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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 14 - Feb. 16
Staff Reports,
01:36PM / Friday, February 17, 2017
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Feb. 14.   George Chapman, 31, of Springfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.   He was ordered to serve concurrent two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 66 Angeli Street in North Adams on August 6, 2015.   Derrick King, 39, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of improper storage of a firearm, three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, three counts of illegal ownership of a firearm, two


Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Announces First Grade Teacher
01:06PM / Friday, February 17, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School welcomes Tracy Fernbacher as first grade class teacher for the 2017-18 school year.

Fernbacher was selected from a pool of applicants after a national search. She earned her master of education in Waldorf Elementary Education from Antioch University (Keene, N.H.). She also holds a bachelor of business administration in International Management from Pace University (New York) and a vocational teacher's license from the New York State Department of Education.

Fernbacher brings broad Waldorf teaching experience to her new position, including teaching at every grade level. The GBRSS Board of Trustees and Council of

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Berkshire Delegation Gets Committee Assignments
Staff Reports, iBerkshires Staff
01:22AM / Friday, February 17, 2017
BOSTON — State House leaders have released committee assignments for this session, with the Berkshire delegation picking up two chairmanships in the House and one in the Senate.   Newly elected State Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, was named Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, as well as Senate vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.    He is also a member of the Joint Committees on Higher Education; Housing; Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery; Municipalities and Regional Government; and Intergovernmental Affairs. Hinds is also the Senate co-chair of the Rural Caucus


Polito Announces South County Bridge Funding, Tours Pittsfield
Staff Reports,
08:11PM / Thursday, February 16, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito toured the downtown Thursday afternoon before announcing grant funding for two southwestern Massachusetts bridges.   Polito had spent the morning signing a Community Compact agreement with Lanesborough and Windsor. She later joined Mayor Linda Tyer for a brief private meeting at City Hall. She left the offices and proceeded to the Onota Building with the mayor, City Council President Peter Marchetti 1Berkshire CEO Jonathan Butler, Downtown Pittsfield Inc. President Jesse Cook-Dubin, and Alfred "A.J" Enchill Jr. from state Sen. Adam Hinds' office.   At the Onota building, she met with Louis Allegrone, of Allegrone


The Independent Investor: 'Watch the Gap Please'
By Bill Schmick,
05:13PM / Thursday, February 16, 2017

If you haven't realized it by now, Medicare has a lot of "gaps" in its coverage. In order to close that gap, various private insurance companies offer plans that cover a lot of out-of-pocket costs — for a price.

Bare-bones Medicare coverage can leave you with some steep medical bills. As we discussed in our last column, if you are admitted to the hospital, for example, your first bill will tally $1,216 or more, which is the deductible you pay just for being admitted. After that, you pay 20 percent of the fee for every doctor visit, lab test, MRI, X-Ray and on and on. Remember, too, that there is no yearly limit for what you may have to pay beyond your basic Medicare


Biz Briefs: Young People Start to Work on Their Own Businesses
04:59PM / Monday, February 13, 2017

Planning on business: The business planning program for young people, which is presented by BerkShares in partnership with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network's Berkshire Regional Office and in collaboration with Berkshire Community College's South County Center, has involved community members as mentors, teachers, and advisors for young entrepreneurs over the past two years. On Jan. 25, this year's program started off with a whole new level of community involvement.
Students in the program, who range in age from 14 to 27, are asked to write business plans that address gaps in the local economy, meeting needs for basic goods and services that we


BCC Announces Fall Semester Dean's List
02:55PM / Monday, February 13, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College has announced the Dean's List for the fall 2016 semester.

Dean's List status is awarded to full-time students who have declared a major; completed a minimum of 12 non-repeated, traditionally graded credit hours during the fall semester; and achieved a 3.250 to 3.749 grade point average for Honors, or a 3.750 to 4.000 grade point average for High Honors.

The following 80 students qualified for High Honors:



Canaan: Jackson P. Karpicz



Adams: Colleen M. Baker, Aaron R. Biros, Enrique F. Bouvier, and Jeremy R. Patterson      

Becket: Alexys J.


Berkshires Beat: Displays at North Adams Public Library Tell Story of the Hoosic River Revival
02:32PM / Monday, February 13, 2017

It's a revival: The Hoosic River Revival's vision is to revitalize the Hoosic River, maintain current levels of flood protection and bring the river back as an asset to the residents of North Adams. The North Adams Public Library is currently featuring two displays to learn about the history of the Hoosic River and the Hoosic River Revival's vision for the south branch of the river.

The first floor display includes information about the history of the flood chutes in North Adams and an artist rendering that invites residents to "imagine a revitalized Hoosic River." Also on display are examples of river restorations in other parts of the country that have reconnected


Coalition Forum Focuses on Housing Insecurity in North County
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:19AM / Monday, February 13, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Around 75 people came to the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition monthly forum on Friday to talk about homelessness.

But first, they had to take a quiz.

And the answers to those questions were a sobering lesson in the extent of the problem of housing insecurity in Northern Berkshire County.

According to slides presented that were based on data from Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority, for example, 33 percent of people in Berkshire County are renters; that number jumps to 48 percent in North Adams and 41 percent in Adams, while Williamstown numbers match the county average. Of those renters, more than half — 56 percent — fall into the

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Monster Snowstorm Headed for Berkshires; School Closings Coming
Staff Reports,
10:30AM / Sunday, February 12, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The third storm in a week is expected to dump a foot or more of snow on the Berkshires over Sunday and Monday. A foot or more of snow fell over Sunday and Monday, closing or delaying schools and offices across the region.

Call ahead to your destination to ensure it is open


* Adams Library and COA are closed today; Town Hall is open

* Paint and Chat at Mohawk Forest Community Center has been canceled

Fire Departments are asking residents to clear out hydrants to make sure they are accessible. Home and business owners are required to clear sidewalks in front of their properties within 24 hours of a storm.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a


@theMarket: Stock Markets at Historical Highs
By Bill Schmick,
04:16PM / Friday, February 10, 2017

The bears headed for cover this week as all three U.S. indexes made new, all-time highs. That's a good sign and augers well for even more upside ahead.

Credit goes to President Trump and his tweets once again. This time, his promises to address tax reform within the next few weeks had the Algos (algorithmic computer software traders) hitting the "buy" buttons on their machines.

Investors (if there is still such a thing) had been worried that Trump and the GOP would get bogged down in Obamacare repeal and immigration issues. If so, that would be a major distraction and might mean that tax reform and fiscal spending would be pushed back to next year or even later. The tweet


Letter: Quitting Smoking the 'Perfect Valentine's Gift'
Letter to the Editor,
01:00PM / Friday, February 10, 2017

To the Editor:

The Perfect Valentine's Gift: Help Your Loved One Quit Smoking

February is American Heart Month, so before you think about what kind of flowers or type of candy to buy for Valentine's Day, choose the valentine that is better than any box of chocolates or bouquet of expensive red roses: show your love by supporting your sweetheart in quitting smoking.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, smoking is a leading cause of heart disease. Smoking leads to the narrowing of blood vessels and high blood pressure. Quitting smoking greatly improves heart health.

Give Valentine's Day new meaning by helping your loved one become a nonsmoker. If your sweetheart


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