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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

The Independent Investor: Should You Roll Your 401(k) Into an IRA?
By Bill Schmick,
03:40PM / Friday, December 15, 2017
Some retiring workers roll their 401(k) tax-deferred savings account into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). There are good reasons to do so. But for those who are not retiring, the decision is not so clear cut. Here are some pros and cons to ponder.   In my neighborhood, for example, a local company with more than 300 employees is being acquired by another company from Chicago. As a result, the employees of the acquired company are being offered a choice: they can roll over their existing 401(k) into a new plan offered by the Chicago company, roll their 401(k) into an IRA, or just take the money out, pay taxes and spend it.   Obviously, the last option is the worst choice.

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New Associate Joins Donovan O’Connor & Dodig
01:20PM / Friday, December 15, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Kelsey Bain has joined Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, as an associate.  

Bain received both her J.D. and Master of Environmental Law & Policy from Vermont Law School in 2017. While at Vermont Law School she worked as a Dean’s Fellow and an editor on Law Review. She has been published in the San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law ("Planning for the Sun to Come Up") and the Idaho Law Review ("Undamming the Federal Production Tax Credit").

Prior to law school, she graduated from Tulane University in 2012 with a B.S. in Evolutionary Biology.  While developing her legal skills, attorney Bain worked as a legal

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Four Guardian Employees Honored with Volunteer Recognition Award
01:17PM / Friday, December 15, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America honored four Pittsfield Office employees with the Volunteer Recognition Award during a Nov. 13 ceremony at which grants were presented to the four area nonprofit organizations for which the employees volunteer their time and energy.

The annual award presentation – consisting of a $1,000 check to the nonprofit organizations – showcases the community contributions of individual Guardian employees.

"We take great pride in our service to the community," said Gordon Dinsmore, head of Product for Individual Markets and President of Guardian's Berkshire Life subsidiary. "We give financial

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Hinds Sets Community Outreach Events for December
01:29PM / Thursday, December 14, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The staff of state Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, will host two community outreach events during December.   The senator's staff will be available to meet with constituents in the communities of Ashfield and Dalton at the following locations: Wednesday, Dec. 20,  from 11 to 1, Ashfield Town Hall, 412 Main St. Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 11 to 1, Dalton Senior Center, 40 Field St. All residents of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Senate District are invited to participate in these sessions if they have an idea, question or comment about state government they wish to share, or if they require assistance from the senator's

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Department of Agricultural Resources Has Tips to Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season
04:19PM / Wednesday, December 13, 2017

BOSTON — The state Department of Agricultural Resources' Division of Animal Health is reminding residents to ensure their pets remain safe and healthy by planning ahead when traveling and being aware of potentially harmful holiday foods and decorations. 

"I want all families to enjoy the holiday season with their pets by planning ahead and being aware of how holiday decorations, food and even new guests in a home may affect pet health," said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. "I encourage residents to talk with their local veterinarian to discuss what types of holiday plants and other greenery items are safe to have indoors and to purchase them from a local

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Rainbow Seniors Hires New Director
03:10PM / Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County has named Kenneth Mercure as its new director. Rainbow Seniors is the county's social and support network for LGBTQ elders.

Mercure, a Berkshire County native, was the driving force behind the Berkshire Pride festival and a lead organizer of the Berkshire Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2017. A natural organizer, his earliest effort was the founding of an LGBTQ youth program in Great Barrington – at age 15! The group flourished for two years.

Mercure began working as a Lyme disease community organizer and patient advocate in 2010 and went on to found the Lyme Alliance of the Berkshires, which holds monthly meetings

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Time to Review Your Investment Strategy for the Year
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:21PM / Wednesday, December 13, 2017

As the year draws to a close, it's a good time to review your progress toward your financial goals. But on what areas should you focus your attention?

Of course, you may immediately think about whether your investments have done well. When evaluating the performance of their investments for a given year, many people mistakenly think their portfolios should have done just as well as a common market index, such as the Standard & Poor's 500. But the S&P 500 is essentially a measure of large-company, domestic stocks, and your portfolio probably doesn’t look like that – nor should it, because it's important to own an investment mix that aligns with your goals,

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Berkshire County Groups Call for Action to Protect Net Neutrality
By Mark Hurwit, Community Submission
08:24PM / Tuesday, December 12, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 40 bundled-up Berkshire citizens gathered on the sidewalk in front of the Pittsfield Verizon store last Thursday evening, holding home-made placards and signs, to join tens of thousands of others for a day of peaceful protests at more than 600 Verizon store locations across the country.   The issue at hand — one they insist affects everyone — is an upcoming congressional vote on the Federal Communications Commission's plan to repeal the rules that currently restrict how large broadband companies can control their users' access.   Eileen Raab, who organized the Pittsfield rally, said she was "very pleased with the

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Biz Briefs: Wild Oats Celebrates 35 Years As Cooperative in Williamstown
02:13PM / Monday, December 11, 2017
35 and counting
Wild Oats is seen in 1982 when it first opened as a retail store in Colonial Shopping Center.

Wild Oats Market, a cooperatively owned natural foods grocery store, bakery and cafe, will celebrate 35 years as a cooperative, community-owned business on Saturday, Dec. 16, in conjunction with Owner-Appreciation Day. The main event will be a cake cutting at 3:35 p.m., but the celebration will go on all day with vendor demos throughout the day, including Maplebrook Farm, Hop2o, Heritage Cider and Niman Ranch.

The hot bar, salad bar, sandwich bar and soup will be 35 percent off for all shoppers that day and a small coffee will be just 35 cents There will also be specials on beer

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Berkshires Beat: Habitat for Humanity Giving One Family Ultimate Christmas Present
01:10PM / Monday, December 11, 2017
Home at last

Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity will be dedicating a new home to a local family on Saturday, Dec. 16. The public is welcome. The formal presentation will begin at 1 p.m. with local leaders as well as state Sen. Adam Hinds and Roberta McCulloch-Dew, director of Administrative Services in the Office of the Mayor.
 
Thanks to the tremendous support of donors, volunteers, neighbors, community partners and construction leaders, the DelSonno family will be moved into their new home at 92 Clarendon Street, Pittsfield, just in time for the holidays. Days after the foundation had been poured, building commenced on May 6 with Habitat's annual Women Build event and

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Sandisfield Town Garage Burns to the Ground
12:59PM / Sunday, December 10, 2017
SANDISFIELD, Mass. — WesternMassNews.com is reporting that the Sandisfield Town Garage burned to the ground Sunday morning.    According to news reports, the five-alarm fire was reported shortly after 9 a.m. and was "fully engulfed" when firefighters from multiple companies arrived at the scene.    Sandisfield's Fire Chief Ralph Morrison told Western Mass News that highway crews had been at the building locking up just minutes before  the fire is believed to have started.    The first snow storm of the season had rolled through the Berkshires beginning Saturday morning, dumping up to 6 inches of snow across the

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@theMarket: Should Be Good Month for Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
05:34PM / Saturday, December 09, 2017
The House passed a stop-gap spending bill averting a government shut-down late Thursday night. As a result, markets moved higher. We can expect more of the same until the next deadline, which is just before Christmas.    To be honest, investors have become so used to these eleventh hour deals out of Congress that the markets hardly budge when the drama begins. Dec. 22 is the new date investors will be watching. We will see whether a compromise can be reached on the budget for 2018 by then.   In the meantime, the markets will remain focused on the Republican tax deal. The hope is that a compromise between the House and Senate will be reached in time for President Trump to sign

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