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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Easy New Year's Resolutions For Your Health
By Chrissy Garner, LDN,
11:35AM / Wednesday, January 09, 2019

As the clock struck midnight, and you were sipping and kissing away the last of 2018, you and millions of people were also making New Year's resolutions.

Among the popular ones: eat less, move more, cut back on sweets, quit smoking, volunteer, and spend more time with family. Few, if any, of these resolutions (especially those that are health-based), are actually kept. How many will still be priorities at the end of January?

For many of us, the path to good health is not an easy one. Procrastination, family obligations, work demands and lack of time and energy are just a few reasons that can halt best intentions in their tracks.

But consider these simple resolutions for 2019:

* Eat

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Roth vs. Traditional 401(k): Which Is Right for You?
11:27AM / Wednesday, January 09, 2019

For many years, employees of companies that offered 401(k) plans only faced a couple of key decisions: how much to contribute and how to allocate their dollars among the various investment options in their plan. But in recent years, a third choice has emerged: the traditional versus Roth 401(k). Which is right for you?

To begin with, you need to understand the key difference between the two types of 401(k) plans. When you invest in a traditional 401(k), you put in pre-tax dollars, so the more you contribute, the lower your taxable income. Your contributions and earnings grow tax-deferred until you begin taking withdrawals, which will be taxed at your ordinary tax rate. With a Roth 401(k),

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Berkshires First Recreational Marijuana Store Opens Friday
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:31AM / Wednesday, January 09, 2019
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The county's first recreational marijuana retailer opens its doors on Friday at 10 a.m.   Theory Wellness will be the first to sell retail, rather than medical, cannibis products in the Berkshires after being approved by the state's Cannabis Control Commission last month.   "This is the beginning of a movement in the Berkshires," CEO Brandon Pollock said.   Theory opened as the county's first medical marijuana dispensary in September 2017 and will also be the first to include recreational sales. It was originally formed in 2015 and constructed the 2,500 square-foot facility for the medical marijuana

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Big Y Plans to Eliminate Single-Use Plastic Bags in 2020
Staff Reports,
05:32PM / Tuesday, January 08, 2019
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Both Berkshire County cities last year spent months, if not years, talking about banning single-use plastic bags but they might find business is moving ahead of them.    Big Y Foods Inc., one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, will eliminate its use of the bags from all 70 of its markets, specialty stores and Big Y Express Gas and Convenience locations in 2020.   That decision was prompted, in part, by local towns that have already prohibited the use of the bags. The 83-year-old company says it has been complying with bag bans in Adams (which launched a free bag initiative), Amherst, Great Barrington, Lee,

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Berkshires Beat: Winners of the Pittsfield Photo Challenge Announced
02:51PM / Monday, January 07, 2019
The winners are ...

This past fall, Downtown Pittsfield Inc. held a photo challenge to find the photo that best captures why downtown Pittsfield is the "Heart of the Berkshires." Entrants were encouraged to capture photos that showcased the beauty and personality of downtown Pittsfield, keeping in mind the theme "Heart of the Berkshires."

The first-place winner, as determined by a panel of local judges, is Zach Morris of Pittsfield. His photo, titled "Tropical Pittsfield," has won him a prize package donated by local downtown businesses, and his photo will be featured in Pittsfield's 2019 Downtown Guide and a Downtown Pittsfield Inc. social marketing

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Messy Winter Weather on the Menu This Week
01:48PM / Monday, January 07, 2019
 

Did someone order snow?

The National Weather Service originally issued a "Hazardous Weather Outlook" for the Berkshires and southern Vermont for basically the entire first half of this week, then upgraded it to a "Winter Weather Advisory" for 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday for the first leg of the multi-day storm.

Monday's cold temperatures will push in some snow overnight tonight, with an inch or 2 possible to the south and up to 3 inches in the northern part of the county. Then, as temperatures rise a bit Tuesday morning, there could be a mix of snow and sleet before the precipitation changes to freezing rain and then plain rain throughout the afternoon.

When

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Watercooler: Company Donates Quilts to Hospital
12:10PM / Monday, January 07, 2019
Quilt donation

Staff of Oceanair Marine, Ltd., of Manchester, Vt., visited the Women's and Children's Department of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, a division of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, on Friday, Dec. 21, to deliver 19 hand-stitched, soft and colorful quilts and blankets for families being treated on the unit during the holidays.

The quilts were made with around 60 yards of donated fabric coming from donors from as far away as Minneapolis. Some of the quilts were made by employees who had never quilted before, while others — richly detailed — were made by more experienced quilters. Each one took between five and 10 hours of labor. The effort is a part of

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Berkshire Blaze Travel Softball Tryouts Friday and Saturday
Community submission,
10:45AM / Monday, January 07, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Berkshire Blaze travel softball program will hold tryouts this week for the 14-and-under and 16-and-underage groups.   Two days of tryouts will be hosted by The Infield at 10 Lyman St.   On Friday Jan. 11, pitchers and cathchers will try out from 7 to 7:30 p.m., and fielding and hitting tryouts will be from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.   On Saturday, pitchers and catchers will try out from 1 to 1:30 p.m., and fielding and hitting will be from 1:30 to 3:30.   Sign up on the team's Facebook page check in when you arrive.    Tryouts are being held in January to establish the teams in order to build schedules and purchase uniforms and equipment

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BRPC Looks to Kick Start Mountain Biking Project
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:14AM / Monday, January 07, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — BRPC is hoping to kick off an effort to bolster mountain biking in the area.   Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is joining with two others Western Massachusetts planning organizations in a grant application to map, analyze, identify trail conditions, and lay the framework for a marketing effort to make Western Massachusetts known as a mountain biking hub.   The hope is that the Mass Trails grant will kick off the project and a previously secured $800,000 in an environmental bond bill by state Sen. Adam Hinds can follow. Those funds have not been released by the administration.   "The senator is a strong advocate for mountain

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Pittsfield Police Hosting Expo on Law Enforcement Careers
Staff Reports,
04:23PM / Sunday, January 06, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Want to fight crime? Because the Pittsfield Police Department is looking for candidates to join the force.   The department is holding a recruitment expo on Tuesday at Taconic High School to answer questions and demonstrate equipment for those who may be thinking of entering the profession. The expo is being held in anticipation of the next Civil Service test for police officers.   The department has been hiring over the last few years as it looks to expand its ranks. The last test was done in 2017 and to get more candidates the department has suspended its residency requirement.    The written examination to become an officer is administered by

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Berkshire Registers of Deeds to Standardize Procedures
07:07PM / Saturday, January 05, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The county's three registers of deeds say they will be working together to ensure consistency in procedures in the three offices.    Maria T. Ziemba, Northern Berkshire District Register of Deeds; Patricia M. Harris, Berkshire Middle District Register of Deeds; and Michelle Laramee-Jenny, Southern Berkshire District Register of Deeds, were all sworn into office in the Middle Berkshire District Registry of Deeds on Wednesday, Jan. 2.   All three registers have agreed to identify and standardize any differences in recording requirements and procedures between the registries in an effort to become more accommodating to law firms, financial

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Gov. Baker Highlights Success of Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:10PM / Friday, January 04, 2019

Following the tour of the facility, Baker has lunch with company officials, interns, and local elected officials. The governor was sworn into his second term of office on Thursday and was leaving to attend events in Holyoke, Springfield and Worcester.   LEE, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker blitzed the commonwealth this week as he kicks off his second term in the corner office.   On Friday, Baker visited Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing where the state had played a role in helping the company both expand and bring on interns.   Baker toured the facility, met with the interns, heard from company officials about future plans, and highlighted it as an example of the

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