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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'20th Century Women': Vive la Différence
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:03PM / Friday, February 03, 2017

Folks who require a certain amount of shock, awe and disturbingly aberrant behavior in their cinema might do well to skip filmmaker Mike Mills' highly intelligent "20th Century Women" and perhaps instead focus on the 3-ring circus currently posing as our national body politic. However, if you're the sort who still believes there's room for truth, honest analysis, thoughtful contemplation and selfless, humanitarian goals, then here's your ticket to a sophisticated and high-minded respite from that hopefully temporary insanity lately threatening our democracy.

Rather than informing what "20th Century Women" is about, it might be easier to relate what it

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The Independent Investor: All You Need to Know About Medicare
By Bill Schmick,
05:38PM / Wednesday, February 01, 2017

More of us are signing up for Medicare every day. And like social security, there are plenty of unanswered questions for those of us who are beginning the process. There are plenty of places to seek answers, but how to separate facts from sales pitches from health insurance brokers is part of the problem. Here is a primer that may help you navigate these muddy waters.

Presidents as far back as Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 toyed with the idea of a government-sponsored health insurance program. Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy both tried and failed to get an act passed. But in 1965, under the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson, Medicare was finally passed.

You qualify for Medicare at age

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High School Art Show Opens at Norman Rockwell Museum
02:23PM / Wednesday, February 01, 2017

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The annual Berkshire County High School Art Show returns for its 31st year at Norman Rockwell Museum with a special exhibit opening to be held on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Visitors can celebrate the creative talent on display from Berkshire County high schools, and meet the artists; original works in all media — from painting and drawing to photography, ceramics, three-dimensional assemblage, and digital art — will be on view.

Participating schools include: BArT Charter School, Berkshire School, Berkshire Waldorf School, Drury High School, Lee High School, Lenox Memorial High School, Monument Mountain Regional High School, Mount Everett

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MCLA to Present Student Leadership Conference
02:13PM / Wednesday, February 01, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will present the 22nd annual Leadership Conference, "100 Yards of Leadership," on Sunday, Feb. 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Amsler Campus Center Gym, when MCLA will welcome AJ Adams, an award-winning speaker, author and entrepreneur, as the keynote speaker.

Registration for this event, open to college and high school students, will remain open through Thursday, Feb. 2. This event is free to all members of the MCLA community, and $40 for those from other campuses. The cost includes breakfast, lunch and a snack.

"This conference is a place where students – whether they are emerging leaders or

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Time to Gather Your Investment Tax Forms
Submitted by Edward Jones,
01:46PM / Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The holidays are now a month behind us, which means it's about time for another season: tax season.

While you may not find it particularly festive, you can get through this season with a minimum of stress – if you're organized. That means, among other things, you'll need to gather the correct forms in one place. And right about now, you should be receiving many of the forms you’ll need – specifically, those tax forms related to your investments.

Here are some of the key forms to watch for:

* 1099-B: This form reports capital gains. A capital gain is an increase in the value of an investment over the initial purchase price. Short-term capital gains, on

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Case Forced to Resign as DCR Regional Director
Staff Reports,
02:59PM / Monday, January 30, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Michael F. Case is out at the state Department of Conservation and Recreation less than a year after his appointment as western region director.

According to The Boston Globe, Case was forced to resign Thursday after being confronted by DCR Commissioner Leo Roy after pornography was reportedly found on his Pittsfield office computer.

The Republican State Committee member and Washington selectman was appointed to the post by Gov. Charlie Baker last February.

The request he resign apparently followed two previous warnings earlier in the month about language and conduct.

The Globe on Friday quoted DCR spokesman Troy Wall as saying, "After becoming aware of a

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Biz Briefs: Williamstown Commons, Kimball Farms Named Best Nursing Homes by Magazine
02:13PM / Monday, January 30, 2017

Best of the best: Four of Berkshire Healthcare's skilled nursing facilities in Massachusetts have been named among the best in the commonwealth by US News & World Report. In the Berkshires, Williamstown Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center in Lenox were among 80 in Massachusetts selected by the national magazine. Other Berkshire facilities including Hunt Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Danvers and Pilgrim Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing in Peabody earned spots on the list.

US News evaluated more than 15,000 skilled nursing facilities nationwide, across each state and in 100 major metropolitan areas. Just over 2,000 nursing homes

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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Towns Receive Complete Streets Community Funding Awards
01:11PM / Monday, January 30, 2017

Mission complete: A ceremony was held at the Massachusetts State House on Jan. 27 to distribute a total of $5.5 million to 15 communities, including three Berkshire County towns, in funding for the Complete Streets Funding Program. A "complete street" is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes and for all people, taking into account the ages and abilities of individuals. In September 2016, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the first round of awards from the Complete Streets Program to 11 communities which totaled over $4.4 million.

The Complete Streets funding awards will be used to fund local, multi-modal infrastructure improvement projects,

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Attorney Offers Overview of Marijuana Law for Municipalities
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:04AM / Sunday, January 29, 2017

The implementation of the new law is drawn out over a number of years. LENOX, Mass. — Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level so income raised from sales of pot cannot legally be placed in federally regulated banks.   So, what are towns supposed to do with the money raised from a local option tax now that marijuana sales will be legal on the state level?   That's one of the questions yet to be answered after Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize the use, sale, and taxation of marijuana.    Attorney Raymond Miyares of Miyares & Harrington LLP of Wellesley provided a presentation on the law, aimed particularly for local

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@theMarket: The Deals Begin
By Bill Schmick,
04:58PM / Friday, January 27, 2017

This week's ongoing controversy between Mexico and our new president over trade and the construction of "the wall” has investors concerned, confused and apprehensive. And still the markets gained ground.

I believe we are witnessing the opening gambits of President Trump's "Art of the Deal” as it applies to global economics and politics. It will take some getting used to on the part of investors and all Americans. So far the markets, at least, are going along with it.

We finally hit that elusive 20,000 mark on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That's no big deal and has little importance to technical analysts. New record highs, on the other hand, which

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'The Founder': The Original Hamburglar
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:53PM / Friday, January 27, 2017

'I think my father would have enjoyed John Lee Hancock's "The Founder," an enthusiastic account of how Ray Kroc, a previously failed salesman, turned the McDonald brothers' pioneering, fast-food restaurant into a worldwide phenomenon. But while he would applaud the title character's passion and persistence, he'd have something to say about his arguable ruthlessness. While dad, like Roy Hobbs in "The Natural" (1982), liked a buck as well as the next guy, he didn't believe that business and integrity were mutually exclusive items.

Daniel Goldberger, generally a man of few but well-chosen words, turned loquacious when we had company in the form of

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The Independent Investor: A Circus by Any Other Name Is Still a Circus
By Bill Schmick,
06:03PM / Thursday, January 26, 2017

By now you may have heard that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are set to close in May of this year. That's the third circus in as many years to close their doors. You might say the announcement marks the end of an era stretching back for almost 150 years. I disagree.

The circus will never die. It's been around since the Romans were sticking each other with swords. It is a venue that is constantly changing that I believe will simply continue to evolve. Society has moved on from the need to see blood and guts on the sandy floor of the arena. For the last century and a half, we have been entertained instead by death-defying feats, acrobatics, wild animals and loud

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