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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

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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@theMarket: Markets Keep Churning
By Bill Schmick,
04:32PM / Friday, December 17, 2021
As most investors expected, the Federal Open Market Committee announced the start of their tapering effort but doubled the pace of the monthly taper to $30 billion a month until March 2022 when the effort will conclude. In addition, FOMC members see three, 25-basis-point increases in the Fed Funds interest rate next year, and more in 2023.   Faced with the end of a decades-long era of loose monetary policy, historical behavior would indicate interest rates up, equities down. That still seems a good bet despite the market's immediate reaction to the Fed announcement.   Some participants may still be scratching their heads after Wednesday's (Dec. 16) Federal Reserve Bank

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The Berkshires Can Expect a Few Inches of Snow Saturday
02:33PM / Friday, December 17, 2021
The unseasonably warm weather will give way to something more in-season Saturday, and there is a winter weather advisory in place for Berkshire County from 7 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.   According to the National Weather Service, Berkshire communities can expect mixed precipitation, total snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches, and ice accumulations of around one-tenth of an inch.   The snow is expected to change into sleet and or a light freezing rain through the late afternoon and evening. A change back to snow is expected overnight.   Precipitation should taper off toward daybreak Sunday. Plan for slippery road conditions. Temperatures are expected to stay in the 30s

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Cove Lanes in Great Barrington Sold in Foreclosure Auction
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:45PM / Wednesday, December 15, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A Sheffield man Wednesday morning bought the Cove Lanes bowling alley in an on-site foreclosure auction held in the parking lot of the recreation center.   Craig Barnum was the lone bidder against an attorney for the business's mortgagee.   He won the brief auction with a purchase price of $981,000.   Afterward, Barnum declined to discuss specifics of his plans for the business with reporters but said he would be prepared to do so in a day or two.   The 11 a.m. auction drew a crowd of about three dozen people, including multiple qualified bidders.   Marianne Sullivan of Sandwich's Sullivan and Sullivan Auctioneers refused to

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Baker Signs $4B Federal COVID-19 Relief Spending Bill
04:03PM / Monday, December 13, 2021
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday signed a $4 billion spending plan that will put to work a portion of the state's direct federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act.   It includes support for continued recovery across key priority areas, making substantial investments in housing and homeownership, healthcare, workforce development, premium pay for essential workers and infrastructure. The governor vetoed language in seven line items that he said would cause delays in putting funds to use and signed 86 of 88 outside sections.   He returned one outside section to the Legislature with proposed amendments and vetoed one outside section -- the requirement that the $500

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State Distributing Free COVID-19 Tests to Dozen Berkshire Communities
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
10:44AM / Monday, December 13, 2021
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A dozen Berkshire communities are among 102 towns and cities selected to receive at-home COVID-19 test kits through the state.   Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Monday morning that 2.1 million iHealth Labs over-the-counter, at-home rapid antigen tests to 102 towns with the highest percentage of families below the poverty level.   The local communities receiving these tests are Adams, Clarksburg, Florida, Great Barrington, Hinsdale, Mount Washington, North Adams, Peru, Pittsfield, Savoy, West Stockbridge and Williamstown.   The tests are to be given out to those who may not have the financial means to purchase home tests.   Baker, speaking

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BAAMS Welcomes New Faculty
09:11AM / Monday, December 13, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.— The Berkshires' Academy for Advanced Musical Studies (BAAMS) Welcomed four new faculty members.   The growing nonprofit music school has offered both online and in-person music lessons for Berkshire youth.    Dario Boente: Track Production  Latin Grammy Nominee Argentinian born pianist and composer Dario Boente grew up in Argentina and Spain, immersed in the culture of tango and Jazz. He pursued his formal studies at Berklee School of Music (Boston), the Guildhall School of Music (London) and the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Program (New York).   Dario has released 10 albums and compilations as a leader, featuring well-known

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Road Test Applicants Will Need Own Vehicles
06:40PM / Thursday, December 09, 2021
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is informing learner's permit holders applying for a Massachusetts issued driver's license that all applicants will be required to supply their own vehicle for road testing beginning on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.    Due to the pandemic and health and safety protocols, since June of 2020, the RMV has deployed a fleet of Commonwealth-owned vehicles for road tests which were cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis.  The use of these Commonwealth-owned vehicles will end on Dec. 31, 2021.    Applicants for a Class M, or Motorcycle license, will continue to supply their own motorcycle for testing.

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Construct To Hold Affordable Housing Webinar
04:04PM / Thursday, December 09, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Construct announced that it is offering a Zoom-based webinar, open to the public, on Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 7:00 P.M, where team members will discuss how affordable housing works in the community.    The webinar panelists will focus on their work related to affordable housing and support services and will respond to the audience's questions.    According to a press release: the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored how precious basic necessities are -clothes, food, shelter. For many residents, reliable, safe, and quality housing can be hard to find. Affordable housing creates pathways for community members to thrive and contribute, and

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The Retired Investor: Holiday Spending Expected to Stay Strong
By Bill Schmick,
03:20PM / Thursday, December 09, 2021
Despite the recent scare caused by Omicron, the new novel coronavirus mutation, retailers are hoping consumers will continue spending in December 2021. I like that bet.   The National Retail Federation (NRF) is expecting a record holiday season totaling a take of between $843 billion and $859 billion in revenues throughout November 2021 and December 2021. That would be a record year for retailers such as Target, Walmart and Amazon.   Time is running out, however, given that we have less than three weeks to go until Christmas Day.   Remember, too, that the shopper began picking up gifts earlier than normal this year due to fears of continued supply chain shortages. Many

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Great Barrington Historical Commission To Host Book Launch, Signing Party
08:54AM / Thursday, December 09, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The town's Historical Commission will host a book launch and book signing party on Friday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at Saint James Place featuring Local historian Bernard A. Drew's new book "Great Barrington Here & Gone."   The Great Barrington Historical Commission commissioned and published the book, which is "chock full of history and memories for long-term residents, new residents and visitors with an interest in the town's historical assets and historic preservation," said Historical Commission Chair Malcolm Fick. "It's a great holiday gift for just about anyone who lives in or visits our town, and a great read

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BRTA Service Planning Survey
12:10PM / Wednesday, December 08, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) is asking for public opinion on what riders would like to see at the BRTA.    The BRTA is seeking input from customers and community members about current and future bus services. Users are asked to share candid input about what the BRTA should prioritize in the coming years.   Answers will guide the BRTA planning principles, as the region emerges from the pandemic. To take the survey, go to https://bit.ly/brta-survey-2021.   All individual responses will remain anonymous, while the overall information and results will be shared publicly and with BRTA stakeholders.    Particpants can add

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