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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Family Support Highlighted at 16th Berkshire Legislative Breakfast
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:41PM / Friday, March 18, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In front of a room filled with people who understood only too well, Jean Simmons shared the very personal story of raising her son, now 27, who was born with a condition that causes excess fluid to build up in the brain.

"He requires 24-7 care and supervision, and he lives at home with myself and his dad," Simmons said. "When Matthew was born, we were told he would never walk or talk or have any quality of life.

"Boy, were they wrong."

Today, Matthew talks morning, noon and night — and sometimes beyond, Simmons said to a chuckling audience at the 16th annual Berkshire Legislative Breakfast, a presentation of Berkshire County Arc


BRPC Supports Efforts to Designate 'Bicycle Route 7' Through Berkshires
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:46AM / Friday, March 18, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Long-distance cyclists may soon be directed to bike through the Berkshires.

The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials are developing a massive highway system designation throughout the country for long-distance bicyclists to map out routes. What is eyed as US Bicycle Route 7 would connect Connecticut with Vermont through the Berkshires.

"It's connecting regions and states much like the highway system," said Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Senior Planner Emily Lindsey.

BRPC is supportive of the agreement but the effort to get the designation will need the backing of the eight Berkshire communities whose local roads


Porchlight VNA Opening Pittsfield Office
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:03AM / Friday, March 18, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Porchlight VNA/Home Care is expanding its footprint with a new South Street office.   The company will open the office in leased space on April 1. The move is part of the company's strategic effort to better serve all of Berkshire County.    "People always associate Lee VNA (the company's former name) with South County," said Chief Executive Officer Holly Chaffee.   But, that's not true. The company has many clients, spanning the entire county and beyond, she said. Just two years ago, Porchlight grew its footprint even further when it merged with Chicopee Visiting Nurses Association, bringing the company into three Western


Is Your 'Financial Umbrella' in Place?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:41AM / Wednesday, March 16, 2016

April showers may bring May flowers, but March is National Umbrella Month.

While ranking high on the list of truly obscure celebrations, this “Month” can still teach us a few things – especially if we think about “umbrellas” that can help us protect our financial goals.

Consider these key areas:

* Your vulnerability to emergencies: It’s a good idea to maintain an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Without such a fund, you may need to dip into your long-term investments to pay for unexpected, and unexpectedly large, expenses such as a new furnace or a big bill from the doctor. You’ll want to keep your


Berkshire Tidbits: Introductions to Cheese, Maple Dining
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
02:49PM / Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Matthew Rubiner of Rubiner's Cheesemongers & Grocers is offering cheese workshops geared for children.

Classes and cheese pairing seminars continue at Rubiner's Cheesemongers & Grocers this month.

Owner and presenter Matthew Rubiner has, wisely, divided his popular — FREE — kids' cheese tasting and talking classes, "Introduction to Cheese for Kids,"  by age group. He admits that they are now "improved by age segregation."

Rubiner invites 3- to 8-year-olds "to come, taste and discuss a range of cheeses, where cheese comes from, how it gets to be so darn delicious and other interesting facts," on Tuesday, March 22 between


Adams Outdoorsmen For Youth Celebrate 40 Years
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:27PM / Monday, March 14, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Outdoorsmen for Youth celebrated 40 years of supporting youth events and scholarships throughout the region at their annual game dinner last week.

More than 300 people trailed into the Eagles Hall on a recent Saturday night to chow down on delicacies one most likely would not be able to find in the local market.

President Wayne Tinney said the game dinner is the group's major fundraiser and has fueled its charitable endeavors for 40 years

"We always give back to our youth because they are the most important part of our community so we donate all of our stuff to fishing derbies, scholarships, the boy scouts, and local sports organizations,"

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Zonta Club Award Applications Available
02:22PM / Monday, March 14, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Applications for the 2016 Young Women in Public Affairs Award are now available from the Zonta Club of Berkshire County.

The goal of the Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Program is to encourage more young women to participate in public affairs by recognizing a young woman’s commitment to the volunteer sector, evidence of volunteer leadership achievements, and a dedication to the advancement of the status of women.

Applicants are asked to reflect on their voluntary commitment to their school and to their community and the problems limiting the advancement of the status of women in their own country and worldwide. The Zonta International Young Women in


Hinds Releases Platform For State Senate Campaign
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:55AM / Sunday, March 13, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Senate candidate Adam Hinds released his platform last week, focusing on five topics: economics, education, energy, stopping the heroin epidemic, and reversing the population loss.   The candidate says each topic is somewhat dependent on the others and the five-pronged approach is "a plan we can go to Boston with."   Hinds says by creating more high-quality jobs, and strengthening the education system, getting a handle on energy costs, and providing more treatment for those addict to heroin, the district consisting of 52 cities and towns will stop a declining population trend.   "You can't create jobs without attention to


Berkshire Tidbits: Maple Syrup, Early St. Paddy's Day
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
09:43PM / Friday, March 11, 2016

On Sunday, March 13, from 3 to 5 p. m., chef Julie Gale, owner of At the Table Cooking School in Hillsdale, N. Y., will interpret the classic brunch as part of the Cooking at The Chef's Shop series, 31 Railroad St. in Great Barrington, 413-528-0135. She will be making homemade gravlax, eggs Benedict and bread pudding with whiskey sauce.

The cost is class is $60 per person for a single class, $150 for a series of three. Payment is required in advance with a 48 hour cancellation policy. The Chef's Shop offers students a 10-percent discount on purchases made on a class day. Call or, to reserve a place.


Chef Frank LaRagione will serve his annual early St.


@theMarket: Markets Are at an Important Level
By Bill Schmick,
04:24PM / Friday, March 11, 2016

Stocks spent the last week consolidating. It was a necessary exercise, since stocks were overbought. Now that condition is behind us, and markets climbed higher by the end of this week. We are now at an important level. Call it a moment of truth that will indicate to investors whether the correction is over.

Up until now, the majority of traders have considered the 11 percent rally we have enjoyed in the S&P 500 Index since February nothing more than a bear market rally. But breaking above the 200 Day Moving Average (200 DMA) would make this an entirely new ballgame.

As I have written in the past, the 200 DMA is a technical level. It is simply a security's average closing price


'Zootopia': It's a Jungle out There
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:42PM / Friday, March 11, 2016

With "Zootopia," a gaggle of doubtlessly well-intentioned writers and directors fail to snare the brass ring of kiddie-flick making, the award accorded to those movies that prove entertaining to children and adults alike.

Granted, it's a beautifully animated, satiric parable ostensibly meant to be Brittany and Tyler's introduction to civics. But while intelligent, responsible and hyperpacked with political correctness, the satisfaction it engenders in Grandma won't necessarily be matched by the joyful enchantment we'd hope to see on Junior's face.

Nope. By the time today's hip kid hits the Bijou he is pretty aware of what ails and threatens civilization,


Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 29 - March 11
Staff Reports,
11:04AM / Friday, March 11, 2016
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, Feb. 29.   Bruce Daniels, 47, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of rape of a child with force.   He was released on personal recognizance. Daniels is accused of sexually assaulting a boy who is now age 17 between October 1, 2012 and October 31, 2012.   Heidi Bliss, 35, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of accessory after the fact to wit: armed robbery while masked, and misleading a police officer or other person.   The charges are in connection with a robbery in Pittsfield on January 24, 2016. She was released on $1,000 bail.   Cases


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