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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Can You Free Yourself of Some Investment-related Taxes?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:31AM / Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tax Freedom Day generally falls around this time each year. This is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year, according to the calculations made by the Tax Foundation. So you may want to use Tax Freedom Day to think about ways you can liberate yourself from some of the investment-related taxes you may incur.

Of course, Tax Freedom Day is something of a fiction, in practical terms, because most people pay their taxes throughout the year via payroll deductions. Also, you may not mind paying your share of taxes, because your tax dollars are used in many ways – law enforcement, food safety, road maintenance, public education,

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Richardello, Gaspardi-Febles Honored With Quinn Award
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:47AM / Wednesday, April 26, 2017

MountainOne's Vice President for Business Insurance Linda Gaspardi-Febles was given her award from Award Committee Chairman Mick Callahan. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Esther Quinn died in 1998, the local business community lost someone who, after working a full day, would put in countless volunteer hours.    But others are following in her footsteps. This year 1Berkshire honored both Linda Gaspardi-Febles of MountainOne and Denise Richardello of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with the 18th annual Esther Quinn Award, recognizing those same type of efforts.   "Esther Quinn was a pioneer and as passionate advocate for causes that she believed in. She

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BCC Students to be Inducted Into National Honor Society
01:42PM / Monday, April 24, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. mdash; Berkshire Community College will hold an induction ceremony for students joining the Xi Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa on Thursday, April 27, at 12:30 p.m. in the Boland Theatre of the Koussevitzky Arts Center on the college's main campus in Pittsfield.

Phi Theta Kappa is the national honor society of junior and community colleges in the United States. The purpose of the society is to recognize and encourage scholarship among students.

To be eligible for membership, students with freshman standing (12 to 29 credits) must have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or better. Students with a sophomore standing (30 or more credits) must have

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Berkshires Beat: Humane Race Kicks Off Spring
12:31PM / Monday, April 24, 2017

The humane thing: It is officially spring, and one of the hallmarks of spring in the Berkshires is the Berkshire Humane Society's Humane Race, a 1-mile fun walk or a 5K run with or without a dog. Dog are not mandatory, only dog lovers! Scheduled for Saturday, April 29, in Williamstown, this year's 15th Humane Race promises a fun morning for people and their dogs with one small but exciting change: The run will be a timed race with the help of Berkshire Running Center.

Register ahead of time online for $20 for children under 12 and $25 for adults. Registration the morning of is an additional $5 for adults, but the same for children under 12. The first 150 runners and walkers to

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Norman Rockwell Museum Receives Donation from Chubb Following Return of a Stolen Painting
11:07AM / Monday, April 24, 2017

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum received a contribution earlier this month from an unexpected source: Chubb Insurance presented the museum with a $15,000 check that was the returned claims payment resulting from the discovery and return of a stolen Norman Rockwell painting.

Chubb is the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company with operations in 54 countries.

The painting, "Boy Asleep with Hoe," had been stolen from a family home in Cherry Hill, N.J., in 1976. It was one of Rockwell's earliest Saturday Evening Post cover paintings, completed in 1919. At the time of the theft, the family submitted a claim to Chubb, and

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BMC Achieves Straight A's for Patient Safety
10:33AM / Monday, April 24, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Leapfrog Group, the nation's leading nonprofit watchdog on hospital quality and safety, has announced new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, and Berkshire Medical Center once again earned an "A."

BMC has achieved straight A's since the inception of the Safety Grade in 2012, and is one of only 63 hospitals nationwide to attain this honor.

"Berkshire Medical Center has been, and continues to be a national leader in providing the safest environment for our patients," said David Phelps, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems. "I congratulate our entire team of caregivers on this recognition, which again validates that BMC

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Substance Abuse Prevention Part 2: The Efforts
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:56AM / Monday, April 24, 2017
Part 1 reviewed the results of a countywide survey related to teen drug and alcohol use. The article and survey results can be found here.   LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Berkshire district attorney's office is now training educators on a specific curriculum to prevent drug use.   The office's grant-funded Community Outreach and Education Program is now teaching "Life Skills," a three-pronged approach to help students make better decisions when presented with drug use. The curriculum is eyed to be rolled out into all schools and help prevent students from going down the path of drug use.   "The Life Skills Program in itself has three components,

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Substance Abuse Prevention Part 1: The Data
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:46AM / Sunday, April 23, 2017
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Prevention is just one aspect of tackling drug abuse issues in Berkshire County. So far, signs show local efforts are working, but there is still a lot more to be done.   Over the last 10 years, data collected from the Berkshire United Way is showing a decreasing percentage of county students using alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco products. However, compared to the national average, Berkshire students are still using those substances at a greater frequency than national averages.   The data is pulled from the biannual prevention needs assessment, which polls students with pointed questions designed to shed light on issues.    Since 2006, the

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New Gallery Drawn by North Adams' Air of Contemporary Art
by John Seven, iBerkshires Contributor
05:58AM / Saturday, April 22, 2017

The gallery is located at 44 Eagle, in the Flatiron Block.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A new art gallery in downtown North Adams is the result of the city's unique relationship with contemporary art as a lure to artists from other places.

Gravity Gallery co-owners Lynn Richardson and Paul McMullan first became acquainted with the city in 2012 when both artists displayed work in Downstreet Art.

  Richardson's installation, "Arctic Garden," addressed climate change in context of Richardson's hometown, Winnipeg. McMullen's work was also featured in a pop-up gallery from Gallery 107, ceramic work that functioned as the "guardians of the

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MCLA Makes It Official With Inauguration of President Birge
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
08:33PM / Friday, April 21, 2017

Birge takes the oath of his office from Susan Gold, chairman of the board of trustees. See more photos here. NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — James F. "Jamie" Birge hadn't intended to become a college president.    After interviewing dozens of presidents of colleges large and small, private and public, for his dissertation in leadership studies, he came away with the impression it was too difficult, too demanding and fraught with financial pressures.   "Why would anyone want to do that job?" he joked on Friday afternoon as he gave his inaugural address as the 12th president of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. "After finishing my dissertation

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Husband's Ex-Girlfriend Charged in Case of Missing Clarksburg Woman
By Tammy Daniels,
12:44PM / Friday, April 21, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The husband of missing Clarksburg woman Joanne Ringer is the "sole suspect" in her disappearance, say authorities.    Ringer went missing on March 2; her husband, Charles "Chad" Reidy, was found dead on April 7 in the couple's garage.    "From the beginning, we have suspected foul play and have approached this as a homicide investigation and we have considered Joanne's husband, Chad Reidy, as the sole suspect," Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said a press conference in Northern Berkshire District Court on Thursday. "Reidy's apparent suicide on April 7 has not changed that

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Superior Court Briefs: April 18 - April 20
Staff Reports,
11:24AM / Friday, April 21, 2017
Cases heard before Judge Daniel ford on Tuesday, April 18.   Sandra Ramirez, 60, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of trafficking in cocaine in connection to the execution of a search warrant on her Francis Avenue home and a single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws for allegedly conspiring to sell cocaine between September 1, 2016 and January 6, 2017.   She was released on personal recognizance.   Francis Taikowski Jr., 25, of Warrensburg, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of armed robbery while masked and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.   He was ordered to be

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