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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Berkshire Tidbits: Introductions to Cheese, Maple Dining
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
02:49PM / Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Matthew Rubiner of Rubiner's Cheesemongers & Grocers is offering cheese workshops geared for children.

Classes and cheese pairing seminars continue at Rubiner's Cheesemongers & Grocers this month.

Owner and presenter Matthew Rubiner has, wisely, divided his popular — FREE — kids' cheese tasting and talking classes, "Introduction to Cheese for Kids,"  by age group. He admits that they are now "improved by age segregation."

Rubiner invites 3- to 8-year-olds "to come, taste and discuss a range of cheeses, where cheese comes from, how it gets to be so darn delicious and other interesting facts," on Tuesday, March 22 between


Adams Outdoorsmen For Youth Celebrate 40 Years
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:27PM / Monday, March 14, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Outdoorsmen for Youth celebrated 40 years of supporting youth events and scholarships throughout the region at their annual game dinner last week.

More than 300 people trailed into the Eagles Hall on a recent Saturday night to chow down on delicacies one most likely would not be able to find in the local market.

President Wayne Tinney said the game dinner is the group's major fundraiser and has fueled its charitable endeavors for 40 years

"We always give back to our youth because they are the most important part of our community so we donate all of our stuff to fishing derbies, scholarships, the boy scouts, and local sports organizations,"

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Zonta Club Award Applications Available
02:22PM / Monday, March 14, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Applications for the 2016 Young Women in Public Affairs Award are now available from the Zonta Club of Berkshire County.

The goal of the Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Program is to encourage more young women to participate in public affairs by recognizing a young woman’s commitment to the volunteer sector, evidence of volunteer leadership achievements, and a dedication to the advancement of the status of women.

Applicants are asked to reflect on their voluntary commitment to their school and to their community and the problems limiting the advancement of the status of women in their own country and worldwide. The Zonta International Young Women in


Hinds Releases Platform For State Senate Campaign
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:55AM / Sunday, March 13, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Senate candidate Adam Hinds released his platform last week, focusing on five topics: economics, education, energy, stopping the heroin epidemic, and reversing the population loss.   The candidate says each topic is somewhat dependent on the others and the five-pronged approach is "a plan we can go to Boston with."   Hinds says by creating more high-quality jobs, and strengthening the education system, getting a handle on energy costs, and providing more treatment for those addict to heroin, the district consisting of 52 cities and towns will stop a declining population trend.   "You can't create jobs without attention to


Berkshire Tidbits: Maple Syrup, Early St. Paddy's Day
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
09:43PM / Friday, March 11, 2016

On Sunday, March 13, from 3 to 5 p. m., chef Julie Gale, owner of At the Table Cooking School in Hillsdale, N. Y., will interpret the classic brunch as part of the Cooking at The Chef's Shop series, 31 Railroad St. in Great Barrington, 413-528-0135. She will be making homemade gravlax, eggs Benedict and bread pudding with whiskey sauce.

The cost is class is $60 per person for a single class, $150 for a series of three. Payment is required in advance with a 48 hour cancellation policy. The Chef's Shop offers students a 10-percent discount on purchases made on a class day. Call or, to reserve a place.


Chef Frank LaRagione will serve his annual early St.


@theMarket: Markets Are at an Important Level
By Bill Schmick,
04:24PM / Friday, March 11, 2016

Stocks spent the last week consolidating. It was a necessary exercise, since stocks were overbought. Now that condition is behind us, and markets climbed higher by the end of this week. We are now at an important level. Call it a moment of truth that will indicate to investors whether the correction is over.

Up until now, the majority of traders have considered the 11 percent rally we have enjoyed in the S&P 500 Index since February nothing more than a bear market rally. But breaking above the 200 Day Moving Average (200 DMA) would make this an entirely new ballgame.

As I have written in the past, the 200 DMA is a technical level. It is simply a security's average closing price


'Zootopia': It's a Jungle out There
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:42PM / Friday, March 11, 2016

With "Zootopia," a gaggle of doubtlessly well-intentioned writers and directors fail to snare the brass ring of kiddie-flick making, the award accorded to those movies that prove entertaining to children and adults alike.

Granted, it's a beautifully animated, satiric parable ostensibly meant to be Brittany and Tyler's introduction to civics. But while intelligent, responsible and hyperpacked with political correctness, the satisfaction it engenders in Grandma won't necessarily be matched by the joyful enchantment we'd hope to see on Junior's face.

Nope. By the time today's hip kid hits the Bijou he is pretty aware of what ails and threatens civilization,


Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 29 - March 11
Staff Reports,
11:04AM / Friday, March 11, 2016
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, Feb. 29.   Bruce Daniels, 47, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of rape of a child with force.   He was released on personal recognizance. Daniels is accused of sexually assaulting a boy who is now age 17 between October 1, 2012 and October 31, 2012.   Heidi Bliss, 35, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of accessory after the fact to wit: armed robbery while masked, and misleading a police officer or other person.   The charges are in connection with a robbery in Pittsfield on January 24, 2016. She was released on $1,000 bail.   Cases


The Independent Investor: The Rise of the Robots in Banking
By Bill Schmick,
07:14PM / Thursday, March 10, 2016

If you think the human factor is rapidly disappearing from the workplace, you may be surprised to know that Skynet has arrived and even C-3PO and R2-D2 are being left behind.

Nowhere is this change more apparent than in the nation's banking system.   

Automation, robots and artificial intelligence is on the rise. At the forefront of this change is the nation's banking system. One of the reasons I know this is because my sister, Cassie, is in the banking industry. No, she is not in the corner office or hanging out in the executive suites.

Since 1965, she has worked as a teller and other front office jobs in her bank's branch offices.

She knows the business from


Women May Need Extra Steps on the Road to Financial Security
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:07AM / Wednesday, March 09, 2016

International Women’s Day is observed on March 8. Around the world, thousands of events will honor women’s achievements. Yet, women still face challenges in many areas of life – such as their financial situations. So if you’re a woman, you may want to use this occasion to consider steps you can take to help move toward your important financial goals, such as a comfortable retirement.

First of all, be aware of the potential obstacles facing women: lower earnings than men, longer lifespans than men and more time out of the workforce than men. This last element is particularly important, because when women leave the workforce for extended periods, typically to care


Harrington Kicks Off State Senate Campaign
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:50PM / Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Harrington says her experience as small-business owner and attorney can help her advocate for the district.

WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Andrea Harrington says she goes to work every day fighting for those struggling with substance abuse or mental health.

She runs a small business and knows what it takes for a local family to make a living.

And now, she's looking to take those experiences to Beacon Hill as the Berkshire's state senator.

"It is something I've thought about for a long time. I was really focused on my practice but when Sen. [Benjamin] Downing announced that he would not be seeking another term, immediately I knew I wanted to pursue this


Program Aims to Make Berkshires 'Age-Friendly'
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:06AM / Tuesday, March 08, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Between 40 percent and 50 percent of the population in most towns in Berkshire County is older than the age of 50.

And if 50 is the new 30, and middle age is now considered 60, then half of the population has a lot of living left to do.

That's why the Berkshires have joined an effort to be an "Age-Friendly Community," defined as "a way to help older adults remain healthy, active and engaged in their community as long as possible." Internationally, the World Health Organization defines and supports age-friendly communities, while in the United States the AARP fills that role.

Locally, the Berkshires have Celeste Harp, an energetic and


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