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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Case Forced to Resign as DCR Regional Director
Staff Reports,
02:59PM / Monday, January 30, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Michael F. Case is out at the state Department of Conservation and Recreation less than a year after his appointment as western region director.

According to The Boston Globe, Case was forced to resign Thursday after being confronted by DCR Commissioner Leo Roy after pornography was reportedly found on his Pittsfield office computer.

The Republican State Committee member and Washington selectman was appointed to the post by Gov. Charlie Baker last February.

The request he resign apparently followed two previous warnings earlier in the month about language and conduct.

The Globe on Friday quoted DCR spokesman Troy Wall as saying, "After becoming aware of a

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Biz Briefs: Williamstown Commons, Kimball Farms Named Best Nursing Homes by Magazine
02:13PM / Monday, January 30, 2017

Best of the best: Four of Berkshire Healthcare's skilled nursing facilities in Massachusetts have been named among the best in the commonwealth by US News & World Report. In the Berkshires, Williamstown Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center in Lenox were among 80 in Massachusetts selected by the national magazine. Other Berkshire facilities including Hunt Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Danvers and Pilgrim Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing in Peabody earned spots on the list.

US News evaluated more than 15,000 skilled nursing facilities nationwide, across each state and in 100 major metropolitan areas. Just over 2,000 nursing homes

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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Towns Receive Complete Streets Community Funding Awards
01:11PM / Monday, January 30, 2017

Mission complete: A ceremony was held at the Massachusetts State House on Jan. 27 to distribute a total of $5.5 million to 15 communities, including three Berkshire County towns, in funding for the Complete Streets Funding Program. A "complete street" is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes and for all people, taking into account the ages and abilities of individuals. In September 2016, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the first round of awards from the Complete Streets Program to 11 communities which totaled over $4.4 million.

The Complete Streets funding awards will be used to fund local, multi-modal infrastructure improvement projects,

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Attorney Offers Overview of Marijuana Law for Municipalities
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:04AM / Sunday, January 29, 2017

The implementation of the new law is drawn out over a number of years. LENOX, Mass. — Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level so income raised from sales of pot cannot legally be placed in federally regulated banks.   So, what are towns supposed to do with the money raised from a local option tax now that marijuana sales will be legal on the state level?   That's one of the questions yet to be answered after Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize the use, sale, and taxation of marijuana.    Attorney Raymond Miyares of Miyares & Harrington LLP of Wellesley provided a presentation on the law, aimed particularly for local

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@theMarket: The Deals Begin
By Bill Schmick,
04:58PM / Friday, January 27, 2017

This week's ongoing controversy between Mexico and our new president over trade and the construction of "the wall” has investors concerned, confused and apprehensive. And still the markets gained ground.

I believe we are witnessing the opening gambits of President Trump's "Art of the Deal” as it applies to global economics and politics. It will take some getting used to on the part of investors and all Americans. So far the markets, at least, are going along with it.

We finally hit that elusive 20,000 mark on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That's no big deal and has little importance to technical analysts. New record highs, on the other hand, which

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'The Founder': The Original Hamburglar
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:53PM / Friday, January 27, 2017

'I think my father would have enjoyed John Lee Hancock's "The Founder," an enthusiastic account of how Ray Kroc, a previously failed salesman, turned the McDonald brothers' pioneering, fast-food restaurant into a worldwide phenomenon. But while he would applaud the title character's passion and persistence, he'd have something to say about his arguable ruthlessness. While dad, like Roy Hobbs in "The Natural" (1982), liked a buck as well as the next guy, he didn't believe that business and integrity were mutually exclusive items.

Daniel Goldberger, generally a man of few but well-chosen words, turned loquacious when we had company in the form of

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The Independent Investor: A Circus by Any Other Name Is Still a Circus
By Bill Schmick,
06:03PM / Thursday, January 26, 2017

By now you may have heard that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are set to close in May of this year. That's the third circus in as many years to close their doors. You might say the announcement marks the end of an era stretching back for almost 150 years. I disagree.

The circus will never die. It's been around since the Romans were sticking each other with swords. It is a venue that is constantly changing that I believe will simply continue to evolve. Society has moved on from the need to see blood and guts on the sandy floor of the arena. For the last century and a half, we have been entertained instead by death-defying feats, acrobatics, wild animals and loud

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Bay State Winter Games Return this Weekend
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Sports
01:05PM / Thursday, January 26, 2017

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Ice and snow and sweat and cheers are all on the agenda over the next five weeks as the 32nd annual Bay State Winter Games return to Berkshire County.

For 37 days at six different venues, athletes from throughout Massachusetts and around New England will compete in sports ranging from ice hockey to snowshoeing.

It all begins Saturday at Williams College's Lansing Chapman Rink with two days of figure skating competition and the BSG's signature event, the Bay State Skate.

The annual Saturday night show features winners from Saturday's competition, special invited guests and the production team from the weekend's hosts, Christmas Brook Figure

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Young People Set to Lift the Spirits of Berkshire Seniors With Valentine's Cards
02:10PM / Wednesday, January 25, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 15.5 million seniors in America live alone and face isolation due to declining mobility and geographic location. To help combat the negative effects of isolation, DoSomething.org, the largest organization for young people and social change, has teamed up with Meals on Wheels America, the oldest and largest national organization supporting community-based senior nutrition programs, for the fourth annual Love Letters campaign.

Berkshire seniors served by Elder Services of Berkshire County are set to receive handmade Valentine's Day cards created by youth volunteers from across the country this Valentine's Day.

"Social connection and

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Social Justice Discussion Set for Jan. 26 at Simon's Rock
01:11PM / Wednesday, January 25, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Berkshire Magazine, Multicultural BRIDGE and Bard College at Simon’s Rock will host a talk on "Social Justice: Ethics, Writing and Reporting for Social Change" on Thursday, Jan. 26.

The workshop "Just Journalism: A Workshop on Public Writing" with speakeasy@simons-rock.edu will be held at 5 p.m.; students are first priority.

The summit begins at 7 p.m. featuring Anastasia Stanmeyer, Berkshire Magazine editor, as moderator and panelist.  Eugenie Sills, founder of Womens Times and principal of TWT Media, and Jenn Smith of the Berkshire Eagle, also will participate on the panel.

Journalists, students, and the general public are

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When Do You Need a Financial Adviser?
11:23AM / Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Are you a "do-it-yourselfer"? If you can take care of home repairs, lawn work and other types of maintenance by yourself, you'll save money and probably gain satisfaction. But you will almost certainly need some help in other areas of your life – one of which may be investing.

In fact, you could benefit from the services of a professional financial advisor at several points in your life:

* When you're starting out in your career: When you land your first "career-type" job, you will have some financial decisions to make: Should I participate in my employer's 401(k) or other retirement plan? (Hint: Yes!) If so, how much should I contribute? How can I

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Hinds, Mark Re-File Bill Aimed To Help Volunteer Ambulance Services
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:50AM / Wednesday, January 25, 2017
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A bill to change the staffing requirements of an ambulance service could be a game changer for struggling volunteer services.   But, the state Department of Public Health has opposed the bill in previous legislative sessions.   State Sen. Adam Hinds and state Rep. Paul Mark have sponsored a bill that would alleviate the requirement that two emergency medical technicians be on every basic life support transports. The change would allow for first responders, who are slightly less trained, to be drivers during those calls while a certified EMT handles patient care in the back.   "There are a number of communities in the district that bump up

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