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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

MCLA Students Explore Ranked-Choice, Plurality Voting Systems
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
01:15AM / Monday, October 29, 2018

Assistant professor Kebra Ward helps students with some of the math involved in the different voting systems.   NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts students recently learned the pitfalls of plurality voting and got a crash course in ranked voting.   Members of the Quantitative Understanding Across the Curriculum Committee looked to open students' eyes with the help of a little math — and some candy — to demonstrate that not only are their different methods of voting in an election but some, they believe, are vastly fairer.   "We want people to know there are different ways to vote and I think a lot of people think

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@theMarket: October Lives Up to Its Name
By Bill Schmick,
03:42PM / Saturday, October 27, 2018
It happened like clockwork. Earlier in the week, all three main U.S. averages re-tested their lows and then proceeded to bounce back, only to give it all back. That's what happens during corrections, but it is not over yet.  After all, it is October.   Readers will recall that last week I wrote that nine out of 10 times markets will re-test their recent lows. Naturally, this is more of an art than a science, so prices can bottom somewhat above or below those lows. In this case, the Dow hit its lowest level in four months. The S&P 500 Index slipped below its recent lows while NASDAQ got hit the worst, wracking up a total 10percent decline from its highs.   This is how

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Berkshire Groups Ask Senate President For Flexible Funding To Combat Opioids
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:10AM / Saturday, October 27, 2018

Franklin County Register of Probate John Merrigan and District Attorney David Sullivan shared how they were able to develop a model to specifically address the issues in Franklin County. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There are plenty of grant programs to combat the opioid epidemic but they all seem to be fairly restrictive and closely monitored in the way they are used.   But in Franklin County, a line in the state budget created a much more locally focused opioid task force.   That flexibility in funding has helped officials there grow a collaborative and grassroots effort to combat the drug problem in their specific community.   "We've been able to become an

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Guest Column: Question 1 Not a Fit For the Berkshires
By Jonathan Butler, Guest Column
05:52PM / Friday, October 26, 2018
Throughout the past six months, 1Berkshire has paid close attention to the Question 1 nurse-staffing ballot initiative. Like all voters, we have heard many different perspectives, which have since come to fuel a heated and thoughtful dialogue in advance of the Nov. 6 election.   One thing that can certainly be acknowledged is that proponents from both sides aspire to improve the overall quality of our health-care system while also assuring better patient safety.   This aspiration is critical to us, as the mission of our organization is to support efforts that can genuinely improve the quality of life for those of us who live, work and visit the Berkshires.   After much

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Letter: Support Our Democratic Nominee Andrea Harrington
Letter to the Editor,
05:15PM / Friday, October 26, 2018

To the Editor:

We have been Democrats all our lives. There were times when the candidate we supported didn't win the primary, but we always supported the winner. Over the years there have been tough primaries in which good candidates were unsuccessful. However, there usually was a unity event after the dust settled; the unsuccessful candidates would show unity by supporting the winning candidate.

This wasn't the case this year when the two candidates who lost in the Democratic primary for district attorney decided not to support the winner, Andrea Harrington.

It is now crystal clear that Paul Caccaviello used the Democratic Party as a way to assure what he perceived as an easy

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Federal Reserve Bank Chief Shares Economic Outlook at Dalton Luncheon
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:10PM / Friday, October 26, 2018

Eric Rosengren said the baseline economy in America is healthy and expects that to continue. But, he said there are some threats that could derail it. DALTON, Mass. — The last time the United States had an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent was the 1960s.   But that is also when inflation skyrocketed and wasn't ultimately curbed until a painful recession hit. The expectations of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren is that the United States will hit that 3.5 percent unemployment mark soon and federal interest rates will again be raised to curb inflation.   "Three and a half percent hasn't been reached since the 1960s. The last time we

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Shakespeare & Company Announces New Board Members
02:25PM / Friday, October 26, 2018

LENOX, Mass. — Shakespeare & Company announces the addition of three new board members to the company's Board of Trustees.

The new members joining the board are Nancy Edman Feldman, Erick Lucera and Andrew D. Rothstein.

"I'm thrilled with the steady increase in board membership over the last few years, and the diverse group of talented people we’ve added this year," said Board Chair Kenneth Werner. "Their prior experience on other nonprofit boards and variety of work experiences should add a lot to our Board of Trustees."

The 2018 Shakespeare & Company Board of Trustees includes: Kenneth E. Werner (Chair), Jeffrey B. Konowitch (Vice

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Williamstown Rally Joins Others in Support of Youth Climate Change Lawsuit
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:46PM / Friday, October 26, 2018

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — In 2015, 21 young Americans filed a lawsuit against the federal governmment that alleges the United States has "violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property" by causing climate change.

After years of dueling motions, an original start date of Feb. 5, 2018, and a July 30, 2018, unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision that denied the Trump administration's application for a stay, Juliana v. United States was scheduled to start Monday, Oct. 29, in Eugene, Ore. - a trial that is being dubbed "the trial of the century." That start date, however, is far from certain, as the U.S. Supreme Court

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The Independent Investor: Textbooks Worth Their Weight in Gold
By Bill Schmick,
11:41AM / Friday, October 26, 2018
Forget the stock market, internet, and whatever you might think is worth investing in. The good old college textbook beats them all.    That boring first-semester hardcover and similar books have risen over 1,000 percent in price since 1977. Textbooks are a big business. Estimates for the total value of the textbook industry range from $7 billion to $9 billion. And just a handful of companies sell them. The five largest publishers are: Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill Education, Scholastic, Cengage Learning and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They have been around a long time, carry deep pockets and usually acquire any startups or smaller competitors in quick order. Some analysts compare

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Trick-or-Treat, Halloween Events 2018
09:40AM / Friday, October 26, 2018

Trick-or-treaters around Berkshire County and beyond will be donning costumes and ringing doorbells in anticipation of treats on Halloween on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. Remember to dress appropriately, carry a flashlight and only visit homes with lights on in your neighborhood.

Below is a list of towns holding trick-or-treat hours on Halloween, unless otherwise noted. Those towns that are crossed out have not been confirmed so check back. The towns with the asterisks are the same times every year.

If you don't see your town listed and you know the hours, let us know at info@iberkshires.com.

There are also plenty of other fun holiday-related events happening in the Berkshires, too!

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Letter: Question 1 Will Hurt Small Hospitals
Letter to the Editor,
08:15PM / Thursday, October 25, 2018

To the Editor:
 

I work at Fairview Hospital as a critical care nurse. I have been with Berkshire Health Systems for 22 years and a registered nurse for 13 of those, I oppose Question 1.   In a small community hospital, we have the ability to utilize one another to accommodate our patients' needs. For example, The CCU may have three patients with low acuity but the emergency room (ER) is busy with patients, or possibly short a nurse. The three patients in CCU could be cared for by the second nurse so another nurse could be sent to the ER to help. Also in CCU we often see patients who need end-of-life care. In such times, a colleague takes over my other patients to allow me to

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Letter: Support for Paul Caccaviello for District Attorney
Letter to the Editor,
07:43PM / Thursday, October 25, 2018

To the Editor:

Before making any important decision, all facts should be examined and weighed. When considering which candidate to vote for as Berkshire District attorney, a review of the responsibilities of the office is helpful. Under the law, the DA is the highest law enforcement officer in the county whose primary duty of the prosecution of crimes that take place in Berkshire County.   State and local law enforcement investigate cases and bring charges or refer more complex cases to the DA for approval to bring charges. The DA and his staff assist law enforcement on investigative strategies, give legal advice, and provide victim support. When cases are brought to court,

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