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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

BCArc Names New Director of Employment Services
12:30PM / Friday, September 18, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire County Arc named Shaun Hall the new Director of Employment Services.    Hall will oversee community-based Employment Services, which include more than 120 Berkshire employers, and the expanding School-to-Career transition services.   The program provides individualized employment services that help people with a wide range of disabilities succeed at work. In turn, employers throughout the Berkshires are afforded a cost-effective way to hire and retain reliable employees.   Hall has led the agency's training department for the past ten years as Director of Staff Development and Training.   Berkshire County Arc provides a broad

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Massdevelopment Announces Funding For Fifth Round of Site Readiness Program
10:10AM / Friday, September 18, 2020
BOSTON, Mass. — The Baker-Polito Administration and MassDevelopment announced the availability of $3 million in funding through the fifth round of the Site Readiness Program.   The Site Readiness Program provides resources to cities, towns, and other entities to help overcome obstacles to developing otherwise prime sites. Municipalities, nonprofit economic development entities, and private-sector businesses can apply for grants to finance land acquisition, feasibility studies, master planning, environmental permitting, site improvements, and other related work.   “The Site Readiness Program is an important part of the state toolkit available to cities and towns, as

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The Retired Investor: Bicycles Sales Are Booming
By Bill Schmick,
05:44PM / Thursday, September 17, 2020
In the age of the pandemic, some industries have thrived. Take the bicycle industry, for example; sales have more than doubled this year, and the only impediment to further growth seems to be the availability of product. Thanks to COVID-19, biking has become a global phenomenon.   The real growth is centered in the metropolitan areas where much of public transportation has been curtailed due to the infectious nature of the virus. In April alone, bicycle industry sales grew by 75 percent to $1 billion year-over-year, according to bike manufacturer, Huffy. Leisure bikes, those that sell for under $200, jumped 203 percent, while mountain bike sales increased 150 percent.   The reason

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Baker: Getting a Flu Shot Shows Support for Health Care Workers
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:55PM / Thursday, September 17, 2020
ROSLINDALE, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday urged Massachusetts residents to get vaccinated for seasonal influenza, and talked about why he trusts the process that will lead to a COVID-19 vaccine — however long that process takes.   Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders visited a CVS pharmacy to receive their flu shots and encourage their fellow Bay Staters to follow suit.   The governor said it is a matter of doing the right thing by the medical professionals who sacrificed to keep Massachusetts safe at the height of the pandemic in March and April.   "I would just say to all of those folks in

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Berkshire Museum Offers Virtual After School Program
12:05PM / Thursday, September 17, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Enrollment for the Berkshire Museum After School program After-School@Home is now open.   The Berkshire Museum will host After-School@Home through the fall and bring lessons on science, history, art, and culture directly to students' homes.    "We realize that remote schooling has changed the way everyone is learning this year, so supporting educators and students is one of our top priorities," Jeff Rodgers, the Berkshire Museum's Executive Director said. "Our after-school programs complement classroom learning, encourage curious kids to explore new ideas, and they also happen to be great fun.”   The first

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State Awards $11.1 Million in Climate Change Funding To Cities And Towns
09:17AM / Thursday, September 17, 2020
FITCHBURG, Mass. — Continuing investment in climate change resiliency, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $11.1 million in grants to cities and towns through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program.   This announcement brings total state investment in climate change resilience through the MVP program to over $44 million since 2017. The popular grant and designation program provides communities with funding and technical support to identify climate hazards, develop strategies to improve resilience, and implement priority actions to adapt to climate change. The grants were announced by Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito in Fitchburg as

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Berkshire United Way Teams Up With Ready4K
08:59AM / Thursday, September 17, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire United Way (BUW) and Northern Berkshire United Way (NBUW) have partnered with Ready4K to provide Berkshire families with educational facts and on their cell phones.    To support early childhood education, BUW and NBUW have teamed up with Ready4K to help support early childhood education through a text messaging program.   According to BUW and NBUW, based on research conducted in a recent 2019 Early Childhood Assessment and Sustainability report, Civitas Strategies found that bolstering the services available to directly serve parents and caregivers has the greatest potential to positively influence the overall well-being of the family unit

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Ventfort Hall Announces New Board Members And Board Of Director Changes
02:21PM / Wednesday, September 16, 2020
LENOX, Mass. — The Board of Directors of Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum elected two new officers.   The Board of directors voted at their annual meeting on Friday, Aug. 21 to elect two new officers: Susan Moyle Lynch of Troy, N.Y. as Secretary/Clerk and Karen Spies of Lenox as Treasurer.    Officers re-elected were Kelly Blau of Pittsfield, President an Holly Dobbins of Lenox, Vice President.   Joining the board are new members Kate Baisley of Lee, Geoffrey Brown of Lenox and Helen Charboneau of Pittsfield. Kate Baisley is also a volunteer docent at Ventfort Hall. Helen Charboneau, who recently retired and relocated to Pittsfield, was formerly the IT

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State Awards Grants to Support Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership
02:06PM / Wednesday, September 16, 2020
ROWE, Mass. — The Baker-Polito Administration announced $225,000 in grant funding to eight municipalities and a regional economic development organization to support forest stewardship and conservation, trail improvements, and nature-based tourism in the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership region.     The funding builds upon the Commonwealth's Shared Stewardship Agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, which established a framework for partnerships between local governments and stakeholders to advance the goals of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership (MTWP) to conserve forests and enhance regional economic

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Lions Clubs International Donates $10K to BMC's COVID Fund
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Correspondent
12:43PM / Wednesday, September 16, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lions Club International gave Berkshire Health Systems a boost in its COVID-19 efforts Tuesday with a $10,000 donation.   The presentation was made by Art McConnell, former governor and club member of the Lions Club District 33Y in Dalton to Jack Henault, director of supply chain and clinical engineering at Berkshire Medical Center.   The funds will go to Berkshire Medical Center's COVID-19 Relief Fund for the purchase of personal protective equipment.   With this donation BMC was able to purchase about 7,800 N95 masks, which are medical grade masks used by health-care workers and first-responders to protect both them and the patient from

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OLLI, 1Berkshire & BIC Launch Transformative Technology Fall Series
09:52AM / Wednesday, September 16, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — 1Berkshire, The Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College (OLLI) announced the launch of "The Impact of Transformational Technologies on Work and Society" series.    This eight-week course of weekly webinars will bring regional, national, and global experts and leaders together to share and discuss key technologies impacting a broad spectrum of individual and societal realms, with a focus on how they impact rural regions like Berkshire County.   "This is a groundbreaking initiative and a creative collaboration that we hope will inspire greater economic and community

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Open Enrollment Choices Can Have Big Financial Impact
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:20PM / Tuesday, September 15, 2020
It’s that time of year again, where, if you work for a medium-to-large employer, you’ve got some decisions to make because it’s open enrollment time. Of course, depending on your situation, you may have been working remotely for a while, but, even so, you will likely have the opportunity to review your benefits package and make changes. And you’ll want to make the right moves because your choices can have a big financial impact on your life.   So, take a close look at these key areas of your benefits program:   •Health insurance – Think about your health care needs over the coming year – will you or someone in your family be coping with a

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