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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

High School Baseball Umpire Classes Offered
Community submission,
11:43AM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
PITTFIELD, Mass. -- The Berkshire County Baseball Umpires Association announces the start of classes for prospective candidates who wish to officiate high school baseball in Berkshire County.   The first class will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Italian American Club at 203 Newell St. in Pittsfield. There will be six classes and the exam fee is $45.   For more information contact Don Singleton at 413-884-4353 or Rich Pothier at 413-652-2372.

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Berkshire Force Softball Sets Tryout Dates for Travel Teams
Community submission,
11:31AM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
PITTSFIELD – The Pittsfield Girls Softball League has announced tryout dates for the U14 and U16 Berkshire Force travel teams.   Players interested in the under-14 team are eligible if they have a birth year of 2004 or younger. Players interested in U16 are eligible if they have a birth year of 2002 or younger. Players must attend at least one tryout. Dates and locations are as follows:   Saturday, Feb. 2, at Reid Middle School, 950 North St.: 9:30 a.m., registration for U14. 10 a.m. to noon, tryouts for U14. Noon to 12:30 p.m. registration for U16. 12:30 to 2:30, tryouts for U16.   Wednedsay, Feb. 6, at Conte Community School, 200 West Union St.: 5:30 to 7 p.m.,

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MCLA Opens 125th Year With New Strategies, Initiatives
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:31PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

President James Birge pulls tickets for some gift certificates as a thank you to the attendees.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Some legislators are calling it the "year of education" but for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, it's not about one year but about 125 years of education.

The college will celebrate its quasquicentennial in 2019 with a series of events, exhibitations, signage and celebrations. President Jamie Birge announced the anniversary along with other college news as the spring semester kickoff breakfast held in the Centennial Room on Tuesday morning.

Established in 1894 as the North Adams Normal School to train teachers, the college has gone through a

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Biz Briefs: Berkshire Gas, Avangrid Foundation Supports Girls Inc. STEM Program
01:55PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Eureka! moments

The Girls Inc. Eureka! program at the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center has received continued support from the Avangrid Foundation, in partnership with Berkshire Gas. Eureka! brings girls in the Berkshires a unique opportunity to explore STEM-related subjects through intensive, hands-on programming over five years.

The first Eureka! cohort was launched in July 2018, made up of 14 girls entering eighth grade. The girls immersed themselves in a four-week summer experience studying a range of STEM subjects including physics, biology and environmental science with area professors from Berkshire Community College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on site at

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Dentist Joins CHP Family Dental in Great Barrington
12:13PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Deepak Nainal, DMD, MBA, has joined CHP Family Dental in Great Barrington at 343 Main St.

Nainal is a 2018 graduate of the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine; he completed his residency program at Goldman School of Dental Medicine Clinic. He also earned an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology, and he holds a bachelor's degree in dental surgery from Maharishi Markandeshwar University in Haryana, India.

Nainal's practice includes general dentistry, restorations, crowns and bridges, removable partial and complete dentures, root canal therapy and periodontal treatment. He is fluent in Hindi and Punjabi.

For

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Redefining Good Health - And Good Health Care
By Lia Spiliotes,
12:08PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A federal court ruling in December declaring that ACA unconstitutional raised yet another alarm-raiser for Obamacare customers around the country. Again, in the delicate realm of subsidized insurance, ACA customers were asking: Should I reapply? Is the ACA dead?  Will my coverage be canceled?

For now, the foreseeable future, the ACA remains the law of the land as this latest upheaval makes its way through the courts. Obamacare has withstood numerous challenges and two Supreme Court appeals, so advocates recommend people stay the course and get covered. During the recent enrollment period, which ended Jan. 23 in Massachusetts, our insurance counselors at Community Health Programs

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Are You Prepared for a Natural Disaster?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:57AM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The year ahead offers new opportunities and experiences. But as you make plans throughout 2019, be mindful of the things that can derail those plans – such as the natural disasters that affected so many families in 2018. Every area around the country is subject to natural disasters, whether they're wildfires, hurricanes or tornadoes. How can you prepare for them?

Here are a few suggestions:

Maintain adequate insurance. It's a good idea to review your homeowners insurance at least annually to ensure it's still providing the protection you need. And make sure you know exactly what your policy covers in terms of natural disasters. You will also want to review your life and

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Hinds Rolling Out 'Rural Agenda' In New Legislative Session
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Tuesday, January 22, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Adam Hinds is pushing a "rural agenda" in the new legislative term.   The Pittsfield Democrat is filing more than 60 bills, many of which are aimed at helping small rural areas. While he represents the Berkshires' only two cities, the bulk of his constituents reside in 50 towns spread over three counties. They have an average population of 1,900, ranging from Adams' at 8,200 people to Monroe with only 95.   "We really go through with what are we doing for a rural jobs act, trying to take away a lot of the problems that our towns face like PILOT payments, trying to get a PILOT commission. We are stick with the volunteer

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Berkshires Beat: Clark Art Institute Launches Free Snowshoe Program
01:53PM / Monday, January 21, 2019
Now that there's snow

The Clark Art Institute has launched a new snowshoe program to encourage exploration of the winter beauty of its Williamstown campus. Project Snowshoe provides visitors with the chance to borrow a pair of snowshoes from the Clark to trek the 140-acre campus during snow season. Details on snowshoe safety are available on the Clark's website.

The Clark has installed a snowshoe rack and benches adjacent to the west side of its Manton Research Center building. Snowshoes are available in three sizes for both adults and children to borrow. Visitors who prefer to use poles are welcome to bring their own. Participants should observe safety precautions, including

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Hoosac Valley's Puppolo Joins DI Ranks
iBerkshires.com Sports,
01:12PM / Monday, January 21, 2019
Hoosac Valley High School graduate Kali Puppolo Saturday signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Manhattan College and play softball for the Division I Jaspers.   Puppolo is in her second year at Herkimer College in New York, where she pitched a team-best 113 innings for the Division III junior college powerhouse.   Puppolo 15-3-1 with a 2.29 ERA for the Generals, who advanced to the title game of the NJCAA DIII National Championship.   Manhattan went 28-25 last spring, advancing to the semi-finals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.   There is a fair amount of local talent already competing at the Division I level this winter.   On the basketball court,

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SNAP Clients to Receive February Benefits Early
11:58AM / Monday, January 21, 2019

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Family Services of Community Health Programs advises SNAP clients that February benefits are being distributed early.

Clients are encouraged to budget this early February payment accordingly, as future benefits may not be reloaded until after the partial government shutdown comes to an end.

SNAP is the federal government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for income-eligible individuals and families. Benefits are administered by the state.

WIC (Women, Infants & Children) benefits will continue and can be accessed as usual. CHP will communicate any WIC updates to clients, as information is available.

Any South County WIC or

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Health Drives Much of Pignatelli's Legislative Agenda
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Monday, January 21, 2019
LENOX, Mass. — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli heard a story about a police officer who had witnessed someone die from an overdose while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.   Not all first-responders carry Narcan, which reverses opioid overdoses, and Pignatelli believes that if that officer's Police Department had it, the person could have lived.    "I am filing a bill that requires all first-responders to carry Narcan. We have this opioid epidemic all throughout Massachusetts and I find that several communities or first-responders do not carry Narcan," Pignatelli said.    "For instance, even locally the state police carry

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