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Berkshires Beat: BCC First in Massachusetts, Third in United States in Recycling Contest
02:16PM / Monday, May 07, 2018
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The head of the BCC Green Team, Laura Saldarini, shows students how all of the plates, cutlery and cups, etc., in the cafeteria are all compostable.

Waste not

Berkshire Community College finished first in Massachusetts and third in the United States in the Diversion category of the 2018 RecycleMania competition with a recycling rate of 80.9 percent. RecycleMania is the nation's premier waste reduction and recycling competition among colleges and universities, managed by Keep America Beautiful. With a recycling rate of more than 94.8 percent, The College of Staten Island is the top school in the Diversion category, while the Rhode Island School of Design finished first in the Per Capita Classic category.

The year marked BCC's 10th year of participation in the annual RecycleMania competition. The college has improved its waste diversion rate by 42.79 percent since 2009 and has a goal of zero waste by the year 2020.

BCC's Green Team coordinates the college’s annual participation in RecycleMania as part of the team's efforts to reduce the College's carbon footprint, maintain sustainable practices, and coordinate these efforts with other colleges and institutions. Green Team members include volunteer faculty, staff, students, and some members of the community.

The 2018 tournament featured 300 schools participating from 46 states in the United States, the District of Columbia and Canada, with an enrollment of 3.6 million students. Participating colleges and universities are ranked in various categories according to how much recycling and food waste they divert from the landfill over two months. Between the Feb. 4 kickoff and the final recycling weigh-in on March 31, participating schools recycled or composted 68.6 million pounds of waste, preventing the release of 94,152 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to preventing the annual emissions from 20,160 cars.


Baseball in Lenox

Baseball in the Berkshires, a nonprofit organization with a museum in the Berkshire Mall, is presenting a satellite exhibit sponsored by the Lenox Historical Society titled "The History of Baseball in Lenox." The exhibit will be located in the Academy Building at 65 Main St., Lenox, home of the Lenox Historical Society.

The exhibit will be open every weekend from May 12 through Sept. 1. This free exhibit will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Caring is their calling

Fairview Hospital will celebrate National Hospital Week from May 6-12, embracing the national theme of "Caring Is Our Calling." The annual recognition event, which always falls on the week of Florence Nightingale's birthday, celebrates the dedicated staff of the nation’s hospitals – physicians, nurses, therapists, engineers, food service workers, volunteers, administrators and so many more – for their contributions.

The hospital will host its annual Employee Recognition Dinner on Friday, May 11 at the Egremont Country Club where more than 100 employees will be recognized for milestone years of services and the annual awards will be announced.

In anticipation of National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week, which coincide this year, nursing staff held a food drive at Fairview Hospital supported by all staff, collecting more than 30 boxes of food that were delivered to The People’s Pantry in Great Barrington.


Work it off

Applications are now available for the city of Pittsfield’s Senior Tax Work-Off Program for Fiscal Year 2019.  Eligible candidates must be Pittsfield residential property owners 60 years of age and older at the time of the application. Program applications must be postmarked or received by the Assessors' Office by May 31. Active municipal employees are not eligible for the Senior Citizen Tax Work-Off Program.

There will be a limit of two participants per eligible property; however, the total abatement cannot exceed the maximum exemption of $1,000. Income eligibility shall be determined by using the locally adopted income eligibility guidelines of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 59, Section 5, clause 41C (plus an additional $5,000). The selection of participants will be based on need and shall be valid for one year. In the event that other opportunities become available, qualified volunteers not selected for this program will be placed on a waiting list in order of need.  The city is not obligated to offer another position if a volunteer declines an assignment.

Please note participants who leave the program either voluntary or involuntary will not be eligible for return the following fiscal year. For a married individual, yearly income cannot exceed $35,856.  For a single individual, yearly income cannot exceed $30,349. All volunteer work must be completed between June 1, 2018, and November 30, 2018. An application for this program can be found on the city website.


