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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'Sully': Down to Earth Ace
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:04PM / Thursday, September 15, 2016

Director Clint Eastwood's "Sully," detailing the little-told backstory of Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's "Miracle on the Hudson," is a competently dramatized paean to a very deserving hero, and much more entertaining than I had anticipated.

Sure, Tom Hanks is going to be as good as ever, and Eastwood will bring his journeyman skill to the work. But in capturing the idea of a human being functioning at his very best, Todd Komarnicki's swell adaptation of the book, "Highest Duty," by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow, puts it all across.

As you may have surmised by now in your traipse on this mortal Earth, our species is capable of


Want to Retire Early? Start Planning Now
12:10PM / Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The average American retires at about age 63, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. If you enjoy your work, of course, you may want to go well beyond that age. But what if you don't want to wait until 63 or so? Can you afford to retire early?

Possibly – if you follow these suggestions:

Research the costs involved: What will you do during your retirement years? Will you travel the world or stay close to home, pursuing your hobbies? Will you downsize from your current home? How will you pay for health care until you're old enough for Medicare? You will need to answer these and other questions to determine how much you will need to sustain a comfortable lifestyle as


MassDOT Sets Lenox Hearing on Toll Rates
03:46PM / Monday, September 12, 2016

LENOX, Mass. — The state Department of Transportation is holding hearings this week on the proposed new gantry prices for all-electronic tolling.

The only hearing in the Berkshires will be held Thursday at District 1 Headquarters at 270 Main St. at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to the hearings, written comments will be accepted for two weeks following the hearings, until 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29.

In October, MassDOT is scheduled to activate all-electronic tolling to collect tolls on I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) and the tunnels in the Metropolitan Highway System. All-electronic tolling, or AET, has been in place for vehicles since July 2014 on the Tobin Bridge.

The rates being proposed

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Biz Briefs: Senior Crimestoppers Boosted by Berkshire Bank
03:10PM / Monday, September 12, 2016

Stopping crime: Berkshire Bank have joined CRA Partners and is helping vulnerable seniors by funding the Senior Crimestoppers program.

CRA Partners, powered by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, is a national organization that guarantees banks federally mandated CRA credit through the operation of the turn-key Senior Crimestoppers program, providing safe and secure living environments for the nation's low to moderate income seniors.

Berkshire Bank was approached by CRA Partners to participate in Senior Crimestoppers and gladly accepted, choosing the Vermont Veteran's Home in Bennington, Vt., to be the site of their funding. Berkshire Bank has a history of making


Is Renting Out Your Vacation Home Right For You?
02:34PM / Monday, September 12, 2016

The vacation rental market is lucrative. Are you a Berkshires homeowner who wants to take advantage?

Greylock Insurance, Berkshire's Neighborhood Insurance Agency, is here to tell you how.

A lot has changed in the vacation travel industry over the past five years, but arguably the biggest game-changer has been the growing desire of travelers to book vacation home rentals versus staying at traditional hotels or resorts.

In fact, according to a study of the American traveler by the Ypartnership/Harrison Group, nearly 50 percent of all travelers are now interested in renting properties for their vacation.

So for Berkshire homeowners considering renting out their second home,


Berkshires Beat: 'Walk & Roll' Raises Brain Injury Awareness
01:53PM / Monday, September 12, 2016

Walk & Roll: Residents from across Western Massachusetts gathered to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Cheshire on Sept. 10 for a Walk & Roll hosted by the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.

The walk aimed to further help their mission of creating a better future for brain injury survivors and their families.

One participant was Matthew LeBorgne, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2014. For Matt and his family, raising education and supporting BIAMA has become very important since his accident.

"Many people don't know a lot about brain injuries, both traumatic and acquired. I know we didn'r before Matt's accident," said Dawn LeBorgne,


County's Collegians Hit the Athletic Fields of Fall
12:55AM / Monday, September 12, 2016
Mount Greylock Regional School alumnus Jake Benzinger was credited with one tackle for Wake Forest Saturday in the Demon Deacons’ 24-14 win at Duke.   Benzinger, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound lineman and 2015 Mount Greylock graduate, is listed as a red-shirt freshman on the Wake Forest roster.   Saturday’s game was telecast on ESPNU. next week, Wake Forest hosts the University of Delaware in a game that will be seen on online on the ACCN Extra telecast.   In Division III, Lenox High graduate and Lee High football alum Matt Heppleston has appeared in one game so far as a freshman defensive lineman at Macalaster College in Minnesota, which is 1-1 this fall.   The MCLA


@theMarket: Markets Get Back to Business
By Bill Schmick,
06:15AM / Saturday, September 10, 2016

Since Labor Day marked the end of summer for Wall Street, the big guys came back to work and evidently did not like what they saw. As this week comes to a close, all three indexes suffered losses.

Friday's downturn could be attributed to North Korea, the rogue state that detonated a nuclear device on Thursday night. Those kind of one-off political events often-times unsettle markets. Stocks went down, the dollar spiked as did interest rates and that I found interesting.

Normally, U.S. Treasury bonds are a safe haven so prices go up in times of uncertainty; but not Friday. We have to therefore look under the hood to discern what is really going on with the markets. Aside from the fact


Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 2 - Sept. 9
Staff Reports,
04:02PM / Friday, September 09, 2016
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, Sept. 2.   James Tarjick Jr., 44, of Becket pleased guilty to two counts of receiving stolen property over $250.   On January 14, 2015 Tarjick was in possession of stolen items take from housebreaks that occurred throughout the state in the past several years.   He also pleaded guilty to four counts of unarmed burglary, nine counts of larceny over $250, three counts of receiving stolen property over $250, and two counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the nighttime.    Those charges stem from house and motor vehicle breaks in Berkshire County between October 29, 2010 and September 21,


The Independent Investor: The VA — If It Isn't Broke, Don't Fix It
By Bill Schmick,
02:07PM / Friday, September 09, 2016

In the heat of presidential campaign rhetoric, the quality of care given to our veterans has become a popular topic. Needless to say, neither candidate has received care in a veteran's hospital and probably does not know anyone who has.

Actually, few of us know anything at all about the Department of Veterans Affairs medical capabilities. Most Americans have never served in the military. Fewer still have ever been inside a VA facility, and if they have, it was to see a relative or friend.

As such, our ignorance breeds a whole host of misunderstandings about how good or bad our veterans are being treated. Critics are quick to point to the 2014 scandal when some VA facilities were


Republican Canning-Wilson Alleges Election Fraud
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:38PM / Friday, September 09, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Republican Christine Canning-Wilson is claiming there was fraud in the election process on Thursday. 

The Lanesborough candidate for the state Senate seat released a statement Friday morning, the day after the primary, saying she is filing a complaint with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance saying there were violations depriving her of votes. She also contacted the secretary of state's office, which oversees such matters.   "I need to request a recount because there's a lot of zeros — and I know people voted in those towns. The long arm of this Democratic machine stops at nothing. I know for a fact people in Adams voted


Hinds Wins Democratic State Senate Primary
By Andy McKeever & Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
11:21PM / Thursday, September 08, 2016

Adam Hinds hugs a support at Hotel on North on Thursday night.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Adam Hinds says over the last seven months if his "head was off the pillow" he was working on his campaign for state Senate.

And it paid off.

Hinds won the Democratic nomination on Thursday in a three-way race. He claimed victory at Hotel on North and will now face Republican Christine Canning-Wilson in the general election.   While he may have won the first step, Hinds says he is going to be getting right back to work toward filling the seat being vacated by state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, who opted not to run for re-election.   "We're going to keep to the same


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