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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Guest Column: Massachusetts Can Help End Campus Violence
By Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Guest Column
01:25PM / Thursday, April 05, 2018
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Sexual assault on college campuses is a national public health crisis. Statistics show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college nationally. During their time at college, 43 percent of women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors and 13 percent of women report being stalked.   To put things in perspective in our state, more than a half a million students are enrolled in a Massachusetts institution of higher education. In 2014, there were 283 reports

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State Senate Passes Short-Term Rental Bill
01:20PM / Thursday, April 05, 2018

BOSTON — State Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, said the state Senate on Wednesday passed S. 2381, An Act regulating and insuring short-term rentals. The bill expands the scope of the state's room occupancy excise tax and local option excise tax to include short-term transient accommodations.

"Short-term rentals have immense impact in the Berkshires and on cities and towns across the commonwealth," said Hinds. "I'm pleased that the Senate bill expands local control over short-term rental services and ensures that these services are competing in a fair and balanced hospitality market."

The legislation would generate an estimated $34.5 million and $25.5

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Berkshire County Sixth-Graders 'Go to College'
03:41PM / Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Williamstown Elementary sixth-graders listen to a presentation about the Finonacci sequence - using pine cones, which they got to mark to see the sequence for themselves - on Wednesday at Berkshire Community College during the Berkshire County Goes to College Day.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 1,000 sixth-grade students from around Berkshire County are visiting college campuses this month for the 12th annual Berkshire County Goes to College Day, sponsored by the Berkshire Compact for Education and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

MCLA, Berkshire Community College, Williams College and Simon's Rock College of Bard all will host students for sessions on college life

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Wahconah to Present 'Mary Poppins'
02:34PM / Wednesday, April 04, 2018

DALTON, Mass. — The Wahconah Regional High School Apollonian Players will present the Broadway musical version of "Mary Poppins" on Friday, April 6, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 7, at 1 and 7 p.m.

This "practically perfect" musical is based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film.

The jack-of-all trades, Bert (Anthony Coviello), introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. George Banks (Joe Willson) and his wife Winnifred (Julia Drury) are at a loss as to how to properly raise their children in a society that expects them to live up to a particular status. Young Jane (Anna Duquette) and Michael (Aiden Betit) have sent

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Should You Make Extra Mortgage Payments or Boost Your Investments?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
01:36PM / Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Every month, you pay your mortgage. And, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to afford to put in additional payments – perhaps sizable ones. But should you? Or, if you really have the extra money, should you invest it?

Initially, you might think it would be quite nice to rid yourself of that mortgage sooner, rather than later. But is it really the burden it seems?

Actually, you get some real benefits from a mortgage. It certainly provides something of great value to you – your home. If you got your mortgage – or refinanced your home – within the past decade or so, you are borrowing money at a pretty favorable interest rate, by historical standards.

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Labor Board to Hear Complaints Against BMC
Staff Reports,
05:07PM / Tuesday, April 03, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The National Labor Relations Board will hear three cases against Berkshire Medical Center.   The local chapter of the Massachusetts Nurses Association had filed a handful of unfair labor relations complaints with the hospital over contract negotiations. The labor board has now determined that three of them have enough merit to be heard.   "We have been trying to negotiate a fair contract that ensures high-quality patient care since October 2016," said Alex Neary, co-chair of the nursing union's local bargaining committee.    "These National Labor Relations Board findings show that while we have been negotiating in good faith,

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BRTA Sets Hearings on Service and Fare Changes
02:53PM / Tuesday, April 03, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is planning to increase Charlie Card fares and reduce routes because of proposed budget cuts at the state level that has created a nearly $400,000 deficit.   The BRTA, the main public transportation unit serving the Berkshires, is facing an operational budget deficit of $378,400 for the upcoming fiscal year. Transit officials statewide say $88 million is needed to properly fund RTAs after four years of nearly level funding.   The proposed options for the Fixed Route bus service would be to: discontinue the 4:30 p.m. trip on Bus Route 21 Express; eliminate Bus Route 3S, adding demand stops on Bus Route 3 to

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Biz Briefs: Steepleview Realty Celebrating 20th Anniversary
01:45PM / Monday, April 02, 2018
Going strong

Steepleview Realty is celebrating 20 years in business.  Owner Jennifer Segala opened the real estate company on April 1, 1998, in Adams. The first office was located at One Commercial Place; within the first year of business, Segala purchased the building at 63 Park St., where the flagship office remains today.

As the business became more successful, Segala expanded to include offices in North Adams and Pittsfield. In 2015, longtime sales associate Deb Trzcinski became a partner with Segala and now owns and operates the business on a daily basis with her.

Many agents have been with Steepleview from the beginning, including Pauline Green , Ruth Goyette and Christine

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Berkshires Beat: PCTV to Air PSAs for 29 Nonprofits
12:31PM / Monday, April 02, 2018
A public service

Pittsfield Community Television has completes its anuagural PSA Days production event. In a four-day production marathon, PCTV completed 29 individual television Public Service Announcements as a gifted service to the participating nonprofit organizations.

Over the course of two months, PCTV worked with each of the 29 nonprofits to create a PSA tailored to each organization’s media needs and message. These videos are already being utilized in a multitude of applications such as fundraising and outreach. With the high cost of media production, many of these organizations had not been able to achieve their outreach goals and thus, the objective of PCTV creating an

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Transportation Management Association For Berkshires In The Works
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Monday, April 02, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Regional Transition Authority is looking into being part of the creation of a transportation management association for ride sharing.   The BRTA's hours of operation limit the authority's ability to get workers to and from work beyond the typical first shift. This new group would be a collective of employers who would team up to provide rideshare options.   Companies would be able to pay to be part of the nonprofit to provide the transportation for their workers and other groups that may have vans can contract with the TMA to provide the rides.   "It is in the works right now that they are looking to do that," said

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Cedar Waxwings Bring Golden Glow to Churchyard
By Tor Hansen, Community Submission
05:12PM / Saturday, March 31, 2018

The waxwings have a distinctive mask and feathers that look like they have been dipped in paint.  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Low and behold on Palm Sunday, there was a feeding flock of showy cedar waxwings feasting on weather-worn crabapples in the First Congregational churchyard here in North Adams.   What a delightful sight to behold: a finest, kind choice by the forerunners who landscaped the churchyard with several crabapple trees that bloom a profuse pink and white cavalcade of blossoms in early spring.    In addition to the beautiful bloom, the crabapple trees produce succulent fruit that serves the avian fauna, yielding nutritious energy for sustaining

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@theMarket: Will April Be Better for the Markets?
By Bill Schmick,
04:36PM / Friday, March 30, 2018
It has been a tough month for stocks and February wasn't much better. Granted, it was a small price to pay for last year's great gains, but, as in life, all good things must come to an end. Will April bring more of the same for us or can we hope for something better?   Much depends on White House initiatives, "Spanky's" (the President's new nickname) tweets, and the world's response to the administration's trade war initiatives. None of the above is certain, and, as readers know by now, the markets hate uncertainty.    This quarter, both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Indexes have seen a nine-quarter win streak come to an end. As of this

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