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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Retirees Need 'Longevity Strategy'
11:25AM / Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The late, great Yogi Berra supposedly said it: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” And the same could be said of retirement.

Due to several factors, such as advances in health care, today’s retirees are living longer, more active lives than their predecessors. In fact, you could spend two, or even three, decades in retirement – which means you need a “longevity strategy.”

Such a strategy needs to be part of your overall retirement income strategy, but here are five key areas you’ll need to address:

* Lifestyle: What do you plan to do during your retirement years? Travel the world? Stay close to home and pursue your hobbies? Volunteer?

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Berkshire County 4-H Holds Awards & Recognition Event
Community Submission,
09:52PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 100 people gathered at the  Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires on Dec. 6 for the Berkshire County 4-H Community's annual awards and recognition event.  

The candy factory-themed night was to celebrate achievements by 4-H members. Opening remarks were given by Linda Horn, assistant director of the Massachusetts 4-H Youth Development Program, University of Massachusetts Extension in Amherst.

The highest award given in Berkshire County 4-H is the Top H Award, which can only be won by a 4-H'er once as a junior member and once as a senior member. The nominees are selected by a judging committee using their 4-H records; those nominated

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Berkshire Tidbits: Food Pantry Donations Sought, Farmer's Market Returns
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
01:54PM / Monday, January 04, 2016

CHP Family Services Pantry
Needs Nutritious Food Donations

  At Christmastime, a nice size ad in the Southern Berkshire Shopper's Guide with the words, "PLEASE HELP US" inside a festive green ribbon caught my attention. I saw, "Help the Family Services Food Pantry at CHP" in much smaller type.   Community Health Program provides high-quality health care to more than 16,000 Berkshire residents of all ages and economic levels. They are best-known for their Women, Infants and Children/WIC programs of nutrition services and access to healthy food.   There was a photo of packaged food and a

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OLLIís Winter Semester Begins Jan. 12
01:34PM / Monday, January 04, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, offers over a dozen courses this winter, ranging from photography to illuminated manuscripts, in Pittsfield, Lenox and Great Barrington.

“Our winter semester is one of our busiest. The new year is the perfect time to enjoy learning something new and interesting while meeting new people," OLLI Director Megan Whilden said.  "And there's no tests, no grades, and no formal educational requirements for taking our courses, just learning for the joy of learning!"

OLLI is a member-run organization that offers educational, social and volunteer opportunities designed

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Calling Adult Baseball Players
11:59AM / Saturday, January 02, 2016
Players  are  needed  for  the  2016  season  of  the  Berkshire Adult Baseball League.   The BABL offers competiton in a 20-and-over league and a 35-and-over league.   Players  of  all  experience  levels  are  welcome.  Teams  cover all of Berkshire County from Great Barrington to North Adams and play on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Occasionally, games are scheduled for Wednesday evenings.   Local fields are used as well as seasoned umpires.   The season runs from May 15 to August.   All ages are welcome.   For more information on teams in either league call 

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@theMarket: Nowhere Land
By Bill Schmick,
03:32PM / Friday, January 01, 2016

Most of the stock market went nowhere this year. With the exception of the NASDAQ, the rest of the market returned investors less than the average yield of a yearly CD.

It was a disappointing year, to put it mildly. Recall the months of tension as the markets gyrated between up 3 percent and down by about the same amount. Then August hit and the markets declined precipitously, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average collapsing 1,000 points in a matter of minutes. Sure, the markets recovered, but if you had tried to trade that downdraft, you would have lost even more money, because the markets turned on a dime in October with no warning and recouped all of its losses.

What's worse is

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Firefighters Learn Extrication Techniques in Dalton
By Marc J. Wrzesinski, Special to iBerkshires
08:06PM / Wednesday, December 30, 2015

DALTON, Mass. — On a chilly and early Saturday morning, more than a dozen new to early-in-their-career firefighters came out to meet with training officers and veterans to learn some valuable skills.

This morning? The proper techniques of extrication from an automobile.

