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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Second Victim in Great Barrington Fire Dies
05:10PM / Wednesday, December 11, 2019

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Monday's structure fire in Great Barrington has claimed a second victim. 

Susan Romano, 67, died at Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center on Tuesday night. Her husband, Michael Romano, died Monday night.    "On behalf of the town of Great Barrington, I offer our heartfelt condolences to their family. Every fire death is tragic, but the loss cuts deeper during the holidays," Great Barrington Fire Chief Charles Burger said.   The couple were pulled from their 24 Silver St. home by firefighters on at about 7:40 p.m. on Monday night. Both were unresponsive and Michael Romano died shortly after at Fairview Hospital.    The fire

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Use Year-end Bonus (Or Gift) Wisely
01:01PM / Tuesday, December 10, 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, you may be anticipating – or have already received – a year-end bonus from your employer. Or you might be receiving a substantial cash gift for the holidays. (If you're really lucky, you might get both.)

You can doubtlessly think of many ways to spend this money right now, but how can you use it to help yourself in the long run?

Here are a few suggestions:

* Pay off some debts. Virtually all of us carry some type of debt, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. For example, your mortgage not only gives you a place to live and a chance to build equity in your home, but the interest payments are typically tax deductible. Other debts, though,

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CHP Names Director of Operations
12:34PM / Tuesday, December 10, 2019

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. – Community Health Programs has named Christa Gariepy to the position of director of operations.

Most recently the director of patient relations at Berkshire Medical Center, Gariepy has also worked as program director at Childcare of the Berkshires and at The Brien Center as a human rights representative and case manager.

In her new position, she reports to CHP's chief operating officer, Jennifer Wilkinson.

A graduate of Boston University, Gariepy holds a master's degree in clinical psychology. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Western New England College.

A resident of Pittsfield, she also serves as vice-chair of the

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Holiday Events and Tree Lightings 2019
11:15AM / Tuesday, December 10, 2019

'Tis the season to be merry and bright. Planning a holiday event? Let us know at iBerkshires.com. (Visit our Holiday Bazaars and Craft Fairs list for holiday craft fairs.( And see below for a guide to Christmas tree lightings in towns across the Berkshires.

 

Holiday Events Thursday, Dec. 12

North Adams: Phil Kline's walking symphony experience "Unsilent Night" returns again to North Adams. This year the event will explore the neighborhood just north of River Street, starting at the UNO Community Center and ending at the new studio venue at Porches Inn. The walk is at 6 p.m., with a gathering at UNO one half-hour before. All ages invited;  dress warmly, 

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Harvest Festivals and Craft Fairs 2019
10:20AM / Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Fall has arrived, bringing with it many craft fairs and harvest festivals around the Berkshires. This list will be updated as we get more information. Have an event to add? Email us at info@iberkshires.com.

 

Saturday, Dec. 14

Pittsfield: The Holiday Shindy will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the newly instated Al Khalil Cultural Center (formerly Shire City Sanctuary) with 40 artisan vendors, featuring holiday shopping with food from local farms and the opportunity to meet and watch local makers weave, sew, and whittle. Admission is $3, free for children under 12.

Sheffield: Christ Trinity Church, 180 Main St., will hold its holiday bazaar and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The

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Veteran Spotlight: PFC Giardina Runs Out of Luck on Day 13
By Wayne Soares, Special to iBerkshires
04:28PM / Sunday, December 08, 2019

I met this week's veterans spotlight feature several months ago and I liked him instantly as we really hit it off. He would be described as unequivocally old school — kind, humble, generous with a warm smile and a fabulous personality. 

