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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

High School Softball Umpires Offer Classes
Community submission, Community submission
12:00PM / Friday, January 25, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Berkshire County Board of Softball Officials has announced the start of classes for anyone who wishes to officiate girls high school fast pitch softball.   Classes will be held every Monday for six weeks starting Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. at Taconic High School.   The fee is $50.   For more information call Tom Morandi 802-694-1612 or Gary Dow 413-662-2013.

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The Independent Investor: The IRS Has Its Hands Full This Year
By Bill Schmick,
05:05PM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
The government's partial shutdown has everyone on edge this year. Despite assurances from the powers that be, many taxpayers are concerned that their tax returns won't be processed on time. Should you be worried?   One misconception many have is that the Internal Revenue Service is closed. Not true, the IRS remains open, despite having no budget since Dec. 21, 2018. The agency is running under a contingency plan, which includes operating with only 12 percent of its staff.   Usually, you can e-file your returns in late January, and that remains doable. The IRS announced it will be accepting 2018 tax returns starting January. 28, 2019. They also said they would be issuing

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'Stan & Ollie': 'Old Fat & Skinny'
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:58PM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
"Stan & Ollie," director Jon S. Baird's lovingly responsible biopic about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, the world's most famous comedy duo, convivially invites you to bask in its embracing notions of love, friendship, loyalty and sense of duty.    The passion is such that, feeling protective of the boys, I couldn't help fantasize that if I should become king I'd make it a law that, once the talent in question was universally adored by the public, the enthusiasm was not to diminish, unless of course said entertainer either colluded with the Russians, repeatedly lied to the American public or was disgustingly narcissistic.   Of course, Stan and

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High School Baseball Umpire Classes Offered
Community submission,
11:43AM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
PITTFIELD, Mass. -- The Berkshire County Baseball Umpires Association announces the start of classes for prospective candidates who wish to officiate high school baseball in Berkshire County.   The first class will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Italian American Club at 203 Newell St. in Pittsfield. There will be six classes and the exam fee is $45.   For more information contact Don Singleton at 413-884-4353 or Rich Pothier at 413-652-2372.

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Berkshire Force Softball Sets Tryout Dates for Travel Teams
Community submission,
11:31AM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
PITTSFIELD – The Pittsfield Girls Softball League has announced tryout dates for the U14 and U16 Berkshire Force travel teams.   Players interested in the under-14 team are eligible if they have a birth year of 2004 or younger. Players interested in U16 are eligible if they have a birth year of 2002 or younger. Players must attend at least one tryout. Dates and locations are as follows:   Saturday, Feb. 2, at Reid Middle School, 950 North St.: 9:30 a.m., registration for U14. 10 a.m. to noon, tryouts for U14. Noon to 12:30 p.m. registration for U16. 12:30 to 2:30, tryouts for U16.   Wednedsay, Feb. 6, at Conte Community School, 200 West Union St.: 5:30 to 7 p.m.,

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MCLA Opens 125th Year With New Strategies, Initiatives
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:31PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

President James Birge pulls tickets for some gift certificates as a thank you to the attendees.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Some legislators are calling it the "year of education" but for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, it's not about one year but about 125 years of education.

The college will celebrate its quasquicentennial in 2019 with a series of events, exhibitations, signage and celebrations. President Jamie Birge announced the anniversary along with other college news as the spring semester kickoff breakfast held in the Centennial Room on Tuesday morning.

Established in 1894 as the North Adams Normal School to train teachers, the college has gone through a

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Biz Briefs: Berkshire Gas, Avangrid Foundation Supports Girls Inc. STEM Program
01:55PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Eureka! moments

The Girls Inc. Eureka! program at the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center has received continued support from the Avangrid Foundation, in partnership with Berkshire Gas. Eureka! brings girls in the Berkshires a unique opportunity to explore STEM-related subjects through intensive, hands-on programming over five years.

The first Eureka! cohort was launched in July 2018, made up of 14 girls entering eighth grade. The girls immersed themselves in a four-week summer experience studying a range of STEM subjects including physics, biology and environmental science with area professors from Berkshire Community College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on site at

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Dentist Joins CHP Family Dental in Great Barrington
12:13PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Deepak Nainal, DMD, MBA, has joined CHP Family Dental in Great Barrington at 343 Main St.

Nainal is a 2018 graduate of the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine; he completed his residency program at Goldman School of Dental Medicine Clinic. He also earned an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology, and he holds a bachelor's degree in dental surgery from Maharishi Markandeshwar University in Haryana, India.

Nainal's practice includes general dentistry, restorations, crowns and bridges, removable partial and complete dentures, root canal therapy and periodontal treatment. He is fluent in Hindi and Punjabi.

For

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Redefining Good Health - And Good Health Care
By Lia Spiliotes,
12:08PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A federal court ruling in December declaring that ACA unconstitutional raised yet another alarm-raiser for Obamacare customers around the country. Again, in the delicate realm of subsidized insurance, ACA customers were asking: Should I reapply? Is the ACA dead?  Will my coverage be canceled?

For now, the foreseeable future, the ACA remains the law of the land as this latest upheaval makes its way through the courts. Obamacare has withstood numerous challenges and two Supreme Court appeals, so advocates recommend people stay the course and get covered. During the recent enrollment period, which ended Jan. 23 in Massachusetts, our insurance counselors at Community Health Programs

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Are You Prepared for a Natural Disaster?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:57AM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The year ahead offers new opportunities and experiences. But as you make plans throughout 2019, be mindful of the things that can derail those plans – such as the natural disasters that affected so many families in 2018. Every area around the country is subject to natural disasters, whether they're wildfires, hurricanes or tornadoes. How can you prepare for them?

Here are a few suggestions:

Maintain adequate insurance. It's a good idea to review your homeowners insurance at least annually to ensure it's still providing the protection you need. And make sure you know exactly what your policy covers in terms of natural disasters. You will also want to review your life and

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Hinds Rolling Out 'Rural Agenda' In New Legislative Session
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Tuesday, January 22, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Adam Hinds is pushing a "rural agenda" in the new legislative term.   The Pittsfield Democrat is filing more than 60 bills, many of which are aimed at helping small rural areas. While he represents the Berkshires' only two cities, the bulk of his constituents reside in 50 towns spread over three counties. They have an average population of 1,900, ranging from Adams' at 8,200 people to Monroe with only 95.   "We really go through with what are we doing for a rural jobs act, trying to take away a lot of the problems that our towns face like PILOT payments, trying to get a PILOT commission. We are stick with the volunteer

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Berkshires Beat: Clark Art Institute Launches Free Snowshoe Program
01:53PM / Monday, January 21, 2019
Now that there's snow

The Clark Art Institute has launched a new snowshoe program to encourage exploration of the winter beauty of its Williamstown campus. Project Snowshoe provides visitors with the chance to borrow a pair of snowshoes from the Clark to trek the 140-acre campus during snow season. Details on snowshoe safety are available on the Clark's website.

The Clark has installed a snowshoe rack and benches adjacent to the west side of its Manton Research Center building. Snowshoes are available in three sizes for both adults and children to borrow. Visitors who prefer to use poles are welcome to bring their own. Participants should observe safety precautions, including

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