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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Local Environmentalists Oppose Policies Supporting Natural Gas
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:00PM / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Christopher Kilfoyle of Berkshire Photovoltaic Services is pushing for 100 percent of the state's energy come from renewable sources. 

DALTON, Mass. — Dicken Crane has a large solar array on his Holiday Brook Farm. He has a forest management program to harvest timber to burn in a wood furnaces.

He doesn't need more natural gas.

Crane is one of some 500 businesses that have signed onto a petition against Gov. Charlie Baker's push for access to more natural gas.    Baker has been supportive of new natural-gas infrastructure and had previously introduced a proposal to allow electric utilities to levy a tax on users to pay for infrastructure,

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United Cerebral Palsy Awarded Assistive Technology Regional Center Contract
02:28PM / Monday, March 20, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County has been awarded the Assistive Technology Regional Center contract through 2027.

The anticipated annual amount for the contract is $100,000 per year. Funding for this program is part of the MassMATCH federal program which is administered by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and allows UCP to lend assistive technology equipment and offer demonstrations throughout Western Massachusetts.

"At UCP, we believe technology is the key to unlocking human potential, so I am pleased to announce that UCP has been officially awarded the contract to offer Assistive Technology Regional Center services to Western

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Biz Briefs: Fall Foliage Parade Gets $3,000 Boost From MountainOne
01:20PM / Monday, March 20, 2017

Parade help: Kelli Kozak, assistant vice president and community engagement officer for MountainOne, gave Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade director Danielle Thomas of 1Berkshire a check for $3,000 in support of the annual parade. The presentation was made at a 1Berkshire and North Adams Chamber of Commerce event at Community Health Programs in North Adams.

The Fall Foliage Parade is in its 62nd year in 2017. This year the theme is "Magic in the Berkshires," inspired by everything magical going on in the Berkshires from Harry Potter on Mount Greylock to Fairies in Adams, and so much more. The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1.

 

Good job: Berkshire-based

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Berkshires Beat: Bromley Gives $8,140 to SVHC Cancer Center
11:48AM / Monday, March 20, 2017

Thanks: Bromley Mountain Ski Resort's President Bill Cairns presented a check for $8,140 to Thomas A. Dee, president and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care at Bromley Mountain in Peru, Vt. The donation, which was given in support of care at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center in Bennington, part of SVHC, was raised through Bromley's "Mom's Day Off" event on Friday, Feb. 3.

More than 400 mothers received a $20 lift ticket when they showed a photo of their child or children at the resort’s ticket window. The entire value of the ticket was donated.



For a good cause: The Williamstown Elementary School Endowment Fund will host a cocktail party and

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@theMarket: Fed Rate Hike Sets Stage For More
By Bill Schmick,
04:13PM / Friday, March 17, 2017

This week the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates again. That's two times in as many quarters. Back in the day, the markets would have swooned. This week they did the opposite. What gives?

The short answer is investors believe both the economy and inflation are beginning to accelerate, so the Fed has every right to reduce the gas and ease its foot off the monetary pedal. There is, after all, no need to keep interest rates at historically low levels at this point.

That's good news, after buoying both the economy and the financial markets through several years of anemic growth and worries over deflation. It is one explanation for why the stock market has climbed to record highs.

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'Peep Show' Contest Seeks Entries
01:34PM / Friday, March 17, 2017

LENOX, Mass. — The Peeps department at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum announces the 2017 Lenox Peep Show.

Peeps of all ages are invited to make a diorama based on their favorite book or story. Dioramas are to be created out of your favorite Peeps treats. Extra credit may be given to those who deftly use puns in the concept or title. Contest entry forms/rules are available at Ventfort Hall or on the website.

All entries must be delivered to Ventfort Hall, 104 Walker St., Lenox, before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5. Contest entry forms/rules are available at Ventfort Hall and select merchant locations in Lenox and the Lenox Chamber office. You can also e-mail

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Patients Give Near Perfect Marks to Two CHP Providers
12:21PM / Friday, March 17, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Two primary care providers at Community Health Programs have earned near perfect patient-satisfaction scores.

