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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

How Should You Respond to Wild Swings in Financial Markets?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
07:01PM / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What's going on with the financial markets? Specifically, what's behind the price swings of the past several weeks? And, more important, how should you, as an individual investor, respond?

To begin with, the recent volatility was not really all that extraordinary. The daily drops pushed U.S. stocks down about 10 percent from their recent record highs, although they have regained some of that ground. A 10 percent drop represents a “correction” – not a crash – and historically, corrections have occurred about once a year.

So what seems to have caused these market jitters? Here are the key culprits:

* Anticipated slowdown in economic growth and corporate

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WMass Technical Rescue Team Honored for Meritorious Conduct
04:15PM / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In a particularly moving moment, Montgomery Fire Chief Stephen Frye, who died responding to a fire on Dec. 6, 2017, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Chief Frye’s widow Laurie, their children Caitlyn and Matt, and current Chief Galipeau accepted on his behalf. #LODD pic.twitter.com/z5YJq4ETkI

— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) November 20, 2018 WORCESTER, Mass. — The Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team and Montgomery's late longtime fire chief were among honorees at the 29th annual Firefighter of the Year Awards.    They were among the 91 individuals from 13 departments and teams recognized for heroic acts of bravery.    The event

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Holiday Events and Tree Lightings 2018
03:15PM / Monday, November 19, 2018

'Tis the season to be merry and bright. Planning a holiday event? Let us know at iBerkshires.com. (Visit our Holiday Bazaars and Craft Fairs list for holiday craft fairs.( And see below for a guide to Christmas tree lightings in towns across the Berkshires.

The city of Pittsfield is offering free downtown parking for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve and Christmas on Fridays Dec. 7, 14, 21, and 28. There will also be a week of free parking starting Dec. 17 through Dec. 21. Parking is always free in the evenings and weekends.

Holiday Events Sunday, Nov. 24

Great Barrington: The Berkshire Bach Society will hold its annual Messiah Sing at 4 p.m. to kick off the holiday season at

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Berkshires Beat: CATA's North Adams Exhibit Features A.R.T. Technique
02:28PM / Monday, November 19, 2018
Works of A.R.T.

Community Access to the Arts presents an exhibit of artwork by visual artists with disabilities at the MCLA Window Gallery at 49 Main St. through Dec. 2 that features a series of large-scale paintings created by artists from BFAIR (Berkshire Family and Individual Resources) using the innovative Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.) technique. The paintings will be accompanied by an installation of three-dimensional, hanging "CATApillars," which were constructed by Berkshire county students with disabilities.

The paintings in this exhibit were created by North County artists with disabilities using Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.). This adaptive

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Storm Could Dump a Few Inches of Snow on Berkshires
01:19PM / Monday, November 19, 2018

So apparently we are just in full-blown winter now.

After Friday's measurable-but-not-menacing snow, and Monday's nuisance inch or so, comes a winter weather advisory for 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20. Snow will start by midnight.

Accuweather and the National Weather Service are predicting total snow accumulations of 2 to 6 inches, with the higher totals over the southern Green Mountains of Vermont and northern Berkshires. The hazardous conditions will likely impact the Tuesday morning commute with snow-covered roads and reduced visibilities. Snowfall rates could approach a half an inch to an inch per hour during the morning commute, according to the advisory.

What say our

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Get Covered, Stay Covered: It's Open Enrollment Time
11:43AM / Monday, November 19, 2018

Community Health Programs is offering in-person assistance during the Massachusetts Health Connector's open enrollment period, which began Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 23, 2019.

"Health insurance renewal is not automatic for people covered through the MAHealthConnector, and you still need to review if your current medical plan is adequate or your circumstances have changed," said Octavio Hernandez, senior enrollment specialist at CHP Great Barrington Health Center. "And anyone seeking help to purchase medical insurance for the first time should get the process started in November."

CHP enrollment specialists can assist income-eligible residents who are renewing

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@theMarket: Markets Need to Hold Here
By Bill Schmick,
01:24PM / Saturday, November 17, 2018
This week saw a re-test of the October lows. That is to be expected in most stock market corrections. What is important to the future well-being of equities globally is that the averages do not decline much further from here.   That does not mean that if the S&P 500 Index, for example, falls by another percent or so the ball game is over. Remember, folks, calling the levels of the stock market is an art, not a science. Sure, we could overshoot (most times we do), thrash around a bit more, and then recover. What I don't want to see is a solid and definitive drop lower over a week or more.   On the S&P 500, if we were to break 2,685, the next level of technical support

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Letter: Thanks Someone For Quitting Smoking This Thanksgiving
Letter to the Editor,
07:00PM / Friday, November 16, 2018

To the Editor:

This Thanksgiving season, I'd like to remind readers to thank a co-worker, friend or family member who has quit smoking, vaping, or using other nicotine delivery products. Many users say quitting is the hardest thing they have ever done and any amount of recognition can help someone stay quit.

Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in Massachusetts. Nicotine is the very addictive substance in tobacco products as well as in e-cigarettes and vapes. As a result, repeated tobacco and nicotine use is not a habit, it's an addiction that should be treated as a chronic relapsing condition. It takes most people with a nicotine addiction several

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Superior Court Briefs: Nov. 6 - Nov. 15
Staff Reports,
04:55PM / Friday, November 16, 2018
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Nov. 6.   Anthony Deordio, 43, of North Adams had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of rape and abuse of a child.   He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. The incident allegedly occurred in North Adams on Nov. 1, 2017, and involved an 8-year-old girl.   Richard Dixon, 34, of Pittsfield had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of child pornography, and dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity.   He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. He is accused

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The Independent Investor: The Apple of Our Eyes
By Bill Schmick,
12:44PM / Friday, November 16, 2018
Go into just about any supermarket right now and what do you see? Bins and bins of gorgeous red, green, and golden apples. The harvest is overwhelming, but some apples are worth more than others.   If you are like me, an average consumer, it takes about 23 minutes to do my grocery shopping, according to Proctor and Gamble. During that spate of time, I buy an average of 18 items out of maybe 30,000 to 40,000 choices. I have little time to browse and, most of the time, I don't even check the prices, which brings me back to the apple cart.   You see, I value my fruits and vegetables. The more local, the better, because to me, the taste is everything. Until recently, I was partial

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North Adams Man Killed in MassPike Work-Site Accident
Staff Reports,
09:54AM / Friday, November 16, 2018
BECKET, Mass. — A North Adams man was killed Thursday afternoon while working on the Massachusetts Turnpike near mile-marker 17.2.   Authorities say Brian M. Simard, 26, was killed in a "work site accident" at 1:45 p.m. Simard, a construction worker, was pronounced dead at the scene. His obituary can be found here.   "No further details will be released at this time as the accident remains under investigation," states a press release from the Berkshire district attorney's office.    The westbound lane of the MassPike was blocked for nearly three hours. State police from the Westfield barracks are leading the

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The White Stuff Is Coming! The White Stuff Is Coming!
Staff Reports,
02:30PM / Thursday, November 15, 2018

Here's an update direct from the Massachusetts Emergency Agency:

Precipitation is expected to start in southwestern Massachusetts by 5 p.m. this evening, spreading to the northeast, arriving in Worcester by 7 p.m., Boston by 8 p.m., and northeastern MA by 9 p.m.  Snow will be moderate to heavy at times, with snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour possible, reducing visibility to half-mile and accumulating quickly.  Accumulations of 4-8 inches in Western and central Mass, 4-6 inches along the 495 belt, and 1-2 inches along the 95 belt are expected.  

Our first set of cancellations:

• The Southern Berkshire Regional School District has canceled all

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