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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Great Barrington Receives Shared Winter Streets And Spaces Grant
04:06PM / Tuesday, March 02, 2021
BOSTON — Great Barrington received $137,310 in Shared Winter Streets and Spaces grants from MassDOT to construct the Old Route 7 Greenway.   The shared use path will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety along Route 7/Stockbridge Road, link two community centers, and complete the last link of a 2.5-mile loop of the Fountain Pond State Park/Three Mile Hill trail system.   The Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program provides grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $500,000 for municipalities to quickly launch changes for safer walking, biking, public transit, recreation, commerce, and civic activities. These improvements can be intentionally temporary or can be pilots of

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Baker: State Told Johnson & Johnson Ramping Up Vaccine Production
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:46PM / Monday, March 01, 2021
MATTAPAN, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday said the commonwealth has been told to expect a "lot more" of the single dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the month.   In the meantime, he stressed that all vaccines are safe and effective and encouraged residents to get whichever vaccine they can as soon as they are eligible and can make an appointment.   "The information on the J&J vaccine in terms of volume is a little up in the air," Baker said Monday morning. "What I'd say is it is likely we will get, for next week, a shipment. That shipment will probably be distributed pretty evenly across what we think of as the

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Burning Crosses Across the Berkshires: KKK Thrived Locally 100 Years Ago
By Joe Durwin, Special to iBerkshires
07:20AM / Sunday, February 28, 2021
PITTSFIELD , Mass. — Over a thousand men, most of them hooded, gathered around a burning cross.  Some 200 were new recruits, there to be inducted into the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan. The year was 1927.   The place was a farm 15 miles from Pittsfield.     The first arc of the Ku Klux Klan following the Civil War seems to have permeated very little into New England, in terms of formal organization. The requisite attitudes were certainly present in the Berkshires by then; the same month that Berkshire volunteers were mustering with the 27th Infantry to fight in that conflict, at least eight innocent men of color were arrested following the September 1861 slaying

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@theMarket: Higher Interest Rates Clobber Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
11:42AM / Saturday, February 27, 2021
In the grand scheme of things, a small, upward blip in the yield of the U.S. 10-year Treasury bond should be of little concern to equity investors. But sometimes, when the conditions are ripe, even the tiniest spark can cause a conflagration within a speculative stock market.   As readers are aware, interest rates have been trading at historically low levels for some time. The onset of the coronavirus forced our Federal Reserve Bank to pin them even lower. Essentially, it is why the stock market has been having such a great run. Investors have been conditioned to just assume that, if anything, interest rates might trend even lower but not higher. However, during the last few weeks, the

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The Retired Investor: SPAC Attack
By Bill Schmick,
12:37PM / Friday, February 26, 2021
One of the hottest trends on Wall Street today is "special purpose acquisition companies" or SPACS. There is hardly a day that goes by without an announcement of a new SPAC, or the acquisition and merger of a private company by one.   It works like this. Even though they are called "companies," SPACs have no commercial operations, no sales, profits, or losses. All they have is a pile of cash. They received that money from investors in an initial public offering (IPO) with the promise that they would invest that money down the road into a private company with good prospects.   You are basically giving a blank check to a group of financial pros with a track

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MedUX Wins Lever's Berkshire Manufacturing Innovation Challenge
11:40AM / Friday, February 26, 2021
NORTH ADAMS, Mass.— A panel of  judges chose MedUX, LLC, as the winner of Lever's Berkshire Manufacturing Innovation Challenge (BMIC) on Feb. 26.    The company, founded by Alec Gillinder and Quinn King, both recent alumni of Syracuse University, will receive a $25,000 award to continue developing its wearable IV technology.    "We regularly see Challenge winners and finalists expand, grow, and continue to innovate," said Brent Filson, Lever's Head of Innovation. "These entrepreneurs each began our program with strong concepts, and each advanced their business models substantially during our acceleration phase. I'm excited to see

