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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Berkshire Health Systems Expands Primary-Care Access Across County
07:53PM / Monday, December 19, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems has appointed five primary-care physicians, all accepting new patients throughout the Berkshires, from south to north. 

Drs. Judith Aldrich and Brynn Hancock have joined Berkshire Osteopathic Health of Berkshire Medical Center, which has offices in Adams and Pittsfield. Dr. Maxim Bitunov is now providing care at Hillcrest Family Health Center of BMC in Pittsfield, and Dr. Terra Lampiasi is at Lenox Family Health Center of BMC. Dr. John Paul Hickey is with Barrington Family Medicine in Great Barrington. 

The addition of these five physicians is a significant expansion of primary-care services in the Berkshires and Southern

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Educational Task Force 2/3 Way Through Presentations To Local Governments
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:45AM / Monday, December 19, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshire County Educational Task Force has had a busy month presenting at 30 or so public meetings with still more than a dozen to go.

The task force is rolling out its plans for Phase 2 of a study looking at the future of Berkshire County's school systems. The next phase will dive deep into various options — from leaving things as they are to creating super-regional school districts — and is funded with $150,000 from the state.

The efforts are to explore ways to counter declining enrollment mixed with the rising costs of education and offer school districts recommendations on how they might address those vexing issues.

"The

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Cross, Carpenter Honored by Conferences
iBerkshires.com Sports,
12:29AM / Monday, December 19, 2016
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts junior Keiland Cross was named the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week and Player of the Week on Monday, Dec. 12.   Cross averaged 24.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and six assists in a 2-1 week for the Trailblazers. He was named MVP of the Tri-State Shootout after collecting 28 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the 82-79 win over Fisher College, notched 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the 71-67 win over RPI and added 19 points, six assists and five rebounds in setback to WPI.   For the year, Cross is averaging a team-high 16.9 ppg in 32 minutes per night for the 2-8 Trailblazers.   The rookie

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Berkshire Medical Group Joins Berkshire Health Systems
11:07AM / Friday, December 16, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In a move that will help to ensure continued and expanded access to primary care and infectious disease services in the Berkshires, the Berkshire Medical Group has joined the Berkshire Health Systems Physician Practice organization.

Berkshire Medical Group, an internal medicine and infectious disease practice, includes doctors Paula Aucoin, Rebecca Caine, Prakash Darji, Jason Kittler, Michael McInerney and Sharon Rawlings and Amy Cassotta, ANP-BC, Helen Majchrowski, FNP/C, and Wanda Torres, ANP-BC.

Effective Nov. 1, the practice will be renamed Berkshire Internists of BMC, and will remain at its existing location in the BMC Medical Arts Complex in Pittsfield,

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'Nocturnal Animals': Subspecies: Human
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:38PM / Thursday, December 15, 2016

Imagine you are driving late at night on a desolate country road, hardly a speck of civilization in sight save for an occasional utility pole. It's spooky to begin with, but nowhere near as scary as when a car suddenly appears in your rearview mirror. You make a turn, just to see. The car follows. You make a couple more, random turns. There it is, right behind you. What's the odds? Your paranoia concedes to one of your worst fears realized. Surely you are being followed by the most deplorable, inbred ne'er-do-wells in creation.

Good thing this is merely the fiction within a novel that Susan, the female lead in director Tom Ford's "Nocturnal Animals," is reading.

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Here's Your Retirement 'To Do' List
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:31AM / Wednesday, December 14, 2016

At this time of year, your life is probably more hectic than usual – so you may have assembled an impressive "to do" list. This can be a helpful tool for organizing your activities in the near future – but have you ever thought of developing a "to do" list for long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement?

If not, you may want to think about it – and here are a few list-worthy items to consider:

* Examine – and re-examine – your planned retirement age. You may have long counted on retiring at a certain age, but are you sure that this goal is the best one for your overall financial situation? Think about it: If you like your job, and

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Extreme Cold Weather Heading Our Way
11:20AM / Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bitter cold temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills are forecast for later this week. Forecasts from the National Weather Service for late Thursday night and early Friday morning include low temperatures between 10 degrees above zero and 5 degrees below zero and wind chill values expected to be cold as 15 to 25 degrees below zero.

While temperatures are expected to warm up by the weekend, extreme cold temperatures and wind chills can be dangerous.

"MEMA urges residents to take precautions during the upcoming extreme cold weather. If you must go outside, dress for the conditions by covering up as much as possible and wear warm layers," said Massachusetts Emergency

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Guest Column: Getting Smart About Art
Guest Column,
02:50PM / Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The North Adams Public School district boasts one of the finest art programs in the commonwealth.

Students of all grade levels participate in classes and field trips that nurture their creativity in a fun and hands-on way. Our elementary schools offer choral and instrumental programs during the school day and perform concerts throughout the academic year. They make frequent field trips to Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Through a partnership with Berkshire Children and Families and Brayton Elementary School, students are introduced to classical music through the innovative Kids 4 Harmony program.

Arts programming at Drury High School has grown so much that the school has created

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Guest Column: Education Task Force Misconceptions Clarified
Guest Column,
02:00PM / Tuesday, December 13, 2016

To the Editor:

The Berkshire Education Task Force and the University of Massachusetts' Donahue Institute recently have completed Phase One of a comprehensive look at the past, current and projected education landscape of the nineteen school districts in Berkshire County and 15,900 students (as of last count). The full Phase One report is online at www.berkshireeducation.org. The focus is on the challenges faced because of significant declining student enrollments, near stagnant financial resources and increasingly limited academic offerings.

Phase Two will explore ways to address these challenges through options of expanded shared services, partnering of neighboring school districts,

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Biz Briefs: Williamstown Natives Start Organic Beauty Company
03:18PM / Monday, December 12, 2016

Beauty is: Klo Organic Beauty is a 100 percent natural skin care company developed and hand crafted in small batches in Berkshire County,  co-owned by sisters, Nicole Anagnos and Megan Berube, who both attended The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC prior to the inception of their business. Their products are organic, non-toxic, vegan, and certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny. The Williamstown natives feature an anti-aging line using the highest quality oils. More information can be found on their website.

Launched in February of 2016 to rave reviews, Klo Organic Beauty has since been featured at the Indie Beauty Expo in New York City, on the popular website AHAlife, and

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Norman Rockwell Museum Offers Berkshire County Student Passport Program
02:51PM / Monday, December 12, 2016

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum has begun the Berkshire County Student Passport Program, part of a comprehensive effort to reach out and engage many more young people in the region with the museum, and to introduce them to Norman Rockwell, who lived the last 25 years of his life in Berkshire County.

The museum uses Rockwell's narrative images to support learning in the classroom in relation to history, language arts and art, and educators have also found meaningful connections with regard to social/emotional learning and ESL themes.

Supported by the contributions of friends of Norman Rockwell Museum, the Passport Program was created for students and families in

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Berkshires Beat: Williamstown Author Feted at State House Ceremony
01:52PM / Monday, December 12, 2016

Good job: The 16th annual Massachusetts Book Awards Ceremony took place at the State House on Tuesday, Dec. 6.  Among the honored authors was Ali Benjamin of Williamstown, who received the top award in the Young Adult/Middle Reader division for the New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist "The Thing About Jellyfish."

The award states: "In a remarkable debut novel, Ali Benjamin seamlessly infuses realistic fiction with well-researched factual information to produce a masterful and honest look at how one young person deals with the feelings of grief and guilt that follow a tragedy." Rep. Gailanne Cariddi presented the award to Benjamin, who spoke

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