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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Debates, Forums Slated for State House & Senate Candidates
01:55AM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — There are several forums and debates being held over the next several weeks for candidates running for the state Legislature.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts hosts a debate at the Church Street Center beginning at 7 p.m. sharp on Wednesday for state Senate candidates.

The three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination — Rinaldo Del Gallo, Andrea Harrington and Adam Hinds — and the sole Republican candidate Christine Canning-Wilson have been invited to attend.

The moderator will be Margo Bowden, president of the Williamstown League of Women Voters, and questions will be asked by a panel of local journalists, including from iBerkshires.com,

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Organ Recipients Speak to Need for Donations of Life
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:18PM / Tuesday, August 16, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Denise Swistak owes her life to a man from Oklahoma whom she'd never met.

And it's all because he had checked off the box to be an organ donor on his driver's license application.

"A man from Oklahoma saved my life. I'll never know him, I thanked his family for his generosity and for the unselfish gift they decided to give to me," said Swistak, tearing up at the memory. "They gave me a new life. I will be forever connected to that family in Oklahoma. I'll probably never meet them, maybe, god willing someday, I will."

Swistak's message was delivered on Tuesday at City Hall to raise awareness of the ease of signing up

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Students Join Berkshire Community College’s 2016 STEM Starter Academy
03:17PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Twenty-six Berkshire County students have joined the 2016 STEM Starter Academy at Berkshire Community College, a program geared toward high school students who are interested in attending BCC to study STEM fields.

Part of a statewide Massachusetts Community College initiative, the program features a three-week Summer STEM Success Academy and a year-long Support Academy at BCC. The program aims to provide students with the tools they need to be STEM ready in college and the workplace including: academic support, tutoring, special field trips, guest speakers and a STEM Academy Success Kit.

The following students applied and were accepted into the program:

Adams:

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Rescuers Recover Hiker's Body in Monument Mountain Reservation
02:25PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The body of a missing hiker was recovered early Saturday morning from Monument Mountain Reservation after an eight-hour search and four-hour recovery operation.

The hiker was identified as Joan Sussman, age 67, of Ashley Falls. Family members said she was a frequent climber and regularly hiked Monument Mountain.

Fire Chief Charles Burger said the operation began as a rescue after Sussman called in to say she was injured and was at the top of the mountain.

Rescuers from the Great Barrington Fire Department and Southern Berkshire Ambulance were dispatched to the mountain at 3:18 p.m. A GPS ping showed the last known location as Squaw Peak, but the call was

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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Bank Offers Free Admission to Hancock Shaker Village for Children
01:02PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

Free for kids: For the fourth consecutive year, Berkshire Bank is sponsoring Hancock Shaker Village's "Be Our Guest" program, a cultural access program that provides children ages 12 and under with free admission with a paid adult throughout its 2016 season. The museum is open daily through October and for an abbreviated schedule in November and December.

Through support from the bank’s charitable Foundation, the "Be Our Guest" program offers youth the opportunity to immerse themselves in an expansive, authentic, historic site and actively engage in the practices, culture, and values of the Shaker community. Kids learn about issues that are relevant in

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Pittsfield Co-op Awards $7,000 in Scholarships to Area Students
12:49PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank has announced that 14 area students have received awards from the bank's Centennial Scholarship Fund.  Each recipient received $500.

Created in 1989 in celebration of the co-op’s 100th anniversary, the Centennial Scholarship Fund has provided more than $295,000 in aid to local students seeking to further their education.  

This year’s recipients are:

Taconic High School: Richard Garwood, Nicholas Gingras        

Pittsfield High School: Hailey Graham, Allison Hunt         

St. Joseph's Central High School: Michael Peplowski, Nicholas

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Biz Briefs: Goodwill Leases Space in Great Barrington for New Retail Store, Donation Center
12:27PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

Growing again: Goodwill of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont is expanding again, having leased 2,000 square feet of retail space on Route 7 in Great Barrington, where it plans to open a new thrift store next month. This will be the second retail enterprise the Pittsfield-based non-profit organization has launched in 2016, following the opening of a Goodwill store in Rutland, Vt., in March.

The site, at 396 Stockbridge Road, is located next to Laramee Cleaners in the building that once housed the Caffrey Ford car dealership.

A grand opening of the Great Barrington retail outlet will be held on Saturday, Sept. 10. The site also has a donation center where people are encouraged to drop

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Hancock Resident Having Fun With Politics, Launches Mock Presidential Campaign
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:35AM / Monday, August 15, 2016
HANCOCK, Mass. — A Polish proverb reads, "not my monkeys, not my circus" to essentially mean, it's not my problem.   For years that's how Hancock resident Barry Grauman has felt about politics. He's been an active voter, intent to make it to the polls every time. But, he's never liked his choices. He says he was voting out of hate, voting against a candidate and not for one he likes. He's sick of that, though, and he is trying to make it his circus.   Grauman has launched a mock presidential campaign. It is one of humor where his stance on gun control is "I feel that whenever I am around guns, I prefer they are under

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@theMarket: Three in One
By Bill Schmick,
04:24PM / Friday, August 12, 2016

On Thursday, all three U.S. benchmark averages — the S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Dow Jones Industrial Average—registered historical new highs on the same day. You don't want to know what happened the last time this happened.

That was in 1999. The year after ushered in the Dotcom boom and bust where some averages lost 20-30 percent and sent the markets on a roller coaster that did not end until 2003. Am I saying that will happen again? No, but I am expecting a pull-back soon in all three averages.

It is not something that most investors need to worry about. As I mentioned in my last few columns, stocks are overbought and valuations are being stretched higher and higher.

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Building Your Image
By Chad Bolotin, Sponsored Content
12:24PM / Friday, August 12, 2016



While Maya Angelou may not have been referring to the image of a sign or branding of a company, what she said about the impression of a feeling on someone sure does.

When it comes to any successful company, we as consumers immediately can picture their logos. I say Nike and you instantly think of a swoosh appearing in your mind. When I say Audi you think of four circles bound together creating a chain link. Now think about a Nike commercial: The swoosh isn't the main message; however, it is what they stand for and that is athleticism. When I ask about Audi commercials, you don't say it's four circles linked together; instead it's a luxury yet thrilling automobile usually

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Common Folk Arts & Music Festival Takes Place Saturday
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
02:07AM / Friday, August 12, 2016
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The first Common Folk Arts & Music Festival will take place this Saturday to benefit the new Roots Teen Center.   Common Folk, the North Adams-based artist collective, has rapidly gained momentum during its short existence, hosting galleries and concert events with local talent. Co-founder and creative director Jessica Sweeney said the group has built up a solid roster of bands and artists and thought the next logical step was to organize a full-on music festival.     "I think that we have always really enjoyed doing these larger projects, and … we really wanted to start something annually so that we could share our artists

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The Independent Investor: Why the Nation's Productivity Matters
By Bill Schmick,
02:31PM / Thursday, August 11, 2016

The headlines paint a stark portrait of the amount of goods and services that American workers produce in any given year. We are in the longest decline of American productivity since the 1970s. That fact has economists pessimistic about the future chance of continued growth in this country.

Labor productivity has declined for nine straight months and fallen 0.4 percent over the last year. There is nothing complex about productivity statistics. Output per worker, according to the numbers, is drifting down when it should be going up. The last time this happened was in the 1970s, just before a nasty double-dip recession.

Increases in productivity are what makes America's middle-class

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