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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Wheeler & Taylor Gives to Food Bank of Western Mass
02:36PM / Wednesday, December 23, 2020

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Wheeler & Taylor Insurance of Great Barrington and Canary Blomstrom Insurance Agency of Agawam provided support to The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Two rounds of funding will pay for about 100,000 meals for hungry residents of Western Massachusetts. The Food Bank will receive one round of funding now an another in the spring.

"We’re so grateful to Wheeler & Taylor and Canary Blomstrom for their social investment in The Food Bank’s mission to feed our neighbors in need at this critical moment," Executive Director Andrew Morehouse said. "With this support, overall we’ll be able to provide 100,000 meals to

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Salvation Army in Urgent Need of Funds to Meet $60K Goal
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:04AM / Wednesday, December 23, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A perfect storm of unprecedented need and far fewer kettle donations has the Salvation Army seeking help to rescue Christmas.   Donations through the charity organization's red kettles in Pittsfield are currently down by 70 percent compared to last year and it's struggling to meet its fundraising target by about $33,000.    "We went into the season honestly unsure if we were even going to be able to ring the bell," Captain Justin Barter, corps officer in Pittsfield, said Tuesday. "We were grateful that we could ring the bell but the numbers are still significantly down."   Now in its 130th year, the kettle campaign

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Governor Rolls Back Gathering Limits to Prevent COVID-19 Spread
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:20PM / Tuesday, December 22, 2020
BOSTON — The governor is implementing tighter restrictions on gatherings, dropping capacity limits to 25 percent for businesses and industries and limiting indoor gatherings to no more than 10 and outdoor gatherings to 25.    The regulations go into effect on Saturday, Dec. 26, as the state attempts to limit the pandemic fallout from the Christmas holiday.   "Together, the intent of the these restrictions will be to pause activity and reduce mobility, so we can reduce the spread of the virus, without closing our schools, or our businesses," said Gov. Charlie Baker at Tuesday's pandemic briefing.    Occupancy limits apply to restaurant seating

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Massachusetts Inks Memorandum to Launch Transportation and Climate Initiative
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:09AM / Tuesday, December 22, 2020
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday hailed a step forward to combat climate change by reducing the No. 1 source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.   The Transportation and Climate Initiative Program aims to reduce those emissions by 26 percent in its first decade and generate revenue that will fund climate resiliency efforts throughout the region.   The right wing Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance immediately went on the offensive, releasing a statement that claimed the multistate initiative would result in "an increase in gas prices up to 38 cents per gallon with very small emissions cuts."   TCI advocates have pegged the potential impact on

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Baker Announces $49M in Small-Business Grants Awarded
Staff Reports,
04:37PM / Monday, December 21, 2020
BOSTON — State officials stressed the need to continue pandemic protocols over the holidays as they announced nearly $50 million in grants to help small businesses through the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19.   The surge in cases of the novel coronavirus after Thanksgiving has put the state's medical system under duress and threatens its ability to continue to operate. Public health officials are bracing for another surge following the Christmas and New Year's holidays.    "If the second holiday season produces a surge in infections that we saw similar to the one that came out of Thanksgiving, we'll be in serious danger of overwhelming, our

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Winterlights Makes Top 10 Holiday Light Show List
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
02:51AM / Saturday, December 19, 2020

Visitors can add their wishes to the wishing tree at Naumkeag.

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Naumkeag made national rankings when its annual Winterlights landed No. 6 on a list for top holiday light shows across America.

The Trustees of Reservations announced Friday that popular, immersive, holiday light display has been named a top 10 Public Holiday Light Displays in the country by USA TODAY's 10 Best Readers' Choice Awards.

Because of the overall success and demand for tickets, The Trustees will be extending Winterlights until mid-January with 3,000 additional tickets per location now on sale.

"That Winterlights is now recognized on a national level in addition to being so

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The Retired Investor: Oil's Comeback
By Bill Schmick,
01:55PM / Friday, December 18, 2020
Earlier this year, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil slumped into negative territory for the first time in history. Oil traded at a negative $37.63. Today, that same barrel of oil is changing hands at $47.48. What changed?   More than any other sector, the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the global oil and gas industry. Declining consumer demand in the first quarter of the year in combination with high levels of energy production threatened to exceed worldwide oil storage capacity. OPEC plus, the oil cartel, took action on April 12 by cutting oil production by 9.7 million barrels per day, but by then it was too late. By April 20-22, you couldn't give away a

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End of Life Visitation Update for BMC
10:50AM / Friday, December 18, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems has announced it has revised its visitation guidance for families of patients with COVID-19 who are nearing end of life.   In order to help families and loved ones to be present when end of life is approaching, the following visitation guideline is now in effect:   COVID-19 positive patients nearing the end of life can have one loved one visit for a half hour. The visit should be arranged with patient's clinical provider and the BMC Patient Experience Department. The identified visitor will be informed of the risks of visitation and the need to quarantine afterward. They will be screened for symptoms of COVID upon entering the

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Zogics Offering Products at Cost to Berkshire Organizations
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
03:46PM / Thursday, December 17, 2020

Zogics headquarters in Lenox. LENOX, Mass. — Zogics knows cleaning. It's been helping keep everything from Navy ships to elementary schools safe and sanitary for more than a decade.   Now, after witnessing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the cleaning and disinfectant retailer wants to give back to Berkshire County in a time where many businesses are struggling.   Zogics is offering its most popular novel coronavirus-combatting products to Berkshire businesses and nonprofits at cost and is making its facility experts available at no charge to help the community develop plans and protocols to operate as safely as possible during the pandemic.   "Our aim

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Rest of the River Cleanup Expected to Take 15 Years
12:03PM / Thursday, December 17, 2020
BOSTON — After years of studies and negotiations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is set to oversee a $576 million cleanup of the Housatonic River over the next 15 years.    A "Revised Final Permit" for the Rest of River cleanup plan has been issued under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act spells out the required cleanup measures to be followed by General Electric Co. to remove contamination caused by polychlorinated biphenyls used in the manufacture of transformers at its former Pittsfield plant.   The final permit updates EPA's 2016 cleanup plan for the river, its floodplains and other surrounding areas.   The permit requires GE to

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Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Begins Vaccinating Staff for COVID-19
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:24PM / Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Nurse Patricia Johnson receives the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.   BENNINGTON, Vt. — After getting her first round of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday morning, Dr. Anne Marie Swann got a Band-Aid, a sticker, a round of applause and a place in local history.   The hospitalist from Williamstown, Mass., was the first member of the staff at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as the region officially began the next stage of society's battle against the global pandemic.   But moments later, Swann was quick to point out that the battle is far from over.   "Having this as a protective layer is encouraging and exciting

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Communities Issue Snow Emergencies as Storm Bears Down
01:03PM / Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Communities are calling pre-emptive snow emergencies throughout the county in preparation for a possible foot of snow to drop in the region.   The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., is now predicting a foot or more of snow to fall over the Berkshires and Southern Vermont overnight. A winter storm warning for the region is effect from 4 p.m. Wednesday until 1 p.m. on Thursday.    Snowfall is expected to start late Wednesday afternoon with rates of 1-2 inches per hour at times. Gusty winds will lead to blowing and drifting snow at times, especially from around the Capital District in New York and points south and east. Travel will become difficult to impossible,

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