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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Ice Safety Tips From MEMA
Staff Reports,
12:03PM / Sunday, December 17, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The cold weather often means it is time to get out on the lake for some ice fishing, or skating, or any number of outdoor recreational activities.

But, before someone goes out on the ice, they should familiarize themselves with safety precautions because falling through the ice could be deadly.

According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, ice on moving water is never safe. And ponds and lakes thaw at different rates depending on the water currents, springs, depth, and natural objects in the water. The ice can be a foot thick in some places and only a few inches in others. The daily temperature also plays a role.

MEMA has issued the following tips in

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@theMarket: Here Comes Santa
By Bill Schmick,
11:12AM / Saturday, December 16, 2017
With less than two weeks until Santa Claus shimmies down your chimney, investors are betting that what the Big Man has in his sack is lots and lots of gains to finish out 2017.   Now some might say that the signing of a massive tax cut is all the present investors need. After all, despite the rhetoric, we all know that the Republican tax cut is solely directed toward the wealthy, big business, and the stock market. As such, the indexes should continue to levitate between now and the New Year.   Investors are stocking up on the shares of those companies that will benefit most from the windfall profits they will receive as part of the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35

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'The Disaster Artist': No Soap, Radio
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
04:25PM / Friday, December 15, 2017
Director James Franco's "The Disaster Artist" reminded me of a non-joke that popularly circulated when I was a kid. It goes like this: Two elephants are in a bathtub and, when one says to the other, "Pass the soap," the other elephant informs, "No soap, radio."   You tell it and then you laugh, intentionally flummoxing your little friend who, afraid he'll look stupid if he doesn't laugh, chortles despite wondering why it's funny. Several decades since, I question, just a little, if the joke was actually on the jester ... that somewhere there was humor in the put-on.   Such, more or less, is the territory into which "The Disaster

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The Independent Investor: Should You Roll Your 401(k) Into an IRA?
By Bill Schmick,
03:40PM / Friday, December 15, 2017
Some retiring workers roll their 401(k) tax-deferred savings account into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). There are good reasons to do so. But for those who are not retiring, the decision is not so clear cut. Here are some pros and cons to ponder.   In my neighborhood, for example, a local company with more than 300 employees is being acquired by another company from Chicago. As a result, the employees of the acquired company are being offered a choice: they can roll over their existing 401(k) into a new plan offered by the Chicago company, roll their 401(k) into an IRA, or just take the money out, pay taxes and spend it.   Obviously, the last option is the worst choice.

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New Associate Joins Donovan O’Connor & Dodig
01:20PM / Friday, December 15, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Kelsey Bain has joined Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, as an associate.  

Bain received both her J.D. and Master of Environmental Law & Policy from Vermont Law School in 2017. While at Vermont Law School she worked as a Dean’s Fellow and an editor on Law Review. She has been published in the San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law ("Planning for the Sun to Come Up") and the Idaho Law Review ("Undamming the Federal Production Tax Credit").

Prior to law school, she graduated from Tulane University in 2012 with a B.S. in Evolutionary Biology.  While developing her legal skills, attorney Bain worked as a legal

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Four Guardian Employees Honored with Volunteer Recognition Award
01:17PM / Friday, December 15, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America honored four Pittsfield Office employees with the Volunteer Recognition Award during a Nov. 13 ceremony at which grants were presented to the four area nonprofit organizations for which the employees volunteer their time and energy.

The annual award presentation – consisting of a $1,000 check to the nonprofit organizations – showcases the community contributions of individual Guardian employees.

"We take great pride in our service to the community," said Gordon Dinsmore, head of Product for Individual Markets and President of Guardian's Berkshire Life subsidiary. "We give financial

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Tree Lightings & Holiday Events 2017
01:11AM / Friday, December 15, 2017
Holiday Events

(Visit our Holiday Bazaars and Craft Fairs list for holiday fairs.)

 

Thursday, Dec. 14

BCC HOLIDAY CONCERT, Pittsfield, 12:15 p.m.: The Berkshire Community College music program will present its annual Holiday Concert in the Robert Boland Theatre located on BCC’s main campus on West Street. The concert will feature holiday selections performed by the BCC Chorale, directed by Dr. Ellen Shanahan, and a performance by the BCC Jazz Ensemble, directed by BCC music instructor Jeff Link. The Chorale will also perform an original composition by BCC music alumnus Chad Tarves, who will also conduct the piece. Soloists Kyle Carson, Kim Cortes-Gritman, Chloe Boehm, Jaedin

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Hinds Sets Community Outreach Events for December
01:29PM / Thursday, December 14, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The staff of state Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, will host two community outreach events during December.   The senator's staff will be available to meet with constituents in the communities of Ashfield and Dalton at the following locations: Wednesday, Dec. 20,  from 11 to 1, Ashfield Town Hall, 412 Main St. Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 11 to 1, Dalton Senior Center, 40 Field St. All residents of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Senate District are invited to participate in these sessions if they have an idea, question or comment about state government they wish to share, or if they require assistance from the senator's

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Department of Agricultural Resources Has Tips to Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season
04:19PM / Wednesday, December 13, 2017

BOSTON — The state Department of Agricultural Resources' Division of Animal Health is reminding residents to ensure their pets remain safe and healthy by planning ahead when traveling and being aware of potentially harmful holiday foods and decorations. 

"I want all families to enjoy the holiday season with their pets by planning ahead and being aware of how holiday decorations, food and even new guests in a home may affect pet health," said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. "I encourage residents to talk with their local veterinarian to discuss what types of holiday plants and other greenery items are safe to have indoors and to purchase them from a local

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Rainbow Seniors Hires New Director
03:10PM / Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County has named Kenneth Mercure as its new director. Rainbow Seniors is the county's social and support network for LGBTQ elders.

Mercure, a Berkshire County native, was the driving force behind the Berkshire Pride festival and a lead organizer of the Berkshire Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2017. A natural organizer, his earliest effort was the founding of an LGBTQ youth program in Great Barrington – at age 15! The group flourished for two years.

Mercure began working as a Lyme disease community organizer and patient advocate in 2010 and went on to found the Lyme Alliance of the Berkshires, which holds monthly meetings

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Time to Review Your Investment Strategy for the Year
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:21PM / Wednesday, December 13, 2017

As the year draws to a close, it's a good time to review your progress toward your financial goals. But on what areas should you focus your attention?

Of course, you may immediately think about whether your investments have done well. When evaluating the performance of their investments for a given year, many people mistakenly think their portfolios should have done just as well as a common market index, such as the Standard & Poor's 500. But the S&P 500 is essentially a measure of large-company, domestic stocks, and your portfolio probably doesn’t look like that – nor should it, because it's important to own an investment mix that aligns with your goals,

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Berkshire County Groups Call for Action to Protect Net Neutrality
By Mark Hurwit, Community Submission
08:24PM / Tuesday, December 12, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 40 bundled-up Berkshire citizens gathered on the sidewalk in front of the Pittsfield Verizon store last Thursday evening, holding home-made placards and signs, to join tens of thousands of others for a day of peaceful protests at more than 600 Verizon store locations across the country.   The issue at hand — one they insist affects everyone — is an upcoming congressional vote on the Federal Communications Commission's plan to repeal the rules that currently restrict how large broadband companies can control their users' access.   Eileen Raab, who organized the Pittsfield rally, said she was "very pleased with the

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