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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Pignatelli Seeking Return To House; Not Running For Senate
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
05:48PM / Tuesday, February 02, 2016
LENOX, Mass. — None of the Berkshires' House of Representatives delegates are looking to move to the Senate.   On Tuesday, 4th Berkshire District Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli said he will not seek the Senate seat being left vacant by state Sen. Benjamin Downing, who is not running for re-election. Pignatelli will instead seek another term in the House.    "I love the House! I am honored to serve! In that spirit and in the best interest of my family and the district that I call home, it will be an honor for me to run for re-election to the House of Representatives. Together with each of you and with the Berkshire Delegation, we will continue to

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Great Barrington Residential School Under Investigation for Abuse
Staff Reports,
11:32AM / Sunday, January 31, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Multiple law enforcement agencies descended on the private Eagleton School on Saturday night as part of an investigation into abuse of the students there.

Under the direction of Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless and the State Police Detective Unit assigned to his office, a search warrant was executed at the residential facility involving approximately 50 state, local and federal law enforcement officers.

Five people were arrested during a weekend raid.   Authorities arrested Brian Puntin, 47, of Lenox Dale, Peter Meadow, 51, of Lenox, James Swift, 54, of Pittsfield, Juan Pablo Lopez-Lucas, of Pittsfield, and Debra Davis, 41, of Great

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Girl Scout Cookies On Sale Through March 6
02:59PM / Friday, January 29, 2016

It's time for Do-si-dos, Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas and your other favorites: Girl Scout Cookie season has begun and will run through Sunday, March 6.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country. From its earliest beginnings to its current popularity, the sale of cookies has helped Girl Scouts set goals, develop people skills and learn business skills such as money management and decision-making.

In the Berkshires, there are the six varieties of cookies sold at $4 a box: Samoas, Trefoils, Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos and Savannah Smiles. And, Toffee-tastic, the limited edition gluten-free cookie, is available for $5 a box.

The public has the

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BHS Dealing With Malware Threat
Staff Reports,
04:48PM / Thursday, January 28, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems is trying to heal some sick computers after they were infected with malware during the past week.

"No patient health or payment information was compromised during this event and that information is protected by a sophisticated and secure system," said BHS spokesman Michael Leary in response to an inquiry by iBerkshires.

Leary said the FBI's Boston office contacted BHS on Tuesday to share information on the malware threat, which has apparently caused problems at other businesses around the world recently.

Berkshire Health Systems personnel began seeing evidence of the event last weekend and brought in computer security

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'The Boy': Best Seen by Mistake
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:22PM / Thursday, January 28, 2016

There is only one reason or excuse to see director William Brent Bell's mediocre horror film, "The Boy." Luckily, such circumstances and the manner in which your humble auditor viewed the movie in question serendipitously ameliorated what would have otherwise proved a night at the Bijou, ruined. To follow my prescription, first you and a good friend must be closed out of the movie you originally intended to see because of a projector snafu. Then, with the clock ticking and après-theater dinner plans hinging, you pick a film, any film, with start and end times that fit.

Call it the "Sometimes you Get Shot out of a Cannon Method of Movie Selection." While not

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The Independent Investor: The High Price of Cash
By Bill Schmick,
02:36PM / Thursday, January 28, 2016

Since the beginning of January, many investors have sold their holdings in the stock market and are sitting on the sidelines in cash. Is it too late to sell, or would selling out be a wise move?

Well over $7 billion was sold from U.S. stock funds thus far in January. In December, $48 billion exited stock funds. In hindsight, anyone who sold at the end of last year would presumably be sitting pretty, but that's not the case at all.

There's an old saying "I'd rather be out of the market wishing I were in, than in the market wishing I were out." Those are words that surely resonate with most investors right now. And as the financial markets worldwide continue to

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Berkshire Tidbits: Cupcake and Chili Wars
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
08:38PM / Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Manger! Boire! Eat! Drink! at Chez Nous Bistro Resumes   At Manger! Boire! Eat! Drink! this Thursday, Chez Nous baker/co-owner Rachel Portnoy says she and her husband, chef and co-owner Franck Tessier will be, "diving into an exciting new cookbook by one of our favorite local cookbook writers, Darra Goldstein: Fire & Ice, Classic Nordic Cooking. All of the menu and recipes will be inspired by this gorgeous new book."   She said, "The menu will be inspired by the sea." Franck will be making and demonstrating how to make "brined ice cellar salmon, followed by crispy fried fish with a Nordic winter salad,"   And for dessert, Portnoy will bake a

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WCMA Artist Facilitates Unusual Museum Perspectives
By John Seven, Special to iBerkshires
06:32PM / Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Oakland-based, socially-engaged artist Lexa Walsh creates experiences for her audiences, and that's exactly her current mission at Williams College on multiple fronts.

With her winter study program "Mapping The Museum," Walsh has worked with students to take over the Williams College Museum of Art for a night, in addition to creating two upcoming projects with her brother, painter Dan Walsh.

Walsh's winter study course focuses on institutional critique, an art practice that casts its gaze back on the place that houses it, and asks questions about the purpose of art and museums. That will be put into action for Walsh's "WCMA At

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Simon Youth Foundation Seeks Applicants for Scholarships Across New England
03:07PM / Wednesday, January 27, 2016

LEE, Mass. — Living near a Simon Malls or Simon Premium Outlets property - like the Lee Premium Outlets - could help a graduating senior pay for college.  Simon Youth Foundation, a national nonprofit that provides educational opportunities for at-risk high school students, has begun looking for a graduating senior who live within 50 miles of a Simon property.

Each year, Simon Youth Community Scholarships are awarded in every community across the country that is home to Simon Malls, Mills or Premium Outlets. The application period has begun and ends on March 1, 2016.

Students can apply online by visiting syf.org/scholarships.

Any student who will be graduating in the class of

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Put Your Financial 'Puzzle' Together
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:06PM / Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 29 is National Puzzle Day, with puzzle celebrations and events taking place at museums, libraries and other venues across the country. Why this date was chosen – or why National Puzzle Day even exists – is something of a mystery.

But as an investor, you can find value in the concept of a puzzle – specifically, in putting together the pieces of your financial puzzle.

What are these pieces? Here are the essential ones:

* Growth: At different times in your life, you will have various goals – purchasing a first or second home, sending your children to college, enjoying a comfortable retirement, and so on. While these goals are diverse, they all have one thing

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Two Berkshire School Students Named Talent Search Semifinalists
01:44PM / Monday, January 25, 2016

SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Two students at Berkshire School were selected as semifinalists for the INTEL Science Talent Search (STS).

Since 1942, first in partnership with Westinghouse and since 1998 with INTEL, this program has provided a national stage for the country's best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists. This year, Berkshire produced two of the 13 semifinalists throughout the state of Massachusetts. A total of 23 students were chosen from across New England.

Shuvam Chakraborty, a senior from  Bennington, Vt., and Josiah Tolvo, a senior from Sheffield, were named among the 300 students chosen from

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FAFSA Day Offers Free Help Applying for Financial Aid for College
01:25PM / Monday, January 25, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Every high school senior, college student and adult student who will be attending college during the 2016-2017 academic year needs to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid.

FAFSA Day Massachusetts, part of the national College Goal SundaySM program, provides free help statewide to students and families looking to complete the FAFSA.

The 12th annual FAFSA Day Massachusetts is being held on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 1:15 p.m. at Berkshire Community College. Families are encouraged to visit www.FAFSADay.org to register and to see a list of what to bring.

The services are free

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