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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Community Health Programs Names Permanent CEO
12:14PM / Friday, December 02, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The board of Community Health Program has named interim CEO Amelia "Lia" Spiliotes as its permanent CEO, following a national search for a long-term leader.

A federally qualified health center (FQHC), based in Great Barrington, CHP has eight practice sites countywide, and serves more than 22,000 area children and adults with medical care and family support services.

"We had excellent candidates for the permanent position, but Lia was by far the best and brightest to lead CHP," said Jodi Rathbun-Briggs, CHP board chair. "She has brought us stability, strong management and deep knowledge of how FQHCs operate. She has set CHP on a


Larkin Supporting Literacy Network After Ambassadorship Announcement
11:22AM / Friday, December 02, 2016

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Alison Larkin, the author, actress, stand-up comic and audiobook narrator who lives in southern Berkshire County, has just been named ambassador of the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation in the United States.

Larkin's award-winning narration of the works of Jane Austen including Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and Emma brought her to the attention of the Foundation creator Caroline Jane Knight, Austen's fifth great-niece, who conferred the ambassadorship. To mark her appointment, Larkin is donating $5 to the Foundation for every Jane Austen audiobook purchased through her website, Alison Larkin Presents…, during the month of December.

Money donated


BCF Names Acting Executive Director After CEO's Sudden Death
11:08AM / Friday, December 02, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Children and Families, a social services agency serving Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley since 1887, has appointed Diane Robie to the position of acting executive director, filling the vacancy caused by the recent death of President and CEO Carolyn Mower Burns.

Robie, who was senior vice president at Berkshire Children and Families, came to BCF from Vermont in 2015, after 20 years of experience serving children, families and communities in programs that ranged from family support to child permanency.

"Carolyn had both a vision in identifying the needs of children and their families and the ability to create and administer programs committed


'Moonlight': Illuminating
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:22PM / Thursday, December 01, 2016

The DNA of everything that is wrong, sad and perplexing about race relations in the U.S. is poetically discerned and illuminated in filmmaker Barry Jenkins' Oscar-worthy "Moonlight." Jenkins ingeniously utilizes the low-budget, art house look of his sociologically profound film about a young black man's journey in ghettoized America to personalize the tale without the least bit of affectation. It is storytelling in our best, lyrical tradition, ripping open barely sealed wounds in its engrossing proof that there's nothing like the real truth to get your attention.

In the slums of Miami, in an indeterminate near-past that implies the infinite stagnancy of such


Seven Years In, Cop on Top Continues To Grow
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:13PM / Thursday, December 01, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It's been seven years since the first Cop on Top set in motion a series of fundraisers, growing every year, that has raised more than $600,000 for Special Olympic athletes.   "We've made so much money in our county program that we help other programs in other counties," said Officer Darren Derby, who along with Investigator John Bassi, has been heading the local efforts for years.   The Law Enforcement Torch Run is a local program that has raised money to pay for local Special Olympic athletes to participate — whether it be for transportation, equipment, uniforms. Locally it started with a Tip a Cop fundraiser and seven years ago

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Great Barrington Police Gains Accreditation
01:48PM / Wednesday, November 30, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Great Barrington Police Department has met all necessary requirements for full state accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission and will be the first department in Berkshire County to receive the award.

The department will receive its award at a ceremony, the date of which has not yet been determined.

"We are honored to be the first department in Berkshire County that will be recognized by the accreditation commission," Chief Police Chief William Walsh said. "I commend all of the officers and staff, as it is their day-to-day professionalism and hard work that made this achievement possible. This was a


Everyone Benefits When You Make Charitable Gifts
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:27AM / Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Now that we are in the heart of the holiday season, you may be thinking about ways you can put your money where your heart is. Specifically, you might be pondering which groups you should support with charitable gifts. And as long as you choose groups that meet the right criteria, your generosity can also be rewarding to you, in the form of tax benefits.

To begin with, you'll want to make sure you are giving to a reputable charity. That means you'll need to ask some questions. How does a group measure its effectiveness? Is it devoting as much of its contributions as possible to the actual work of the organization, or is it spending too much money on administrative costs?


Ciccolo Adds Attorney With Experience Defending Terror Suspects
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:35PM / Tuesday, November 29, 2016
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Adams man facing federal terrorism charges has a new member of his legal team.   Alexander Ciccolo was back before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Robertson on Tuesday for a procedural hearing in the case of U.S. v Ciccolo.   Northampton defense attorney David Hoose earlier informed the court that Ramzi Kassem, a professor at the City University of New York, has joined as co-counsel for Ciccolo, who was arrested on July 4, 2015, on a federal weapons charge. In August, a superseding indictment was handed down charging Ciccolo with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of attempting to use


BArT Announces First Trimester Honor Roll
02:43PM / Monday, November 28, 2016

ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Arts & Technology (BArT) Charter Public School has announced the students who made honor roll for the first trimester of the 2016-2017 school year.

Students who earned 80 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "Honors." Students who earned 90 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "High Honors."

Academic courses at BART are aligned with the Massachusetts State Curriculum Frameworks for the appropriate grade level and include all standards deemed necessary for a complete, college-preparatory, middle and high school education.

Students in Grade 6 who earned High Honors are


Guest Column: Going to the Dogs
, Guest Column
02:06PM / Monday, November 28, 2016

To the Editor:

Hopefully, Berkshire County will be going to the dogs.

To the dog parks that is and here's why. As the population declines countywide, so does the number of children playing in the youth sports leagues. Participation in these leagues has dropped over 50 percent since they started and the future looks bleak for almost all of the leagues. Soon the question will be, what will the city do with all of those vacant fields and courts? Probably as little as possible as manpower usually shrinks in the Parks and Rec departments.

Years ago, cities and towns started eliminating the swimming pools and skating rinks and it's time to start eliminating or repurposing the dormant


Biz Briefs: More Than 100 Come for Seminar in Excellence
01:48PM / Monday, November 28, 2016

Excellent: Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Berkshire United Way co-hosted a "Seminar in Nonprofit Excellence" on Nov. 3 at Crissey Farm in Great Barrington. The seminar attracted over 100 nonprofit and business leaders from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York to learn about the collective impact model from John Kania and regional colleagues who are implementing the principles and practices inherent to this approach.

Collective impact is a methodology that brings people together from different sectors to develop a shared agenda for achieving social change. Kania and Mark Kramer, of nationally recognized consulting firm FSG, were first to articulate this powerful


'Giving Tuesday' Urges Donations to Local Charities
01:18PM / Monday, November 28, 2016

We have passed Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and are on to Cyber Monday, but soon it will be time for something more meaningful this holiday season.

Tuesday, Nov. 29, is "Giving Tuesday," and organizations and individuals throughout the community are encouraged to use the occasion to promote a cause or charity that is meaningful to them. Launched in 2012 and celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday's purpose is to inspire giving, resulting in greater financial donations, increased volunteer hours, and participation in activities that bring about real change in communities.

The Williamstown Community Chest will mark the day by distributing


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