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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Alcombright to be Honored at MLK Day of Service
11:19AM / Friday, January 05, 2018

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Martin Luther King Day Committee will hold the annual “Day of Service” on Monday, Jan. 15, this year honoring former North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright with the annual Peacemaker Award.

The celebration begins at 8:30 a.m. at MCLA’s Venable Gym with coffee and pastries; there will be signs along Church Street for parking. Participants will choose from more than 10 sites to provide service to the community, including Louison House, YMCA, weatherization for homes, food collection sites, and projects onsite at the MCLA Venable Gym. There will be projects suitable for all ages and abilities.

Participants will return to the MCLA Venable Gym at

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Saturday Features Clash of Berkshire Alumnae at MCLA
iBerkshires.com Sports,
02:43AM / Friday, January 05, 2018
Mount Greylock graduate Lucy Barrett is the leading scorer this winter on the Westfield State women’s basketball team.   Barrett, a junior, is averaging 16.5 points per game in 12 starts. Pittsfield High alumna Lauren Carnevale has appeared in eight games off the bench, averaging 6.4 minutes per game for the 6-6 Owls, who travel to North Adams to face the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on Saturday.   That MCLA team features five area graduates from five different high schools.   Drury graduate Emily Moulton and Hoosac Valley’s Mckenzie Robinson have started all 11 games for the Trailblazers (4-7).    Moulton is averaging 7.3 points per game and a

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'The Greatest Showman': For Ladies, Gentlemen & Parentally Guided Children of All Ages
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
04:08PM / Thursday, January 04, 2018
Watching Michael Gracey's "The Greatest Showman," about the life and times of circus visionary P.T. Barnum, it occurred to me that the Trump debacle wasn't just about old white men afraid of losing their foothold. And it also wasn't just about white supremacists afraid of multiculturalism, or about trying to preserve dodo bird industries that would have no future place in our health, wealth and commonweal if we were to progress as a nation.    Nope, I fear it has to do with our basest instincts: a curiosity and approach-avoidance appetite for the macabre.   It is our national car accident, turned upside down on the side of the road, unheard screaming

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The Independent Investor: Beware the Tax Hit From Mutual Funds
By Bill Schmick,
03:22PM / Thursday, January 04, 2018
Plenty of investors will be faced with an unpleasant surprise. Any day now, one or more of the mutual funds that you own will be sending out their capital gain distributions for the year.   The tax hit could be quite large this year.   Many investors are not aware that mutual fund companies are required to distribute at least 95 percent of their capital gains to investors each year. Given the double-digit gains in the stock market last year, those gains could be an unwelcome liability when tax time rolls around.   At this late date, there is little one can do about it, other than pay the piper, but this year you can take steps to minimize 2018's potential tax liability.

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Governor Orders State Offices Closed Ahead of Storm
04:45PM / Wednesday, January 03, 2018
BOSTON — State offices will be closed Thursday ahead of a major snow "hurricane" headed for the coast.   Gov. Charlie Baker made the announcement that non-emergency, executive branch state employees should not report to work shortly after a briefing on the storm and is urging everyone to stay off roadways if possible, allowing crews to clear snow that will accumulate across the state throughout the day.   "Tomorrow's weather will create hazardous driving conditions across much of the commonwealth. To prioritize public safety, we are asking everyone to stay off the roads and to use public transportation if necessary so road crews can safely clear

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Wildlife Habitation Grants Awarded to Berkshire Towns
04:18PM / Wednesday, January 03, 2018
SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Nearly $200,000 in grants for wildlife habitat improvement projects are targeted for organizations in seven Berkshire and border towns.   All together, 18 municipalities, organizations, and private landowners across the state were awarded a total of $506,856 in grants from the MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program. The program was developed to establish partnerships between the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and private and municipal landowners to enhance habitat and increase recreational opportunities on properties across the state.    This year, funds provided through the grant program will benefit 20 wildlife habitat improvement

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Berkshires Beat: Fairview Earns National Recognition as a Top Rural Hospital
01:31PM / Wednesday, January 03, 2018
Head of the class

Highlighting its nationally recognized achievements in patient safety and quality, Fairview Hospital was named a top rural hospital, one of 18 rural hospitals recognized nationwide, by The Leapfrog Group. This is Fairview's fifth year of being named a top rural hospital in America.  

The Leapfrog Top Hospital award is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive honors American hospitals can receive. The top hospital designation is awarded by The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital watchdog organization.  

Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates,

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BHS Implements Visitor Changes Due to Influenza Spread
12:29PM / Wednesday, January 03, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In the wake of widespread influenza reported across Massachusetts, Berkshire Health Systems has implemented visitor changes to help reduce the potential spread of the flu.

The visitor restrictions apply to Berkshire Medical Center, Fairview Hospital and the Hillcrest and North Adams campuses of BMC.

Individuals should not visit patients at any of these facilities if they are under 18 years of age or they are ill or are experiencing flu or flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, cough or fatigue.

These visitor restrictions will be in place until the flu season wanes, and are meant to protect the patients, loved ones and staff of all

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Time is a Key Factor in Investing
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:58AM / Wednesday, January 03, 2018

With the arrival of the New Year, many of us will pause and ponder the age-old question: "Who knows where the time goes?" And, as is always the case, none of us really do know. However, wherever the time goes, it will usually be a key factor in your success as an investor.

Time can affect how you invest, and the results of your investing, in different ways:

Growth potential: Contrary to myth, there's no real way to "get rich quick" when investing. To build wealth, you need patience – and time. If you own quality investments with growth potential, and you give them years – in fact, decades – to increase in value, your perseverance may be rewarded.

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Second Film Tackles North Berkshires' Opioid Crisis
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:26AM / Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Berkshire Transition Network Recovery Coach Collin Woods speaks at the December forum of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — While many people are obsessed with the latest "Star Wars" movie, people in the Northern Berkshire County addiction and recovery community are watching a sequel of a completely different kind.

"Voices for Recovery: Building a Recovery Community" is the second locally produced documentary that addresses the opioid crisis in North County. Produced by local videographer Joe Aidonidis, it is the sequel to last year's "Faces: Five Voices from One Community," which focused on personal stories around

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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire 4-H Holds Awards, Recognition Event
01:52PM / Friday, December 29, 2017
Great job

About 100 people gathered to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of 4-H'ers, volunteers and others on Dec. 2. Volunteers were recognized for years of service: one year, Henry Cadorette III, Marie Goodermote, Mathew Goodermote, Glenda Matos-Carter, Melanie Richard, Jonathan Rowe, Nancy Smith, Jennifer Soldato, Courtney Sparks, Elysse Tuper and Haley Vadakin; five years, Michelle Daly; 25 years, Henry Cadorette Jr.; and 45 years, Scott Robinson.

The "Friend of 4-H" award goes to individuals or businesses that help Berkshire 4-H. The recipients this year were Laura Allen, Lisa Dachinger, Gail Guarda and Gregg Petricca. The "Fair Honor Roll" is chosen by

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The Independent Investor: Confusion Reigns as Taxes Change
By Bill Schmick,
09:46AM / Friday, December 29, 2017
At the best of times taxes are confusing, so much so that most people hire an accountant to prepare them. This coming year should be a real doozy for the accountancy industry.   Given the massive changes to the tax code that will go into effect next year, taxpayers are rightly concerned (and confused) on exactly what the rules will be and how they will impact their families.    "Most (although not all) taxpayers would owe less under the new rules, according to analyses by various independent think tanks, including the Tax Foundation and the Tax Policy Center," according to Charles Schwab and Co.    In high tax states, lines are already forming at the local

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