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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Day Delivers Personal Message to Juneteenth Gathering
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:52PM / Friday, June 19, 2020

The rallies at Field Park have become a weekly Friday event. WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Otha Day's music is his message, and on Friday evening, that message was about unity.   On a day when millions of Americans celebrate the end of slavery, Day reminded a crowd of hundreds gathered at Field Park that the historical origin of Juneteenth was just one step on the road to achieving that unity.   And, he gave that unity a soundtrack.   "This sound," he said, giving one drum beat, "literally unites each of us on this planet to everyone else on this planet. We are all responsible, not just for yourself and your children, but we are all responsible for

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Neal Delivers Milk to Pittsfield Food Pantry
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
06:30PM / Friday, June 19, 2020

Neal speaks with pantry coordinator Mary Wheat and state Sen. Adam Hinds.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, in partnership with Vanguard Renewables and  H.P. Hood, delivered 400 gallons of milk to the South Congregational Church Community Food Pantry.   It is hard enough for the food pantry to serve all those in need. Throw a pandemic in the mix and resources have to be stretched even further.    "Food security in the pandemic is critical," Neal said Friday afternoon. "One of the things that really got my attention, you would see these photos of farmers having to dump milk. Throwing away perishables. That got my

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Baker Administration Pushes Testing, Rescinds COVID 'Standards of Care'
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:15PM / Friday, June 19, 2020
BOSTON — State officials Friday continued to praise Massachusetts for taking the steps that have lowered the rate of positive tests for COVID-19 and introduced new vehicles to advance the commonwealth's testing program.   "As you know, we continue to ramp up our testing capacity in the commonwealth and access to testing," Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said. "At this point, testing for COVID-19 is widely available. Today we have launched a revamped testing website called [www.mass.gov/covid-19-testing] as a more convenient resource to the public.   "The website has details on who should get the test and connects with our COVID-19

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'The Petrified Forest': Diners, Disillusionment & Diva
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:56PM / Friday, June 19, 2020

I wish that I were reviewing one of the half-dozen movies certain to be made when this pox upon our house is no more. But until that glorious return to normality has us resuming all the simple joys of life we take for granted, like going to the movies, I'll be retro-reviewing and thereby sharing with you the films that I've come to treasure over the years, most of which can probably be retrieved from one of the movie streaming services. It is my fondest hope that I've barely put a dent into this trove when they let the likes of me back into the

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Limited Indoor Dining, Nail Salons Can Resume on Monday
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:41PM / Friday, June 19, 2020

Secretary Michael Kennealy explains some of the restrictions for the next step in reopening.  BOSTON — The state is moving forward to the next step in reopening the economy based on the continued decline in COVID-19 cases.   Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday morning said the next step in Phase 2 of Reopening Massachusetts would commence on June 22, allowing for some inside dining, close contact person services, fitting rooms by appointment and increasing the occupancy percentage of offices.    "In order to monitor the impact of reopening more businesses, the administration divided this phase into two steps. Today thanks to the progress that we're making

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MCLA Announces Plan to Begin In-Person Classes on Sept. 2
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:19AM / Friday, June 19, 2020
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — With students assigned one to each dorm room and attending each class one day per week, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts plans to begin in-person education again on Sept. 2.   On Thursday, MCLA President James Birge announced to the school community the plan devised by its Return to Campus Advisory Committee.   In addition to giving each student in the residence hall system a single room at the same rate they would have paid, students will be expected to leave the campus at the start of the Thanksgiving break in November and not return until spring semester.   "While we cannot expect our plan to be perfect or completely free of risk, I

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The Retired Investor: Inflation, a Factor to Forget?
By Bill Schmick,
12:12AM / Friday, June 19, 2020
It has been a long time since we have seen a rise in the inflation rate of any magnitude. As a result, most investors have largely dismissed inflation as a near-term concern. But that doesn't mean we have vanquished this troublesome variable from the financial equation forever.     There is a reason that inflation fears have subsided. Ever since the Financial Crisis, when central banks and governments dumped trillions of dollars into the world's economies, investors feared that all this money would re-ignite the inflation fire. It didn't happen. Instead, the inflation rate moderated, and in some countries began to drop. Rather than worry about inflation, investors

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Berkshire Athenaeum Backdrop for TV Show on Local UFO Story
05:30PM / Thursday, June 18, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshires are a being featured in a new episodes of "Unsolved Mysteries" that are being launched this summer by Netflix.    The first episode is "Berkshires UFO" and will premiere on Wednesday, July.   This episode was partially filmed last year in various parts of the Local History Department at the Berkshire Athenaeum.    "According to the show's producer, the Berkshires UFO episode is so strong that it was chosen as the lead episode," said the library's acting Supervisor Ann-Marie Harris.   The library also helped to supply some history and information on an unidentified flying object

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Third Thursday Season Canceled
11:50AM / Thursday, June 18, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City of Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development has canceled the Third Thursday street festival for what was to be its 14th season because of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"While there is a possibility that ‘street festivals’ may begin in Phase 4 of the Reopening Massachusetts Plan, the magnitude of planning, organizing, implementing, and hosting a Third Thursday is more than we ought to undertake at this time, especially if we begin to see increasing infection rates because we are spending more time together and more business and activities are reopening," Mayor Linda Tyer said.

The city-run street festival hopes to move

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Roots Rising Presents Bike Ride Challenge
11:40AM / Thursday, June 18, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When their Pittsfield Farmers Market closed due to the pandemic, Roots Rising launched a virtual farmers market to ensure the community's continued access to fresh food. 

To help support the market, Roots Rising is now calling on the community for a (socially distant) bike ride challenge: "Ride for Roots Rising." Between June 20-28, road cyclists and mountain bikers can complete either a beginner, intermediate or advanced route. 

The general registration fee is $25. There is also a low-income registration for $10, and all youth under 12 are free. The public is encouraged to form teams to rally their supporters and raise money for Roots

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Jacob's Pillow Names Dance Award Recipient
10:28AM / Thursday, June 18, 2020

BECKET, Mass. — Ronald K. Brown has been named the recipient of the 2020 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. 

An advocate for the growth of the African American dance community for more than 30 years, Brown creates works that show audiences “the evidence of themselves and the evidence of our human condition,” and tells stories of human struggles, tragedies, and triumphs. 

Brown will be honored at "Dance We Must: A Virtual Event Supporting Jacob’s Pillow," streamed free online on Saturday, June 20, at 7 p.m. Audiences are invited to celebrate Brown virtually at a post-show dance party immediately following Dance We Must. RSVP required, event details

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Letter: Voting Makes Voices Heard
Letter to the Editor,
07:05PM / Wednesday, June 17, 2020

To the Editor:

In 2016, only 55.7 percent of eligible voters in the United States made it to the polls to cast their vote. For young people, the numbers are even lower: only 46.1 percent of people aged 18-29 cast a vote. How can we pride ourselves on being the greatest democracy in the world when half our nation has no say in the political process?

It's true that there are massive systemic barriers to voting — voting locations often have strict voter ID regulations, there's a lack of language access for immigrants, many voting locations have reduced of limited voting hours, and many working class and middle class people simply don't have time to vote — but another

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