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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Local Hotels Swap General Managers
02:15PM / Friday, December 23, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Emerald Hospitality Associates and the Mahida Family have announced a unique collaboration with their two Berkshire hotels by transitioning their general managers.

Robert Cohen has successfully managed the Hilton Garden Inn of Pittsfield since opening in August of 2015 and Patty Jordan has successfully managed the Fairfield inn & Suites in Great Barrington for over two years.

"Based on the outstanding leadership success at their respective hotels, we are excited to announce the move for Patty to the Hilton Garden Inn and Robert to the Fairfield Inn & Suites," said Jeanne Carpentier, Regional Director of Sales of Emerald Hospitality

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CHP Names Two to Board
02:02PM / Friday, December 23, 2016

GREAT BARRINTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs (CHP) has named two new members to its board of directors: Chuck Leach of Lee and Allyson Holmes of North Adams.

Leach is president and CEO of Lee Bank, and previously worked for Berkshire Bank and TDBank throughout New England and New York. He also serves on the boards of Berkshire United Way and Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.

A graduate of Colby College and Claremont Graduate College Business School, he is also an avid mountain biker.

Allyson Holmes is an associate at the Pittsfield law firm Smith, Greene & Gold, where her work involves estate planning, elder law and real estate. A Berkshire native, she returned to the region

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Biz Briefs: South County Bakers Develop Treats for Dogs
01:04PM / Friday, December 23, 2016

Gone to the dogs: The two-woman pastry team at The Old Inn on the Green and its casual sister property The Southfield Store -- Amanda Perreault and Cynthia Walton -- spend their days creating a dizzying array of sweet treats for humans. Their cakes, tarts, pies, cookies, breakfast goodies and more are lusciously displayed at The Southfield Store every day, are featured on the dessert menu at Old Inn and are available by special order.

But recently, the two women developed a new treat designed for canines: Chapman's Frozen Yogurt for Dogs. Their simple and healthful recipe combines ripe bananas and creamy peanut butter in a frozen yogurt base. The product, unveiled earlier this month,

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Coalition Names Besaw Permanent Executive Director
By Rebecca Dravis, iberkshires Staff
12:48PM / Friday, December 23, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition is currently focused on community pride, and there's no one more proud to lead that effort than Amber Besaw.

Besaw, who has been acting as interim executive director of NBCC since Adam Hinds stepped aside last spring to wage his successful campaign for a state Senate seat, has official been named permanent executive director.

Besaw has been with the Coalition for the past five years, holding positions of deputy director and program director for The Family Place. She brings her diverse background in medical social work, community mental health, clinical social work with children and families, program development, and

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Berkshires Beat: ABC Clothing Sale Donates $16,000 to Four Local Charities
12:28PM / Friday, December 23, 2016

Bettering the community: The ABC Clothing Sale Steering Committee has distributed $16,000 in unrestricted grants from the proceeds of its big annual Clothing Sale in September and the numerous specialty and pop-up sales it has held throughout the year. "ABC" stands for "A Better Community," echoing the sale's commitment to recycling clothing and household linens, and their mission to benefit local charitable organizations that serve at-risk families and youth and address hunger, poverty and inequality in Northern Berkshire communities.

This year the money was distributed between the following four organizations, to support their work in the communities of Northern

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'Manchester by the Sea': Set your Movie GPS
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:41PM / Wednesday, December 21, 2016

For those filmgoers who long for a movie with a beginning, middle and end, bereft of razzle-dazzle special effects and philosophy class mind benders, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan's soulfully touching "Manchester by the Sea" is just the ticket. But beware oh ye to whom such traditional fair initially appeals, as the astutely filmed story about an uncle made the guardian of a teenage boy after the kid's father dies ultimately asks just how much reality are you willing to take?

While to a degree you may escape into the fine artistry of the saga, its authenticity poignantly and regularly, to coin a phrase, harks back to the human drama in which we are all cast members.