Battling cancer

Bromley Mountain Ski Resort's President Bill Cairns presented $11,100 to Thomas Dee. president and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, on March 30. The donation, which was given in support of care at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center in Bennington, was raised through Bromley's "Mom's Day Out" event on Saturday, Jan. 20, and "Mom's Day Off" on Feb. 2.

Five hundred mothers received a $25 lift ticket when they showed a photo of their child or children at the resort’s ticket window. The entire value of the ticket was donated to the cancer center, part of SVHC.


BIO Assembly

Berkshire Interfaith Organizing prioritized issue areas, welcomed another new member group, and shared stories from the front lines of its work organizing throughout the county to advance social justice at its biennial Issues Assembly on April 29 at South Congregational Church in Pittsfield. This event is the culmination of a three month Listening Campaign that was kicked-off at BIO's Annual Convention on January 28. BIO's 18 member groups, from Sheffield to Williamstown, held house meetings and hosted conversations where participants were invited to share personal stories of struggles they are facing.  Approximately 300 people participated in these listening sessions across the county.

At the April 29 Assembly, delegates from each of the member groups outlined the results of their listening and attendees prioritized the issues raised, through a voting process that incorporated importance of the issue to BIO and the community, as well as each individual’s willingness to be a part of crafting the solutions. The prioritization process resulted in the reaffirmation of two of BIO’s current priority issue areas, transportation and immigrant justice. Additionally, racial justice and addiction/opiod epidemic were raised as pressing issues for the community. Next steps will involve further digesting of the information gathered at the Assembly by BIO’s Priority Issues Research Team, with recommendations made to the Executive Council next week for consideration within BIO’s current goals and organizational capacity.   

The Rev. Sloan Letman, pastor at Second Congregational Church, BIO’s newest member group, offered a powerful closing prayer in which he called on God to hold us to our commitments made to one another in this Assembly, and to act together for justice


Poster contest

Barrington Stage Company is calling all young artists between the ages of 8 and 15 to create a poster for BSC’s summer Youth Theatre production of Roald Dahl's "James and the Giant Peach," set to run July 26 through Aug. 12. Youths can create an 11 by 14 poster (portrait orientation) that promotes the musical production; entries will be judged using the following criteria: Does the poster effectively illustrate and convey the show? Does the poster clearly express the message of the show? Does the poster convey that it’s a musical production?

"James and the Giant Peach" is a brand new take on this "masterpeach" of a tale. Featuring a wickedly tuneful score and a witty and charming book, this is an adventurous musical about courage and self-discovery. When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that grows a tremendous peach, rolls into the ocean and launches a journey of enormous proportions. James befriends a collection of singing insects that ride the giant piece of fruit across the ocean, facing hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements along the way.

The poster must contain the full name of the show "Roald Dahl's  'James and the Giant Peach.'" Please do not include Barrington Stage Company, URL, phone number.  BSC will add that information to the bottom of the poster. All entries must be received by June 15 at 5 p.m. Posters may be mailed or dropped off as follows: Attn: Giant Peach Poster Contest, Barrington Stage Company, 122 North Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Please include artist’s name, age, contact information (including email and phone) on the back of the poster.

Winners will be selected in the following categories: 8-11 and 12-15 years of age. Entries must not be matted or mounted. Only original artwork will be considered (no magazine cutouts). Contest is open to anyone within the appropriate age groups listed. The winner in each of the age categories will win eight tickets to the production, a meet and greet with cast following the show, and a hardcover copy of "James and the Giant Peach" signed by the cast of the show. Barrington Stage Company representatives will choose the finalists.  Winners will be notified on June 22 and will be posted on BSC’s website.


Ask for assistance

Berkshire County Arc has received a $20,000 grant from Becker Family Trust, which is administered through The Arc of Massachusetts’ Becker Center for Advocacy. The grant is for assistive technology, which will help BCArc pair children and adults with autism with different assistive technology devices and choose one or two that are best-matched to their skills, capabilities and interests, and which will support communication and social skill enhancement.

