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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Guest Column: The Time is Now to Protect Our Local Hospital Workers
By U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, Guest Column
06:27PM / Tuesday, March 17, 2020
It is now clear that we are at war with the coronavirus. While the people of our state need a range of help and assistance, one action we need to take is clear to me: we need a massive wartime manufacturing mobilization for coronavirus testing kits and personal protective equipment for medical personnel. The courageous men and women who are on the frontlines at area hospitals need to have all the tools, equipment, and devices they need to test and treat patients.    That is why I have called on the Trump administration to immediately use existing authorities under the Defense Production Act to increase private production of the personal protective equipment, medical supplies and

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Dalton Woman Charged With Hit-and-Run in Great Barrington
04:20PM / Tuesday, March 17, 2020
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A Dalton woman was charged with motor vehicle offenses after striking a person walking on the side of the road on Vandeusenville Road on Tuesday morning and leaving the scene, according to Great Barrington Police.   Police received a report at 10:45 a.m.  that a woman on the side of the road by Bridget's Cemetery that had been struck by a car. Officers Jonathan Finnerty and Samuel Stolzar responded.    They found a 64-year-old woman from Christian Hill Road badly injured. She was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield by Southern Berkshire Ambulance. Great Barrington Fire Department assisted at the scene. Several car

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Itís Not Easy, But Look Past the Market Selloff
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:45AM / Tuesday, March 17, 2020

These are challenging times. Like everyone, you are concerned about keeping your family safe and healthy, and you're doing your part to help protect your community from the effects of the coronavirus. And if you're an investor, you must also address your financial situation. 

How should you respond to the current market volatility and recent declines in investment prices?

For one thing, try to avoid what many others seem to be doing: panicking. The market selloff may feel unsettling, but it appears to be driven as much, or more, by fear and panic than by economic or financial reality.

Uncertainty is high, but there are reasons – solid, objective reasons – that

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Governor Closes Schools Statewide, Bans Gatherings of More Than 25
06:31PM / Sunday, March 15, 2020

Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at a press conference detailing emergency actions being taken by his office.

BOSTON — State officials are taking "unprecedented" measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, including closing all private and public schools, banning gatherings of more than 25, prohibiting on-premise patronizing of restaurants and taverns, and disallowing all visitors to long-term care facilities and nursing homes. 

The school and restaurant orders take effect Tuesday.

"I realize these measures are unprecedented. But we're asking our residents to take and understand the rationale behind the guidance," said Gov. Charlie Baker at

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Veterans Spotlight: Sgt. Delphia Took Care of Fellow Soldiers
By Wayne Soares, Special to iBerkshires
05:05PM / Sunday, March 15, 2020

Dick Delphia served as a corpsman at a hospital in Germany.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — What an absolute pleasure to sit and interview veteran Dick Delphia recently. Delphia served his country stateside as a corpsman from Jan. 1, 1953 to to Jan. 1, 1956.    At the age of 86, he is tremendously fit (he and his wife, Teresa, ride their stationary bikes every day), honest and possesses an "old school" humility.   Delphia had to quit Pittsfield High School at the age of 14 because of the sudden death of his mother.   "I had to take care of the family ... there was six of us" he remembered.   He enlisted at the age of 19 and was sent to

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Guest Column: SVMC Preparing for Coronavirus Containment, Treatment
04:03PM / Sunday, March 15, 2020
  Dear Community Member,   The health and safety of the patients, caregivers, and communities we serve is our most important priority. Our hospital and community health centers remain open and safe, and there has been no disruption to the high-quality patient care that we provide.   Beginning in mid-January, Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) took a proactive and measured approach for planning for the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19, by holding daily multidisciplinary meetings. When confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States escalated, we immediately implemented appropriate response protocols. When SVHC admitted Vermont's first presumptive positive patient

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Pignatelli Wants Override of Regs Keeping State News Off Cable
04:13PM / Saturday, March 14, 2020
LEE, Mass. — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli is asking the state's congressional representatives to push for an emergency override that will bring Massachusetts news to the Berkshires as the state addresses the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.   The letter to U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal asks for an override or modification of the Federal Communication Commission's outdated regulations that place the farthest west county of Massachusetts in the New York Capital District's "Designated Market Area."    "Governor Baker declared a state of emergency earlier this week in response to the

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State Creates COVID-19 Command Center
11:57AM / Saturday, March 14, 2020
BOSTON – The governor has created a COVID-19 Response Command Center to be headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.    The command center reports to Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and will be the commonwealth's single point of strategic decision making and coordination in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.   "Our administration has been working for weeks to address the outbreak of COVID-19, and the new Response Command Center we are launching today is an important step in our planning and preparedness efforts," said Baker in a statement announcing the action on Saturday mornng. "Led by Secretary Marylou

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Springfield Diocese Cancels Masses, Schools
08:03PM / Friday, March 13, 2020
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has canceled all Masses and other activities within its parishes.    Bishop Mitchell Rozanski has issued these updated directives based on the current situation regarding the novel coronavirus and statements from federal and state officials. Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday afternoon issued an emergency order prohibiting most gatherings of more than 250 people in an effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19.   Rozanski has ordered:    • All Masses and other activities are suspended in all parishes until further notice. He urges parishioners to view the televised Mass, the "Chalice of

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Berkshire Health Systems Institutes Visitor Protocols
04:28PM / Friday, March 13, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital, in Great Barrington, have announced changes to visitation policies in line with national trends and to further lower the risk of transmission of infectious disease, including the coronavirus COVID-19.    Hospitals and other health-care facilities across Massachusetts and the United States have enacted similar visitation restrictions.   "Berkshire Health Systems is committed to protecting the health and safety of our patients, visitors and staff, and this change helps us to enhance our ongoing efforts to minimize the potential transmission of COVID-19," said Dr. James Lederer, chief medical

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Berkshire County Schools Closing for Two Weeks
Staff Reports,
02:52PM / Friday, March 13, 2020
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Schools across Berkshire County will be closed for the next two weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.    The decision follows teleconference meetings held on Friday with the state Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and of Public Health, as well as between the Berkshire County Superintendents Roundtable.    DESE left much of the decisionmaking up to local authorities but there was a recommendation that communities seeing an increase in community transmission of the novel coronavirus should consider closing for 14 days. Community transmission means that there are patients who are diagnosed or presumptive for the coronavirus

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The Independent Investor: Chances of a 2020 Recession Have Just Sky-Rocketed
By Bill Schmick,
12:19PM / Friday, March 13, 2020
The one-two punch of a worldwide pandemic, plus the sudden sharp decline in energy prices have increased the odds that the U.S. economy could fall into a recession as early as this year. The fact that we still do not know the economic damage of the COVID-19, only increases the odds of a prolonged economic downturn.   At this writing, the number of cases and deaths attributed to the pandemic is growing, which is moving both consumers and businesses to dial back their spending on travel, conferences, large events and various work processes. As schools close, more and more parents are stuck at home instead of going into the office. This is also causing increased disruptions in

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