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Literacy Network Adds Two New Staff Members
08:53AM / Friday, February 26, 2021
LEE, Mass. — Amanda Giracca and Miguel Silva have joined Literacy Network of South Berkshire as Development & Communications Associate and Learner Liaison, respectively.     "Amanda and Miguel bring the necessary professional and personal skills to their respective roles," Executive Director Leigh Doherty said."It takes a team, and I am really excited by this one."    Giracca, a Berkshire County native, is a writer and former writing professor who most recently taught at the University at Albany. She has been a volunteer tutor for LitNet, and served as an intern for the organization's annual appeal starting last

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Sheffield Land Trust Winter Lecture
08:31AM / Friday, February 26, 2021
SHEFFIELD, Mass. — The Sheffield Land Trusts will hold their 23rd Annual Winter Lecture titled "Growing Food, Eating Fresh... Find out How!"    The Lecture includes information on how to start a garden to feed yourself and your neighbors/ Tips are for beginners and experts alike.   The event is Sunday, Feb. 28 at 1:30pm. It will be virtual via Zoom.   The hour-long presentation will be given by panel of experts including Will Conklin from Greenagers, local garden columnist Ron Kujawski, Margaret Moulton from Berkshire Grown, and Mark Phillips from Berkshire Agricultural Ventures.  They will talk about how to locate and prepare the garden bed, how to

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Hancock Shaker Village Improves Internship Program With Donation
04:02PM / Thursday, February 25, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A grant from the Feigenbaum Foundation will allow Hancock Shaker Village to offer paid internships for up to ten people during the 2021 season.    Launched in 2017, the Village's internship program engages undergraduate students in a living history museum and farm to develop professional skills and connect to career opportunities. In addition to the gift from the Foundation, an anonymous donor in 2020 supported the creation of onsite intern housing, thereby also providing interns the option to live on campus beginning in the summer of 2021.    "We are grateful for the Feigenbaum Foundation's generosity and long-standing commitment

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Effective Monday, a Little More of State's Economy to Open Up
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:40PM / Thursday, February 25, 2021
SALEM, Mass. — Massachusetts' reopening plan is going back to the future.   On Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that on Monday, March 1, the commonwealth will shift to Step 2 of Phase 3 of its COVID-19 reopening plan.   That means that indoor performance venues like theaters will be allowed to reopen with a 50 percent capacity limit, as will museums, fitness centers and libraries. Other restrictions also will be lifted, including a ban on restaurants hosting musical performances.   Actually, those restrictions will be RE-lifted. The commonwealth already was in Step 2 of Phase 3 until a post-Thanksgiving surge in COVID-19 cases forced state officials to move

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Feigenbaum Grant Helps Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary Improve Accessibility
08:09AM / Thursday, February 25, 2021
Lenox, Mass. — With a gift from the Feigenbaum Foundation, Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary's Opening Doors to Nature capital campaign is within $50,000 of its $1,125,000 goal.   The $100,000 grant will help improve Pleasant Valley's accessibility, allowing the  wildlife sanctuary in Lenox to welcome a broader and more diverse audience for outdoor recreation and creative nature-based education programs.   Opening Doors to Nature supports construction of an addition to the sanctuary's 18th-century program barn that includes accessible visitor amenities and outdoor learning spaces.   The new building will open this spring and allow Pleasant Valley to

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Berkshires Gets Limited Vaccine Doses; Named 'High-Efficiency Collaborative'
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
03:12PM / Wednesday, February 24, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — COVID-19 vaccine shipments expected early last week were delayed because of inclement weather and were smaller than expected, leaving Berkshire County shorthanded. And a "very limited" amount of vaccines was available for appointment first-dose slots on Wednesday.     "This week, Massachusetts received 139,000 doses," Mayor Linda Tyer said to the City Council on Tuesday. "That's it, we have a million potential new residents who are eligible, but for the week we received 139,000 doses."   Public Health Program Manager Laura Kittross said there is limited access everywhere and doesn't expect this to be an

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