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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Governor Launches Mask Awareness Campaign After COVID-19 Outbreaks
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:48PM / Friday, July 31, 2020

I’m joining @MassGovernor & @MassDPH to keep Massachusetts safe. It’s time to #MaskUpMA!

— Wally (@Wally97) July 31, 2020 BOSTON — House parties, camps and other large gatherings are being blamed as contributing to "a slight but important rise" in positive cases in Massachusetts.    Gov. Charlie Baker, in announcing a #MaskUpMA initiative on Friday, said these "lapses in judgment" are "missed opportunities to keep the door that we all work so hard to close shut." All of the gatherings cited that have created hot spots were in the eastern part of the state, where the

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Doctor Joins Berkshire Osteopathic Health in Adams
06:10PM / Thursday, July 30, 2020

ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems has appointed Dr. J. Boyd Vereen, a board-certified family medicine and osteopathic manipulative medicine specialist, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the physician staff of Berkshire Osteopathic Health of BMC. 

Dr. Vereen is accepting new patients in need of primary care or Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, serving patients in the North Berkshire office of Berkshire Osteopathic Health of BMC, 2 Park St., Adams.

He joins doctors Adam Hetland, Stephen Kisiel, Vanessa Mervyn-Cohen, Michelle Sansky, Victoria Tuttle and Mary Yee at Berkshire Osteopathic Health of BMC.

Vereen comes to the Berkshires from Cape Cod, where he


New Cardiologist Joins Berkshire Health Systems
06:05PM / Thursday, July 30, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems has appointed Dr. Shyama Wickramaaratchi, a board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiologist, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the physician staff of Cardiology Professional Services of BMC. 

Dr. Wickramaaratchi is accepting new patients in need of cardiology services and joins Drs. Kyle Cooper, Teresa Menendez, Walter Paladino, Andrew Potash and Georgianne Valli-Harwood at Cardiology Professional Services of BMC.

Wickramaaratchi is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology and interventional cardiology. She is fellowship-trained in cardiology at Arnot Ogden Medical Center, Elmira, N.Y., Advanced Cardiac


Baker Rejects Trump's Suggestion of 'Delayed' Election
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
05:26PM / Thursday, July 30, 2020
ANDOVER, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday rebuffed the suggestion of postponing this fall's election due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   "We've had elections in the midst of world wars, we've had elections in the midst of a Civil War, we have had elections at many times in this country during terrible, awful circumstances," Baker said during an appearance at the Pfizer Pharmaceutical facility in this eastern Massachusetts town. "Elections need to happen, and there is no reason this one can't happen, when it's supposed to happen, in September and November."   The Massachusetts primary elections for November are scheduled for Sept. 1.


The Retired Investor: How Much Are Your Children Worth?
By Bill Schmick,
04:09PM / Thursday, July 30, 2020
In the weeks ahead, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) wants your children to go back to school. They say it is necessary because children need schooling from a social, emotional, and behavioral health perspective. No one disputes that, so why are American parents balking at the idea?   The short answer is that they are afraid for their kids. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that kids in a classroom are "super spreaders" of virus. Just think of what happens during the Flu season each fall and winter    Despite assurances from the CDC that death rates among school-age children are much lower than adults, they don't claim that no


Pfizer Moves to Phase 3 COVID-19 Vaccine Trial
Staff Reports,
12:01PM / Thursday, July 30, 2020

Pfizer's Meg Ruesch says the company hopes to seek FDA authorization by October if the trials go well.  ANDOVER, Mass. — A vaccine against the novel coronavirus is being developed in Massachusetts and could be ready by the end of the year.    The Pfizer's Andover Clinical Manufacturing Facility has more than 100 scientists and engineers manufacturing a key component for a vaccine candidate for COVID-19.    "As we continue to fight this virus against COVID-19, a vaccine and a treatment can't come soon enough," said Gov. Charlie Baker during a visit to the research facility on Thursday. "Pfizer is developing one of the


Long-Time Leader of Berkshire United Way Joins Volunteers in Medicine Board
11:15AM / Thursday, July 30, 2020

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Kristine Hazzard has joined the Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires as a member of the board of trustees.

Hazzard has 30 years of experience leading and managing health and human service organizations. Currently a principal consultant at Katalyst, she specializes in strategic planning, organizational development, executive coaching, community change processes and meeting facilitation.  Prior to launching her own firm, Kristine served as president and chief executive officer of Berkshire United Way from 2008 to 2019.

"Kristine's proven commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community, combined with her expertise in


BCC Hires New Dean of Students, Interim Dean of Enrollment
10:57AM / Thursday, July 30, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College has hired a new dean of students and a new interim dean of enrollment.

Celia Norcross has accepted the position of dean of students. Michael Sharp has accepted the role as interim dean of enrollment, replacing Christina Wynn, who has taken the position of dean of business and outreach at the college.

Norcross has worked in higher education for the past 22 years in a variety of positions that support and develop student learning, including her most recent career track at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts the past 18 years in Student Affairs. Through her roles, she has had pride in establishing creative opportunities within both areas


Plastic Surgeon Joins BMC; New Physician Practice Opening
10:48AM / Thursday, July 30, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems has appointed Dr. Zachary Long, a fellowship-trained plastic surgeon, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center. 

Dr. Long will serve with Berkshire Plastic Surgery of BMC, a new surgical practice, opening on August 10 at the BMC Medical Arts Complex, 6th floor, 777 North St., Pittsfield.

Long is accepting new patients in need of reconstructive surgery and provides care for the following: craniofacial reconstruction, eyelid/nose/ear reconstruction, breast reconstruction, abdominal wall reconstruction, hand surgeries, post-bariatric surgeries, skin cancer reconstruction; and injectable therapies.

Long earned his medical degree


Tanglewood Offers Groundbreaking Series of Audio, Video Streams
By Stephen Dankner, Guest Columist
10:42PM / Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival is is now entering its fifth week. It's a truly groundbreaking series of digital audio and video streams - many featuring newly created content to match the planned live programming that had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus.

These performances were recorded at Tanglewood's new and exciting spaces at the stunningly beautiful and magnificently designed Linde Center – a constituent part of the BSO's/Tanglewood's new entity, the Tanglewood Learning Institute. Other concerts to be streamed and released for the first time will include performances previously recorded and archived at Tanglewood. 

Considered as a unique,


Massachusetts Residents Asked to Report Receipt of Unsolicited Seeds
Staff Reports,
05:45PM / Tuesday, July 28, 2020

These seeds arrived in Washington State apparently from China. BOSTON — Random packages of seeds that appear to be from China and other countries have been appearing in mailboxes across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and numerous agricultural agencies across the nation are warning  people not to plant what could be an invasive species.    The state Department of Agricultural Resources has been notified that several Massachusetts residents have received these unsolicited packages that appear to have originated in a foreign country and contain seeds.    While the exact types of seeds in the packages are unknown, the seeds are thought to be


Create Strategies to Help Achieve Your Financial Goals
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:58PM / Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Like most people, you probably have many financial goals: a comfortable retirement, long vacations, college for your children or grandchildren, the ability to leave something behind for the next generation, and so on. To achieve these various goals, you may have to follow different investment strategies – and you might have to make some tradeoffs along the way.

To pursue this multi-goal/multi-strategy approach, try to follow a clear course of action, including these steps:

Define your goals – and invest appropriately. You will need to identify each goal and ask some questions: How much time will you have to achieve this goal? How much return will you need from your investments


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