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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

DA's Office Ready to Field Election Day Complaints
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
01:52AM / Monday, November 02, 2020

District Attorney Andrea Harrington PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local officials expect a peaceful Election Day but they're not taking any chances.   The Berkshire District Attorney's Office is collaborating with the Attorney General's Office, local law enforcement, and local election officials to ensure that voters have a safe and orderly experience.     Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington said she has assigned a lead prosecutor to work with the Attorney General Maura Healey's Election Protection Task Force to field reports of voter intimidation, interference, or disorderly conduct at the polls.   Residents are asked to report of any

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Dig Out the Snow Shovels: Storms Could Drop 3-8 Inches
05:30PM / Sunday, November 01, 2020
Mother Nature's dusting of snow and ice over Halloween just wasn't scary enough. Now she's getting more serious with a strong chance of up to 8 inches over the next two days.    The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., has issued a winter weather advisory from 7 p.m. on Sunday through Tuesday morning with snow accumulations ranging from 3 to 8 inches in Southern Vermont and the Northern Berkshire.   Reminder: Winter Parking Bans go into effect beginning Sunday for most communities in the Berkshires. That means no overnight parking on the street and no parking on the street during snowstorms so that plows can get through. Violators may find their vehicles

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Weekly Zoom Call Supports Immigrant Pittsfield Residents
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
10:28AM / Sunday, November 01, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Twenty to 30 Spanish-speaking residents are connecting each week through a virtual coffee hour.    Under new Lead Organizer Dondei Dean, Berkshire Interfaith Organizing has been hosting the two-hour conversation space, called Cafecito, that is working toward getting communications from Pittsfield Public Schools translated into Spanish.   Cafecito was planned as an in-person meeting until COVID-19 hit. It was then converted to a virtual meeting in the form of a Zoom call.   "Because there was such a need for connection and community, especially at the beginning of the pandemic," Dean said. "Cafecito really took

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Berkshire Grown Awarded $68K to Support Local Farmers
12:30PM / Saturday, October 31, 2020
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration awarded $500,000 in grants to regional Buy Local organizations across the Commonwealth for projects that will support the agricultural industries in Massachusetts.    These organizations work to generate consumer awareness and demand for locally grown food products while improving logistical access to these important food sources.   In Berkshire County, Berkshire Grown of Great Barrington received $67,719 to support farmers and food access in the time of COVID-19 with consumer-supportive winter farmers markets, increased recognition of Massachusetts agriculture, and strengthen the business enterprise of local

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BAAMS Offering Free Online Music Lessons
08:23AM / Saturday, October 31, 2020

ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshires' Academy for Advanced Musical Studies is offering a free online after school program for all Berkshire County music students ages 12-18. 

 

The Berkshires' Academy for Advanced Musical Studies (BAAMS) is offering eBAAMS this fall and Berkshire county students can access online instrumental lessons with BAAMS faculty.

 

"We have been working closely with a small group of Berkshire County student musicians for the past month with great success," Richard Boulger, BAAMS co-founder and executive director said. "We are really excited now to offer free online access for all Berkshire County music students ages

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The Zombie Pig, and Other Tales of Cabbage Stalk Night
By Joe Durwin, Special to iBerkshires
06:05AM / Saturday, October 31, 2020

A North Adams Transcript headline from 1901 PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It's a variant of a tradition known by other names around the country — Devil's Night, Mischief Night, Corn Night — practiced in select areas around the eastern United States, and particularly  concentrated in a thin slice of rural New England: cabbage night, cabbage stump night, or cabbage stalk night.     This last variation of the name appears to be distinct to the Berkshires, North County in particular. Originally dating back to the before the mid-1800s, in a time when almost everyone grew some produce on their property, youths would run amok pulling up cabbages and

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SBA Seeks Nominations for Committee On Veterans Business Affairs
02:11PM / Friday, October 30, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Small Business Administration seeks member nominations from veteran-owned small businesses and veterans service organizations to serve on the Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs (ACVBA).

 

Public Law 106-50, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999, established the ACVBA to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the SBA Administrator, the Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development, Congress, the President, and other U.S. policymakers.

 

Committee members meet quarterly to address the current state of veteran-owned small businesses

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Berkshire South’s Gala Raised $90,000
02:00PM / Friday, October 30, 2020
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.— Berkshire South's Gala Raised $90,000 and awarded the Annual Edwin A. Jaffe Award to staff who met community needs during the pandemic   On Oct. 29 the Southern Berkshire community supported the work of their community center. Berkshire South Regional Community Center's first-ever distanced fundraising gala, Together Apart, raised $90,000 toward Community, Family and Youth Programming.    "As a human services organization, Berkshire South has been called upon to activate our mission in more meaningful ways than ever before," Jenise Lucey, executive director said. "We are beyond grateful for our community, beyond grateful

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Health Connector Open Enrollment Starts Sunday
01:58PM / Friday, October 30, 2020

BOSTON — Open Enrollment through the Massachusetts Health Connector start on Nov. 1, which means people who are currently paying for COBRA coverage or are uninsured can start looking for new, affordable health insurance starting Sunday.

 

The Health Connector is the state-based health insurance exchange, offering commercial plans to people who do not get coverage through their employer or other sources. The Health Connector offers subsidized plans to those who are income-eligible through the ConnectorCare program, which offers lower premiums and co-pays, and no-deductibles to those enrolling in a plan.

 

"At this time, more than ever, people need access to quality,

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Pittsfield Behavioral Health Provider Receives Award
11:35AM / Friday, October 30, 2020
NATICK, Mass.— Rebecca Phelps-Smith of the Brien Center received am Association for Behavioral Healthcare's Exceptional Leadership Award   The Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH) recognized its 2020 award recipients at its annual Salute to Excellence event on Oct 16, and this year, Rebecca Phelps-Smith, Acute Services Division Director and emergency services program (ESP) clinician for the Brien Center, received the Exceptional Leadership Award.   Each year, ABH, a statewide organization representing over 80 community-based behavioral healthcare provider organizations, recognizes individuals and groups that have made impressive contributions to the field of

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DPU Assessing Future of Natural Gas in Massachusetts
08:14AM / Friday, October 30, 2020
BOSTON — The Department of Public Utilities issued an order opening an investigation into the role of local natural gas distribution companies in the future of the Commonwealth's energy portfolio following the Baker-Polito Administration's determination of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as Massachusetts' legal emissions limit for 2050.    As part of the investigation, the DPU will assess the role of gas companies in ensuring a low-carbon future and explore strategies that enable the Commonwealth to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while safeguarding ratepayer interests and securing safe, reliable, and affordable natural gas

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The Retired Investor: Food Faces Escalating Prices
By Bill Schmick,
04:18PM / Thursday, October 29, 2020

It has been a long time coming. Commodities have been in the doghouse for years, but a combination of events are conspiring to lift the prices of soft commodities much higher.

A definition of soft commodities refers to future contracts of substances that are grown, rather than extracted or mined. We know them best as food and fiber commodities, such as wheat or lumber.    Shortages are occurring in everything from soybeans to wheat and it is not just in the United States. Readers might immediately think to blame the pandemic for this trend. You would be only partially correct. At the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, the hoarding of food in certain areas of the world did occur, but

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