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Berkshires Beat: Community Members Donate Guided Technology for PICC Line Placement
03:06PM / Thursday, January 09, 2020
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(Standing) Chelsea Foy, Darcy Main, Anne Farrara and Deb Farrara and Jacqueline Reyman. (Seated) Bob Farrara and Tanya Cowder, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's senior director of Perioperative and Interventional Services.

SVMC donation

The Interventional and Perioperative Services Departments at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center received a special gift from donors Bob and Anne Farrara of Eagle Bridge, N.Y. The couple donated $10,000 for the purchase of an Arrow Vascular Positioning System (VPS) G4 Device from Teleflex. The machine expedites the placement of Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter lines—a long thin tube inserted into a vein in the heart. PICC lines remain in place long term and provide clinicians convenient access to deliver intravenous (IV) antibiotics, nutrition, or medications or to draw blood over several encounters without the need for a needle stick.

"Everyone’s heart anatomy is a little different," said registered nurse Tanya Cowder, SVMC's senior director of Perioperative and Interventional Services. "Just as a GPS system helps you navigate your car to your destination, this new technology helps clinicians place the PICC catheter tip in the optimal location for treatment."

Before this technology was available at SVMC, a radiologic technologist would need to take a chest X-ray, and a radiologist would need to read it in order to determine catheter tip placement. This machine uses a sophisticated biosensor, rather than X-rays. It allows nurses with specialized training to place PICC lines and validate that the placement is accurate. The technology eliminates both the delay in initiation of therapy and the patients' exposure to the radiation X-rays emit.

The Farraras have donated to SVHC for many years. A number of their gifts have supported equipment needs. "SVMC is a great place," Bob Farrara said. "When I am here, I feel like I am home. The staff are caring."


Christmas tree pickup

Christmas tree pickup in the month of January in the city of Pittsfield will accompany the regular trash pickup schedule. For more information, call 413-499-9330.

The week of Jan. 6, Casella will pick up trees on Monday and Friday routes. The following week of Jan 13, they will pick up along the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday routes. During the week of Jan. 20, Casella will resume tree collection with Monday and Friday routes. Lastly, the week of Jan. 27, they will pick up trees according to the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday routes.


CRA swimming lessons

The Dalton Community Recreation is registering for Session 3 Swimming Lessons. Lessons run from Jan. 13 through March 28, 2020 (10 weeks). A general CRA Junior Membership ($40) is required and everyone must wear a swim cap.

The Dalton CRA offers a full range of swimming lessons, including: Parent-Toddler (6 months to 3 years, parent needs to be in the pool with toddler); Preschool (3-5 years, not in kindergarten); Beginners (5 years and up); Beginners Deep End (5 years and up, no bubble); Advanced Beginner, Intermediate Swimmer and Advanced Swimmer.

Cost for lessons is $65 (plus membership) for 10-week session. There will be no classes during the week of Feb. 17-22. Parent-toddler classes on Friday and Saturday are $35 (plus Membership). Register at the CRA. For more information and class schedule, call the CRA at 413-684-0260 or visit the website.


Lanesborough Volunteer Fireman's Association awards

Mary Reilly was presented with the 'Norm Taylor Award.'

The Lanesborough Volunteer Fireman's Association held its annual Christmas Dinner and Awards Banquet at Zucchini’s Restaurant on Dec. 21. Sixty-six Lanesborough volunteer firefighters, their guests and Life Time Association members, dined on roast beef, chicken parmesan and baked stuffed shrimp.

Five firefighters were recognized for their years of service to the Lanesborough Volunteer Fire Department with "Length of Service Awards": Former Chief P.J. Pannesco for 50 years, former Chief Charles "Butch" Garrity for 40 years, Fire Inspector Thomas Rathbun for 40 years, Deputy Chief Jeff Dechaine for 30 years and Capt. Ryan McCormick for 20 years of continuous active duty service.

Mary Reilly was presented with the "Norm Taylor Award." Deputy Chief Cody Sanderson was presented with the "Firefighter of the Year Award" (voted by the members). And firefighter/EMTs Jen Weber and Johanna Tremblay were presented with the "Chief's Award."

