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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'Southside with You': A Sensible Romance
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:13PM / Thursday, September 08, 2016

My Dad, a kindly stoic whose inner romanticism made a poignant appearance when the occasion stirred him, was fond of pointing out, if seeing, let us say, a very large woman and a very small man strolling down the street, "See, there's someone for everyone." All of which is my nostalgic, roundabout way of noting the kismet that writer-director Richard Tanne captures in "Southside with You," a chronicle of Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama's first date in 1989.

The thought here is that the odds of two such socially incisive and committed people finding one another is perhaps even greater than the serendipitous meeting of the big gal and the little guy. The given


Shakespeare & Company Names New Artistic Director
11:30AM / Thursday, September 08, 2016

LENOX, Mass. — After an extensive national search, Shakespeare & Company has named renowned actor and director Allyn Burrows, a long-time member of the company, as its new artistic director.

“This is a watershed moment for Shakespeare & Company,” said Board Chair Ken Werner. “Allyn is one of the most lauded and exciting actors and directors both in Boston and nationally, and we are extremely fortunate to have him take over the artistic leadership of our company. He is someone who is well known to us, and our search for a new artistic director could not have turned out better. I extend my deep gratitude to our interim artistic directors, Ariel Bock and


Berkshire Tibits: Fermentation Festival
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
05:43PM / Wednesday, September 07, 2016

For the month of September, Rachel Alves, the registered dietitian and nutritionist for Guido's Fresh Marketplace, 760 South Main St./Route 7 in Great Barrington and 1020 South St./Routes 7 and 20 in Pittsfield, will be offering the following tasting demos at both stores on the remaining Thursdays and Fridays.

On Sept. 8 and 9 she will be rethinking risotto. On Sept. 15 and 16 she will be doing a wow-worthy whole grain dessert yet-to-be-decided. There will be no tasting demos on Sept. 22 and 23. On Sept. 29 and 30 she will be offering a pumped up pasta e fagioli, normally a homey Italian bean and noodle soup but, in this case, who knows?   She is in


Biz Briefs: New Boston Crane Service & Sleds Expands Reach with U-Haul Trucks, Trailers
03:37PM / Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The long haul: New Boston Crane Service & Sleds has signed on as a U-Haul neighborhood dealer to serve the Sandisfield community. New Boston Crane Service & Sleds, located at 85 South Main St., will offer U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment, support rental items and in-store pickup for boxes.  

Hours of operation for U-Haul rentals are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. After hours drop-off is available for customer convenience. Reserve U-Haul products at this dealer location by calling 413- 258-7254 or online.

New Boston Crane Service & Sleds owner Billy White said he is proud to team with the industry leader in


Senate Candidate Del Gallo States Positions on the Issues
12:53PM / Wednesday, September 07, 2016

I differ from my opponents as follows: I am running as a "Bernie Sander progressive"; they declined to say whether they voted for Bernie or Hillary when asked by a debate moderator; they figure you are not entitled to know how they fall on the political spectrum.

They were initially undecided about whether to oppose the pipelines. This shows that they had reservations about opposing the pipelines and upsetting the pipelines' advocates. They only opposed the pipelines after I jumped in the race and opposed the pipelines from the start. To fight against global warming, which could literally cause the cataclysmic end of mankind, I am for having wind energy here in the


Use 'Open Enrollment' to Help Improve Your Financial Outlook
11:51AM / Wednesday, September 07, 2016

It's Open Enrollment Season, so if you work for a medium- or large-sized company, you will need to make some choices regarding your employee benefits — and these choices can have a big impact on your financial situation.

Depending on your employer, your benefits package may include various types of insurance, plus access to a 401(k) or similar retirement plan. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of these benefits:

* Health insurance: Companies regularly change plans and providers, so the coverage and premiums you had last year may not be the same this year. In any case, look at all aspects of your coverage options – premiums, deductibles, co-pays and total


Letter: One Real Option for State Senator
Letters to the Editor,
10:00AM / Wednesday, September 07, 2016

To the Editor:

There is only one real option for state senator.

Adam Hinds does not support the $15 an hour minimum wage. Although initially stating he did, when faced with opposition from the Berkshire County Farm Bureau, Hinds suddenly changed his position. Then at the North Adams debate, the candidates were asked directly whether they fully support the $15 an hour minimum wage. All raised their hands except Hinds.

This is deeply troubling. First, Hinds does not support a more livable minimum wage; he certainly does not support labor. But second, we can no longer believe anything Hinds says. Adam Hinds panders to his audience, telling them whatever they want to hear. As state senator,


MCLA Starts Off Semester With New Leader, More Students & $2M Grant
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
12:29AM / Wednesday, September 07, 2016

MCLA bow tie pins will be presented to individuals who exemplify the college's ideals and their names will be listed at the president's office.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is starting of the 2016 fall semester in a good place.

For the first time in two years, it has a permanent president at the helm, enrollment is up and it was just awarded $2 million to help it keep doing what it's been doing so well: retaining and graduating its low-income and students of color.

President James F. "Jaimie" Birge announced at Tuesday's traditional convocation breakfast that the college was told last week it would receive a $2.177 million


Senate Candidates Debate at UCP in North Adams
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:00PM / Sunday, September 04, 2016
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — In the seventh of eight debates in six days, the candidates for the Democratic nomination for the state Senate seat continued to show their differences.   United Cerebral Palsy held a nearly 3-hour forum Friday night with Executive Director Salvatore Garozzo moderating. The primary election is on Thursday and the winner will take on Republican Christine Canning-Wilson in the general election in November.    The three kicked off by telling a little bit about themselves. Adam Hinds grew up in Shelbourne Falls and was the son of a public school teacher and a part-time librarian. As a child, Hinds said his father tried to get an upholstery tool company


Local Environmentalist Updates Guide to Berkshire Trails
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
06:27AM / Sunday, September 04, 2016


NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Lauren R. Stevens has been traipsing through the Berkshire mountains for more than 40 years.

And he wants others to find the same joy has in exploring the trails that weave throughout the county.

"I want people to gain an appreciation of the beautiful place we live in," the retired Williams College professor said. "There are benefits to just walking — physical and psychological. It has a way refueling."

Stevens recently published "50 Hikes In The Berkshire Hills," an updated guide to some favorite hikes, walks and climbs throughout the county. The guide, published by W.W. Norton's Countryman Press, came out in


@theMarket: A Tale of Two Interest Rates
By Bill Schmick,
07:33AM / Saturday, September 03, 2016

Ahead of the Labor Day weekend, investors had little to do but bet on how strong or weak the unemployment number would be. It turned out to be weaker than expected and the markets rallied.

Yes, we are once again in a "bad news is good news environment." Weaker economic data means the chances of the Federal Reserve Bank raising interest rates at the September meeting is diminished. That means lower rates for longer, which equals higher prices for stocks, bonds, and commodities. None of the above disappointed on Friday.

Investors should take the action in the markets (both up and down) with a grain of salt. The real market moves normally begin after the unofficial end of summer,


The Independent Investor: The VA ó Political Football
By Bill Schmick,
12:06PM / Friday, September 02, 2016

It is an election year and as such veterans are a voting block that neither side can resist. Both candidates are promising to overhaul Veterans Affairs once elected. The questions are whether to hand it over to the private sector or just try and fix the government organization's short-comings.

We all remember the terrible scandal back in 2014 when a whistle-blower revealed shocking inefficiencies, coverups and the deaths of some veterans within the Veterans Affairs. The then Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, along with a gaggle of bosses in various states, who were caught falsifying waiting time reports for vets, provided the obligatory resignation parade before the


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