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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Farley-Bouvier Pushes Bill to Raise Tipped Workers Minimum Wage
Staff Reports,
06:53PM / Tuesday, February 19, 2019
BOSTON — State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier is calling for the elimination of a lower wage for tipped workers.   The Pittsfield Democrat joined other lawmakers and Restaurant Opportunities Center this past Wednesday at the State House to introduce a bill that will gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers until it matches the minimum wage for all other industries.    "This bill will raise the minimum wage to the prevailing wage by 2027 in Massachusetts. In doing so, it would bring thousands of workers out of poverty, reduce sexual harassment in the workplace, and decrease the wage gap between male and female tipped workers," Farley-Bouvier said at the

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Berkshire House Delegation Gets Committee Assignments
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:55AM / Tuesday, February 19, 2019
BOSTON, Mass. — State Rep. Paul Mark will again chair the House Committee on Redistricting.   Mark was chair for the last two years and will continue to work as the U.S. Census begins. The population numbers gathered by the Census is followed by the state redrawing the lines for both the federal and state districts. Mark added that it also affects a significant number of federal and state grant programs which are based on per capita.   "It is extremely important that our region is treated fairly and having me as the chair helps ensure that our area is going to be treated fairly," Mark said on Thursday.    The Peru Democrat sees the job as a huge

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Hinds, Pignatelli Field Questions at Kimball Farms Forum
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:07AM / Monday, February 18, 2019

State Sen. Adam Hinds and state Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli share their thoughts on the upcoming legislative session at the Tuesday morning forum. LENOX,  Mass. — Despite the challenges the Berkshires face, state Sen. Adam Hinds is "bullish" on the economy.   Hinds cited Wayfair's expansion into the area, the Berkshire Innovation Center, Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, and growth around Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams as "reasons for hope" in the county.   The Pittsfield Democrat said Wayfair's CEO has signaled interest in doing more and there are other aspects of the company that could eventually

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In Pursuit of Beetle Happiness: Part 2
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
04:38PM / Sunday, February 17, 2019

A sacred scarab of Egypt. Interfering with beetles pulling a dung ball across the desert sands may have aroused the anger of the gods in Egyptian superstition and ancient folklore. Thus the beetle is not pierced but rather held in position by the pins.    One spring day in Truro, Cape Cod, in the late 1980s, I looked with remorse over the sand dune between my residence and Cape Cod Bay. The 60-foot dunes here are cloaked in Rosa rugosa and beach plum, and many green leaves still budding with declining white blossoms showed devastating defoliation by a rampant lasiocampid invasion. The silken tents house scores of growing beautiful blue-spotted larvae that can quickly

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'The No-Collusion Oscar Picks 2019'
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
07:23PM / Saturday, February 16, 2019
The phone rang, as it usually does whenever I'm sitting in the third-floor witch's hat of my haunted Victorian home in some gothic-like, small New England town with a dark past, anguishing over my Oscar picks. The voice at the other end sounded like Alec Baldwin at first.   "Want to get all your picks right this year, Iceberger?" the caller asked.   "The name's Goldberger."   "Iceberger, Goldberger, what's the difference? You want to get them all right? Want to get them so right that you'll be tired of winning?"   "Well, sure, but who are you and what's in it for you, and how do I know you know who will

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1Berkshire Calls For 'New Narrative' of Berkshire Economy
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:23PM / Friday, February 15, 2019

Tyler Fairbank was an integral part of both the original blueprint and the new one. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire economy is growing, according to 1Berkshire.   The economic development agency said some $1 billion worth of investment has been made in the county in just the last three years. Now, the organization is asking the business community to embrace a "new narrative" of the county's economic future and has put forth Berkshire Blueprint 2.0, an economic development plan for future growth.   "We think it is time for a new narrative. When this project began many here in the county were working off the aging narrative that often referred to the

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@theMarket: Markets Gain on Hope & a Prayer
By Bill Schmick,
04:39PM / Friday, February 15, 2019
Investors remain cautiously optimistic that the wall of worry that has been plaguing us for months may now be crumbling. That's no sure thing, but at least we did have some good news this week.   While most investors were not expecting a repeat of last month's partial government shut-down, it was still a relief to see that issue put to bed on Friday. The president reluctantly signed the budget bill that Congress passed over his objections.   Granted, the president did not get his wall, although now he is threatening to get the funding by declaring a national emergency on our southern border. Whether there is or is not such an emergency, by declaring one, he bypasses

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Holiday Hours: Presidents Day
02:00PM / Friday, February 15, 2019

Gen. George Washington taking command of the Continental Army in Cambridge in 1775.

Washington's Birthday will be celebrated on Monday, Feb. 18.

The holiday was first enacted by Congress in 1879 to mark George Washington's birthday on Feb. 22 and later moved to the third Monday in February in 1968. While the name of the federal holiday remains Washington's Birthday, it is more often referred to as Presidents Day to include the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12.

Washington was born in 1732 (or Feb. 11, 1731, according to the old-style calendar) in Colonial Virgina. A Founding Father, he would lead the new nation as head of the Continental Army in the Revolution and as

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Packer Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award by Shakespeare Theatre Association
01:00PM / Friday, February 15, 2019

LENOX, Mass. — Shakespeare & Company's founding artistic director, Tina Packer, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by The Shakespeare Theatre Association.

She received the Douglas N. Cook Lifetime Achievement Award while attending the 2019 STA Conference in Prague. The award honors STA members who have made and are still making significant contributions to the field of Shakespeare Theatre.

"It was one of the greatest pleasures of my life to introduce Tina for the presentation of the Cook Award at the Lobkowicz Palace at the STA annual banquet in Prague," said STA Executive Director Patrick Flick. "The first sentence of my introduction was,

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Berkshire United Way Taps New Director of Development
12:43PM / Friday, February 15, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire United Way has hired Ilene Marcus as director of development.

Marcus joins the organization with more than 30 years of experience in social service programs, policy development, operations and revenue generation. She holds both her master of science in social work and master of public affairs from Columbia University.

Marcus will be responsible for developing engagement strategies and leading fundraising efforts to increase revenue, ensuring the organization's ability to invest in quality programs to build a stronger community.

Prior to joining Berkshire United Way, Marcus founded Aligned Workplace, where she consulted on creating revenue

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Hinds Given Committee Assignments: Chairing Revenue, on Ways and Means
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:43PM / Thursday, February 14, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Adam Hinds will serve as the first stop for many of the big initiatives coming from the State House this year.   Hinds was given his committee assignments on Thursday: He'll chair the Joint Committee on Revenue, be vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Redistricting, and will serve on the Senate Ways and Means, Joint Committee on Education, Joint Committee on Tourism Arts and Cultural Development, Senate Rules, and Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.   "In just about every issue we deal with, the question is how are we going to pay for it," Hinds said on Thursday of his new chairmanship.   This term the position will

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The Independent Investor: Trump's War on Drug (Prices)
By Bill Schmick,
04:19PM / Thursday, February 14, 2019
For the second year in a row, President Donald Trump called on Congress to do something about the escalating drug prices in America. The president is doggedly pursuing this campaign promise in the face of an army of special interest groups and big drug companies. Hurrah for you, Mr. President.   In his State of the Union address he said:   He wants our legislators to "deliver fairness and price transparency for American patients. We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring down costs."   Given that drug pricing is a complicated area and there have been various proposals and

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