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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: 100 Days Does Not an Economy Make?
By Bill Schmick,
04:24PM / Friday, April 28, 2017
Markets by their very nature are impatient. Every day they are open, something, somewhere has to be making traders money. Applying that behavior to either Donald Trump or the overall economy would be a mistake.   Nonetheless, it is what it is, Friday's first quarter GDP data, which measures the pace of growth in the U.S. economy, came at a dismal 0.7 percent. That was far less than expected.  Most economists were expecting a number closer to 1 percent or more.   The response from Wall Street was "where's the beef," meaning that there has been little to no evidence that our new president has done anything whatsoever for the economy. But what about all the new

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'Born in China': Animal Magnetism
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:01PM / Friday, April 28, 2017

One of the key joys of seeing "Born in China," a splendidly picturesque documentary about snow leopard Dawa and her two cubs; Tao Tao, a young snub-nosed monkey; and a giant panda

Ya Ya and her daughter, Mei Mei, was worth listening to the kids in the audience emoting. Normally, I would rail at the ragamuffins' commentary with an agitation worthy of the great W.C. Fields. But this was different. For many of the seemingly delighted and relatively polite tykes, this was their first movie experience. Respect must be paid.

Here was the nascence of what might become a lifelong love of that to which I have attributed everything from a zeal for adventure to the development of

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The Independent Investor: World's Bread Basket No More
By Bill Schmick,
06:03PM / Thursday, April 27, 2017
The recent controversy over dairy trade policies between the Trump administration and Canada is only the tip of the iceberg. While Trump is selectively picking on one particular product, the truth is that the United States is losing its competitive advantage in many areas of agriculture.   Government subsidies to the agriculture industry worldwide have always been a thorn in the American side. That's not to say that our farmers have gone without. We, too, subsidize our farmers. Taxpayers are expected to pay at least $87 billion to help farmers over the next dozen years. And for decades, we have been spending billions each year to protect them from lost income and crop

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Berkshire County Rx Round Up Set for April 29
01:43PM / Wednesday, April 26, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Community coalitions from across the county have joined forces to host a Rx Round Up at three locations on April 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public. Anyone with unused, unwanted and expired prescription, over-the-counter and controlled medications may stop by to dispose of them safely. Personal needles will also be accepted in puncture-proof plastic containers. The process of dropping off medication is anonymous, takes only a minute, is better for the environment, and could end up saving lives.

The Rx Round Up will take place at the following locations: North Adams Police Station, 11 Summer St.; 510 North Street in Pittsfield,

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Can You Free Yourself of Some Investment-related Taxes?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:31AM / Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tax Freedom Day generally falls around this time each year. This is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year, according to the calculations made by the Tax Foundation. So you may want to use Tax Freedom Day to think about ways you can liberate yourself from some of the investment-related taxes you may incur.

Of course, Tax Freedom Day is something of a fiction, in practical terms, because most people pay their taxes throughout the year via payroll deductions. Also, you may not mind paying your share of taxes, because your tax dollars are used in many ways – law enforcement, food safety, road maintenance, public education,

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Richardello, Gaspardi-Febles Honored With Quinn Award
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:47AM / Wednesday, April 26, 2017

MountainOne's Vice President for Business Insurance Linda Gaspardi-Febles was given her award from Award Committee Chairman Mick Callahan. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Esther Quinn died in 1998, the local business community lost someone who, after working a full day, would put in countless volunteer hours.    But others are following in her footsteps. This year 1Berkshire honored both Linda Gaspardi-Febles of MountainOne and Denise Richardello of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with the 18th annual Esther Quinn Award, recognizing those same type of efforts.   "Esther Quinn was a pioneer and as passionate advocate for causes that she believed in. She

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BCC Students to be Inducted Into National Honor Society
01:42PM / Monday, April 24, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. mdash; Berkshire Community College will hold an induction ceremony for students joining the Xi Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa on Thursday, April 27, at 12:30 p.m. in the Boland Theatre of the Koussevitzky Arts Center on the college's main campus in Pittsfield.

Phi Theta Kappa is the national honor society of junior and community colleges in the United States. The purpose of the society is to recognize and encourage scholarship among students.

To be eligible for membership, students with freshman standing (12 to 29 credits) must have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or better. Students with a sophomore standing (30 or more credits) must have

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Berkshires Beat: Humane Race Kicks Off Spring
12:31PM / Monday, April 24, 2017

The humane thing: It is officially spring, and one of the hallmarks of spring in the Berkshires is the Berkshire Humane Society's Humane Race, a 1-mile fun walk or a 5K run with or without a dog. Dog are not mandatory, only dog lovers! Scheduled for Saturday, April 29, in Williamstown, this year's 15th Humane Race promises a fun morning for people and their dogs with one small but exciting change: The run will be a timed race with the help of Berkshire Running Center.

Register ahead of time online for $20 for children under 12 and $25 for adults. Registration the morning of is an additional $5 for adults, but the same for children under 12. The first 150 runners and walkers to

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Norman Rockwell Museum Receives Donation from Chubb Following Return of a Stolen Painting
11:07AM / Monday, April 24, 2017

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum received a contribution earlier this month from an unexpected source: Chubb Insurance presented the museum with a $15,000 check that was the returned claims payment resulting from the discovery and return of a stolen Norman Rockwell painting.

Chubb is the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company with operations in 54 countries.

The painting, "Boy Asleep with Hoe," had been stolen from a family home in Cherry Hill, N.J., in 1976. It was one of Rockwell's earliest Saturday Evening Post cover paintings, completed in 1919. At the time of the theft, the family submitted a claim to Chubb, and

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BMC Achieves Straight A's for Patient Safety
10:33AM / Monday, April 24, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Leapfrog Group, the nation's leading nonprofit watchdog on hospital quality and safety, has announced new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, and Berkshire Medical Center once again earned an "A."

BMC has achieved straight A's since the inception of the Safety Grade in 2012, and is one of only 63 hospitals nationwide to attain this honor.

"Berkshire Medical Center has been, and continues to be a national leader in providing the safest environment for our patients," said David Phelps, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems. "I congratulate our entire team of caregivers on this recognition, which again validates that BMC

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Substance Abuse Prevention Part 2: The Efforts
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:56AM / Monday, April 24, 2017
Part 1 reviewed the results of a countywide survey related to teen drug and alcohol use. The article and survey results can be found here.   LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Berkshire district attorney's office is now training educators on a specific curriculum to prevent drug use.   The office's grant-funded Community Outreach and Education Program is now teaching "Life Skills," a three-pronged approach to help students make better decisions when presented with drug use. The curriculum is eyed to be rolled out into all schools and help prevent students from going down the path of drug use.   "The Life Skills Program in itself has three components,

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Substance Abuse Prevention Part 1: The Data
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:46AM / Sunday, April 23, 2017
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Prevention is just one aspect of tackling drug abuse issues in Berkshire County. So far, signs show local efforts are working, but there is still a lot more to be done.   Over the last 10 years, data collected from the Berkshire United Way is showing a decreasing percentage of county students using alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco products. However, compared to the national average, Berkshire students are still using those substances at a greater frequency than national averages.   The data is pulled from the biannual prevention needs assessment, which polls students with pointed questions designed to shed light on issues.    Since 2006, the

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