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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Letter: Check Hinds on Tuesday
Letters to the Editor,
01:00PM / Wednesday, November 02, 2016

To the Editor:

As we look out to next Tuesday, there is a wide breadth of questions and various positions both national and local that every eligible voter has the right and responsibility to vote on. No matter what side you take on any of these decisions, they will not only affect our lives, but the lives of future generations in the commonwealth, our nation, and our world.

If I can make a statement on one of those votes, I would urge you to support Adam Hinds for state Senate. Adam has proven his ability to listen and work with the community and has an incredible capacity for working with colleagues at both the state and national level. The support he has received for his candidacy

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Don't Overlook Long-term Care Costs
12:34PM / Wednesday, November 02, 2016

How much money will you need in retirement? To arrive at an estimate, you should consider various factors, such as where you'll live, how much you plan to travel, and so on. Not surprisingly, you'll also need to think about health care costs, which almost always rise during retirement. But there's one area you might overlook: long-term care. Should you be concerned about these costs?

In a word, yes. Expenses for long-term care – which can include receiving assistance at home as well as prolonged care in a facility – can be surprisingly expensive. Consider the following statistics, taken from the 2016 Cost of Care Study issued by Genworth, an insurance company:

The

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Letter: Question 2 Contrary to the Commonwealth
Letters to the Editor,
05:00PM / Tuesday, November 01, 2016

To the Editor:

Charter schools are an expensive proposition in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with no oversight from our locally elected officials.  This year over $400 million will be diverted from local school districts to fund these privately managed schools.

The broad coalition that has organized against this misguided ballot initiative speaks to its significance.  Why would over 135 organizations including the Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association, the NAACP, and both major teachers unions (MTA and AFT) be against the proposal?  Why have over 200 schools committees, 23 town boards and city councils, and 31 mayors said No On 2?  It’s the simple

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MCLA to Host 2nd Annual Berkshire Natural History Conference
03:21PM / Tuesday, November 01, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The second annual Berkshire Natural History Conference will feature presentations by local and regional naturalists as well as acclaimed authors on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Church Street Center.

"This annual event will bring natural history home to the Berkshires," said Tom Tyning, a professor of environmental science at Berkshire Community College and a lead organizer of the event. "We are really excited to gather programs and like-minded people together to help understand and appreciate the deep natural heritage that surrounds us all in the Berkshires."

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is

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Kennedy Rallies Berkshire Dems For Final Election Push
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:14PM / Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Those in attendance gathered for a quick group photo before heading back to work on the campaign efforts for Democratic candidates. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There is a lot of frustration with politics, especially on the national level, shown throughout this campaign season. While local Democrats say they understand it, they want to take seats in government to fix the causes of that frustration.   "For those who are so frustrated, and we have to acknowledge that frustration comes from a very real place for far too many people — an economy that despite our best efforts is leaving a lot of folks behind or in danger thereof, we've got a criminal justice system where

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Biz Briefs: Canyon Ranch Unveils Luxury Residences in Lenox
01:38PM / Monday, October 31, 2016

Luxury living: Canyon Ranch has launched Canyon Ranch Residences at Bellefontaine, a collection of exquisitely-designed condominiums at its 120-acre Lenox. location. William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty Great Barrington, Mass., agents Gladys Montgomery and Marc Bachman will serve as the exclusive sales and marketing agents for the property.

Located on the grounds of the historic Bellefontaine Mansion in the heart of the Berkshires – approximately two hours from Boston and three hours from New York – the Residences at Bellefontaine will be comprised of 19 beautifully-appointed luxury condos ranging in price from $1.35 million to $3.5 million, all of which will have

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Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Awards $769,000 in Fall Grants Cycle
12:26PM / Monday, October 31, 2016

SHEFFIELD, Mass. — The board of directors of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation have announced the recipients of the third round of grantmaking for 2016.

The foundation distributed a total of $50,134 in grants to individuals and nonprofits in the four-county region it serves and grants totaling nearly $720,000 from donors with charitable funds at the foundation.

In Berkshire County, the foundation awarded grants from the Gateway Fund and Pauline Young Music Fund, both of which support projects for students in the North Adams School District.

Arts and Culture: Grants to arts organizations and arts programs in North Adams totaled $17,324. Select grant recipients include: Drury

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Berkshires Beat: Cheshire Celebrates Halloween
11:35AM / Monday, October 31, 2016

Spooktacular: The Cheshire Elementary School PTG hosted its annual Halloween Dance Party on Friday, Oct. 21, in the school auditorium. DJ Bob Heck of Bob Heck Entertainment played music and games with the kids. The kids danced and played the night away.

The Hoosac Valley Cheerleaders came and volunteered their time to help run the game and craft tables. Many parent volunteers helped out to make this such a successful event. Each child came in their favorite costume and some parents dressed up as well. There was a large assortment of donated baked goods and treats. Each child received a pumpkin as they left and the pumpkins were donated by Whitney's Farm.


Know about voting: State

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No on 2 Campaign Rallies in Pittsfield as Election Day Nears
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:11PM / Saturday, October 29, 2016

MTA President Barbara Madeloni said so far 'the 413 is no on 2.' PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Corporations and big business cannot buy public education.   That is the message that those opposing Question 2, a ballot initiative calling for raising the cap on charter schools by a dozen, is sending.
  The opposition says the expansion of the charter school system will devastate the traditional public school system by allocating more public funding to the privately-run schools.   "The message you are sending across the nation is powerful. What you are saying is that big business, corporations, you cannot buy public education. That's the message that needs to

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Letter: David vs Goliath
Letters to the Editor,
03:00PM / Friday, October 28, 2016

To the Editor:

My comments about the Massachusetts Senate race for our district: Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin).

I watched debates, read the articles, saw and heard local TV and radio appearances and have seen Facebook posts for both candidates. There are major differences between the two! Hurrah, a clear choice.

As a treasurer for a candidate many years ago, I know how to peek at the campaign finance reports (Everyone can: check OCPF for MA, next report 10/31). As of the end of August, Adam Hinds' campaign had reported $75,067 in donations and spent $54,681 vs Christine Canning-Wilson reporting $3,185 [in donations] and spending $2,922.

Seems like a financial Goliath

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Letter: Support Community Preservation Act
02:44PM / Friday, October 28, 2016

To the Editor:

Becket passed the [Community Preservation Act] law in 2009. The projects that have been approved since passage are projects that otherwise would have been difficult for the town to fund in a timely manner. We passed the law after almost two years of public outreach and public hearings.

We have a 1.5 percent surcharge, with businesses, low and moderate income seniors, and property with $100,000 or less assessed value exempt. We have been able to raise, with the state contribution, about $41,000 annually. Our projects have included headstone repair at three cemeteries, playground equipment, funds for the Becket Athenaeum structural repairs, the Becket Art Center structural

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'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back': Doesn't Quite Grab You
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:35PM / Friday, October 28, 2016

It is what it is.

I contemplated saving approximately 805 words by simply having the above overworked phrase stand as my review of director Edward Zwick's "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back." However, despite its relatively appropriate description of this action-thriller starring Tom Cruise as the title maverick, fear of a random audit by the American Film Critics Oversight Committee induced me to proceed with the usual study in tortured prose that follows.

In this second film based on the character developed by novelist Lee Child, the ex-military police major-turned-vigilante once again fights for truth, justice and the American way — in his very own way. Expect the usual

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