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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Protect Three Key Goals With Life Insurance
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:28AM / Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. And "awareness" is an appropriate designation, because many people remain unaware of the many ways in which life insurance can help families meet their key financial goals. Here are three of the biggest of these objectives, as seen through the eyes of a hypothetical couple, Jim and Joan:

* Pay off mortgage: Jim and Joan have a 30-year mortgage. If one of them dies well before that mortgage is paid off, could the other one afford to keep making payments to remain in the house with the children? It might be quite difficult – many families absolutely need two incomes to pay a mortgage, along with all the other costs of living. At

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County Curtains Board Recommends Closure: 175 Jobs Could Be Lost
Staff Reports,
05:19PM / Tuesday, September 12, 2017
LEE, Mass. — County Curtains is likely to close, putting 175 local workers out of a job.   On Tuesday, the company released a statement saying that after several years of effort to sell it or improve sales, the board of directors is recommending a liquidation of the bedding and home decor supplier and related operations. That liquidation process needs to be approved by the more than 300 company shareholders on Oct. 4.   "This has been a heartbreaking decision, but the board is confident that it is in the best interests of our shareholders –including our ESOP and our employee participants," said CEO Celia Clancy in a prepared statement.   "The

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Berkshires Beat: New Art Exhibit Now Open in SVHC Corridor Gallery
01:15PM / Monday, September 11, 2017

Art in the halls: Southwestern Vermont Health Care's Corridor Gallery welcomes a new exhibit by Dr. Stuart DuBoff and his wife Shelli DuBoff. The show features paintings by Ms. DuBoff and photographs by Dr. DuBoff. Dr. DuBoff is an ophthalmologist at Advanced Eye Care. He has been practicing medicine for 45 years and is affiliated with Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. Both artists concentrate on subjects related to Cuba and Latin America.

The pieces in this exhibit are for sale. Proceeds benefit the artists and the SVHC Auxiliary, which has given more than $1 million to support services and equipment upgrades to SVHC over the past 20 years.

In addition to the Corridor Gallery,

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Biz Briefs: Greylock App Connects Members With Local Discounts, Perks
12:23PM / Monday, September 11, 2017

ChaChing: Greylock Federal Credit Union has introduiced its new ChaChing app. The new free app works on Greylock members' smartphones alerting them to a variety of perks, benefits and discounts available at a range of merchants around Berkshire County. Using the GPS on member's phones, ChaChing sends mobile alerts off­ering instant discounts whenever they are near participating merchants.

Here's an example of how ChaChing works: If a Greylock Member with the app on their phone walks by a participating coffee shop, they might get a pop up notice on their phone saying they can save on their next coffee. Or, if they are near a participating restaurant, they may get a pop up

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'Tulip Fever': When Speculation Was in Bloom
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
06:24PM / Friday, September 08, 2017
A fascinating backdrop for an intricate if not convoluted, seriocomic love story that could have very well been written by Nöel Coward gives director Justin Chadwick's "Tulip Fever" an arthouse cachet. But while patience is a virtue, the esoteric appeal of this costumed affair set in 17th-century Holland may require more virtue than the general moviegoer wishes to expend. All the same, for those unfamiliar with the financial frenzy that speculation in tulip bulbs created during the era in question, its intrigue deserves a study even if you pass on seeing the film.   Viewed in a greater, historical perspective, not unlike the frantic rush by everyday Americans to play

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@theMarket: Markets Brace for the Weekend
By Bill Schmick,
04:33PM / Friday, September 08, 2017
Usually, the weekend is a time when traders try to relax, reduce stress, and prepare for the coming week's markets. This weekend will be an exception to that rule. Just about everyone is focused on the latest news of Hurricane Irma's landfall in southern Florida tomorrow and into Sunday.    Over in Southeast Asia, analysts are also expecting North Korea to fire off yet another missile. Exactly where and when is up in the air.   As if that were not enough, an earthquake and Hurricane Jose both hit Mexico simultaneously last night causing quite a lot of damage. Investors have no idea what economic impact these natural disasters will have on the North American economy.

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MountainOne Names Head of Investment and Community Banking Teams
01:26PM / Friday, September 08, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. &mndash; Lynn Sullivan has been appointed president of MountainOne Investments and senior vice president of Community Banking and Cash Management Sales.

"I am excited to have Lynn join MountainOne," said Robert Fraser, MountainOne president and CEO. "Her background and past accomplishments will serve us well as she works to expand MountainOne Investments and enhance our retail banking business. Lynn's professional experience, which spans from community banking to regional banking and, most recently, a money center institution, will be key as we grow these business lines and seek to provide meaningful financial solutions to customers."

Prior

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BMC Files Unfair Labor Practice Complaint Against Nursing Union
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:43AM / Friday, September 08, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The hospital has fired back at the MNA with its own complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.   Berkshire Health Systems is alleging that the nurses' union is not bargaining in good faith and is "surface bargaining" — a term used to describe negotiating without trying to actually reach a settlement.   The local chapter of the Massachusetts Nursing Association and Berkshire Medical Center's administration has been hit a gridlock in negotiations after nearly a year of sessions.    "We have met with the union nearly 30 times over the past 12 months," said Berkshire Health Systems Vice President for Human

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The Independent Investor: America, the Battered
By Bill Schmick,
06:30PM / Thursday, September 07, 2017
Extreme weather and other climate disasters appear to be occurring far more frequently than we would like. The loss of life and economic damage also seem to be increasing. But does the data support those opinions, and if it does, what price do we pay for all of these perfect storms?   Long-time readers may recall my columns of four and five years ago, where I examined the price tag the world (and the U.S.) pays for weather-related disasters. Given the fact that we are between hurricanes (Harvey has departed Texas, while Irma bears down on Florida); it may be a good time to educate new readers on the economic cost; not to mention the loss of life.   In 2016, the U.S. suffered twice

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Congressman Neal Holding Town Hall in Pittsfield
11:37AM / Thursday, September 07, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal will host a Town Hall forum on Friday, Sept. 15, at Berkshire Community College's Robert Boland Theater.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the program will begin at 5:30.

Berkshire Community College President Ellen Kennedy will be on hand to welcome visitors to campus. Following an update about Washington, D.C., constituents will have the opportunity to ask questions of the 1st Massachusetts congressman regarding federal issues.

Neal is the ranking member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives. As the top Democrat, he advocates for the preservation and strengthening of such issues as health

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HospiceCare Offers Grief Support Groups
01:27PM / Wednesday, September 06, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - HospiceCare in the Berkshires is hosting a new round of support groups across Berkshire County.

For more information on any of the groups, call 413-443-2994.

A weekly support group runs Tuesdays from Sept. 5 through Oct. 24 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at HospiceCare in the Berkshires, 877 South St. This grouup is open to anyone who experienced any loss.

A free monthly drop-in support group for those who are grieving the loss of any loved one is held the second Wednesday of each month from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Dalton Senior Center, 40 Field St. Ext. The next meeting is Sept. 13.

A group called "New to Grief: What to Expect," a free informational meeting to learn

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Brighten Your Grandchildren's Financial Future
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:01PM / Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Mother's Day and Father's Day may get more attention, but National Grandparents Day, observed on Sept. 10, has gained in popularity. If you're a grandparent, you might expect to receive some nice cards, but if you want to make the day especially meaningful, you may want to consider giving some long-lasting financial gifts to your grandchildren.

What might come to mind first, of course, is helping your grandchildren pay for college. You can choose from several college savings vehicles, but you may be especially interested in a 529 savings plan. With a 529 plan, your earnings accumulate tax free, provided they are used for qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition,

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