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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Markets Bet on Stimulus Sweepstakes
By Bill Schmick,
03:36PM / Friday, December 04, 2020
The first week of December saw all three major averages climb to minor new highs. The trigger was more good news on the delivery timetable of the coronavirus vaccines. The expected speedy distribution of the first batch of wonder drugs encouraged investors, even while the number of COVID-19 deaths and cases nationwide continued to skyrocket.   In addition, a new dose of hopeium has infected investors on the stimulus front. The Democrats $2.2 trillion proposal has gone nowhere since July, thanks to the Republican-controlled Senate. The Democrats then reduced their price tag in an effort to forge a compromise before the election, but the Republicans refused to spend more than their

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Great Barrington Police Get Traffic Enforcement Grant
04:36PM / Thursday, December 03, 2020
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Police Department was awarded an $11,955 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security's Office of Grants and Research to increase the number of traffic enforcement patrols.   Funding will cover five traffic enforcement campaigns in December, May and April and two next summer. Emphasis will be on impaired driving, distracted driving and speeding.   The department recently purchased a new speed trailer that is being used to gather statistics to help determine times and locations where grant patrols will do the most good. With three bridges under repair, more and more traffic is being diverted to residential neighborhoods and

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Storm System Could Bring Region's First Nor'easter of Season
04:30PM / Thursday, December 03, 2020
The dusting of snow the Berkshires got on Wednesday — after enjoying temperatures in the high 50s the days before —may have been a warning of things to come.    The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., has posted a winter storm watch for the Berkshires this weekend and some forecasters say this could be the first Nor'easter of the season.    "It looks like as we go forward we are going to see a strengthening storm coming up the Eastern Seaboard, but the forecasting dilemma, and it always is, is the exact track of the storm," AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said on Thursday.   NWS is warning of heavy snow and

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The Retired Investor: Bitcoin Is Back
By Bill Schmick,
04:17PM / Thursday, December 03, 2020
After a three-year hiatus, cryptocurrencies have returned and are attracting the attention of investors. Will this time be any different?   Readers may recall the Bitcoin craze that sent the largest digital currency to an all-time high of $20,000 in 2017 and spawned numerous copy-cat cryptos like Ethereum and Litecoin.   You may also remember that all of them came crashing back to earth and ignominy where they have languished, unloved, until this year.   This week, Bitcoin hit a new three-year record of $19, 857. If that is news to you, there is a reason for that. After the last buying frenzy and subsequent crash, the financial media has taken a more cautious approach in

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CSX Acquiring Pan Am Railways
Staff Reports,
05:21PM / Tuesday, December 01, 2020
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — CSX Corp. says it has signed an agreement to acquire North Billerica-headquartered Pan Am Railways Inc.    Pan Am is considered the largest regional railroad with a 1,700-mile rail network in New England and New York and a partial interest in the more than 600-mile Pan Am Southern system. Its tracks run through the Hoosac Tunnel.    "Pan Am is pleased to reach this agreement with CSX, a North American leader in rail-based freight transportation," Pan Am President David A. Fink said in a statement announcing the deal. "This is great news for New England shippers and the national freight network overall."   Pan Am,

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Baker: COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout to Begin This Month
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:37PM / Tuesday, December 01, 2020
BOSTON — Widespread access to COVID-19 vaccines probably won't occur until late spring, Gov. Charlie Baker said at his pandemic update on Tuesday.    The governor said he anticipated that the focus would be on high-risk individuals as the vaccines are rolled out in December and the first part of the year.   "The focus is going to be on the people we are all the most worried about, right, either because of what they do for work or because of their age, or because of their physical condition," he said.   Federal officials on a call Monday told governors that the vaccine distribution is expected to begin in mid-December and through March, Baker said. The

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Holiday Events and Tree Lightings 2020
04:15PM / Monday, November 30, 2020

