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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

New Nonprofit Gives Expectant Moms Early Bundle of Joy
By Rebecca Dravis, Iberkshires.com Staff
01:06AM / Friday, November 18, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In a way, expectant mothers in Berkshire County owe some thanks to Donald Trump.

During the long presidential campaign, South Egremont resident Hinda Bodinger was feeling sad about the tone of the campaign, particularly in regards to inflammatory remarks about minorities and women. Not one just to sit back, Bodinger decided she had to do something.

"I really felt very strongly that I wanted to counteract that, at least in my community," she said. "If there was something I could do to counterbalance that, I wanted to do it."

What she ended up doing was conceiving an new nonprofit organization called Berkshire Baby Box. During an afternoon

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'Arrival': Quite a Trip
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:08PM / Thursday, November 17, 2016

You know how sometimes between sleep and consciousness you can tell the future? Well, good for you if you can; it doesn't happen to me, not anymore. I've been stuck in this reality mode since the 1960s ended. But, just in case you tune in, Dr. Leary, there's a fascinating variant of that "Twilight Zone"-like mind trip in director Denis Villeneuve's "Arrival," a tale of alien visitation with a tricky twist. It's the surprise answer to the brainteaser it never asks.

Otherwise, this rather solemn adventure, astutely crafted with the scientific method if not the élan that was evinced in "The Andromeda Strain" (1971), is your typical

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Guest Column: Massachusetts Stands For Civil Rights, Civil Liberties
By Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Guest Columnist
12:41PM / Thursday, November 17, 2016



Over the last week, I have heard many heart-wrenching stories about children and adults expressing their sadness and fear based on the results of the national election. It is natural to feel sad and disappointed when your candidate doesn't win. It is not typical, though, in our country, to feel fearful at the end of an election. But because of the repeated expression of bigoted views about women, racial minorities, people of both the Jewish and Muslim faiths, immigrants, members of the LGBT community, and people with disabilities, many people are fearful about the future.

While bigoted words and incivility in public discourse are out of line in and of themselves, the greater threat

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Festival of Trees Opens at Berkshire Museum
11:53AM / Wednesday, November 16, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Walk the red carpet like a movie star when "Now Playing: Festival of Trees 2016" opens at the Berkshire Museum on Friday, Nov. 18, with a festive premiere party.

Widely regarded as the unofficial kickoff of the holiday season in the Berkshires, the annual event will feature more than 100 dazzling decorated trees, bedecked in film world finery, reflecting this year's movie theme. The creative holiday trees are sponsored by businesses, schools, and community organizations in a true celebration of cinema, from film noir and sci-fi to action-adventure, Westerns, and animation.

The family-friendly premiere party runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov.

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Put Thanksgiving Lessons to Work in Your Financial Plans
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:22AM / Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thanksgiving is almost here. Over the years, this holiday has taken on a variety of meanings, most of them centered on family, caring and sharing.

You can carry these same values past Thanksgiving into your daily life – and you can certainly incorporate them into your financial strategies for taking care of your loved ones.

So, here are a few suggestions:

* Protect your family. If something were to happen to you, could your family pay the mortgage? Could your children still afford to go to college someday? To protect your family's current lifestyle and long-term goals, you may well need to maintain adequate life and disability insurance. Your employer may offer these types of

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Downing's Next Step Is Solar Energy Firm
04:43PM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Ben Downing will join a solar energy firm after leaving office.

BOSTON — Benjamin B. Downing, who has championed renewable energies during his 10 years in the state Senate, will join a solar energy company at the end of his term.

Nexamp Inc. announced on Monday that the Pittsfield Democrat, who did not stand for a sixth term, would be the solar contractor's new vice president of new market development.

"Ben's long history of public service will complement Nexamp's expert team of local development professionals," said Zaid Ashai, chief executive officer of Nexamp, in a statement. "He joins us at the most exciting juncture in our company's young

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Biz Briefs: Railway Museum Seeks Volunteers for Christmas Train Rides
02:29PM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Back on track: The 2016 season was Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum's first year "back on track" operating traditional train rides since December of 2011. A new train ride experience in the Hoosac Valley between North Adams and Adams enjoyed a very successful inaugural season. Winding down the 2016 operating season, BSRM has one final special event to present to the community: Christmas Train Rides featuring a visit from Santa Claus himself.

Volunteer help is needed in a few different places from routine summer operations. Experienced volunteers are placed in positions requiring skills, qualifications or certain levels of knowledge; however our Christmas trains are a great

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Berkshires Beat: 'White Privilege' Author Speaking in Lenox
02:05PM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Privileged: Anti-racism activist Peggy McIntosh will present a workshop on white privilege as part of the Multicultural BRIDGE annual Awards Celebration at Kripalu in Lenox on Thursday, Nov. 17. She will also give the evening's keynote address, "Coming to See Privilege Systems: The Surprising Journey." The celebration will include the presentation of BRIDGE’s inaugural Peggy McIntosh Equity and Justice Award.

McIntosh, founder of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum and a former associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, is best known for her classic 1989 essay, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," in which she gives

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Education Task Force Plans Presentations of Phase 1 Report
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:53AM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Eliot Levine, senior researcher manager for the Donahue Institute, presented the Phase 1 report on Saturday morning.

DALTON, Mass. — Enrollment is declining in Berkshire County schools and costs are rising.

It's one of those things everyone knows — now there's concrete data confirming those notions and pinning down some of the effects on Berkshire County education.

The Berkshire County Task Force on Saturday morning reviewed a 77-page report commissioned from the University of Massachusetts' Donahue Institute on the state of county education.

It's not pretty.

Enrollment is down 22.3 percent over the last 15 years in 17 of the school districts being

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United Way Urging State to Help Up Preschool Teaching Salaries
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:02AM / Friday, November 11, 2016

Dalton Preschool Director Paul Harris met with Douglas McNally, state Rep. Paul Mark, and United Way Program Director Karen Vogel on Thursday. DALTON, Mass. — On Thursday, Paula Harris wore a button to work in support of a movement to raise the wages for preschool teachers like herself.   The button was from 26 years ago.   Harris is approaching her 30th year as a preschool teacher and is now the director of the Dalton Preschool, housed in the same building with the CRA. When she took over as the director, she took a pay cut and she hasn't had much of a raise since then, now earning around $35,000 a year.    But she's ahead of the curve. Many

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'Doctor Strange': Physician, Heal Thyself
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:39PM / Thursday, November 10, 2016

Back in the day, when I was a weekend Hippie hanging out at a friend's home I deemed the clearing house of all things late 1960s, travelers of all stripe would pop in, flop into a beanbag chair and regale us with tales of their adventures. The chronicle might begin with, "Been going through some really heavy changes, man," often followed by a description of some strange, exotic place where one might foreseeably learn the secret of life. I imagined it to look somewhat like Kamar-Taj, where the title character of "Doctor Strange" goes to seek healing.

In director Scott Derrickson's highly entertaining film based on the famed Marvel Comics character of the same

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Miss Hall's Presents 'Peter and the Starcatcher'
02:43PM / Wednesday, November 09, 2016

PITTSFIELD — The Miss Hall's School Theater Ensemble will take to the high seas this fall, pursuing the story of how Peter Pan became "The Boy Who Never Grew Up" and performing the award-winning play "Peter and the Starcatcher." Shows will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11; at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12; and in a matinee at 2 on Sunday, Nov. 13.

Based on the best-selling novel "Peter and the Starcatchers," by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the play is a prequel to the story of Peter Pan. It opens with a young orphan and his two companions shipping out aboard the Neverland from Victorian England to a distant island. Also on board is a trunk of

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