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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Clinton Church Restoration Hires Project Architects
Community Submission,
11:49AM / Wednesday, January 16, 2019
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Clinton Church Restoration has announced the hiring of Huff & Gooden Architects as the project architect for the restoration and adaptive reuse of the historic Clinton AME Zion Church.    The New York City-based firm, headed by architect Mario Gooden, is one of the few African-American architectural firms in the country.    Joining Gooden on the design team is historic preservation architect John A. James, architect and historian Mabel O. Wilson of Studio And, and landscape architect Walter J. Hood of Hood Design Studio. Other team members include Silman Associates for structural engineering; Landmark Facilities Group for mechanical,

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College Notes: January & February 2019
04:53PM / Monday, January 14, 2019
Sports management majors Rachael Donahue of Pittsfield and Jacqueline Lemaire of North Adams were among 10 students from the Western New England University School of Business who spent part of their winter session in Australia. They are the first cohort to participate in the college's "J-Term" program of academic study and cultural experiences.   The students arrived in Sydney in time to take in the New Year's celebrations, including the spectacular fireworks atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and returned to Springfield for the start of the spring semester on Jan. 14. The two-week course, "International Business in Asia Pacific," was delivered through

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Auditor Makes Recommendations to the District Attorney's Office
04:06PM / Monday, January 14, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An audit of the Berkshire County District Attorney's Office released Monday found that improvements were needed to the office's internal controls and recording of forfeited funds.     The audit covers the period from July 1, 2016, through March 31, 2018, and was requested by former District Attorney Paul Caccaviello shortly after his March 2018 appointment.   "As Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington takes the reins of the office, I encourage her to use this audit as a roadmap for improvement," State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said in a statement. "The recommendations in this audit will ensure the office

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Berkshires Beat: Mt. Everett Students Join Dance Exchange Program in India
01:23PM / Monday, January 14, 2019
International experience

As part of the World Education Alliance program, five Mt. Everett students traveled to India in the fall, joining a group of 29 students from around the world. At the start of this academic year, the Keswick Public School in Madurai hosted Dance Mela, a workshop and dance performance that brought together international youth to learn Indian dance and experience Indian culture.  

Produced by Chris Graham, station manager of CTSB, a short video detailing the performance and workshop is now available online on the Southern Berkshire Regional School District (SBRSD) website or on Vimeo. A documentary sharing the full story of the Mt. Everett student experience in

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Hinds Chats Priorities With BRPC
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:16AM / Monday, January 14, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshires don't have the traffic congestion or real estate prices that the Boston area does.   Jim Lovejoy, from Mount Washington, sees that as an opportunity.   He envisions using the effort to expand broadband in Western Massachusetts as a chance to build a far superior internet connection that will incentivize companies to build and grow here instead of in the pricier eastern end of the state.   "If we took that middle mile and made a robust connection out of it, that was low cost, then you would have a situation where people would be incentivized to move here," Lovejoy said.   Lovejoy has been a longstanding member of the

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Five Years Later, 'Sustainable Berkshires' Plan Being Implemented
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:17AM / Sunday, January 13, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When it comes to local planning efforts, nothing was more ambitious than the Sustainable Berkshires master plan.   The 800 or so page document was developed by stakeholders throughout the county as it looked to create a master plan for the entire county. After three years of work, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission adopted the full document in 2014.   That process revealed what planners at the time called "sobering" information that the trends in the county were unsustainable and it developed 352 strategies to turn the tides.   But a plan doesn't do much if it just sits on the shelve collecting dust and Sustainable Berkshires was

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@theMarket: Markets Bounce 10 Percent Since Christmas
By Bill Schmick,
10:34AM / Saturday, January 12, 2019
The stock markets have gained almost one percent per day since the beginning of the year. If you had panicked and sold during the Christmas holidays, you are sitting in cash wondering when to get back in. Here is some advice.   Patience should be at the top of your "to-do" list. If you believe we are in a bear market, then the kind of rebound we are seeing in the equity markets is completely normal. Bear markets are characterized by waterfall declines followed by sharp, explosive upside rallies. Unfortunately, these fantastic trading opportunities are just that — trades.   If you are not living the markets every single moment, day-in, day-out, then forget about

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New President Named at Berkshire Gas
04:00PM / Friday, January 11, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  Franklyn D. Reynolds has been named to lead Berkshire Gas as its 11th president since the company's founding in 1853.

In this role, Reynolds will have overall responsibility for operations and management of the company and its 124-member workforce. Berkshire Gas provides natural gas service to 40,000 customers in 20 communities in the three westernmost counties of Massachusetts.

A 25-year veteran of the utility industry, Reynolds also serves as vice president of gas integration for Avangrid Networks, where he leads the restructuring of the gas operations and gas engineering lines of business.

"Frank is a proven leader with broad experience in the

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Two Appointed Department Chairs at Berkshire Medical Center
03:53PM / Friday, January 11, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems announces the appointments of Dr. Marcella Bradway as chair of the Department of Surgery and Dr. Jessica Krochmal as chair of the Department of Pathology at Berkshire Medical Center, extending its history of equity in leadership. 

Dr. Bradway is the first female chair of Surgery and previously served as interim chair of Surgery for half of 2016 and throughout all of 2018, and was vice chair for five years. Dr. Krochmal is the second woman to serve as chair of Pathology, and she previously served as vice chair from 2016 to 2018. 

"Berkshire Medical Center has a remarkable medical staff, and its foundation is a physician

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Berkshires' First Recreational Marijuana Dispensary Opens to Long Lines
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:30PM / Friday, January 11, 2019

Staff had come in well before the opening to prepare for what was expected to be a big day in retail sales. GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Cheers roared in the parking lot of Theory Wellness at 10 a.m. as staff held a signed reading "recreational cannabis, now open."   At that point, there were about 100 people standing in the blistering cold waiting to get through the doors. It's been more than two years since voters approved the legalization of recreational cannabis in Massachusetts and Theory became the Berkshires' first dispensary to sell the products, leading the way for an industry that has been bursting through the doors throughout the

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Shutdown Could Impact Renters, Landlords Who Rely on Section 8 Vouchers
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:10AM / Friday, January 11, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local landlords and recipients of Section 8 housing assistance could start feeling the pinch if the shutdown of the federal government continues much longer.   That is the assessment of the chief executive officer of Pittsfield-based Berkshire Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit dedicated to helping provide affordable housing throughout the region.   Elton Ogden indicated Wednesday afternoon that the shutdown is not having a major impact on Berkshire Housing or its clients — for now — but he is concerned about "mom and pop" landlords with tenants who rely on the federal subsidies to pay the rent.   "It's really the

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The Independent Investor: Changes to Social Security and Medicare Benefits
By Bill Schmick,
04:03PM / Thursday, January 10, 2019
As the year begins, those who are retired, or who plan to soon, need to know the changes the government has recently announced to your benefits.   The good news is that retirees will get a 2.8 percent increase in Social Security payments. While that doesn't sound like much, it happens to be the largest cost-of-living adjustment in seven years. What that amounts to for the average couple in retirement is about $67 per month, or an average monthly payment of $2,448.   If you are one of those workers like me, who waited until 70 years of age before collecting benefits and are considered a "high earner," then you will be receiving as much as $73 more per month up to

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