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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@the Market: Buy the Dip
By Bill Schmick,
10:06AM / Saturday, November 14, 2015

Markets sold off this week but not everywhere. While the U.S. and Europe suffered a bout of profit taking, parts of Asia did fine. Investors should expect more volatility on the home front next week.

The mood among investment advisors was somber, if not downright bearish, at the Schwab investment conference in Boston. Over the last week, hundreds of money managers, including yours truly, sat through educational and investment sessions given by some of the best minds on Wall Street. Why so glum?

Many were worried that global growth would continue to slow and drag our economy down with it. Then there were the Fed Heads, who changed their mind about a December rate hike for the umpteenth


'Spectre': Keeps the Bond Spirit Alive
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
06:20PM / Friday, November 13, 2015

Director Sam Mendes's "Spectre," the 24th James Bond film produced by Eon Productions, is a snazzy, action-filled hoot ... a nearly $300 million extravaganza that pays dutiful homage to the franchise's past while passionately bringing 007 into the techno-charged present. It is a grand synthesis of all things Bond ... a blend of man, machine and moral heroism again sublimely evinced by Daniel Craig.

Perhaps a tad more anticipatory than the two teen-aged boys to my right, I was there not just to be entertained, but to see that right was done by my man ... the secret agent every guy wants to be, and every woman wishes to be romanced by, or so I'm told. I mean, I was


The Independent Investor: 'Bag Lady' Syndrome and You
By Bill Schmick,
06:02PM / Friday, November 13, 2015

Ladies, are you secretly terrified that you are going to end up penniless on the streets, begging for enough money to feed yourself? Well, join the crowd because almost 50 percent of women share your anxiety.

That's right, a high percentage of women, even those who make more than $30,000 per year (and 27 percent of women who have salaries over $200,000) are secretly (or not so secretly) worrying that they will become destitute in their old age. The study, conducted by Allianz, an insurance company, surveyed 2,200 women between the ages of 25 and 75.

You might discount these findings, figuring that most of the women surveyed were stay-at-home wives or wealthy widows. You would be


Health Officials Encourage Uninsured to Get Enrolled
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:03PM / Friday, November 13, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Massachusetts has a good record on insuring its residents — 96.3 percent of the population is covered.

So it's that 3.7 percent without insurance that health officials are focusing on during this open enrollment period.

"We're really down to a small number of people ... We want them to know that insurance is important not only for health wise in order to be able to go to the doctor and get help when your sick or hurt but also financially," said Jason Lefferts, spokesman for the state's Health Insurance Connector Authority, on Friday morning. "It's a lot cheaper to go to the doctor when you have health


BArT's Campus Improvements Paying Off
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:19PM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

ADAMS, Mass. — All the physical changes at the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School are paying big dividends, school officials say.

From the science lab to the new gymnasium and cafeteria wing to the remodeling of the former "cafegymatorium," it has been a busy few years on the Commercial Street campus.

Last week at BArT's annual fall breakfast, Executive Director Julia Bowen explained how the school's physical transformation is helping improve the program at the Grade 6-12 school.

"In the past, students have had to make unfortunate decisions about leaving BArT [after middle school]," Bowen said, referring to students' desire to

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GoodWorks Insurance Donates $10,000 to Community Health Programs
11:54AM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs has received a $10,000 grant from GoodWorks Insurance, an independent insurance agency with offices in Great Barrington, Worcester and Connecticut.

“GoodWorks Insurance’s business model of giving back to the community keeps everyone engaged and close and keeps money in the community,” said CHP CEO Bryan Ayars. “Doing it so publicly sets a great precedent for other local companies.”

From its health centers in Great Barrington, Lee and Pittsfield, Great Barrington-based CHP provides medical and dental services to all, regardless of insurance status or residence. Additionally, its family support services

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J.Eric Smith Elected Chairman of AIER Board
11:01AM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — J. Eric Smith, a longtime nonprofit leader with a passion for helping Americans make better economic and financial decisions, has been elected chairman of the board of the American Institute for Economic Research.
Smith was elected during the board’s annual meeting on Oct. 17 at AIER’s historic campus in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts.

Smith is a native of South Carolina, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. Smith began his career in the military, as a naval officer. He worked at the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Program, and the U.S.

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Get Your Affairs in Order for an Orderly Estate
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:42AM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

You may be quite willing to plan an investment strategy for your retirement years. After all, it can be enjoyable to think about traveling the world, pursuing your hobbies or participating in any of the activities you’ve associated with an active retirement.

However, once you do retire, you’ll need to “shift gears” somewhat to focus on your legacy. Specifically, to protect your loved ones and ensure your intentions are clear and carried out, you’ll need to do some more planning – and you’ll need to share your thoughts with your family.

Here are some moves to consider:

* List your assets and debts. Your family needs to be aware of your assets and

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Berkshire Tidbits: Cooking Classes, Firefly Specials
By Judith Lerner, iBerkshires Columnist
09:45PM / Monday, November 09, 2015

'Cooking at The Chef's Shop'
Baking Thanksgiving pies

The "Cooking at The Chef's Shop" series continues this Thursday as guest chef Elaine Khosrova, a Hudson Valley food writer and editor from Albany, demonstrates the art of baking Thanksgiving pies. She is a former pastry chef  who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and at La Varenne in Paris.

On Nov. 22, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Gale will be back and her students definitely get their hands into the cooking. She'll be making four Thanksgiving side dishes: tarragon creamed pearl onions, rutabaga with caraway, jalapeno corn soufflé and cranberry-kumquat sauce.


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Berkshire Community College Awarded Grant to Aid Student Success
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
07:01PM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Students enter Berkshire Community College with dreams of furthering their opportunities, but too often they find the challenges overwhelming.

The college is hoping its selection for a $2 million federal grant, one of 40 granted nationwide, will help forge stronger pathways to success for students from low-income families or who are minorities or first-generation college students.  

"We are ecstatic that our efforts, which were driven by a diverse group from the BCC community as well as outside constituents, were recognized by the Department of Higher Education," said BCC President Ellen Kennedy in a statement. "Our students are at the heart

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Mentors Needed for Financial Literacy Workshop
11:23AM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall's School is seeking area professional women to volunteer as mentors for its 16th annual Money Matters financial literacy workshops to be held on Monday, Nov. 16, and Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the school’s Holmes Road campus.

Eighth-grade girls from across Berkshire County will attend the program, which provides them with a foundation of financial understanding. This year’s program will be facilitated by Dr. Mahnaz Mahdavi, professor of economics and the Ann F. Kaplan ’67 Faculty Director of Center for Women and Financial Independence at Smith College, and René Heavlow, Director of the Center for Women and Financial

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Local Call/Volunteer Firefighters Graduate State Training Program
11:28AM / Friday, November 06, 2015

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. — Eight local volunteer firefighters graduated Wednesday from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.

Class No. 54 of the Call/Volunteer Firefighter Recruit Training program included five Dalton firefighters, Craig Eggleston, Jordan Anderson, Matthew Chrostowski, Michael Shaughnessy and Mitchell Messana; two from Great Barrington, Jacob Borden and Joel Timm, and Michael Doyle of the Richmond Fire Department.

The certificates were presented by State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Director George D. Kramlinger in a graduation ceremony at Easthampton High School.

The Call/Volunteer Firefighter Recruit Training program delivers a standard recruit training

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