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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

SVMC: COVID-19 Update April 16
08:12PM / Thursday, April 16, 2020
  April 16,

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The Independent Investor: Pandemic Reveals Weakness in U.S. Health-Care System
By Bill Schmick,
04:52PM / Thursday, April 16, 2020
If it is not already apparent, our health-care system needs a lot of work. There is nothing like a global pandemic to point that out. The question is, that after decades of arguments, tinkering and promises, are Americans finally willing to do something to change it?   Now, I am not talking about how much a doctor is being paid, or what a pharmaceutical company can charge, or not charge, for a new wonder drug. Those are popular headlines that, time after time, distract us from the underlying weaknesses in the system. The main problem I have identified throughout this national disaster is the nation's inability to make centralized decisions.   It seems to me that we do not have

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Lee Bank Doubles its Commercial Lending Presence in Pittsfield
11:25AM / Thursday, April 16, 2020

LEE, Mass. — Lee Bank has expanded its commercial lending team with the hiring of Kevin Bisaccio as vice president of commercial lending.

Bisaccio will combine forces with Mark McKenna, with both commercial lenders working out of the Pittsfield branch, located at 75 North St.

Bisaccio was previously employed by NBT Bank, where he held the same title. He has been involved in commercial lending in Berkshire County for more than 10 years. 

Kevin resides in Bennington, Vt., with his wife Sally. They have three grown children. In addition to his banking experience, Kevin holds a bachelor's degree from St. Lawrence University, an MBA from RPI and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law

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Biz Briefs: Bromley Ski Resort Donates $3,050 to SVMC Cancer Center
11:12AM / Thursday, April 16, 2020
'Mom's Day Off' donation

Bromley Mountain Ski Resort recently gave a donation of $3,050 for women's cancer care at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center in Bennington, part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care.

The donation was raised through Bromley's "Mom's Day Off" events on Feb. 5 and March 6. More than 100 mothers received a $25 lift ticket when they showed a photo of their child or children at the resort's ticket window. The entire value of the ticket was donated. Additional donations reached $1,025.

Cancer Center staff — including radiation oncologist Dr. Matthew Vernon, Cancer Center Nurse Manager Jenny Coutu, and radiation therapists

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MCLA Professors, Accounting Students to Prepare Virtual Tax Returns Through VITA Program
10:12AM / Thursday, April 16, 2020

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Two MCLA accounting professors and their students will again be preparing tax returns for local low-income residents — this time, virtually — through Habitat for Humanity's VITA program.

MCLA's new virtual VITA location, approved by the IRS, will be working through the end of April 2020 preparing eligible taxpayers' returns and helping ensure Berkshire County residents receive their coronavirus stimulus payment from the federal government. 

Individual taxpayers may be eligible for a $1,200 stimulus payment; married taxpayers filing jointly may be eligible for a 2,400 stimulus. In addition, taxpayers are eligible for an additional $500

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Hoosac Valley Girls Promote Social Distancing, Support for Frontline Workers in Video
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:05PM / Wednesday, April 15, 2020
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The two-time state champion Hoosac Valley girls basketball team is sending a dual message with the video it created for social media this month.   Like a lot of basketball teams, the Hurricanes have caught the craze of posting a video montage of players who cannot gather in one place but can virtually unite as a ball is passed from outside the frame to each team member and then relayed to the next, who catches and passes in their own backyard or driveway.   The videos are a fun take on the concepts of social distancing and staying connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.   Hoosac Valley coach Ron Wojcik decided to put a different spin on

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Virtual Stand-Up Show Will Benefit Local Political Action Group
04:54PM / Wednesday, April 15, 2020
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Progressive political action group Greylock Together Thursday will host a "virtual stand-up" event with comedian J-L Cauvin on Thursday at 7 p.m.   Cauvin, a 2001 Williams College graduate, studyed law at Georgetown University and worked as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx, N.Y., before going full time with his comedy career.   Since then he has been featured on "The Late Late Show" and is a regular on the "Adam Carolla Show." He also has released five stand-up albums, including one that reached No. 3 on iTunes' comedy chart.   Thursday's event is a fundraiser to support Greylock Together's

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COVID-19 Recovery Center Planned in Great Barrington
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:54PM / Wednesday, April 15, 2020
BOSTON — A COVID-19 recovery center is being stood up in Great Barrington, one of five new facilities planned in the next week across the state to address the predicted surge in patients.   Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday said the care centers are being developed in conjunction with disbursement of personal protective gear and ongoing testing and tracing to address the novel coronavirus pandemic. Two centers setup to care for people who are symptomatic but may not need hospitalization or who are in recovery were opened over the past week in Worcester and Boston and a third was recently completed on Cape Cod.    There are three models being used to create these extra

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Massachusetts Joins Multi-State Council to Stage Economy 'Reopening'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:33PM / Tuesday, April 14, 2020
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. — Massachusetts' late entry into a six — now seven — state regional COVID-19 council was simply because "we had other stuff to do," said Gov. Charlie Baker.    The council announced on Monday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo brings together seven mid-Atlantic and Northeast states to create a framework for economic restoration in "reopening" their economies.    Baker said there had been no intent not to join the cooperative but rather that "sancrosact" meetings critical to the state's operations had taken precedence.    "We used to have a leadership meeting every Monday with the

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Berkshire Humane Society to Hold Pet Food Drive-Thru on Friday
11:28AM / Tuesday, April 14, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Humane Society will offer free food for dogs and cats to anybody who needs help feeding their pets during a drive-through pet food drive on Friday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

No advance appointment is needed. To participate, enter Berkshire Humane Society's parking lot from the north entrance at 214 Barker Road in Pittsfield and drive up to the curb. A Berkshire Humane Society employee in personal protective equipment will take your order and load the food you need. You do not need to leave your car or give your name.

"Because of the generosity of our community and four pallets of food donated by Purina, our pet food is well-stocked and we

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April 14 COVID-19 Briefs: Send SMVC Staff Meals; NAPS Registration Online
11:14AM / Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Meals for front-line staff

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has deployed an online tool to facilitate community members sending meals to front-line staff during the COVID-19 crisis. Community members can visit here and volunteer to purchase a meal for as few as two staff members or as many as 25.

"This program grew out of a desire to make supporting our staff easier for the community and the need to support our local businesses, too," said Leslie Keefe, vice president for Corporate Development.

The hospital partnered with the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce to identify restaurants to participate. Visitors to the Meal Train website volunteer to purchase a meal

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What Should Retirees Consider Doing in a Down Market?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:55AM / Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The health aspect of the coronavirus affects everyone – we're all concerned about our well-being and those of our loved ones and communities. However, the economic impact may vary among different age groups – and if you're retired or about to retire, you might have some special concerns about starting to draw income from your investments when the financial markets are down. What moves should you consider making?

Here are a few suggestions:

* Review your strategy (and avoid making major changes). During a market downturn, you might be tempted to "do something" – and for many people, that "something" is selling stocks to cut their losses. But

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