This year's holiday gatherings and annual tree lightings are looking much different because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Many events have been canceled or are being held virtually and/or broadcast on Facebook or local public access channels. Here's what we have so far in events below. If we're missing any, let us know at info@iBerkshires.com

Christmas Tree Lightings 🎄 Cheshire: The Police and Fire departments and Adams Ambulance will hold a Holiday Light Parade with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 3:30 p.m. The caravan will leave the fire station and first drive through the neighborhood streets before ending at Town Hall for Santa to light the Christmas

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Social Justice Club Explores Mohican History in Stockbridge
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
01:57AM / Monday, November 30, 2020

The bust above the entrance of Town Hall, the former Plain School, is believed to be Chief Konkapot, who had approved the Christian mission. STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Nearly 300 years ago, what would become Stockbridge was formed by a gathering of Mohican sachems or chiefs.     These chiefs grappled with accepting a missionary by the name of John Sergeant. They took four days of debate and then exchanged a wampum belt and agreed that the Mohican Nation would now be centered in "Indian Town" instead of the principal homelands in Hudson Valley.   The history of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community was explored Saturday during a walking tour of Main Street by

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@theMarket: Market Cyclicals Take the Lead
By Bill Schmick,
04:37PM / Friday, November 27, 2020
It was a good week for investors, which is not surprising since Thanksgiving week has been kind to investors in the past. The question is, will December fulfill its role as one of the year's best months for stocks?   The short answer is yes, I don't see why not. My recent target for the S&P 500 Index is 3,800, but it is possible that I may be too conservative. An additional spike up to the 4,000 level might be in the cards sometime early next year, but one week at a time. What is the bull case for those lofty predictions?   I have long argued that a coronavirus vaccine was key to the economy and the market's future performance. We now have at least three vaccines

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State Declares 'Green Friday' in Support of Local Xmas Tree Farms
03:29PM / Friday, November 27, 2020
UXBRIDGE, Mass. — The Baker-Polito administration has declared Friday, Nov. 27, as "Green Friday" to encourage people across the commonwealth to visit their local farms and nurseries for Christmas trees, holiday plants, and holiday decorating needs.   To celebrate, state Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux participated in a Christmas tree-cutting ceremony at Arrowhead Acres in Uxbridge. In an effort to support the commonwealth's Christmas tree industry, the declaration of Green Friday encourages people throughout the state to visit their local Christmas tree farms to purchase their trees, holiday plants, ornamental swags, and wreaths to

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The Retired Investor: Pandemic Has Been Good to Pet Industry
By Bill Schmick,
04:30PM / Thursday, November 26, 2020
Sales are increasing wherever you look in the pet sector. Toys, beds, grooming products, leashes, day care, you name it; the pet industry is experiencing double-digit increases in revenue. Better yet, there are few signs that consumer spending in this area will slow down anytime soon.   As readers are aware, the retail sector has been one of the hardest hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The pet care industry is an exception to that rule. In the past, I have written extensively about how recession-proof the pet industry can be.  In both the 2001 and 2008 recessions, pet care sales grew between 5-7 percent. Consumer spending on pets has grown 36 percent in the past 10

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How Do You Cook a Turkey?: From the Mouths of 5-year-olds
By Mrs. Poirot's Kindergarten Class, Guest Column
12:15PM / Thursday, November 26, 2020

Kindergarteners at Hoosac Valley Elementary working diligently at home to share their Thanksgiving recipes. 

ADAMS, Mass. — Each year, the kindergartners in Robin Poirot's class at Hoosac Valley Elementary School offer their estimations on how long it takes to cook a turkey — in sizes ranging from three to 100 pounds.

  Their Thanksgiving recipes are always amusing and sometimes enlightening, particularly the choices of stuffing, but we must strongly caution against following any of their directions as a matter of public health.   Addison Columbus Well, first you would have to go to the store and grab a 10-pound turkey. After I bring it home in a bag, I

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