spoke with some of our local library directors about what their libraries can offer to keep children and adults not only entertained but informed. Even with the doors closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries have a wealth of resources and ideas that can accessed online.    We asked questions of Sarah Sanfilippo of the North Adams Public Library, Holly Jayko of the Adams Free Library and Alex Reczkowski of the Berkshire Athenaeum.   Sarah Sanfilippo, North Adams Public Library Q: Instead of just turning on the TV during self-isolation why would you urge folks to pick up a book instead?   A: TV is

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The Independent Investor: Small-Business Owners Run Into Red Tape
By Bill Schmick,
05:07PM / Thursday, April 09, 2020
The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has two programs that can help America's business owners to weather the COVID-19 storm.    The $349 billion, first-come, first-served loan programs have seen an overwhelming response from troubled small-business owners nationwide. The job is to get the money into their hands quickly.   The challenge will be to remove or amend a mountain of regulatory requirements that the Small Business Administration and the financial sector have had in place for decades. Adding to the confusion are the owners themselves, who are either not aware that there are actually two loan programs or aren't sure which to

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Biz Briefs: Tunnel City Coffee Offering Coffee Care Packages
03:41PM / Thursday, April 09, 2020
Coffee Care Packages

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Tunnel City Coffee has seen more online orders coming in every day from customers sending coffee care packages to friends and family as a way to stay connected while social distancing. By sending something familiar and comforting like a pound of coffee, they are able to share the experience of having a cup of coffee together, even when they can't be together in person. 

Tunnel City Coffee's two shops in North Adams and Williamstown, Mass., are also witnessing love and support from their local community, with customers ordering coffee for takeout and continuing to purchase store gift cards. "A coffee shop provides

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Massachusetts Unemployment Numbers Rocket to 470,000
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:15PM / Thursday, April 09, 2020

 BOSTON — Massachusetts could see its unemployment rate jump from 2.5 percent to 25 percent by June. 

Gov. Charlie Baker at Thursday's daily COVID-19 briefing said an astonishing 470,000 unemployment claims had been filed in the past three weeks with 140,000 in the last week alone.    "Typically in the course of the past six or seven months, we will get roughly seven to 10,000 new points a month," he said. "These numbers obviously are staggering. And we all know the story behind all of them is about more than just numbers because every new claim is a story of economic disruption and hardship caused by the unprecedented impact of this

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Spring Snowstorm Could Drop 1-3 Inches on North County
10:55AM / Thursday, April 09, 2020
Northern Berkshire may be in for an April snowstorm as an Alberta Clipper moves across the Midwest and into northern New England.   The tip of the storm reaching into North County and Southern Vermont could mean 3 inches or more in the higher elevations and sudden drop in temperatures within 24 hours.    According to Accuweather, the storm could turn into a "bomb cyclone" from Thursday to Friday.    "A bomb cyclone is a storm that strengthens so rapidly that the central barometric pressure plummets to 0.71 of an inch of mercury or more in 24 hours," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.   Even if the storm doesn't

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Hancock Shaker Village to Live Stream Baby Animals
10:50AM / Thursday, April 09, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hancock Shaker Village announces plans to stream live on Facebook this Sunday, April 12, at 1 p.m. 

Bill Mangiardi, director of farm and facilities, will lead a virtual tour of the Round Stone Barn, the iconic centerpiece of the village's campus that houses sheep, goats, calves, pigs, chickens and donkeys. 

Several animals have recently been born, while others are expected shortly. The Easter Sunday tour will be streamed live to the village's Facebook account and will be posted later in the day to the village's Instagram and YouTube accounts, as well as to the website.

Mangiardi, who has worked at the Village for more than 15 years, will

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Williamstown Author's Book is a Massachusetts Book Awards 'Must Read'
10:41AM / Thursday, April 09, 2020

The Massachusetts Center for the Book has announced the "Must Read" long lists in the 20th annual Massachusetts Book Awards.

The awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry for adults and young readers written by Massachusetts authors and published during the preceding calendar year.  

This year's long list for Middle Grade/Young Adult books includes "The Next Great Paulie Fink" (Little, Brown), by Williamstown resident Ali Benjamin. The book is a funny and touching story about being thrust into the spotlight as a new kid and outsider in a small rural middle school.

"What a lucky group our state's tween and teenage readers

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Berkshire Money Management Names New Administration Specialist
10:22AM / Thursday, April 09, 2020

DALTON, Mass. — Berkshire Money Management has added Tammy Gaherty to its fast-growing team. 

Gaherty is the second hire for 2020 and will be handling scheduling for advisors, managing content distribution, and helping with the flow of operations throughout the firm. Prior to joining BMM, she worked for nearly two decades as an administrative assistant with the Dalton Housing Authority. 

Gaherty comes to BMM during an unprecedented time locally, nationally and globally.

"Everyone is going through a difficult time right now," BMM President Barbara Schmick said. "We are hiring in order to better service our clients now and in the future.  We are getting

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YouTube, You Pray: Ministers Find Opportunities to Connect With Faithful
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:46AM / Thursday, April 09, 2020

St. Agnes' Church in Dalton has been livestreaming Masses. In all the despair and isolation and anxiety that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic, one small ray of hope has emerged.   And it comes from the change of perspective necessitated by social distancing.   "Most who Zoom with us on Sunday morning look well and comfortable in their homes and enjoy coming to church with a cup of coffee," the Rev. Cara Davis of Pittsfield's First Church of Christ said of the video conferencing service employed by her congregation. "They particularly like seeing each others' faces instead of the backs of heads — which is what you see when sitting in

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Officials Optimistic Efforts May Be 'Flattening Curve' of COVID-19 Cases
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
08:19PM / Wednesday, April 08, 2020

BOSTON — State officials are "cautiously optimistic" that efforts to test and social distance may be flattening the curve even as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise. 

"We're continually reviewing the modeling, but right now we see evidence that we're still on the upward slope of this pandemic," said Gov. Charlie Baker at Wednesday's daily briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak. "For example, the average new coronavirus test in Massachusetts has been rising steadily for three weeks, the percent of people testing positive continues to rise and reach the new high on Monday. ...   "At the same time we've not seen the same steep

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Boston Pops Cancels Spring Season; Tanglewood Decision Set for May
03:54PM / Wednesday, April 08, 2020
LENOX, Mass. — The Boston Pops has canceled its spring season and the Boston Symphony Orchestra's return to its summer home at Tanglewood is yet unknown.    The Pops' spring season from mid-May to June was to have celebrated Keith Lockhart's 25th anniversary season has been postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.   BSO officials say they are in daily conversations to assess the advisability of proceeding with upcoming programming over the next few months, including the 2020 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular and the 2020 Tanglewood season, in connection with the spread of COVID-19.    The cancellation of the upcoming season is the

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April 8 COVID-19 Briefs: Big Y Closures; BRTA Advisories
02:35PM / Wednesday, April 08, 2020
Big Y Supermarkets Close for Easter, Monday All Big Y stores will be closed Easter Sunday, April 12, and Monday, April 13, and all Big Y Express gas stations will be closed Easter Sunday.    "We want to thank all of our retail heroes," said Charles D'Amour, president and CEO of Big Y Foods, Inc. "We hope that this break will allow our employees to spend more time with their loved ones and give them much-needed rest."   During the break, all stores will continue to be restocked and cleaned in preparation for reopening on Tuesday, April 14. Store hours will remain the same, including reserved hours of 7 to 8 a.m. for customers who are 60 and older or

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