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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'Ghost in the Shell': Machine Politics
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
08:42PM / Friday, April 07, 2017

Viewing director Rupert Sanders' highly imaginative "Ghost in the Shell," based on Shirow Masamune's Japanese comic series, it occurred to me: How do I know I'm not a cyborg, installed by some great Machiavellian organization to surreptitiously spread their deceptions through my film criticisms? It can't be .. I'm just a nice liberal guy, trying to make sure folks spend their movie money wisely. Or is that simply what I've been programmed to think?

Although still not sure, as sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick asked, if androids dream of electric sheep, I now must move on to wondering if Ancestry.Com might help a disillusioned cyborg learn his identity. All of

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@theMarket: Uncertainty Descends Upon the Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Friday, April 07, 2017
Pick your poison — U.S.-Syrian strife, weak employment numbers, China-U.S. relations — those are just some of the issues investors had to contend with this week. Despite these potential roadblocks, the averages hung in there, losing little ground as the week closed.   There was even more bad news, if you include the latest minutes of the Federal Reserve Bank's FOMC meeting. There was much discussion among the members and a chorus of assent to begin the delicate task of reducing the Fed's $4.5 trillion balance sheet later this year. Recall that the Fed bought mountains of U.S. Treasury bonds over the last eight years in an effort to keep interest rates low (and

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Girls Inc. of the Berkshires Announces Scholarship Winners
02:45PM / Friday, April 07, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, home of Girls Inc. of the Berkshires, has announced this year's scholarship winners.

The following scholarship recipients will be awarded at the annual Ruth P. Boraski Celebration Evening, to be held at the Colonial Theatre on Thursday, May 4. This year, the Brigham Center is excited to be awarding $10,000 in scholarships.

These scholarships are based on financial need, academic success and demonstrated involvement in community service. Scholarships are generously underwritten by: the Ruth P. Boraski Fund for Girls Inc. of the Berkshires, Berkshire Community College Foundation, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

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Superior Court Briefs: March 31 - April 5
Staff Reports,
12:42PM / Friday, April 07, 2017
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, March 31.   Jason Pennell, 28, of Holyoke had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and conspiracy to violate drug laws.   He was ordered to be held at the Hampden County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant in Williamstown on January 18, 2017.    Terry Martizna, 26, of Lanesborough pleaded guilty to single counts of illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device, armed career felon, illegal possession of a firearm, and possession of ammunition without a firearm

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Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios Program Names New Program Manager
12:24PM / Friday, April 07, 2017

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. – The National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced that Valerie Balint will join the organization as the new program manager of the Historic Artists' Homes and Studios (HAHS) program, based at Chesterwood in Stockbridge.

Balint's mission is to enhance the relevance and reputation of HAHS member sites in their communities so as to contribute to a national conversation on the arts in American public life.

"With Valerie's strong curatorial expertise and interest in working in artists' homes and studios, she will be a great asset to the HAHS program and its membership," said Donna Hassler, executive director of Chesterwood and

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Kindergarten Registration Dates Scheduled Around County
11:29AM / Friday, April 07, 2017

Schools across Berkshire County are holding registration days for next year's kindergartners. Schools can submit their information to be added to this list to info@iberkshires.com.


* Adams: St. Stanislaus Kostka School is now registering for the 2017-2018 school year. Openings are available in grades pre-kindergarten through grade eight. Financial aid is available for qualified applicants. Schedule a shadow day at 413-743-1091.

 

* Clarksburg: Kindergarten registration has begun for the Clarksburg Elementary School. Call the school at 413-663-8735 to register your child for the fall. Children must be five years of age by August 31, 2017.

 

* Florida: The Gabriel Abbott

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Area's Collegians Well into Spring While Fields Back Home Soak
iBerkshires.com Sports,
02:23AM / Friday, April 07, 2017
While Berkshire County high school student-athletes spin their wheels in the gym and watch the rescheduled and postponed game count grow, area alumnae are well into their spring seasons, most of which started on spring break trips to warmer climes.   The Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team started its season with a one-goal loss at Bates up in Maine back in early March but went on to play four games in Florida on its way to an 8-1 record.   Senior Hank Barrett, a graduate of Mount Greylock, has appeared in three of them. The 13th-ranked Cardinals extended an eight-game winning streak with Wednesday’s 17-13 win over No. 11 Amherst and hosts Williams on Saturday

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The Independent Investor: Don't Let Romance Blind You to Finances
By Bill Schmick,
04:08PM / Thursday, April 06, 2017
Don't let romance blind you to the financial downside of living together. Unmarried couples need as much, if not more, financial and estate planning than those who are married. Without it, one or both partners may lose everything they have committed to the relationship. Here is a primer on what steps you should take.   Over 6.7 million unmarried couples are co-habitating in America at last count. Over 90 percent of them are heterosexual, in case you're wondering. As such, these couples, regardless of sexual orientation or length of the relationship, are considered and classified as unrelated individuals in the eyes of the law.   And the rights of unmarried couples are

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Berkshire, Bennington Cultural Institutions Create 'Art Country'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:50PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Mass MoCA Director Joseph Thompson talks about the ArtCountry collaborative on Wednesday morning.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Joseph Thompson's been talking for years about creating a destination in North County that will keep tourists longer than a day.

The director of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is convinced that trading up day-trippers for overnights, weekends or longer will cause a seismic shift in not only the way Northern Berkshire is perceived but exponentially increase the cultural economic impact on the region.

On Wednesday morning, Thompson was joined by the directors of four other major cultural institutions in launching ArtCountry.org, a collaborative

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Payless Shoe Store to Close at Berkshire Mall
Staff Reports,
01:57PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Payless ShoeSource at the Berkshire Mall is slated for closure, the latest hit to the struggling shopping center.

Payless joins a number of national brands closing brick-and-mortar storefronts in the face of declining sales and the rise of online shopping. Two weeks ago, J.C. Penney, a founding anchor at the 30-year-old Berkshire Mall, announced its store there would be one of 140 nationwide slated for closure.

Best Buy and Macy's left within the last 18 months and Sears, also a founding anchor, this quarter said, "substantial doubt exists related to the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

Payless filed Chapter 11

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BArT Charter Public School Announces New Executive Director
01:05PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Trustees of BART Charter Public School has named James "Jay" C. White II as the school's executive director, starting June 19.

Trustee Chair Charles Swabey said White will bring to BArT more than 30 years of teaching, administrative and fundraising experience in a variety of settings, including middle and high school, colleges and universities, and national and international nonprofit organizations.

White currently serves as provost, dean of the college, and professor of physics at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vt., which he joined in 2015.

Swabey said White was inspired to apply for the executive director position by a visit to

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How Can the Sandwich Generation Relieve Financial Stress?
11:31AM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Don't worry too much if you haven't heard, but April is National Stress Awareness Month. Of course, stress can present emotional and physical challenges to all of us, but if you belong to the “sandwich generation” – that is, you may be caring for aging parents while still supporting your own children – you may be facing some financial stress as well. What can you do to relieve it?

For one thing, be aware that you're certainly not alone. About one in seven middle-aged adults is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child, according to the Pew Research Center.

Still, knowing that you have plenty of company won't provide you with

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