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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'I Feel Pretty': And So Will You
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
06:40PM / Thursday, April 26, 2018
It has long been said by altruistic philosophers, and famously iterated in 1966 by no less authority than David Ruffin and The Temptations, that "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep."    But alas, anyone who has spent any time on this planet chock full of monuments to physical splendor, and who has perhaps had the lesson harshly impressed in middle school, knows that all that well-meaning claptrap goes out the window when one is confronted with a comely face or a well-turned ankle.  There is no expression, "The great personality that launched a thousand ships."    Thus, even we really good looking people must commiserate with Amy Schumer's Renee Bennett

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The Independent Investor: The Opioid Effect
By Bill Schmick,
06:29PM / Thursday, April 26, 2018
Opioids are killing us. Both literally, as well as from an economic point of view. The economy has already suffered over $1 trillion in lost potential and those losses appear to be growing by the hour.   Last year, 62,000 Americans fatally overdosed on some form of opioid. It is getting to the point that almost every one of us knows someone who is either addicted or died from these drugs. However, while death is a tragedy, we tend to ignore how much this problem is costing our society.   "You can't put a price tag on the death of a loved one," we say, but actually we can. It's called the "value of a Statistical Life," or VSL. Federal agencies routinely

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Take Steps to Control Your Investment Taxes
03:17PM / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tax season is finally over. Of course, how much you pay in taxes depends on a variety of factors, many of which you can't control. But you might give some thought to how you can manage your investment-related taxes.

Here are some suggestions to consider:

* Contribute to your employer's retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or similar plan, such as a 403(b) or 457(b), contribute as much as you can afford. The more pre-tax dollars you put in to your retirement plan, the lower your taxable income. Your employer also may offer a Roth 401(k) option, under which you invest after-tax dollars, so your annual income won’t be lowered and your withdrawals will be

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State, Federal Officials to Showcase Housatonic River Projects
05:16PM / Tuesday, April 24, 2018
LENOX, Mass. — State and federal environmental officials will host an open house on May 1 to showcase restoration projects funded as a part of the first three rounds of the Massachusetts Housatonic River Watershed Restoration Program.    The open house will also include a discussion of the anticipated fourth and final round of funding for restoration projects to compensate for natural resources that were injured or lost as a result of the release of hazardous materials from the General Electric facility in Pittsfield into the Massachusetts portion of the Housatonic River watershed.    The Massachusetts Subcouncil of the Housatonic River Natural Resource Trustees

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Stockbridge Officials Share Concerns With Lt. Gov. Polito
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:44PM / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Chabon and Cardillo spent about an hour with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito talking through issues. STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito vowed to work with town, state, and federal officials to find a way forward with the Stockbridge Bowl dredging project.   The $4 million project to restore the lake was stalled recently when an endangered snail was found to be located there and in only one other state lake.   Board of Selectman Chairman Donald Chabon said the lake is in dire need of restoration and the species wouldn't survive if the lake's overall ecosystem isn't improved.   "This is not preserving our species. This is just destroying our lakes.

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ArtWeek to Launch Across Massachusetts
02:39PM / Monday, April 23, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center, ArtWeek will present its largest season lineup ever.

The award-winning creative festival will offer more than 500 events from April 27-May 6 — more than double the size of the 2017 festival. For the first time, ArtWeek events will take place across the commonwealth, with a presence in 155 neighborhoods and towns across all six regions of the state.

The festival aims to provide participants with new ways to get creative and make art and culture more accessible to everyone. This season, more than 70 percent of all ArtWeek events are free. Visit the website to view the full calendar of

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Berkshires Beat: Sen. Hinds Reads Aloud to Young Children in Pittsfield
01:57PM / Monday, April 23, 2018
Time to Read

Dr. Brian Dempsey is sending families home from checkups with free books and a very important prescription for the parents: "Read aloud to your children every day." In support of that effort, Sen. Adam Hinds visited the pediatrician's office on April 20, not only to cheer him on, but to practice what doctors preach by reading to a group of young patients.

Dr. Dempsey participates in Reach Out and Read, a program that prescribes books and reading aloud to give young children a foundation that is crucial for success. Embedded within the existing healthcare system, Reach Out and Read’s model includes providing a new, age-appropriate book for each child to take

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Biz Briefs: Nonprofit Center Names Award Finalists
12:29PM / Monday, April 23, 2018
The finalists are ...

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has announced the names of the 21 finalists for the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards. The winners in each of seven categories will be announced at the first Berkshire Nonprofit Awards Breakfast on Tuesday, May 22, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Country Club of Pittsfield. Tickets for the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards Breakfast are $40 per person. Register online or call 413-645-3151.  

Nominations were solicited throughout February and March. A team of 14 judges from the business sector reviewed and ranked the nominations, choosing the finalists and winners at a meeting earlier in April at Berkshire Bank. The finalists are:

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BHS Expands Endocrinology Care With Addition of New Doctor
12:04PM / Monday, April 23, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems announces the appointment of Dr. Zaighum Rana, a board- certified and fellowship-trained endocrinologist, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the physician staff of Endocrinology & Metabolism of BMC.

Dr. Rana is accepting new patients in need of endocrinology and metabolism services and is partnered with doctors Brian Phillips and Krithi Ramesh and nurse practitioners Robyn Korte and Roberta Mansen at Endocrinology & Metabolism of BMC.

Rana received his medical degree from Universitatea de Medicina si Farmacie, Grigore T Popa, Romania, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at St. Mary's Hospital,

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Youth Development, Transportation, Tops Pignatelli's Budget Priorities
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:51AM / Monday, April 23, 2018
  LENOX, Mass. — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli's top budget priority isn't a surprise: Berkshire youth development.   The Lenox Democrat has prioritized programs such as the Railroad Street Youth Project for a number of years. And now, he's requesting more state funding to expand that into a countywide effort.   "My No. 1 priority for the past 12 years now has been the Berkshire Youth Development. I really chartered my career in the legislature as a youth development empowerment person. What started at Railroad Street in Great Barrington was so successful, we have more work to do, but so successful we felt that we wanted to take it

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'Ready Player One': It's All a Game
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires columnist
03:28PM / Friday, April 20, 2018
It occurs while viewing Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One" that this is something Dr. Timothy Leary might have dreamt if he fell asleep just after reading Orwell's "1984."    As a pundit I knew in 1969 was oft inclined to opine when bemused by the semi-unexplainable, "It's trippy." Although the film bounces back and forth between reality and its cause célèbre, virtual reality, we are ultimately relieved when we grok that beneath all the layers of surrealism and cutting-edge chimera, it's just good vs. evil fighting it out in high-tech trappings.   In this feature-length metaphor within a satire based on Ernest

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@theMarket: Earnings Up; Stocks, Not So Much
By Bill Schmick,
03:00PM / Friday, April 20, 2018
Earnings season kicked off last Friday with the bank results. The numbers were stellar, but the stock prices of those companies fell hard. Since then, the same thing has occurred to any number of companies. What is going on?   At first, you might think it's classic "sell on the news" behavior where traders bid stock prices up prior to the earnings announcement and then take profits immediately after. However, a closer look reveals something different going on.   For months, investors were expecting a boost to corporate profits from the tax cuts passed by Trump and the GOP last year. Boy oh boy, we said, just wait and see how great earnings will be in the first

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