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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'Isn't It Romantic': It's to Laugh
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
07:18PM / Thursday, February 21, 2019
  First things first. Unlike the 1932 Rodgers and Hart classic song "Isn't It Romantic?" director Todd Strauss-Schulson's convivially entertaining romantic comedy, "Isn't It Romantic," forsakes the question mark at title's end. All of which is either a mental slip or intended to suggest a more demonstrative, rhetorical meaning. In other words, no question about it: It Is Romantic!   In such case, an exclamation point would have been a more apt substitute for the question mark, and I would have been left without a pretentious, opening paragraph.   To tarry further, as I'm prone to do when the film in question doesn't necessitate

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The Independent Investor: Economic Prosperity in the United States
By Bill Schmick,
05:01PM / Thursday, February 21, 2019
The stock market is once again approaching historical highs. Unemployment is at multi-year lows. Interest rates and inflation, if not at record lows, are close to it. The president claims we are enjoying the strongest economy in our nation's history. Is that true?   The short answer, according to a recent study by Bloomberg, would be no, not even close. They went back over the course of the last 43 years and measured the nation's economy under three Democratic and four Republican presidents. They found that in all but one case both the economic and financial performance of the U.S. was better than it is now.   Bloomberg used 14 different gauges to measure a wide range of

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Berkshires Beat: CATA Artists 'Making Waves' at Good Purpose Gallery
04:12PM / Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Mike Fazos's 'Sun Tornado' is part of the 'Making Waves' display at the Good Purpose Gallery in Lee. 'Making Waves'

Community Access to the Arts presents "Making Waves," an exhibit of artwork by CATA artists with disabilities at the Good Purpose Gallery in Lee. The exhibit opens Feb. 27 and features paintings by CATA artists who use the innovative Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.) technique to create their work. A free, public art opening will be held on Feb. 28 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with many of the artists in attendance.

Artistic Realization Technologies is an adaptive painting technique developed by artist Tim Lefens that gives full

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Biz Briefs: Two Former Prosecutors Open Local Law Firm
02:36PM / Wednesday, February 20, 2019
New law firm
Gregory Barry, left,. and Robert Kinzer have opened a new law firm in Pittsfield.

Barry & Kinzer, LLP, a full-service law firm with more than 40 combined years of litigation experience, recently celebrated its opening in Pittsfield. The law firm was founded on Feb. 4, 2019, by Gregory M. Barry and Robert W. Kinzer, two former assistant district attorneys in the Berkshire District Attorney's Office. Their office is located at 152 North St., Suite 140, in the old Shipton Building in the heart of downtown Pittsfield. The law firm will be hosting an open house on Friday, Feb. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. to celebrate its launch.

The firm is dedicated to representing

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Wintry Mix Could Slicken Roads Overnight Into Morning
01:48PM / Wednesday, February 20, 2019

As if it's not already pretty darn icy out there, here comes another round of winter yuck.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Thursday. The advisory predicts "mixed accumulation" - up to 2 inches of snow and up to one-tenth of an inch of ice.

The commute home Wednesday should be fine but as darkness falls Wednesday night watch out for conditions to deteriorate, and Thursday morning's commute in to work could be messy, too. Thanksfully, with schools on vacation, there's no need to worry about school buses.

Temperatures should remain in the mid-20s overnight but warm into the low 30s by morning, causing

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The Right Insurance Can Meet Both Short- and Long-term Needs
12:27PM / Wednesday, February 20, 2019

If you're going to achieve your important financial goals, you'll need to build an appropriate investment portfolio. But that's only part of the story – because you also need to protect what you have, what you earn and what you’d like to leave behind. That's why it's a good idea to become familiar with the various types of insurance and how they can address short- and long-term needs.

For starters, consider life insurance. You may have important long-term goals, such as leaving an inheritance for your family and providing resources for your favorite charities. You may be able to fulfill some of these through the death benefit on your policy.

You can also

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Farley-Bouvier Pushes Bill to Raise Tipped Workers Minimum Wage
Staff Reports,
06:53PM / Tuesday, February 19, 2019
BOSTON — State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier is calling for the elimination of a lower wage for tipped workers.   The Pittsfield Democrat joined other lawmakers and Restaurant Opportunities Center this past Wednesday at the State House to introduce a bill that will gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers until it matches the minimum wage for all other industries.    "This bill will raise the minimum wage to the prevailing wage by 2027 in Massachusetts. In doing so, it would bring thousands of workers out of poverty, reduce sexual harassment in the workplace, and decrease the wage gap between male and female tipped workers," Farley-Bouvier said at the

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Berkshire House Delegation Gets Committee Assignments
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:55AM / Tuesday, February 19, 2019
BOSTON, Mass. — State Rep. Paul Mark will again chair the House Committee on Redistricting.   Mark was chair for the last two years and will continue to work as the U.S. Census begins. The population numbers gathered by the Census is followed by the state redrawing the lines for both the federal and state districts. Mark added that it also affects a significant number of federal and state grant programs which are based on per capita.   "It is extremely important that our region is treated fairly and having me as the chair helps ensure that our area is going to be treated fairly," Mark said on Thursday.    The Peru Democrat sees the job as a huge

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Hinds, Pignatelli Field Questions at Kimball Farms Forum
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:07AM / Monday, February 18, 2019

State Sen. Adam Hinds and state Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli share their thoughts on the upcoming legislative session at the Tuesday morning forum. LENOX,  Mass. — Despite the challenges the Berkshires face, state Sen. Adam Hinds is "bullish" on the economy.   Hinds cited Wayfair's expansion into the area, the Berkshire Innovation Center, Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, and growth around Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams as "reasons for hope" in the county.   The Pittsfield Democrat said Wayfair's CEO has signaled interest in doing more and there are other aspects of the company that could eventually

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In Pursuit of Beetle Happiness: Part 2
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
04:38PM / Sunday, February 17, 2019

A sacred scarab of Egypt. Interfering with beetles pulling a dung ball across the desert sands may have aroused the anger of the gods in Egyptian superstition and ancient folklore. Thus the beetle is not pierced but rather held in position by the pins.    One spring day in Truro, Cape Cod, in the late 1980s, I looked with remorse over the sand dune between my residence and Cape Cod Bay. The 60-foot dunes here are cloaked in Rosa rugosa and beach plum, and many green leaves still budding with declining white blossoms showed devastating defoliation by a rampant lasiocampid invasion. The silken tents house scores of growing beautiful blue-spotted larvae that can quickly

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'The No-Collusion Oscar Picks 2019'
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
07:23PM / Saturday, February 16, 2019
The phone rang, as it usually does whenever I'm sitting in the third-floor witch's hat of my haunted Victorian home in some gothic-like, small New England town with a dark past, anguishing over my Oscar picks. The voice at the other end sounded like Alec Baldwin at first.   "Want to get all your picks right this year, Iceberger?" the caller asked.   "The name's Goldberger."   "Iceberger, Goldberger, what's the difference? You want to get them all right? Want to get them so right that you'll be tired of winning?"   "Well, sure, but who are you and what's in it for you, and how do I know you know who will

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1Berkshire Calls For 'New Narrative' of Berkshire Economy
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:23PM / Friday, February 15, 2019

Tyler Fairbank was an integral part of both the original blueprint and the new one. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire economy is growing, according to 1Berkshire.   The economic development agency said some $1 billion worth of investment has been made in the county in just the last three years. Now, the organization is asking the business community to embrace a "new narrative" of the county's economic future and has put forth Berkshire Blueprint 2.0, an economic development plan for future growth.   "We think it is time for a new narrative. When this project began many here in the county were working off the aging narrative that often referred to the

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