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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Work to Achieve Your Financial Independence
Submitted by Edward Jones,
09:51AM / Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Over the past few months, just about everyone has felt the loss of some type of freedom, whether it's being able to travel, engage in social gatherings or participate in other activities we previously took for granted. 

Still, as we prepare to observe Independence Day, it's comforting to realize all the freedoms we still have in this country. And taking the right steps can also help you achieve your financial independence.

Here are some moves to consider:

• Build an emergency fund. It's a good idea to create an emergency fund consisting of three to six months' worth of living expenses, with the money held in a liquid, low-risk account. With this fund in place, you

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Williams College Announces Plan for Return of Classes
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
10:21AM / Monday, June 29, 2020

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College on Monday morning announced that students will be welcomed back to campus beginning in August for a semester of " 'hybrid' courses that blend in-person and remote instruction."

In a 3,400-hundred word letter to the college community, President Maud S. Mandel explained that the college's faculty and administration have designed a return from the spring's campus closure that aligns with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   Students will be allowed to choose to take the year off with no penalty, and the college has lowered the number of

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Dalton CRA Summer Sports Leagues Registration Extended
10:06AM / Saturday, June 27, 2020

DALTON, Mass. — Registration for the Dalton Community Recreation Association summer sports leagues — soccer, softball and baseball — has been extended through Monday, June 29. 

In addition to youth programs, the CRA has added teams through grade 12 to allow high school students who missed their spring sports season a chance to get on the field. 

Summer leagues registration is open to all Berkshire County youth. Fees vary by league and the CRA will not require an annual youth membership fee for the summer sports leagues. To register, visit the CRA at 400 Main St., Dalton, during business hours as follows: Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon, and Monday, 8 a.m.

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@theMarket: The Virus Versus the Fed
By Bill Schmick,
05:22PM / Friday, June 26, 2020
Bulls and bears are in a tussle. Market averages reflect the battle that is moving stocks down, up, and then sideways throughout the week. It is a phase where investors are in a data-dependent mood and the data isn't all that good.   The bears are watching the COVID-19 cases climb higher every day, which threatens to trash their expectations for a "V" shaped recovery. The bulls, meanwhile, aren't too worried. They are banking on the Federal Reserve Bank's promises to keep pouring added stimulus support into the financial markets just in case the virus pushes the economy further toward the brink.   It did not have to be this way.    A few months ago,

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Rain, Thunderstorms Predicted This Weekend
04:56PM / Friday, June 26, 2020

Strong storms are expected over the Northeast this weekend, bringing the possibility of hail and damaging winds.

The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., says there's a chance of thunderstorms later in the day Saturday for much of Berkshires and eastern New York. This is part of a weather front currently over the Midwest.

The NWS Storm Prediction Center put the potential for damaging weather as marginal to slight risk on Saturday and marginal for Sunday.

Accuweather grades the storm potential somewhat greater, predicting torrential downpours, high winds and hail.

The storm system could shift to the south but the Berkshires would still likely get rain during the afternoon on

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'The Remains of the Day': What the Butler Didn't See
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:04PM / Friday, June 26, 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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The Retired Investor: Corporate Debt & the U.S. government
By Bill Schmick,
11:12AM / Friday, June 26, 2020
The pandemic and its impact on the American economy required a drastic response from both the federal government and the Federal Reserve Bank. One of the most controversial, but necessary, steps taken by the Fed was to not only purchase private-sector debt, but implicitly guarantee that debt.   In addition, both fiscal and monetary stimulus has been pouring into the economy in an effort to defend jobs and stave off bankruptcy for thousands of small businesses. While some worry about the inflationary effects this may have down the road, the attitude of most economists is that we will worry about that later, if it becomes a problem.   In my last column, I explained that as far as

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Doctors Back Up State's Guidance for School Reopening
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:30PM / Thursday, June 25, 2020

Dr. Lloyd Fisher, a pediatrician, discusses the reasoning behind some of the health measures recommended for reopening schools this fall. BOSTON, Mass. — All over the world, temporal thermometers are part of the strategy for reopening economies from the COVID-19 pandemic.   But they will not do much good when it comes to reopening schoolhouse doors, Gov. Charlie Baker said on Thursday.   The commonwealth came very close to requiring daily temperature checks for students returning to school in the fall, but ultimately decided against the move because those checks would not yield any useful information, he said.   "With kids, there are way too many false

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State Issues Guidance for Return of School in the Fall
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:12PM / Thursday, June 25, 2020
BOSTON — The state is recommending schools maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet and require masks for staff and children in Grade 2 and above.   And districts are required to create plans to start the school year in three different scenarios: in-person learning, remote learning and a hybrid model that could see students alternating in-person instruction on a daily or weekly basis.   The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Thursday released its first round of reopening guidance for the commonwealth's primary and secondary schools.   "Continued isolation poses very real risks to our kids mental and physical health, and to their

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Chesterwood Grounds to Open on July 2
11:40AM / Thursday, June 25, 2020

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Chesterwood will open its 51st season on July 2, through online, pre-paid, timed parking passes, Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Two-hour passes can be reserved online for 10 a.m., noon or 2 p.m. The entry fee is $20 per car and visitors can download maps and self-guided tours of the formal gardens, landscape, hiking trails and woodland walk, which currently features the contemporary sculpture of Rick and Laura Brown. All current Friends of Chesterwood can reserve their free parking passes through the online booking system as well.

Picnics on the grounds are encouraged with a carry in, carry out policy. Chesterwood will follow all the safety

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Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Southern Section to Reopen; Northern Section to Close
09:48AM / Thursday, June 25, 2020

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The southern section of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail will be re-opened to the public beginning on Saturday, June 27, which includes access to the Berkshire Mall Connector Road parking lots.  

Meanwhile, on Monday, June 29, the northern section of the trail will temporary close to the public in order to facilitate Phase II of the resurfacing project that is upgrading an 11-mile section of the trail. The closure of the northern section is anticipated to be in place through October 2020. During the closure, there will be no public access to the northern section or travel allowed from Church Street in Cheshire north to the Visitors Center in Adams.

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Child Care Leader Recognized by State Women's Commission
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:29AM / Thursday, June 25, 2020

Jane Winn, seen in this file photo, was also nominated as a Commonwealth Heroine for her environmental efforts.  WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The COVID-19 pandemic presented unheard of challenges for non-profit service agencies.   North Adams-based Child Care of the Berkshires faced more issues than many. But it had a leader who was more than up to the task.   "It is one thing to handle an $1.8 million construction project but to do it during a pandemic with a staff working remotely … it's been remarkable the way she has been able to keep up the morale, keep up the energy and keep the contact with some of the most vulnerable people in the county,"

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