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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Williamstown Commons COVID-19 Casualties Rise
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
11:42AM / Wednesday, April 08, 2020
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit Williamstown Commons hard, with a total of 12 deaths reported as of Tuesday.   The total number of deaths in the state jumped to 356 with 96 new deaths reported from over the weekend and Monday. The total for Berkshire County is now 18, two-thirds of those from Williamstown Commons.   The numbers have risen sharply since the first death reported at the long-term care and rehabilitation center on March 29. Thirty-three residents have now tested positive. A second facility in the Berkshire Healthcare family, Fairview Commons in Great Barrington, also has turned up five COVID-19 positive cases.    The

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Caring for Those Who Provide Care: Frontline Workers Receive, Need Support
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
10:46AM / Tuesday, April 07, 2020
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Any death in a facility like the Williamstown Commons nursing home hits home for the caregivers who make the facility possible.   The 10 recent deaths in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic have been particularly painful.   "For folks who work in nursing homes, this is where [the patients live]," said Lisa Gaudet, a spokesperson for Berkshire Health Systems, which operates the 180-bed facility. "These staffs have a lot of relationships with these people. They know their families. They know their histories.   "It's also very hard for the families who can't go in and be with their loved ones."   And when deaths

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Miss Hall's School Head's List and Honor Roll
09:54AM / Tuesday, April 07, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall's School has announced 51 local students among the 148 students schoolwide named to the Head's List and Honor Roll for the first semester, which ended Jan. 17.

For Head's List recognition, students must have taken five major, full-credit courses and must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 92, with no single grade below B-plus.

For Honor Roll recognition, students must have taken five major, full-credit courses and must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 86, with no single grade below B-minus.

Head's List

Grade 12: Ella Biancolo, Emily Carmel and Angela Guachione, Pittsfield; Meredith (Mere) Hall, Adams; Ria Kedia,

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CARES Act Offers Help for Investors, Small Businesses
Submitted by Edward Jones,
09:17AM / Tuesday, April 07, 2020

As we go through the coronavirus crisis, we are all, first and foremost, concerned about the health of our loved ones and communities. But the economic implications of the virus have also weighed heavily on our minds. 

However, if you're an investor or a business owner, you just got some help from Washington – and it could make a big difference, at least in the short term, for your financial future. Specifically, the passage of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act offers, among other provisions, the following:

* Expanded unemployment benefits: The CARES Act provides $250 billion for extended unemployment insurance, expands eligibility and

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Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Responds to COVID-19 Crisis
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:00AM / Tuesday, April 07, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- No one could have foreseen the exact nature or timing of a global pandemic, but some of the infrastructure put in place by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has helped area communities deal with the COVID-19 crisis.   On Thursday, BRPC Executive Director Tom Matuszko told the agency's executive committee that one of its initiatives was able to quickly pivot to addressing the fallout from the novel coronavirus.   "Through the Berkshire Public Health Alliance, in tandem with Tri-Town Health, local public health in the Berkshires were in a strong position to immediately respond," Matuszko wrote in his report to the board.   In the

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MCLA Moves Students Online But Still Plans Commencement
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
12:50AM / Tuesday, April 07, 2020
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Like so many college and universities across the nation, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts has had to quickly restructure its spring semester and cancel all of its sports and activities.   But what it isn't going to do is force the class of 2020 to forgo its commencement ceremonies.   President Jamie Birge on Thursday confirmed to the board of trustees what he'd written weeks before on the college's website: some way, some how there would be a presentation of diplomas.   "I can tell you we will have commencement, but we don't know the date of that yet," he said during the call-in meeting of the trustees. "We will

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Governor Announces COVID-19 Relief Fund, Testing Facility for WMass
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:30PM / Monday, April 06, 2020
BOSTON — A COVID-19 testing facility is expected to be up and running in West Springfield by the end of the week for public safety workers.     The information was provided at Gov. Charlie Baker's daily update on Monday, which also included the announcement of a $13 million Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund to support local foundations and community assets, especially front-line workers during the novel coronavirus pandemic.    The governor had indicated on Sunday the possibility of a testing center Western Massachusetts while speaking at the opening of a drive-through testing center at Gillette Stadium for first-responders. Two drive-through testing

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Bennington Hospital Adds Beds, Infrastructure to Prepare for Surge
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:04AM / Monday, April 06, 2020
BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center had Vermont's first patient to test positive for COVID-19.   But hospital officials knew it would be far from the last.   Since then, the facility has been gearing up for the surge that public health officials nationwide are predicting.   "We actually had plans in place, like most hospitals, prior to the pandemic as to how we would tackle a surge need, whether from a disaster or an infectious outbreak," said Dr. Trey Dobson, an emergency department physician and SVMC's chief medical officer.   "We secured additional actual beds — some we shifted from other locations and some we

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Local Real Estate Firm Trying to Support Small Businesses
Staff Reports,
12:33AM / Monday, April 06, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Nocher Realty is lending a helping hand to fellow businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.   "If we don't support them through these unusual times they won’t be there when this all blows over, when business is back to normal we need these shops back in action," owner Jason Nocher said. "Small business is the backbone of the Berkshires."   Nocher Realty has partnered with various businesses throughout Berkshire County including the Corner Lunch and Berkshire Printing & Embroidery.    In many cases, Nocher has purchased something directly from the local business to help sustain and promote it. Like purchasing 50

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Governor Raises Possibility of Testing, Field Hospital in Western Mass
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:10PM / Sunday, April 05, 2020
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Conversations are under way on the possibility of setting up a testing facility in Western Massachusetts for public safety personnel and for an expansion of bed capacity.   Standing outside the new drive-through testing site at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker stressed the need for more testing and tracing capacity for the novel coronavirus.   "Testing capacity in the commonwealth is a major part of our multipronged approach, pushing back against the spread of the virus," he said. "Testing ... helps us determine, not only who's infected but where particularly around the commonwealth, we may have hot spots

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Berkshire Humane Still Caring for Animals Despite Financial Struggles
Staff Reports,
05:22PM / Saturday, April 04, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Humane Society has been forced to change operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic but its and care and support for animals will not waiver.   "We understand that this is a tough time for everyone. We just want people to know that the homeless animals in our care are still getting the same, nurturing level of care that they always do and we are continuing our programs to help pet owners keep pets in their loving homes," Executive Director, John Perreault said. "We appreciate the support the community has given us at this time. We'll work through this together and look forward to better times for both people and the animals

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Walmart Implementing COVID-19 Restrictions
11:48AM / Saturday, April 04, 2020
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Walmart is instituting strict limits on access to its more than 4,700 stores across the nation.    As of Saturday, April 4, the number of customers allowed in store will be limited to five per every 1,000 square feet, or about 20 percent of each store's capacity.   Associates will direct customers to a marked queue at a single-entry door  and they will be admitted one-by-one and counted. Associates and signage will remind customers of the importance of social distancing while they're waiting to enter a store – especially before it opens in the morning.   "While many of our customers have been following the advice of the

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