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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Berkshires Beat: 'White Privilege' Author Speaking in Lenox
02:05PM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Privileged: Anti-racism activist Peggy McIntosh will present a workshop on white privilege as part of the Multicultural BRIDGE annual Awards Celebration at Kripalu in Lenox on Thursday, Nov. 17. She will also give the evening's keynote address, "Coming to See Privilege Systems: The Surprising Journey." The celebration will include the presentation of BRIDGE’s inaugural Peggy McIntosh Equity and Justice Award.

McIntosh, founder of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum and a former associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, is best known for her classic 1989 essay, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," in which she gives


Education Task Force Plans Presentations of Phase 1 Report
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:53AM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Eliot Levine, senior researcher manager for the Donahue Institute, presented the Phase 1 report on Saturday morning.

DALTON, Mass. — Enrollment is declining in Berkshire County schools and costs are rising.

It's one of those things everyone knows — now there's concrete data confirming those notions and pinning down some of the effects on Berkshire County education.

The Berkshire County Task Force on Saturday morning reviewed a 77-page report commissioned from the University of Massachusetts' Donahue Institute on the state of county education.

It's not pretty.

Enrollment is down 22.3 percent over the last 15 years in 17 of the school districts being


United Way Urging State to Help Up Preschool Teaching Salaries
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:02AM / Friday, November 11, 2016

Dalton Preschool Director Paul Harris met with Douglas McNally, state Rep. Paul Mark, and United Way Program Director Karen Vogel on Thursday. DALTON, Mass. — On Thursday, Paula Harris wore a button to work in support of a movement to raise the wages for preschool teachers like herself.   The button was from 26 years ago.   Harris is approaching her 30th year as a preschool teacher and is now the director of the Dalton Preschool, housed in the same building with the CRA. When she took over as the director, she took a pay cut and she hasn't had much of a raise since then, now earning around $35,000 a year.    But she's ahead of the curve. Many


'Doctor Strange': Physician, Heal Thyself
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:39PM / Thursday, November 10, 2016

Back in the day, when I was a weekend Hippie hanging out at a friend's home I deemed the clearing house of all things late 1960s, travelers of all stripe would pop in, flop into a beanbag chair and regale us with tales of their adventures. The chronicle might begin with, "Been going through some really heavy changes, man," often followed by a description of some strange, exotic place where one might foreseeably learn the secret of life. I imagined it to look somewhat like Kamar-Taj, where the title character of "Doctor Strange" goes to seek healing.

In director Scott Derrickson's highly entertaining film based on the famed Marvel Comics character of the same


Miss Hall's Presents 'Peter and the Starcatcher'
02:43PM / Wednesday, November 09, 2016

PITTSFIELD — The Miss Hall's School Theater Ensemble will take to the high seas this fall, pursuing the story of how Peter Pan became "The Boy Who Never Grew Up" and performing the award-winning play "Peter and the Starcatcher." Shows will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11; at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12; and in a matinee at 2 on Sunday, Nov. 13.

Based on the best-selling novel "Peter and the Starcatchers," by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the play is a prequel to the story of Peter Pan. It opens with a young orphan and his two companions shipping out aboard the Neverland from Victorian England to a distant island. Also on board is a trunk of


No on 2, Yes on 4, and Community Preservation Act Adopted
By Andy McKeever,
12:42AM / Wednesday, November 09, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Money can't buy votes.   At least that's what voters said when it came to Question 2, a ballot initiative calling to raise the cap on the number of charter schools by a dozen.   Voters overwhelmingly shot down the expansion of the charter school system on Tuesday by a 2-1 margin. That is despite proponents outspending opponents by some $10 million. Those pushing for more charter schools spent $24.1 million as of Oct. 31, compared to $14.5 million spent by opponents.   "The power of people is stronger than money. The influence of the Wall Street corporate hedge fund, funding about $20 million of this with 80 percent being out of state


Berkshire County Election Day 2016
Staff Reports,
04:15PM / Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Finale

The upshot: Adam Hinds won the state Senate seat being vacated by Benjamin B. Downing and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier retained her seat representing Pittsfield. Both defeated their opponents by wide margins.  

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal will also return to Congress after easily besting two challengers.

Also passing was Pittsfield's adoption of the Community Preservation Act by an impressive vote of 15,331 by 4,169.

The statewide ballot questions were an up and down, with recreational marijuana and the banning of confinement cages for livestock passing; another slots facility and lifting the charter caps going down.

Clarksburg hit 78 percent turnout and Pittsfield 70

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Berkshire County Heads to the Polls for Election 2016
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
03:58AM / Tuesday, November 08, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It's election day in Massachusetts, unless you're one of the one million voters who have already cast ballots.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; find your polling station here. It's suggested you bring an ID if you're voting for the first time, your registration has been inactive, there may be some question to your status or you have to complete a provisional ballot.

Berkshire County voters will only find a couple of local issues on the ballot this year. They'll be determining the replacement for state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, who is departing after 10 years representing the far western part of the state, and a number of


Local Call/Volunteer Firefighters Graduate State Training Program
02:10PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Deputy Director Joseph Klucznik presented certificates of completion to members of the Call/Volunteer Recruit Firefighter Training Class 60 on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the Department of Fire Services' Springfield campus.

The 28 graduates, 25 men and three women, represent the 18 fire departments. Berkshire County firefighters graduating and their departments are Andrew Heath and Quinn Whitney (Cheshire); Matthew McNulty and Joshua Thomas (Dalton); Jessica Dezieck, Mohamed Morell and Mike Powell (Great Barrington); Tyler Collins (Lee); Cody Funk and Kyle Hutson (Monterey); David Smith (New Marlborough); and Michael Renton


Great Barrington Firefighters Graduate from State Academy
Community Submission,
01:31PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The town of Great Barrington has three new firefighters who graduated from the state academy last week.

The town's newest firefighters are Mohamed Morell, Jessica Dezieck and Michael Powell. They graduated on Wednesday, Nov. 2, from the Massachusetts Fire Academy after 240 hours of intensive training.

Dezieck is Great Barrington Fire Department's first woman to graduate from the Fire Academy.

"The intensity and quality of instruction at the Massachusetts Fire Academy ensures that graduates come out with a tremendous set of skills. In fact, our firefighters go through the same curriculum as full-time career firefighters," Fire Chief


Biz Briefs: Massachusetts Maple Producer Wins Top Honors
01:28PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

How sweet it is: Melissa Leab of Hancock took a top honor for her product and another was recognized for his decades of dedication to the industry at the North American Maple Syrup Council’s annual competition in Burlington, Vt.

Leab won first place in the Maple Cream category, and further beat out all other entries to claim Best of Show among all Maple Products. Sugarmakers from the United States and Canada submitted 170 entries into the contest, making for very tough competition in each category. Leab and her husband Rob own and run Ioka Valley Farm, and she is also president of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association.

There are more than 250 maple sugaring operations in


Berkshires Beat: Northern Berkshire Community Coalition Holds Fall Neighborlies
12:54PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

Neighborly feeling: The Northern Berkshire Neighbors program of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition held its Fall Neighborlies Community Recognition Award Ceremony at Congregation Beth Israel on Nov. 2. Friends, family and many supporters gathered to honor and congratulate individuals and groups in the Northern Berkshire communities whose acts of kindness and volunteer efforts have made a significant difference in the lives of their neighbors and the community. More photos can be found here.

Northern Berkshire Community Coalition staff and board members, and Mayor Richard Alcombright presented Neighborlies to the following recipients:

Community Health and Wellness: Amalio (AJ)


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