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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

The Independent Investor: A Circus by Any Other Name Is Still a Circus
By Bill Schmick,
06:03PM / Thursday, January 26, 2017

By now you may have heard that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are set to close in May of this year. That's the third circus in as many years to close their doors. You might say the announcement marks the end of an era stretching back for almost 150 years. I disagree.

The circus will never die. It's been around since the Romans were sticking each other with swords. It is a venue that is constantly changing that I believe will simply continue to evolve. Society has moved on from the need to see blood and guts on the sandy floor of the arena. For the last century and a half, we have been entertained instead by death-defying feats, acrobatics, wild animals and loud

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Bay State Winter Games Return this Weekend
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Sports
01:05PM / Thursday, January 26, 2017

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Ice and snow and sweat and cheers are all on the agenda over the next five weeks as the 32nd annual Bay State Winter Games return to Berkshire County.

For 37 days at six different venues, athletes from throughout Massachusetts and around New England will compete in sports ranging from ice hockey to snowshoeing.

It all begins Saturday at Williams College's Lansing Chapman Rink with two days of figure skating competition and the BSG's signature event, the Bay State Skate.

The annual Saturday night show features winners from Saturday's competition, special invited guests and the production team from the weekend's hosts, Christmas Brook Figure

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Young People Set to Lift the Spirits of Berkshire Seniors With Valentine's Cards
02:10PM / Wednesday, January 25, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 15.5 million seniors in America live alone and face isolation due to declining mobility and geographic location. To help combat the negative effects of isolation, DoSomething.org, the largest organization for young people and social change, has teamed up with Meals on Wheels America, the oldest and largest national organization supporting community-based senior nutrition programs, for the fourth annual Love Letters campaign.

Berkshire seniors served by Elder Services of Berkshire County are set to receive handmade Valentine's Day cards created by youth volunteers from across the country this Valentine's Day.

"Social connection and

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Social Justice Discussion Set for Jan. 26 at Simon's Rock
01:11PM / Wednesday, January 25, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Berkshire Magazine, Multicultural BRIDGE and Bard College at Simon’s Rock will host a talk on "Social Justice: Ethics, Writing and Reporting for Social Change" on Thursday, Jan. 26.

The workshop "Just Journalism: A Workshop on Public Writing" with speakeasy@simons-rock.edu will be held at 5 p.m.; students are first priority.

The summit begins at 7 p.m. featuring Anastasia Stanmeyer, Berkshire Magazine editor, as moderator and panelist.  Eugenie Sills, founder of Womens Times and principal of TWT Media, and Jenn Smith of the Berkshire Eagle, also will participate on the panel.

Journalists, students, and the general public are

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When Do You Need a Financial Adviser?
11:23AM / Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Are you a "do-it-yourselfer"? If you can take care of home repairs, lawn work and other types of maintenance by yourself, you'll save money and probably gain satisfaction. But you will almost certainly need some help in other areas of your life – one of which may be investing.

In fact, you could benefit from the services of a professional financial advisor at several points in your life:

* When you're starting out in your career: When you land your first "career-type" job, you will have some financial decisions to make: Should I participate in my employer's 401(k) or other retirement plan? (Hint: Yes!) If so, how much should I contribute? How can I

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Hinds, Mark Re-File Bill Aimed To Help Volunteer Ambulance Services
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:50AM / Wednesday, January 25, 2017
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A bill to change the staffing requirements of an ambulance service could be a game changer for struggling volunteer services.   But, the state Department of Public Health has opposed the bill in previous legislative sessions.   State Sen. Adam Hinds and state Rep. Paul Mark have sponsored a bill that would alleviate the requirement that two emergency medical technicians be on every basic life support transports. The change would allow for first responders, who are slightly less trained, to be drivers during those calls while a certified EMT handles patient care in the back.   "There are a number of communities in the district that bump up