Fire Chief Charles Durfee reviewed the 2019 year, highlighting some of the fires, motor vehicle accidents and emergency medical calls that the department responded to during the past 12 months. He thanked all of the volunteers for their dedication and service to the department and to the Town of Lanesborough.


Free EMT training

Southern Berkshire Ambulance Service is supporting its employee recruitment and retention strategy by providing no-cost Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training to 10 qualified participants living in the Southern Berkshire area. SBAS has a well-deserved reputation for providing pre-hospital emergency medical and rescue services to the greater southern Berkshire area. However, like many EMS organizations across the nation, SBAS bears the same employee recruitment and retention challenges.

Recruitment and retention of qualified EMS providers were identified in the 2019 EMS Trend Report as the top two issues facing the profession today. Many national EMS organizations, whether private, municipal, hospital-based, or not-for-profit have felt the impact of employee attrition, particularly at the EMT level. Additionally, overtime costs from critical low staffing has markedly increased, so the race to recruit, hire, engage and retain employees is as intense as ever. For more information, send an email.


Welcome to Stephentown

The Stephentown Historical Society is creating a "Welcome to Stephentown" package. The group envisions the package having lots of information, like names and contacts to help people find just about anything in town. They would like to provide information from our local organizations, such as the fire department, library, historical society, veterans, seniors, local churches and synagogues, and any others that exist. They would also like to provide a listing (along with business cards where possible) of all local tradespeople and businesses and would like to include any groups in town – for instance, the Heavenly Quilters and Boy & Girl Scouts. In addition, they would like to have menus from restaurants and maybe "new customer" discounts or other coupon-type discounts.

Any local business or tradesperson who would like to be included in this package should contact the group at This project has been in the planning stages for quite a while and they like to get it off the ground in early 2020.

The Stephentown Historical Society is now welcoming visitors on the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in addition to the regular weekly Friday hours of 1 to 4 p.m. These Saturday open hours will offer more Stephentown residents and visitors the opportunity to explore what the Society offers in genealogy research and local history. The next open Saturday is Feb. 1. The Heritage Center is the former Stephentown Methodist Church at 4 Staples Road at the corner of Garfield Road.


Female Filmmakers series

Berkshire screenwriter and historian Nannina Gilder, a former film curator for the Little Cinema at The Berkshire Museum, will host a four-part Women in Film Seminar titled "Invisible: Female Filmmakers Before 1960" at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum.  The classes are scheduled for Thursdays Jan. 23 and 30 and Feb. 6 and 13, all at 7 to 9 p.m. Ventfort Hall board member Birgit Vetromile is the sponsor for the film series.

Gilder asks these questions: "Imagine telling the history of film without the first director to use the camera to tell a story, or the first feature length animated movie?" "Who was the first surrealist filmmaker, or the director of the first movie of the French New Wave?" She will delve into how actress Ida Lupino became a writer/director/producer who changed the face of American independent film, how Dorothy Arzner’s technical innovations in the early sound era untethered actors, giving them the freedom to move and express themselves, how Lotte Reiniger’s magic scissors and multi-plane camera opened up worlds of animation or how Alice Guy came to make of the first non-documentary film. Female directors included in the seminar were nominated for Oscars and won awards at Cannes and Venice. Their films influenced such directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.

Each of the four classes will examine short and feature-length films in the context of these themes: Jan. 23, "The Birth of Cinema," Alice Guy, short, and "Ida Lupino," feature; Jan. 30, "Dancer & Director," Shirley Clarke, short, and "Dorothy Arzner," feature; Feb. 6, "Worlds of Animation," TBA, short, and "Lotte Reiniger," feature; and Feb. 13, "Obsession," Wendy Toye, short, and "Jacqueline Audry," feature.

Gilder has appeared on the film podcast Citizen Dame. Her play “The Curious Abduction of Mona Lisa” was performed at Ventfort Hall in 2013. Tickets for the Women in Film seminar are $15 for each of the four classes or $50 for the four-part series. Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited. For information or reservations, call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206.  The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker St. Lenox.

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