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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Ciccolo Adds Attorney With Experience Defending Terror Suspects
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:35PM / Tuesday, November 29, 2016
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Adams man facing federal terrorism charges has a new member of his legal team.   Alexander Ciccolo was back before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Robertson on Tuesday for a procedural hearing in the case of U.S. v Ciccolo.   Northampton defense attorney David Hoose earlier informed the court that Ramzi Kassem, a professor at the City University of New York, has joined as co-counsel for Ciccolo, who was arrested on July 4, 2015, on a federal weapons charge. In August, a superseding indictment was handed down charging Ciccolo with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of attempting to use


BArT Announces First Trimester Honor Roll
02:43PM / Monday, November 28, 2016

ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Arts & Technology (BArT) Charter Public School has announced the students who made honor roll for the first trimester of the 2016-2017 school year.

Students who earned 80 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "Honors." Students who earned 90 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "High Honors."

Academic courses at BART are aligned with the Massachusetts State Curriculum Frameworks for the appropriate grade level and include all standards deemed necessary for a complete, college-preparatory, middle and high school education.

Students in Grade 6 who earned High Honors are


Guest Column: Going to the Dogs
, Guest Column
02:06PM / Monday, November 28, 2016

To the Editor:

Hopefully, Berkshire County will be going to the dogs.

To the dog parks that is and here's why. As the population declines countywide, so does the number of children playing in the youth sports leagues. Participation in these leagues has dropped over 50 percent since they started and the future looks bleak for almost all of the leagues. Soon the question will be, what will the city do with all of those vacant fields and courts? Probably as little as possible as manpower usually shrinks in the Parks and Rec departments.

Years ago, cities and towns started eliminating the swimming pools and skating rinks and it's time to start eliminating or repurposing the dormant


Biz Briefs: More Than 100 Come for Seminar in Excellence
01:48PM / Monday, November 28, 2016

Excellent: Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Berkshire United Way co-hosted a "Seminar in Nonprofit Excellence" on Nov. 3 at Crissey Farm in Great Barrington. The seminar attracted over 100 nonprofit and business leaders from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York to learn about the collective impact model from John Kania and regional colleagues who are implementing the principles and practices inherent to this approach.

Collective impact is a methodology that brings people together from different sectors to develop a shared agenda for achieving social change. Kania and Mark Kramer, of nationally recognized consulting firm FSG, were first to articulate this powerful


'Giving Tuesday' Urges Donations to Local Charities
01:18PM / Monday, November 28, 2016

We have passed Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and are on to Cyber Monday, but soon it will be time for something more meaningful this holiday season.

Tuesday, Nov. 29, is "Giving Tuesday," and organizations and individuals throughout the community are encouraged to use the occasion to promote a cause or charity that is meaningful to them. Launched in 2012 and celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday's purpose is to inspire giving, resulting in greater financial donations, increased volunteer hours, and participation in activities that bring about real change in communities.

The Williamstown Community Chest will mark the day by distributing


Berkshires Beat: Mass MoCA Free for Berkshire Residents in December
11:54AM / Monday, November 28, 2016

Free for all: From Dec. 1-21, Mass MoCA opens its doors and waives admission to all Berkshire County residents with its first-ever Free Berkshire County program. Since Mass MoCa's inception, various campaigns have steered patrons to the galleries free of charge. Free Day, which typically falls during the winter season, waives admission to all museum-goers, attracting an influx of visitors. Free North Adams, a program designed specifically for Mass MoCA's neighbors, offers free admission several times a year to those residing within the 01247 zip code.

Expanding those previous plans that offered free admission, Mass MoCA — for the first time — extends free admission


'Poultry Plunge' Raises Money for Special Olympics
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:02AM / Monday, November 28, 2016

See more photos of Saturday's event here. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Forty hearty souls got a jump on "Giving Tuesday" by jumping into Onota Lake Saturday in order to give to a good cause.   Law enforcement officers from throughout Berkshire County sponsored a "Poultry Plunge" to benefit Special Olympics Massachusetts.   It is the fifth time the Pittsfield Police, Berkshire County sheriff's office and other agencies have combined to hold such an event but the first time it has taken place in November. The former "Polar Plunge" was moved from February to the fall and rebranded appropriately for the Thanksgiving holiday


'Bleed for This': Middleweight Contender
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:08PM / Saturday, November 26, 2016

To accent boxer Vinny Pazienza's close-knit family in director-writer Ben Younger's "Bleed for This," turning points in the pugilist's remarkable saga are inevitably marked by the clan crowded around the dinner table eating, with hardly room for a bread stick among them. There is a basic, anthropological purity in the devotion, an incontrovertible given, as each member, whether laughing, chiding or worrying out loud, plays out his or her supportive role in the dynamic. The conceptualization is as engaging as the accompanying tale of fisticuffs.

Based on a true story, the travail that was "The Pazmanian Devil's" career should please boxing fans who know


Cheshire Kindergarten: How To Cook A Turkey
03:24PM / Thursday, November 24, 2016
The kindergarteners at Cheshire Elementary School again share their ideas on how cook a turkey. Teachers Robin Poirot and Heather Emerson sent their amusing and informative essays to share with our readers, including tales of some fast-cooking turkeys. Happy Thanksgiving!
By Mrs. Poirot's Class
My great-gram will probably buy a 50-pound turkey at Big Y. You have to cut the head off and put it outside for bait for a bear, fisher cat, fox or coyote. Next you would stuff it with chicken and rice. The oven should be at 51 degrees for just a few minutes until you hear the ding.
Julius Valentine

My Thanksgiving will be at Gram’s house. She will get the turkey at Walmart for about $21. It will be as


Letter: Thanks for Quitting Smoking
Letters to the Editor,
07:00PM / Monday, November 21, 2016

To the Editor:

This Thanksgiving season, I'd like to remind readers to thank a co-worker, friend or family member who has quit smoking. Many smokers say quitting is the hardest thing they have ever done. Most smokers have to try a few times before they quit for good, and any amount of recognition can help someone stay quit.

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in Massachusetts. Nicotine is a very addictive drug and, on average, it takes a smoker several tries to quit for good. So reach out to smokers or ex-smokers. Let them know you are proud of how hard they're working to better their well-being. Thank them for improving their health and the health of


Biz Briefs: Jeweler, Health Food Store Open in Lee Outlets
03:32PM / Monday, November 21, 2016

Prime additions: Jewelry retailer Kay Jewelers Outlet and GNC are now open at Lee Premium Outlets in Lee, Mass., just in time for Black Friday and the busy holiday shopping season.

Kay Jewelers Outlet ensures that every diamond is hand-selected to be of the highest quality and is well-matched to one another in a beautiful piece of jewelry. Because Kay Jewelers import more diamonds than any other company in the United States, they can offer the largest and finest diamond selection at the best price. For the fitness buffs and health nuts, GNC is open and offers vitamins and minerals, herbal supplements, health and beauty items, sports nutrition and weight loss products, as well as nutrition

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Cook Safely This Holiday Season
02:56PM / Monday, November 21, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — As Thanksgiving approaches, Chief Charles Burger and the Great Barrington Fire Department remind residents to use caution as they cook over the holidays.

"Kitchens can be chaotic - especially when full of people or family members who are not familiar with where everything is or where everything goes," Burger said. "Please pay attention to the small things, like what's in the oven and what kinds of oil you're using at certain temperatures. These details are crucial in preventing fires."

Great Barrington Fire has responded to multiple fires caused by holiday cooking over the past several years.

According to the Massachusetts


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