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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'BOOM' Looks to Connect Local Musicians
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Thursday, April 28, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Calling all Berkshire musicians: BOOM has arrived.

The Berkshires may be brimming with musicians, but for whatever reason, few venture far from their favorite open mic or music venue — leaving a sometimes stagnant local music scene.

"The issue with the Berkshires is it is just a spread-out area ... and there is no central place to go," BOOM co-founder Sandy McKnight said. "A lot of people are not aware of what is going on past Pittsfield if they are from South County and vice versa if they are from North County ... we want to change that mentality."

So the Berkshire Organization for Original Music was born to help connect musicians with

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Berkshire Medical Center Gets OK to Expand Addiction Treatment
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:32PM / Wednesday, April 27, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Medical Center is taking the first steps in providing local comprehensive after-care for patients struggling with addiction.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has approved the proposal by BMC to create a new 30-bed unit to improve long-term recovery. The Clinical Stabilization Services center will be created on the first floor of the Edward A. Jones Memorial Building, which also contains the the McGee Recovery Center.

The 21-bed McGee unit provides short term — less than a week — of 24/7 supervised detoxification. But the closest longer-term support centers are in Springfield and Holyoke.

"McGee is a medically monitored


MPO Short On Ready Projects to Spend $2.5 Million
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:50PM / Wednesday, April 27, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The MPO isn't quite sure how to use up $2.5 million for road projects.   The money was planned to be used for a renovation of the intersections near Berkshire Medical Center. However, the state Department of Transportation and city officials say there is no chance the design will be ready in time for 2017. That delays the project to at least 2018 and leaves $2.5 million left to be programmed.   "We don't have 25 percent, we don't have the public hearing. It is a complicated project with right of ways," Mark Moore, of MassDOT District 1, said.    He said he has little confidence that the consultants the city is using to


VIM Berkshires Receives Grant from Medical Society Foundation
01:37PM / Wednesday, April 27, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. – Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires has been awarded a grant of $25,000 from the Massachusetts Medical Society & Alliance Charitable Foundation as part of the foundation’s 2016 charitable allocations.

The grant will help to support the clinic’s Non-Opioid Pain Management Program, which uses acupuncture, massage, behavioral health and nutrition counseling to address chronic and episodic pain and prevent the use of opioids.  

VIM has received 10 previous grants from the Foundation, the first one occurring in 2004 to help establish the agency’s free clinic.  For more information on VIM, visit their website.

The grant was one of


Can You Make Your Investments Less 'Taxing'?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:06PM / Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tax Freedom Day, which typically occurs in late April, according to the Tax Foundation, is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year. So you may want to use this opportunity to determine if you can liberate yourself from some investment-related taxes in the future.

Actually, 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 – such as law enforcement, food safety, road maintenance, public education, and so on – that, taken


Berkshire Tidbits: Spring Cleaning, Mushroom Cultivation
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
04:05PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

Mariette and James Rickard show other gardeners at Canoe Meadows community gardens one of their prized 'peanut' pumpkins at the annual end-of-season garden picnic celebration in 2010.

Last Saturday, April 23, was an Earth Day celebration and inauguration of the new community gardens at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds. This Saturday, April 30, from 9 to noon, will be a day to prepare the community gardens at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Pittsfield, sponsored by Berkshire Sanctuaries during Massachusetts Audubon's Statewide Volunteer Day, for spring — for the 40th year!

Before that, Pittsfield's community gardens were near the old Burgner's turkey farm,


Countywide Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 30
02:34PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

This spring, community coalitions from across the county have joined forces to host the biannual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at eight locations within Berkshire County.

The process of dropping off medication is anonymous and quick, and it has potential life-saving benefits. Anyone with unused, unwanted and expired prescription, over-the-counter and controlled medications should stop by to dispose of them safely. Personal needles are also accepted in puncture proof plastic containers. Please note that the following items will not be accepted: thermometers, IV bags, blood or infectious waste, nebulizers and oxygen tanks.

Locations include:



'Money School' Workshops to be offered in Great Barrington, Pittsfield
01:26PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Elizabeth Freeman Center’s financial independence series for people impacted by domestic or sexual violence will be offering two new series starting the last week in April.

“Money School” is a five-week series for survivors that offers financial workshops, income resources, one-on-one financial coaches from local banks, and more. The workshops cover topics like: rebuilding credit, accessing the benefits you deserve, building supports, getting by now, and building toward your financial future.

One series of five workshops will run on Tuesday evenings, April 26-May 24, in Great Barrington, and another series of five workshops will run on Thursday


Berkshires Beat: Crafters Needed, Pittsfield Hydrants Being Flushed
01:13PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

Vendors are being sought for the popular Otis Craft Fair.

Call for vendors: The Otis Library Summer Crafts and Country Fair seeks artists, craftsmen and other non-food vendors for their annual fair on Saturday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (rain or shine).

The fair is held on the lawn in front of the Otis Town Hall on Route 8 in Otis center. The popular event attracts tourists, second homeowners, Berkshire county residents and their guests.  The fair features about 55 quality vendors from throughout the nNortheast.  

Space is available on a first come-first served basis and sells out fast.  The cost is $40/space (bring your own table) before June 1 and $45 after if


Biz Briefs: Berkshire United Way Celebrates Volunteers
12:50PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

Local leaders and award recipients gather following the Berkshire United Way Live United Community Celebration, incuding Perri Petricca, CEO of Petricca Industries; Kristine Hazzard, president & CEO Berkshire United Way; C. Jeffrey Cook, the Robert K Agar Jr. Volunteerism award recipient; Susan Driscoll, the JC Penney Employee Campaign Coordinator award recipient; Brenda Petell, the Daniel C. Dillon Helping Hands, Caring Heart award recipient; and Christopher Mathews, chairman of Berkshire United Way Board of Directors.

Volunteer shout-outs: Berkshire United Way’s LIVE UNITED Community Celebration was held on Tuesday, April 12, at Berkshire Hills Country Club, where 300 members

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@theMarket: Markets Hold on to Weekly Gains
By Bill Schmick,
09:19AM / Saturday, April 23, 2016

It was a struggle, but the stock market indexes stubbornly refused to cave in despite some really horrendous earnings reports. A battle is being waged among bulls and bears right here, right now. Who will win?

Remember last week when I reported that earnings have been revised down so low that it was practically impossible for most companies to disappoint the market? Well, that proved to be not quite accurate. Not only did some really big companies in industry, technology, banking and finance fail to beat, they actually came in less than anticipated on both earnings and revenues.

Although traders punished these companies' stock prices in after-hours trading and through the next day,


Child Care Organizations Raise Awareness of Child Abuse Issues
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:43PM / Friday, April 22, 2016

One hundred and twenty-two pairs of shoes were laid out on the steps of City Hall, each one representing a case of child abuse per month in the Berkshires. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — One hundred and twenty-two children are abused in Berkshire County each month.   And that's only the confirmed cases. Many others are never reported or confirmed. That number continues to grow.   On Friday, child-care organizations and elected officials laid out 122 pairs of shoes on the steps of City Hall to raise awareness of the issue.   "While these are symbols, there are faces and names associated with every one," state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing said.    The

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