Staff and family members will be trained to support the child or adult with autism to fully utilize the assistive device chosen to the best of their ability in as many settings as possible. BCArc will ensure that the use of the identified assistive device is incorporated into all service planning documentation and that the child or adult with Autism is continually supported to self-identify what is important to them as they communicate their needs, desires, and chosen lifestyle.

Identified devices could include the following: Apple iPads, Stylus, Tobii Dynavox Compass software for iPad, LAMP Words for Life software for iPad, Boardmaker, Tactus Aphasia bundle for iPad, Constant Therapy, Logan ProxTalker, Logan ProxPAD, Tangible Object Cards, and Talk My Way Cards. Berkshire County Arc staff will collaborate with staff at United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County's Assistive Technology Regional Center, which provides free trial of some of the devices.


Stamp Out Hunger

Local branch #286 of the National Association of Letter Carriers and Postal Workers, in conjunction with Berkshire United Way, Berkshire Youth United and Berkshire Community Action Council, will hold a food drive on Saturday, May 12. Letter carriers will be collecting non-perishable food for distribution to local food pantries and meal programs.

Participants should place their food donation in bags or boxes by their mailbox on Saturday, May 12, for collection. Items such as peanut butter, canned soup, canned tuna and chicken, juice, pasta, vegetables, cereal and rice are especially welcomed. The recipient pantries and meal programs are used every day by families and individuals in need. These programs and services provide a "safety net" that helps residents remain self-sufficient.


HospiceCare honor

HospiceCare in The Berkshires has been named a 2018 Hospice Honors recipient by HealthcareFirst, the leading provider of Web-based home health and hospice software, billing and coding services, CAHPS surveys and advanced analytics. Hospice Honors is a prestigious program that recognizes hospices providing the highest level of quality as measured from the caregiver’s point of view. HospiceCare was one of only six organizations in Massachusetts to be recognized. To earn the “Honors” designation, HospiceCare in The Berkshires had to be above the national average in at least 20 of 24 evaluated questions.

Award criteria were based on Hospice CAHPS survey results for an evaluation period of October 2016 through September 2017. Award recipients were identified by evaluating performance on a set of 24 quality indicator measures. Performance scores were aggregated from all completed surveys and were compared on a question-by-question basis to a National Performance Score calculated from all partnering hospices contained in the HealthcareFirst’s Hospice CAHPS database.

HospiceCare in The Berkshires is a nonprofit organization with 35 years' experience providing compassionate end-of-life care. Services include ensuring patient comfort, managing symptoms, providing personal care and companionship, respite care, and end-of-life planning. HospiceCare in The Berkshires also offers counseling services to help anyone in the community through the grieving process.


Parent resources

The community is invited to the launching of a media campaign to encourage parents in the region to talk to their children about alcohol and marijuana. The event will take place on Thursday, May 10, at 10 a.m. at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition conference room, located at 61 Main St. in North Adams. The media campaign emerged from two years of work by nbCC's nb21 workgroup, which included parent focus groups, surveys, and other outreach. The public will have the first opportunity to view the PSAs, posters, and can view the website at the launch event. All are invited to stay for the nb21 prevention workgroup meeting, which follows the event.

The campaign includes public service announcements, written messages, and a website with tips and resources intended to empower parents to talk to their children about alcohol and drugs. A series of three public service announcements will debut at the launch event, featuring local educators, police, and parents, which highlight the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics that parents begin talking to their children about alcohol by age 9. All materials in the campaign direct parents to visit the nbCC website for more information.

Special guests who will be making remarks include North Adams Police Director Mike Cozzaglio, and local educators and parents. Joyce Brewer, director of the Tobacco Free Community Partner program at Berkshire AHEC and member of the nb21 workgroup, will also speak and highlight upcoming opportunities for parents to learn more about the youth vaping trend that is becoming a prominent concern in our region and across the country.

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