  Francis A. Giardina served his country in the Army from 1952 to 1954 in the Korean War.    Growing up in Pittsfield, he was the youngest of three children. "We were poor, but we didn't know it ... we always had food on the table and always had plenty to do," he remembered. After graduating from Pittsfield High School, Giardina ran pool halls for a couple of years before being drafted into the Army in November

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Climate Change Expert: Keep Heat on Banks, Insurers
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:16AM / Sunday, December 08, 2019

About two dozen protesters demanding action on climate change gather on the steps of Williamstown's First Congregational Church on Friday afternoon.  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A leading expert on climate change Thursday told a packed house that while big oil is an enemy, it is not the only one.   Big banks and big insurance play their part.   "The four banks in the world that fund most of the fossil fuel industry are big American banks," Bill McKibben said during his appearance at MCLA for the Elizabeth and Lawrence Vadnais Environmental Issues Lecture. "Chase Bank is the biggest by far and the biggest with a bullet. Chase Bank lent over the last

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'The Irishman': At 3 Hours & 29 Minutes, it all Depends
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:31PM / Friday, December 06, 2019
"Fuhgeddaboudit" was the advice from those who decided against climbing the movie mountain that is Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman," all 3 hours and 29 minutes of it. Dilemmas presented themselves. How many times will I have to go to the bathroom? Should we skip breakfast, have dinner now, pack a picnic lunch, or maybe even book a room close to the theater?   The destinies of whole lives were changed for those strict constructionists who wouldn't succumb to the tyranny of their bladders by availing themselves of the small screen, Netflix offering.   Me? Nope. I came this far in my moviegoing ... lived through the days of when films broke in midstream,

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Whiplash Weather in Store for the Berkshires
01:32PM / Friday, December 06, 2019
Mother Nature is making sure there's a snowy background for Friday night's tree lightings in North Adams and Pittsfield. The National Weather Service is predicting a few inches and up to 5 inches in the higher elevations, with steady snowfall until 10 p.m.    Motorists should beware of slippery roads and low visibility, especially Friday night.   A number of school districts have canceled after-school programs for Friday: Hoosac Valley Regional; Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter; Mount Greylock Regional School District; Drury High; and Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union (early dismissal, too).   But wait, this is the Berkshires so you know the

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The Independent Investor: Truth About NATO & Defense Spending
By Bill Schmick,
04:19PM / Thursday, December 05, 2019
While it would appear that President Donald Trump left the London NATO Summit this week empty-handed, the truth is he has already achieved what several presidents before him could not. Unfortunately, it is a shallow victory at best.   Just a week ago, in preparation for President Trump's visit, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced a change in the funding of its budget. It agreed to reduce the United States' contribution to the alliance (now 22 percent) and redistribute the costs to other members. As a result, the U.S. and Germany will now pay the same amount. Each will contribute 16 percent of NATO's central budget.   The problem is that NATO's central

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MCLA Gallery 51 Annual Holiday Art Show Opens Thursday
10:31AM / Thursday, December 05, 2019
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Gallery 51 opens its Made by Hand Holiday Art Show will on Thursday, Dec. 5, just in time for the holiday season.    All art will be priced below $100 and will be available for purchase that evening through Dec. 28.   The public is invited to attend the show's official opening from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at Gallery 51 on Main Street. There will gifts choices from more than 40 local makers and artisans.   The holiday art show celebrates the artwork of local and regional artists and includes sculpture, ceramics, watercolors, jewelry, paintings, cards, collages, fiber, book arts, photography, and

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Sommer Center for Music & Art to Open Former Adams Church
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Thursday, December 05, 2019

Members of the Adams-Anthony Center and local officials at the former St. Mark's Church for the announcement of the academy. ADAMS, Mass. — The Olga C. Sommer Center for Music & Art will open in the former St. Mark's Episcopal Church and host the Berkshires Academy for Advanced Musical Studies.   A group of New York-based musicians look to breath new life into the former church on Commercial Street. On Wednesday, residents and town leaders were asked to imagine what the Berkshires Academy for Advanced Musical Studies (BAAMS) could bring to Adams and the greater region.   "I like to say that every one of us have little candles in our heads that

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