Using a mixture of hydraulic and hand tools from Hurst, the trainees cut into two separate cars and pulled them apart piece by piece.

This was the sixth of seven planned classes, with the final class to be a live fire training drill still to be scheduled. Leading the this extrication class was Dalton Fire Department's Lt. Dave Thomas, with the assistance of Lt. Devon Whalen of Lanesborough Fire Department and

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'The Big Short': Hifalutin' Finance
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:54PM / Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Watching director Adam McKay's "The Big Short," you don't know whether to laugh or cry over the bald-faced bamboozlement perpetrated by the banks, Wall Street and other moneyed interests not quite so easy to identify.

"How could it go on and on?" you ask, and then, in a sober reflection, remind yourself that practically every institution forming the fabric of our civilization looks pretty crooked when you put a magnifying glass to it. It's just that this one, the world of finance, has become especially adept at profiting from humankind's hypocrisy and greed.

But hey, as the catchphrase in the GEICO commercials says, "It's what they do."

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Time for Some New Yearís (Financial) Resolutions
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:54AM / Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The countdown to 2016 has just about begun. If you’re like many people, you might be mulling over some New Year’s resolutions, such as hitting the gym more, learning a new language or taking a cooking class.

All are worthy goals, but why not add some financial resolutions as well? For example:

* Pay yourself first. Even if you aren’t living “paycheck to paycheck,” you probably don’t have much trouble spending your money – because there’s always something that you or a family member needs, always a repair required for your home or your car, always one more bill to pay. But if you are going to achieve your long-term goals, such as a

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Berkshire Tidbits: Brunch for New Year's
By Judith Lerner, iBerkshires Staff
10:35AM / Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Berkshire Co-op Market
Names New General Manager

Berkshire Co-op Market in Great Barrington announced last week that, after a national search, it has chosen a new general manager. Daniel Esko, currently operations manager for Shire City Herbals in Pittsfield will become the Co-op's new manager.

Esko had worked in a variety of managerial positions at the Co-op and provided support, training and consulting services for a number of other co-ops over a 10 year period before he went to Shire City. He had previously worked at the Kushi Institute store in Becket and at Whole Foods in Boston.


Daniel Esko

"I'm incredibly excited to return to Berkshire Co-op Market," he said.

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Storm Causes Some Delays
08:34AM / Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The first winter storm of the season has caused some minor delays:

 

BCAC OFFICES WILL OPEN AT 10 AM

BERKSHIRE BANK WILL OPEN AT 10 AM

BERKSHIRE COUNTY HEAD START PITTSFIELD/ JOHNSON OPEN NO TRANSPORTATION

BERKSHIRE NORTH  & PITTSFIELD WIC OFFICES WILL OPEN AT 10 AM

CHAIR YOGA AT THE ADAMS SENIOR CENTER CLOSED

CHILD CARE OF THE BERKSHIRES OPEN BUT NO TRANSPORTATION

CREDIT UNION OF THE BERKSHIRES OPENING 10 AM

ELDER SERVICES MEALS ON WHEELS AND CONGREGATE MEALS WILL  NOT BE OPEN OR BE DELIVERED

FOOD BANK OF WESTERN MASS CLOSED

GREYLOCK FEDERAL CREDIT UNION OPEN AT 9:30, This includes: Greylock Federal Credit Union; Greylock Investment Group; Greylock Insurance

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Berkshires First Snowfall Of Season Expected
Staff Reports,
04:55PM / Monday, December 28, 2015
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The first snowfall of the season is predicted early this week.   The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Monday which will extend from 7 p.m. Monday night until 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The Berkshires could see between two to five inches of snow and around one to two tenths of an inch of ice. The storm is expected to start after 8 p.m. and transition to sleet and freezing rain by the morning. The snow will drizzle off by Tuesday night.   The National Weather Services says traveling could be hazardous, particularly for the morning commute on Tuesday. There could also be gusts of winds as fast as 25 mph. and there is a chance for power

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