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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Holiday Hours: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
02:02PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Rev. King waves to the hundreds of thousands gathered on the Washington Mall in 1963 when he gave the 'I Have a Dream' speech.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated Monday, Jan. 17. It is a federal holiday to commemorate the birthday of the civil rights activist born Jan. 15, 1929. It is observed on the third Monday in January.

King, a Baptist minister, led the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s by espousing nonviolent protest. His best-known address, the "I Have a Dream" speech, was given in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to a crowd of 250,000 who participated in the March on Washington. The 1964 Nobel Prize winner was

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South County Towns Receive Climate Change Resilience Grants
12:43PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022
BOSTON – Great Barrington and Sheffield both received grant funding through the Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife)   The Baker-Polito Administration announced $216,078 in grants through the Climate Change Resilience Grant Opportunity Program to five conservation organizations and municipalities.    "The Commonwealth's investments in improving wildlife habitat will assist in the restoration of regional biodiversity throughout the state," said Governor Charlie Baker. "Through the Climate Change Habitat Resilience Grant Opportunity Program, the positive management actions being taken are natural

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ACA Enrollment Open, CHP Available to Assist
09:05AM / Wednesday, January 12, 2022
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The deadline for enrollment in state-subsidized ACA health insurance plans is Jan. 23, and the Community Health Program enrollment team is available to assist customers.   Unlike in previous years, the Open Enrollment period will not be extended this year in Massachusetts. However, federal COVID-19 relief funding provides qualified applicants with additional monthly premium assistance.    William Cruz, who heads up the CHP insurance enrollment team, said his staff is booking appointments to help people who need to sign up for ACA plans for the first time, and others who want to review their existing ACA plans.    "We want people

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Five Local Women-Owned Restaurants Receive Grant Funding
04:12PM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Five women-owned restaurants in the Berkshires received $5,000 each grant support from the Massachusetts Conference of Women.    Frankie's Ristorante Italiano in Lenox; Freight Yard Pub and Renee's Diner in North Adams; Truc Orient Express in West Stockbridge, and Crisp in Williamstown were among 80 eateries statewide awarded $400,000 total in grants.    The Massachusetts Conference for Women is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing women in the workplace. This is the second year that it has provided grants.   "We are proud to support these hard-working women entrepreneurs," said Gloria Larson, board president and former

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BUW Names Former North Adams Mayor Bernard as New President
03:06PM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Former North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard has been named president and chief executive officer of the Berkshire United Way.    He replaces Candace Winkler, who stepped down in August after about 18 months in the role. Winkler took a positoin with a nonprofit in Washington, D.C.   Bernard finished up two two terms as mayor of North Adams at this end of 2021, declining to run for a third term. He begins his new post on Jan. 24.    "I'm thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career as part of the Berkshire United Way team," Bernard said in a statement announcing his new position. "The organization's mission is clear and

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State Orders 26M Rapid Tests, Changes Guidance on PCR Testing
Staff Reports,
10:15AM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022
BOSTON — The state has ordered 26 million rapid-result tests over the next three months with a priority on public schools and day care settings.   Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday morning said the iHealth tests for COVID-19 will be received in rolling shipments with amounts that will vary according to production schedules.    This new order is on top of the 2.1 million iHealth tests distributed in December to 102 communities before the holidays and the 200,000 for educators after the winter break.   The announcement comes in tandem with an advisory from the state Department of Public Health affirming the accuracy of the rapid-result antigen tests and

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School Mask Requirement Extended to Feb. 28
04:44PM / Monday, January 10, 2022
BOSTON — The requirement for face coverings in public schools has been extended through Feb. 28.   The requirement for masking had initially been approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last August to expire on Oct. 1; that was extended to Nov. 1 and then again to Jan. 15.    DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley on Monday alerted school districts that that masking would continue to at least Feb. 28 and possibly beyond that, pending changes in pandemic guidelines.    "The mask requirement remains an important measure to keep students safe in school at this time," the extension announcement stated.    Schools that meet the 80

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BRPC Berkshire Benchmarks Survey
04:00PM / Monday, January 10, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) announced the 2022 Berkshire Benchmarks Survey.    BRPC, working with the Berkshire Leadership Impact Council and numerous organizations around the county, developed the survey to better understand the issues affecting county residents.   Postcards are being mailed to all county residents with the survey link. Survey participants may also go directly to www.surveymonkey.com/r/Berkshire22 or to www.surveymonkey.com/r/Berkshire22_Spanish for a Spanish language version.   The survey asks a range of questions, such as "How much are you able to save for retirement?", "How welcome do you

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Berkshires Headed Into the Deep Freeze
12:49PM / Monday, January 10, 2022

The U.S. National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., has released a wind chill advisory for Berkshire County and surrounding regions from midnight tonight until 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Mount Greylock Regional Schools will be closed Tuesday.

A missive from Superintendent Jason McCandless said the reasoning for the closure is that a two-hour delay is not expected to result in improved temperatures and that classrooms and buses have had to keep windows open for airflow. "We are especially concerned about bus stop waits and students who walk to school," he wrote.    All afternoon activities at the elementary schools are canceled and a decision will be made later

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@theMarket: Fed Meeting Notes Throw Markets a Curve
By Bill Schmick,
03:11PM / Friday, January 07, 2022
Investors were set back on their heels this week after reading the latest member comments from the Federal Open Market Committee's December 2021 meeting. It suggests that the Fed is prepared to tighten far sooner than most expected.   Members seem to say that the Federal reserve bank central bank was prepared to shrink its $9 trillion balance sheet "much sooner and faster" than anyone expected. This is in addition to the already announced plan to reduce its asset purchases faster than they first planned. Couple that with expectations that we could see three interest rate hikes this year and one can understand why stocks dropped this week.   The U.S. Ten-Year Treasury

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Fire Officials Warn Against Smoking on Home Oxygen
08:31AM / Friday, January 07, 2022
STOUGHTON, Mass. — After the third death this year involving smoking and medical oxygen, Massachusetts fire officials issued a reminder that smoking is especially unsafe when using home oxygen.   "There is no safe way to smoke, but it's especially dangerous when using home oxygen," said Stoughton Fire Chief Michael E. Carroll. "A fire can start easier, burn hotter, and grow faster in an oxygen-rich environment. Never smoke while using oxygen or in a home where someone else is using it. Always keep tanks and tubes well away from heat sources and open flames."   A 77-year-old Stoughton resident succumbed on Christmas Day after sustaining injuries while

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Snow Expected Friday Morning; North Adams Schools Close
04:51PM / Thursday, January 06, 2022
 The Berkshires can expect 2 to 5 inches of snow overnight into Friday morning.    A winter weather advisory is in effect from midnight through noon on Friday.  A wintry mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain is also possible late Saturday night into Sunday, which could result in slippery travel conditions, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.North Adams Public Schools will use an “emergency day” for Friday in light of the coming weather and staffing shortages because COVID-19. There will be no school or afterschool activities on Friday. The state Department of Transportation is warning of 3 to 9 inches across the state and the governor has directed

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