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Gov. Charlie Baker Delivers Second State of the Commonwealth
08:49PM / Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Baker kicked off his speech focusing on economic growth through the state. BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker delivered his second State of the Commonwealth address Tuesday night highlighting successes in a number of areas and setting the groundwork for the next year.   Baker highlighted work on the economy, fiscal management, the Department of Children and Families, energy, high-speed internet, education, local municipal help, and more to say the "state of the Commonwealth is strong."   But, he said there is more work to do and despite changes on the federal level, he vowed to continue focusing on moving Massachusetts forward.   His remarks as prepared

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Mount Greylock Grads Competing on College Ski Circuit
12:24AM / Tuesday, January 24, 2017
The collegiate ski season got under way this weekend in Lake Placid, N.Y., where several Mount Greylock alumni were in action for their respective collegiate teams.   Williams College senior Luke Costley helped the Ephs finish sixth at the season-opening St. Lawrence Carnival. On Day 1, Costley placed 13th in the 1.5-kilometer classic sprint race.   Williams’ ski teams -- downhill and cross country -- combined to finish in sixth place after two days of competition at Whiteface and Mount Van Hoevenberg.   Colby College senior Kat Chenail helped the Mules place fourth in the event. Chenail was 67th on Saturday in a 5K skate race.   Freshmen Grace Smith and Ian

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Biz briefs: Cosmetologists Sought for Cancer Society Makeover Program
01:35PM / Monday, January 23, 2017

Looking good: The American Cancer Society is seeking Pittsfield-area volunteer cosmetologists for its Look Good Feel Better program that instructs women who are undergoing cancer treatment beauty, skin care and hair techniques. The program runs at many locations in Massachusets, including Berkshire Hematology Oncology.

Look Good Feel Better is a free, non-medical, salon and product-neutral program offered through a collaboration between the American Cancer Society, the Personal Care Products Council Foundation and the Professional Beauty Association. The program offers complimentary group, individual and online sessions that teach beauty techniques to help cancer survivors face their

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Berkshire Country Day School Students Win Classics Day Awards
12:13PM / Monday, January 23, 2017

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Berkshire Country Day School's Upper School Latin students (grades seven to nine) joined the Pioneer Valley Classical Association annual Classics Day at Mount Holyoke College on Jan. 20.

BCD's Latin students enjoyed participating in workshops and contests with their peers from Academy Hill, Amherst Middle School, Belchertown, Herberg, Lenox Memorial High, MacDuffie, Pittsfield, Taconic and Williston. The BCD students were accompanied by teachers Eugénie and James Fawcett, Associate Head of School Leigh Doherty, and Head of School Paul Lindenmaier.

BCD students received the following awards:

 

Art contest

Sculpture: First Place: ninth grader

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Berkshire County Women Head to DC Women's March
10:24PM / Friday, January 20, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — iBerkshires rarely gets a chance to report outside its coverage area because of our focus on local news.

There's the occasional jaunt to Boston, Greenfield, Springfield, Bennington, Vt., and even Albany, N.Y.

But Friday night I'll be on a bus headed to the Women's March on Washington with a group from North County. Readers can follow along on my Twitter feed @iBerk_Editor and we'll have a story posted later on the front page.

Those interested in the march can also attend a free event the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield from 10 to 2 on Saturday hosted by WAM Theatre. The event is being held thanks to an anonymous donor covering the rental fee but

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'Hidden Figures': Amounts to an Important Tale
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:51PM / Friday, January 20, 2017

Watching director Theodore Melfi's "Hidden Figures," about the African-American women working for NASA who were instrumental if not indispensable to getting our first man in space, we scratch our heads and can't help but ask ourselves, "How come I didn't know this?" But figuring the truth here isn't rocket science.

So many years after the fact, it's the same depth of prejudice that hampered Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and their sister colleagues from convincing the space agency of their genius that has squirreled away their story.

This is a civics lesson, especially important at this tremulous juncture when a sizable portion

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