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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Four Arrested After Shoplifting, Police Chase In South County
03:26PM / Wednesday, December 29, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Four people were arrested on Shoplifting and other charges as part of joint investigation between the Lee, Stockbridge and Great Barrington Police Departments.   On Dec. 28  at approximately 7:30 p.m., three people entered Berkshire Liquors on Housatonic Street in Lee. They grabbed armfuls of alcohol products and immediately fled the store without paying. The suspects entered a dark colored SUV with unknown New York tags and fled the area prior to Lee Officers arriving on scene.    A Be On The Look Out (BOLO) with basic vehicle description was put out to area law enforcement agencies.    A short time later, a similar incident

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Otis Receives Complete Street Funds
07:58AM / Wednesday, December 29, 2021
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced $8.45 million has been awarded to 24 communities as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 Round Two grants for the Complete Streets Funding Program.    Otis received $203,062.00 for the installation of new sidewalks, benches, picnic tables, bicycle racks, and six new radar speed feedback signs at various locations.   These grant awards will be used by recipient municipalities to fund local multimodal infrastructure projects that improve travel for bicyclists, pedestrians, public transit users, and people using other forms of transportation. This is the twelfth overall grant round for this

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Downing Announces End To Gubernatorial Campaign
Staff Reports ,
09:59AM / Tuesday, December 28, 2021
BOSTON — Former state senator Ben Downing released a statement Tuesday morning announcing the end of his gubernatorial campaign.    "For everything there is a season. For this campaign, that season has come to a close. Today, I am formally ending my bid to become the next Governor of Massachusetts. I do so with a heavy heart, but also with hope, and gratitude beyond measure," Downing noted in a statement.   The former state senator announced that he was running in January of 2021. The democrat was the first to enter the 2022 race for governor.   Downing noted that his campaign does not have the financial resources to continue.    "Over

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Overnight Snow and Ice Predicted in the Berkshires
12:09PM / Monday, December 27, 2021
We missed out on a snowy Christmas weekend but some precipitation can be expected Monday night.   A winter weather advisory is in effect from 7 p.m. Monday evening to 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.   Expect mixed precipitation with a total snow accumulation of a coating up to one inch. A light glaze of ice is also expected.   Plan on slippery road conditions.   Temperatures will stay in the 30s throughout the day and evening throughout the county.    Temperatures should rise into the low 40s Tuesday, according to AccuWeather. Skies are expected to be mostly cloudy.  

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CHP Names Director of Dental Medicine
08:40AM / Monday, December 27, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs (CHP) has named John W. Brazill, D.M.D. as director of dental medicine.   Brazill will oversee CHP's dental practices in North Adams, Pittsfield and Great Barrington. He will also see patients at the North Adams practice.   A dentist for more than 30 years, mostly in the Berkshire County area, Brazill owned and managed his own practice in Pittsfield for 18 years. More recently he has worked at practices in Pittsfield, Vermont and Williamstown.   He is a graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and he earned his bachelor's degree in biology at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. He completed his

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Great Barrington Urges Masks and Social Distancing
08:09AM / Monday, December 27, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Great Barrington Board of Health has amended its Public Health Advisory to urge residents, visitors, employers and employees to wear a mask and maintain proper social distance in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccine status.   The BOH also advises wearing masks while outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained   "While vaccination is vitally important to protecting against severe disease, vaccination is not the sole protection against COVID-19 and serious illness," said Rebecca Jurczyk, health agent for the town.   The BOH also recommends: Increase ventilation in indoor spaces when two or more people are

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Holiday Hours: Christmas & New Year's
01:02PM / Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Businesses, schools and government offices will be taking breaks over the next week as the nation celebrates Christmas and New Year's. Christmas falls on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, and New Year's Day on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. 

Christmas is now a state holiday but it wasn't always. The General Court under the control of the Puritans outlawed the holiday in 1659.

There was too much eating, drinking, wassailing and other festiveness for the colony's righteous rulers. Even after the ban was lifted, Christmas was treated as a regular day until its popularization during the Victorian era. Thank goodness. Can you imagine Norman Rockwell not painting Stockbridge at

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Connecticut Man Killed in Route 8 Crash
12:54PM / Tuesday, December 21, 2021
SANDISFIELD, Mass. — A head-on collision on Route 8 Monday afternoon turned fatal for a Connecticut man.    State Police from the Lee Barracks responded to the accident at about 3:05 p.m. near mile marker 7.3, in a wooded area.    Troopers arrived on scene and requested emergency medical services and and firefighters. Sandisfield and Otis Fire Departments and Southern Berkshire County EMS were dispatched.    The operator of a 2018 Nissan van, a 32-year-old man from Cheshire, Conn., was determined to be deceased at the scene. The second vehicle was a 2014 Ram 1500 operated by a 49-year-old man from Hinsdale. The second operator suffered serious injuries

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Baker Issues New Mask 'Advisory,' Stops Short of Mandate
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com
09:49AM / Tuesday, December 21, 2021
BOSTON – Gov. Charlie Baker Tuesday announced that the state is “encouraging” residents to wear face coverings indoors regardless of their vaccination status for COVID-19 but balked at the idea of a statewide mask mandate.   “We are saying more people should be masking, but people in Massachusetts know at this point that masking is one of the tools they can pursue, if they choose to do so, to protect themselves,” Baker said in a morning announcement alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.   “Let’s not forget: 5 million people in Massachusetts are fully vaccinated, and vaccines are, by far, the most effective tool we

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Sotek Swims at Regional Meet
Community submission,
01:23PM / Monday, December 20, 2021
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- South Berkshire's Alex Sotek competed in the New England Swimming Seniors Meet held at Brown University last weekend.   Sotek, who swims for the Snapper Swim Club and trains in the Kilpatrick Athletic Center at Simon's Rock, competed in three events.   The competition gave Sotek an opportunity to swim with competitors from all over New England, some of whom competed in Olympic swimming trials last summer.   Sotek achieved personal best times in all three events entered. She raced 100 backstroke with a time of 1 minute, .79 seconds, 50 freestyle with a time :25.07 and 100 butterfly with a time of :59.41.   Feeling that she could achieve a

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RSVP's Wheels for Wellness Seeks More Volunteers
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
12:05PM / Sunday, December 19, 2021

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A rather new volunteer community car ride service operated by the Berkshire County Retired Senior Volunteer Program has been well received and needs more drivers to support its mission.

Wheels for Wellness has given 468 rides to 176 local individuals since its launch in June. Volunteers have driven more than 13,000 miles combined and have contributed over 1,000 hours of service.

Medical rides are given priority but they can also be provided for other human needs and wellness-related activities.

Currently, the demand exceeds driver availability and RSVP's goal is to fulfill every ride request.

"Each week, it kind of snowballs and the demand is pretty

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State Extends and Expands WiFi and Connectivity Programs in Berkshire County
04:46PM / Friday, December 17, 2021
WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) at MassTech Collaborative announced the extension of several digital equity programs launched through the "Partnerships for Recovery" efforts earlier this year.   Supported with $9.2 million in economic recovery funds, the MBI launched public wireless hotspots in unserved towns in western and central Massachusetts and provided digital support for job seekers provided through the Mass.    In Berkshire County availability will be extended through June 30 at Becket Town Hall, Florida Senior Center, Sandisfield Town Hall, and Savoy Town Hall.    In addition, the MBI has expanded the

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