Dr. Lara Setti, a family medicine physician at CHP Great Barrington Health Center, and Candice Smith, family nurse practitioner at CHP Adams Internists, earned scores of 4.85 and 4.83 respectively, on a five-point scale of patient satisfaction.


These results are based on post-visit surveys sent to all patients and are compiled by the data company MedStatix.

Based on reviews of 25,000 physicians nationwide in 2016, MedStatix has recognized Setti and Smith with "Star Performer Ratings." Setti received 77 patient reviews, and Smith earned a

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J.C. Penney at the Berkshire Mall To Close
Staff Reports,
10:27AM / Friday, March 17, 2017
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — J.C. Penney store at the Berkshire Mall will be closing, one of 138 nationwide.   The anticipated closures were announced on Feb. 24 and on Friday the company released the list of specific stores slated for closure. The mall store is the only one in Massachusetts targeted for closure; the next closest, the Penney's in Bennington, Vt., is not on the list.   Liquidation sales are expected to begin in mid-April.   J.C. Penney had announced closures was on the horizon at the end of last month. The closures represent about 13 percent of the company's store portfolio. The company said on Feb. 24 that the stores eyed for closure either needed

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Superior Court Briefs: March 13 - March 15
Staff Reports,
09:44AM / Friday, March 17, 2017
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, March 13.   Carl Litchfield, 57, of Hinsdale pleaded guilty to four counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, three counts of larceny from a building, two counts of larceny over $250, and a single count of larceny under $250.    He was ordered to serve concurrent 15-month sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on all charges except larceny under $250. For that charge, he was given a one-year concurrent sentence and placed on one-year probation.   The charges stem from a series of break-ins at a home in Washington between July 25, 2015 and August 9, 2015.   Cases heard before Judge John Agostini

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Dellea Honored With Hillcrest's Irish Person of the Year Award
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:30PM / Thursday, March 16, 2017

There was a large audience at the Pittsfield Country Club for the event.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It was in the mid-1980s when Michael Dukakis was looking to close the Avalon School, which was in receivership.

Meanwhile, Hillcrest officials had taken an idea of expanding into the education field to their Chief Operating Officer Eugene Dellea.

Dellea brought the concept the board chair, financial and legal reviews were done and the leadership was ready to bring the idea of buying Avalon to the full board. But first, they needed the governor's office to stop his efforts to close it.   "In communications with the governor and his staff, we impressed upon him the needs

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The Independent Investor: Trump's Budget
By Bill Schmick,
06:44PM / Thursday, March 16, 2017

It was late, "skinny," and guaranteed to send Washington lawmakers up a wall.  President Trump's first crack at a budget, released on Thursday, makes drastic cuts to many sacrosanct departments and programs while boosting spending in others.

If you haven't strapped in quite yet, now is the time to do so. The president's 53-page budget (less than half of his predecessor's lean, 134 pages) makes dramatic cuts to departments such as the Environmental Protection Agency (minus-31 percent) and the State Department (minus-28 percent), while increasing defense spending by $54 billion.

Areas that would also be hit hard were foreign aid, grants to multilateral

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'Kong: Skull Island': Serious Monkey Business
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:55PM / Thursday, March 16, 2017

While director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' "Kong: Skull Island" asserts independence from the original, 1933 legend, as well as the 1976 and 2005 remakes, it is all the same, a throwback, a good old adventure yarn. To quote an eloquent teen in the theater lobby who ruminated it afterward with his pals, "That was a most satisfying movie experience."

The 14-year-old in me agrees; the curmudgeon has reservations. But despite some modernizations and nods to contemporary sensibilities integrated into the ethos of the tale, there is one heartening fact. Indeed, on this unchartered, South Pacific island where Charles Darwin would have enjoyed a veritable feast of evolutionary

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