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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Clinton, Sanders Campaigns Kick Off Local Super Tuesday Push
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:06PM / Saturday, February 20, 2016

Clinton supporter Lynne Roberson speaks with coordinator Mary O'Brien and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Campaigns for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have begun the local push in anticipation for Super Tuesday.   On Saturday, volunteers from the Sanders campaign began canvassing efforts while volunteers from the Clinton campaign opened an office to serve as a local headquarters. Both candidates are seeking the nomination for the Democratic party in the presidential race.   "We want to use the momentum we have nationally and reach out to the people who may be on the fence," said Steve Coyne, who is coordinating the Berkshire


Berkshire Tidbits: Winter Comfort Food
By Judith Lerner,
10:55AM / Saturday, February 20, 2016

Well, winter is ensconced, even if it is not as dreadful as the last one. Coziness, comfort, heartiness and abundance are all welcome in our food right now.

Soup. Stew. Burbling baked and potted meals. Lavish sauces and drinks are what we want.

Rubiner's array of cheese and charcuterie for wine and cheese pairing seminar.

Let's start with upcoming cooking classes, the first of which is a cheese and wine pairing seminar at Rubiner's Cheesemongers & Grocers on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 3 to 5 p. m. for $75. Call 413-528-0488 to register. Owner/cheesemonger Matt Rubiner also gives private classes and seminars.

This week's first hands-on cooking class is actually titled


Governor Appoints Michael Case to DCR Regional Director Post
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:09AM / Saturday, February 20, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The governor has tapped Michael Case to head the Western Regional office of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.   Case took over the job on Feb. 1 and now oversees 39 parks from Mount Holyoke west, including Pittsfield State Forest, Mount Tom, and Mount Greylock.    "I've been a Berkshires guy all my life. I'm an outdoors guy. I couldn't say no," Case said on Friday.    The position is administrative and manages all of the state parks in the region. He oversees a team of district managers. The goal under Commissioner Leo Roy is to encourage usage of the state parks and "open up opportunities",


Deadline Approaching For Becket Community Preservation Fund
11:42AM / Friday, February 19, 2016

BECKET, Mass. — Requests for funding through the Becket Community Preservation Fund for this coming year are due by Feb. 28.

The Becket Community Preservation Fund may be used to support projects in three broad areas: open space/recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing.

Funding may be used to acquire, create, rehabilitate and preserve open space and recreational areas. Funding may also be used for historic preservation, acquisition and rehabilitation. Affordable housing funding can go toward building, supporting, rehabilitating or purchasing affordable housing.  

The Becket Community Preservation Fund is a combination of a modest surcharge on property taxes


'Goldberger in Oscarland': Digging Deep for the Winners
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Columnist
04:00PM / Thursday, February 18, 2016

I peered out my window. It was Oscar picking time. But no help seemed forthcoming. Over the years I've depended on the kindness of strangers to help make my selections. Last year the politically innocent squirrels who call my backyard home (a fat bunch since named The Goldberger Squirrels) made the treacherous journey across an angrily blockaded George Washington Bridge to deliver a packet containing the "winners" names.

Previous years saw me kidnapped by aliens and spirited away to their planet where, Elvis, alive and in exile, supplied the cherished picks, graciously served up with a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

However, with no such succor made available this


The Independent Investor: OPEC's Poker Game
By Bill Schmick,
01:45PM / Thursday, February 18, 2016

The news this week that some OPEC members have at least agreed to talk, and possibly freeze production, had traders covering their oil shorts, sending crude up over 15 percent. But why should simply freezing production at multi-year levels stem oil's price decline?

Naysayers are right when they argue that holding production where it is does not solve the oversupply problem in world energy. At the present rate of production, an additional 330 million barrels of oil (or about 1 million barrels/day) of unneeded oil is flowing onto world markets.

That oversupply has been building for a year or more. It is being stored in spare oil tankers, storage tanks and wherever else suppliers can


Rep. Paul Mark Opts Out of Senate Run
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:16AM / Thursday, February 18, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Rep. Paul Mark will not run for the open state Senate seat being left vacant by Benjamin B. Downing.   The Peru Democrat has spent the last several weeks considering whether he should take on the sprawling Senate district. On Thursday, he said he didn't want to lose the traction he has gained in the House nor did his family think it was the right position.   "There was an overwhelming outpouring of support from people asking me to run ... But, the person I need the most didn't think it was the right race at the right time," Mark said Thursday morning.    He is in his third term representing the 16 towns of the 2nd


Watch for Changes to the FAFSA
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:29AM / Wednesday, February 17, 2016

If you have a child in college, you’re probably familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which must be completed to help ensure that students don’t miss out on federal and state grants, work-study jobs and loans.

But you might not know that some important changes will be coming to the FAFSA during 2016 – and these changes can affect both the process of filing for aid, and, possibly, the amount of aid your child will receive.

Here are three key changes to watch for:

* Earlier availability of the FAFSA: Currently, you need to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after Jan. 1 – which means you’re probably filling out the form even


Ski, Tourism Business Not Chilled by Mild Winter
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:47AM / Tuesday, February 16, 2016
This week's cold and snow came just in time to remind fans of winter why they like living in the Berkshires.   But those who make their living from people traveling to the Berkshires say winter's late arrival has not been as bad for business as you might think.   At Lanesborough ski shop Ski Fanatics, manager Danielle Carter said last week that the rental business has been going strong despite the high temperatures and lack of snow that has marked most of the season.   "I don't think it's been that bad," said Carter, who has been at the Route 7 shop for 10 years. "We've been doing a lot of rentals. The amount of people I've been told is


Berkshire Adult Baseball League Meeting Saturday
11:09AM / Monday, February 15, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Berkshire Adult Baseball League will hold an organizatonal meeting on Saturday, Feb. 20, from noon to 2 p.m. at Imperial Lanes.   The league is accepting teams and players for its 2016 season.   For more information, contact Lou Orazio at


Lawmakers Discuss Balancing Budget Priorities At Pittsfield Senior Center
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:34AM / Saturday, February 13, 2016

Council on Aging Director Vin Marinaro presented Downing with a certificate that reads 'you were on the hill and now you are over the hill' and other gifts in honor of Downing's 10 years in the state Senate. Downing is not running for re-election. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire delegation said Friday that the decrease in state income tax will make it difficult to fully fund programs.   Massachusetts voters approved in 2000 a formula that reduces the income tax if state revenues hit certain targets.   The state income tax has dropped from 5.85 percent to now, in 2016, 5.1. The decrease translates to less revenue going to state coffers with this year's


Red Cross Offers Tips for Keeping Safe in Frigid Weather
11:59AM / Friday, February 12, 2016

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — As frigid temperatures move in and blanket the region this weekend, the Red Cross warns of dangers to pets and frozen pipes in homes.

During cold weather, take preventative action in your home

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children. When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing. Keep the thermostat


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