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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Berkshires Beat: Beckett-Chimney Corners YMCA Receives $500 Community Spirit Grant
08:01AM / Saturday, May 16, 2020
Camp grant

Beckett-Chimney Corners YMCA in Becket has been awarded $500 from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation’s Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant program. An employee of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care nominated the organization for the award. Funds will be used to provide scholarships to campers in need. 

To commemorate those Harvard Pilgrim members who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, Harvard Pilgrim and the foundation created the Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant program. This program allows each Harvard Pilgrim employee to award a $500 grant, completely funded by the Foundation, to the local charity of his or her choice each calendar year. Since this community

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@theMarket: Something Off in Bond Versus Stock Market Outlooks
By Bill Schmick,
05:34PM / Friday, May 15, 2020
Given the recent gains in the stock market over the last month or so, it is clear that stock market participants believe that the country will be back on its feet in no time. Over in the fixed income space, it is another story entirely. The question is which market will be right?   The betting in the bond market is that U.S. interest rates are not only going to zero, but there is a high probability that America, like Europe and Japan, will soon see negative rates, as early as next year. Six months ago, that was unthinkable.   On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell gave a virtual speech at the Peterson Institute of International Economics. He said, "The FOMC committee's

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Severe T-Storms, Damaging Winds Moving Through Berkshires
10:20AM / Friday, May 15, 2020

One of the big weather stories on #Friday will be the #severe thunderstorm threat across the Northeast into the Ohio Valley, basically from Boston to Columbus. The main threat from these #thunderstorms will be damaging winds but hail and a tornado or two are also possible. pic.twitter.com/dSXdhQsw05

— National Weather Service (@NWS) May 14, 2020 After two nights of frost, it was 61 degrees on Main Street in North Adams on Thursday night.    You think, ahhh, spring has finally arrived! Warm evenings, buds popping, birds chirping.    Well, the weather is never easy in the Berkshires. Yet another storm front will batter the region with torrential rain and damaging

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Dire Outlook for School Budgets Across Commonwealth
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:36AM / Friday, May 15, 2020

Glenn Koocher of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees testifies before the committee on Wednesday.  BOSTON — School districts across the commonwealth face a "dreadful" situation with regard to their fiscal year 2021 budget, legislators were told on Wednesday.   The Joint Committee on Education took more than four hours of testimony from state education officials, school administrators, teachers, parents and other stakeholders in an virtual oversight hearing on "Remote Learning and the Status of K-12 Education."   Although much of the testimony centered on the commonwealth's and districts' efforts to implement remote

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Berkshire Health Systems Further Reduces Call Line Hours as Usage Falls
10:14PM / Thursday, May 14, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Citing the continuing drop in the number of calls received on a daily basis, Berkshire Health Systems is further reducing the hours for its COVID-19 Nurse Triage Line. For the past month, the hours have been 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Effective Sunday, May 17, the hours will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

During the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Berkshires, the toll-free call line recorded, on average, between 200 and 300 calls per day. That number has dropped to an average of 100 calls per day, with very few calls after 4:30 p.m. 

The call line was developed during the very first days of the pandemic in the Berkshires as a way to

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The Independent Investor: Gold, the Bug, and You
By Bill Schmick,
05:38PM / Thursday, May 14, 2020
If there was ever a time to flee to safety, the Pandemic of 2020 is a great excuse. Stocks tumbled, bounced back, tumbled again. The bond and credit markets have been in disarray. Yet, few have even mentioned the precious metals market as a place to be.   Even writing about gold in this age of Zooming, digital breakthroughs, 5G technology, and the like, seems anarchistic. The precious metal has been relegated to an obscure corner along with conspiracy theories, old warnings, and a small group of goldbugs who trot out "end of the world" warnings on down days in the stock markets.   You usually see these ads to buy gold every time stocks fall 10 percent or more. I imagine

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'The Fountainhead': Magnificent Confusion
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:10PM / Thursday, May 14, 2020

I wish that I were reviewing one of the half-dozen movies certain to be made when this pox upon our house is no more. But until that glorious return to normality has us resuming all the simple joys of life we take for granted, like going to the movies, I'll be retro-reviewing and thereby sharing with you the films that I've come to treasure over the years, most of which can probably be retrieved from one of the movie streaming services. It is my fondest hope that I've barely put a dent into this trove when they let the likes of me back into the

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Westfield State Honors Monterey's Gilderdale
03:10PM / Thursday, May 14, 2020
WESTFIELD, Mass. -– Senior track and field athlete Lauren Gilderdale (Monterey, Mass./Housatonic, Conn., High) and senior volleyball middle hitter Brianna Starkey (Rockland, Mass.) have been honored as the Westfield State University Female Athletes of the Year for the 2019-20 academic year.    Gilderdale has been a key component of the women’s track and field team as the Owls have won four-straight MASCAC women's indoor track and field championships. She won the weight throw event with a college-best throw of 17.25 meters, or 56’ 7.25” at the 2020 MASCAC indoor championships. Gilderdale also qualified for the NCAA Championships 2020 indoor meet, but the

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Baker Sets Goal of 75,000 COVID-19 Tests Daily by Year's End
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:35PM / Thursday, May 14, 2020
BOSTON — Massachusetts has set the ambitious goal of processing testing for COVID-19 to 75,000 tests a day by the end of the year, at least seven times the number currently being done.    Gov. Charlie Baker said testing capacity will be critical to the state's ability to safely reopen for commercial and social activities.    "Important groundwork has been laid to expand lab capacity and testing infrastructure," Baker said at Thursday's pandemic update. "Now we need to build on that foundation, as we continue to fight the virus for the long term."   Overall testing capacity has risen to about 30,000 a day with about 10,000 to 12,000

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Two Trustees Join Hancock Shaker Village Board of Directors
10:30AM / Thursday, May 14, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hancock Shaker Village has appointed two trustees to its board of directors.

Caroline Holland, managing director of Mill Town in Pittsfield, Mass., and William H. Vogt, retired managing director of JP Morgan Chase & Co., join 17 additional members of the board, chaired by Diane Eshleman.

"On behalf of the trustees and staff at Hancock Shaker Village, I want to express my enthusiasm and gratitude about our two new board members," Eshleman said. "We are thrilled to welcome Bill back to our family, as he served as a trustee and energetic board chair for the Village some years ago. Carrie’' experience, combined with her knowledge of the

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Greylock Promotes Two on Business Banking Team
10:13AM / Thursday, May 14, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Greylock Federal Credit Union has promoted two members of its Business Banking Team. Heather King and Chris Barry have been promoted to commercial loan officers.

"Heather and Chris are well known to our business members," Greylock Chief Lending Officer Jodi Rathbun-Briggs said. "They have long been leaders on our team and I am extremely grateful for their expertise and commitment. I am certain that our business members will appreciate their expanded role and support."

King joined Greylock in 2013 and most recently served as a commercial credit analyst. She majored in economics at Mount Holyoke College and lives in Pittsfield with her husband

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WAM Theatre Raises $3,225 with Online Play Reading
10:03AM / Thursday, May 14, 2020

LENOX, Mass. — WAM Theatre's first online play reading raised $3,225 for the BRIDGE COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

The reading of "Campus Unrest," written by WAM Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, was presented via Zoom on Sunday, May 3. More than 180 audience members joined the reading, from around the USA, England, Canada and Germany, and many participated in the talk back with the playwright. 

In line with WAM's mission of donating a portion of all box office proceeds to organizations that work to benefit the lives of women and girls in our Berkshire community and worldwide, the play reading has raised $3,225 for the BRIDGE COVID-19 Emergency Fund so far.

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