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Year-End Tax-smart Investing Ideas
11:27AM / Wednesday, December 21, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close and we move into the holiday season, you probably have a lot going on in your life. But it may be worth your while to take some time to explore a few year-end investment and financial moves that can potentially pay off for you when you file your taxes in April.

Here are a few such moves to consider:

* Boost your 401(k) contributions. Unless you have a Roth 401(k), your contributions are made with pretax dollars – so the more you put in, the lower your taxable income. Ask your employer if you can increase your 401(k) contributions for the remainder of the year. (For 2016, you can contribute up to $18,000 to your 401(k), or $24,000 if you're 50 or older.)

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Berkshire Health Systems Expands Primary-Care Access Across County
07:53PM / Monday, December 19, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems has appointed five primary-care physicians, all accepting new patients throughout the Berkshires, from south to north. 

Drs. Judith Aldrich and Brynn Hancock have joined Berkshire Osteopathic Health of Berkshire Medical Center, which has offices in Adams and Pittsfield. Dr. Maxim Bitunov is now providing care at Hillcrest Family Health Center of BMC in Pittsfield, and Dr. Terra Lampiasi is at Lenox Family Health Center of BMC. Dr. John Paul Hickey is with Barrington Family Medicine in Great Barrington. 

The addition of these five physicians is a significant expansion of primary-care services in the Berkshires and Southern

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Educational Task Force 2/3 Way Through Presentations To Local Governments
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:45AM / Monday, December 19, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshire County Educational Task Force has had a busy month presenting at 30 or so public meetings with still more than a dozen to go.

The task force is rolling out its plans for Phase 2 of a study looking at the future of Berkshire County's school systems. The next phase will dive deep into various options — from leaving things as they are to creating super-regional school districts — and is funded with $150,000 from the state.

The efforts are to explore ways to counter declining enrollment mixed with the rising costs of education and offer school districts recommendations on how they might address those vexing issues.

"The

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Cross, Carpenter Honored by Conferences
iBerkshires.com Sports,
12:29AM / Monday, December 19, 2016
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts junior Keiland Cross was named the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week and Player of the Week on Monday, Dec. 12.   Cross averaged 24.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and six assists in a 2-1 week for the Trailblazers. He was named MVP of the Tri-State Shootout after collecting 28 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the 82-79 win over Fisher College, notched 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the 71-67 win over RPI and added 19 points, six assists and five rebounds in setback to WPI.   For the year, Cross is averaging a team-high 16.9 ppg in 32 minutes per night for the 2-8 Trailblazers.   The rookie

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Berkshire Medical Group Joins Berkshire Health Systems
11:07AM / Friday, December 16, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In a move that will help to ensure continued and expanded access to primary care and infectious disease services in the Berkshires, the Berkshire Medical Group has joined the Berkshire Health Systems Physician Practice organization.

Berkshire Medical Group, an internal medicine and infectious disease practice, includes doctors Paula Aucoin, Rebecca Caine, Prakash Darji, Jason Kittler, Michael McInerney and Sharon Rawlings and Amy Cassotta, ANP-BC, Helen Majchrowski, FNP/C, and Wanda Torres, ANP-BC.

Effective Nov. 1, the practice will be renamed Berkshire Internists of BMC, and will remain at its existing location in the BMC Medical Arts Complex in Pittsfield,

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'Nocturnal Animals': Subspecies: Human
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:38PM / Thursday, December 15, 2016

Imagine you are driving late at night on a desolate country road, hardly a speck of civilization in sight save for an occasional utility pole. It's spooky to begin with, but nowhere near as scary as when a car suddenly appears in your rearview mirror. You make a turn, just to see. The car follows. You make a couple more, random turns. There it is, right behind you. What's the odds? Your paranoia concedes to one of your worst fears realized. Surely you are being followed by the most deplorable, inbred ne'er-do-wells in creation.

Good thing this is merely the fiction within a novel that Susan, the female lead in director Tom Ford's "Nocturnal Animals," is reading.

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