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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Annual Thunderfest Features Chowder & Music
02:02PM / Friday, March 03, 2017

ADAMS, Mass. — Once again, Mother Nature has forced the cancellation of the Thunderbolt Ski Race. But the festivities will go on with the annual Thunderfest at noon on Saturday at the Adams Visitors Center.

The festival features live music by Jim Witherell and the headliner Misty Blues Band. Hot food, local beer and wine, a chowder contest, outdoor recreation and craft vendors are featured. A campfire and activities for kids will also be provided and admission to the Thunderbolt museum is free.

"With the addition of the new events this year, Adams is offering more than ever for lovers of outdoor winter recreation," said Ray Gargan, co-chair of ProAdams. "Even if

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'Fresh Fest' Runs This Weekend at Images
12:26PM / Friday, March 03, 2017

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Images Cinema will present "Fresh Fest: A Farm and Food Film Festival" from Friday, March 3, through Sunday, March 5.

Fresh Fest is a collaborative effort to educate the public about farming, food production and sustainability. The opening night movie is locally produced documentary "Forgotten Farms" by David Simonds and Sarah Gardner. "Forgotten Farms" will be shown at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception at The Log with cheese provided by Cabot and crackers provided by Wild Oats.

The festival will also present "A Small Good Thing" (set in the Berkshires) with producer Paula Kirk, to be screened Saturday, March 4,

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Pignatelli Honored as a Mentor of Mass Mentoring Partnership
11:04AM / Friday, March 03, 2017

BOSTON — Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli. was one of 25 individuals and organizations honored by Mass Mentoring Partnership at their 25th anniversary gala, which took place at the Moakley Courthouse on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Mass Mentoring Partnership serves more than 250 mentoring and youth development program statewide supporting more than 33,000 youth in mentoring relationships.

The 25 individuals and groups who were honored were chosen based on their impact on MMP over the past quarter-century. It's through their commitment to the mission that MMP has been able to continue their work in strengthening communities through empowering positive youth-adult relationships.

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Girls Lacrosse Players Sought
09:20AM / Friday, March 03, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- There will be sign-ups for youth girls lacross from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 4, at Dick's Sporting Goods.   Girls in grades 3 through 8 are encouraged to sign up.

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BRPC Crafting Succession Plan For Executive Director
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:11AM / Friday, March 03, 2017

Executive Director Nathaniel Karns, seen in this file photo, hasn't decided when he will retire, but he setting up a succession plan for when he does.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — BRPC Executive Director Nathaniel Karns knows a thing or two about planning.

He's been in the business for 40 years, spending the last 23 years as the executive director of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.   Now he's planning his retirement. He's just not sure when that will be.   "I would probably choose to retire this coming fall or the first of the year. I'm not certain if that is the best time to try to attract a full slate of candidates," he said on

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'Get Out': Guess Who's Coming to be Terrorized?
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:03PM / Thursday, March 02, 2017

It is an eerie, unsettling experience when your every instinct smells dangerous deceit and yet numerous people claiming authority discount your fears as just so much paranoia and curious distrust. Worse even yet is when such shifty characters then try to convince you, despite their most egregious actions, that they have only your best interests at heart. You know they're lying. It's called the "Gaslight" effect, named after the 1944 film by that title starring Charles Boyer as the creepy husband plying said treachery on his wife, played by Ingrid Bergman.

While this ugly contemplation may be misinterpreted as a reference to current affairs, that would be just too

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Nurses Picket BMC As Staffing Issues Hold Up Collective Bargaining
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:47PM / Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The nurses paced back and forth along North and Wahconah Streets. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Nurses and supporters paced back and forth along North and Wahconah streets on Tuesday afternoon, holding signs and chanting "if we're out here, something is wrong in there."   On the other side of the hospital walls, the administration is reviewing data showing Berkshire Medical Center ranking in the top when it comes to patient safety and preparing a forum to celebrate those numbers with employees.   Outside, the nurses chant that the staffing levels are unsafe. Inside, a staffing office is reviewing the personnel on hand to make sure everything is covered.   What

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Massachusetts Named Best State by U.S. News & World Report
02:25PM / Tuesday, February 28, 2017

BOSTON — The commonwealth of Massachusetts has been named the best overall state in U.S. News & World Report's inaugural report. 

This best state ranking evaluates all 50 states in various categories, with Massachusetts ranked the No. 1 overall state, No. 1 in health care, No. 2 in education and among the top 10 for economy and crime and corrections.

Massachusetts was recognized for having the most accessible health care and is ranked third for pre-K through 12th-grade education.

"Massachusetts is a great place to live, work and raise a family because of the strength and character of all those who call the Commonwealth home," said Gov. Charlie Baker.

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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Athenaeum teams up with Boston Bruins for PJ Drive
01:32PM / Monday, February 27, 2017

Pajama jam: The Berkshire Athenaeum is teaming up with the Boston Bruins to participate in their annual pajama drive to benefit DCF Kids (Department of Children and Families) and Cradles to Crayons. The PJ Drive's goal is to collect 10,000 pairs of new pajamas for children and teens in need across the stat, including Pittsfield.

The Boston Bruins PJ Drive runs through March 15. The library will be collecting new pairs of pajamas for babies, children and teens. Please bring new pajamas to the library's Children's Department.

Bruins forward P.J. Axelsson and his wife, Siw, started the PJ drive during the Boston Bruins 2007-08 season as a way to give to give back to their

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Berkshire Medical Center Sits Atop National Quality Ranking
12:52PM / Monday, February 27, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Medical Center is ranked as the best performer in Patient Safety Indicators in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

BMC is ranked number one in the nation when compared to over 3,200 hospitals for its composite measure of Patient Safety Indicators, or PSI-90. The PSI-90 Patient Safety Indicators were developed by the Agency for Research and Quality, and provides an overview of hospital-level quality as it relates to a set of potentially preventable hospital-related events associated with harmful outcomes for patients. The lower a hospital’s composite score, the better, and Berkshire Medical

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Biz Briefs: Lowe's, Central Berkshire Habitat Team Up for Women Build Month
12:18PM / Monday, February 27, 2017

Building a future: Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity and Lowe's invite women to build alongside future homeowners during the 10th annual National Women Build Month. Central Berkshire is one of 300 Habitat organizations nationwide hosting Women Build projects during the month of May with support from Lowe’s, a longtime partner in the event.

On April 30, local volunteers will start Women Build Month by attending a half day construction training that will give them the necessary tools to build the new construction home. Groups and individuals can register to participate in the Women Build dates in May. National Women Build Week brings together women to devote at least one day

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McCann School Budget Reflects Hikes in Fixed Costs, Health Insurance
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Monday, February 27, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The McCann Technical School budget for fiscal 2018 is up 2.7 percent over this year, largely reflecting increasing fixed costs and level state funding.    The school's budget is up about $250,000, from $9.09 million to $9,340,159, and includes $88,000 in cuts. Some $3.7 million of the spending plan will be covered by assessments to its nine districts for operations, transportation and capital projects. The total assessments are up less than one percent.    "The problem we run into when you look at the budget itself, the state Chapter 70 money is pretty much level, the numbers that are municipal assessments ... are fairly level for all

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