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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

The Independent Investor: Does Our Debt Really Matter?
By Bill Schmick,
04:34PM / Thursday, March 14, 2019
The country's national debt hovers at historically record highs, as the nation's budget battle begins. It's a pretty safe bet to expect another budget-busting compromise as well as a hefty increase to our already-overwhelming debt load.   At times like this I wonder whether Americans are facing the prospect that someday the United States could be the world's largest impoverished nation, and if so, does it really matter?   Last week's column examined the subject of debt, both private and domestic, and how large it has become. This week, I begin by asking why debt matters at all? On a personal level, we know the answer, but what about the nation?   Debt has


'Captain Marvel': Brave New Suffragette
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:43PM / Thursday, March 14, 2019
Unless you're a card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wool devotee of comic-book film extravaganzas like "Captain Marvel," they can be extremely difficult to follow. Each is chockfull of series lore, a veritable encyclopedia of minutiae that aficionados of the genre demand, and from which they deliriously kvell when given the slightest opportunity to relate in oral treatise. While too lazy to submerge my gray matter into the seemingly endless intricacies each example of the filmic breed holds, I am respectful of the passion, even if it's just to prove I'm not as much a fuddy-duddy and beside the point as I actually am.   As a stranger in a strange land, my modus operandi is


Five Dead in Sheffield Structure Fire
Staff Reports,
02:41PM / Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Multiple fire departments responded to the single-family home on Home Road. SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Authorities are investigating a Wednesday morning structure fire on Home Road that left five people dead.    "This is an extensive operation and investigation with multiple local and state agencies," said Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington at a brief press conference around 2:30 p.m. at Town Hall. "It's going to take us some time before we can get you more information."   Harrington said the fire at 1343 Home Road was fully involved when responders arrived on scene and was knocked down at about 9:15 on Wednesday morning and determined


Berkshire Beat: Simon's Rock Preparing for 'Everyone Swims' Program
12:20PM / Wednesday, March 13, 2019
'Everyone Swims'

The Kilpatrick Athletic Center at Simon's Rock College of Bard will host the "Everyone Swims" initiative this spring to give students, faculty, staff, and community members of all ages the opportunity to develop and strengthen their skills in the water. During Everyone Swims, the college will host free swimming lessons for children and adults. The initiative is one part of the year-round programming that promotes health, wellness, and safety.

Learners will focus on the five competencies of safe swimming as outlined by the American Red Cross: jumping in water over their head, treading water, turning 360 degrees, swimming across the pool, and getting


Put Together a Professional Team to Help You Reach Your Goals
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:16AM / Wednesday, March 13, 2019

As you work toward achieving your goals in life, you will need to make moves that contain financial, tax and legal elements, so you may want to get some help – from more than one source.

Specifically, you might want to put together a team comprised of your financial advisor, your CPA or other tax professional, and your attorney. Together, this team can help you with many types of financial/tax/legal connections.

For starters, you may decide, possibly upon the recommendation of your financial advisor, to sell some investments and use the proceeds to buy others that may now be more appropriate for your needs. If you sell some investments you have held for a year or less and realize a


MCLA Expands Pittsfield Presence With New Location
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:31PM / Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Professor Deborah Foss said the college has support adult learners for a long time. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Michael Steben earned an associates degree from BCC and then built a career in information technology.   He worked his way up in the industry and he got offered a leadership position, heading the IT Department for the city of Pittsfield.   It didn't take him long to realize that he needed to learn more beyond just technology.   "I've had a rewarding career as a technical person and I've recently been promoted to a management position. In my new role, I quickly came to realize that despite my technical prowess, I didn't know much about being

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March 16-17 is Maple Weekend in Massachusetts
12:12PM / Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Massachusetts maple producers will have lots of pure maple products on hand for visitors to sample and purchase during Maple Weekend, set for March 16-17.

To celebrate the state’s earliest and sweetest crop, more than 40 sugarhouses are highlighting this wonderful food. A list of participating sugarhouses are available on the website.

Sugarhouses around the state will be open to the public for tours, demonstrations and tastings, and opportunities to learn all about how maple syrup is produced and how it can be used. Visitors will also be able to buy fresh maple products direct from the farms. Each farm's offerings are unique -- from a team of oxen gathering sap, to walks


Miss Hall's School Announces Head's List, Honor Roll
11:30AM / Tuesday, March 12, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall's School has announced 48 local students among the 149 girls schoolwide named to the Head's List and Honor Roll for the first semester, which ended Jan. 22.

For Head's List recognition, students must have taken five major, full-credit courses and must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 92, with no single grade below B-plus.

For Honor Roll recognition, students must have taken five major, full-credit courses and must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 86, with no single grade below B-minus.

Head's List

Grade 12: Charlotte Adelson, Lee; Trudy Fadding, Glendale; Haylee Gleason, Pittsfield; Faia Kronick, Pittsfield; Sophia


Region 1 Science Fair Encourages Student Research
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:39PM / Monday, March 11, 2019

Keynote speaker Lisa Chamberlain poses with first-place winners Abigail Goyette and Suvin Sundararajan, both of Westfield High School.  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Students from around the region displayed the results of some three dozen experiments Friday at the 13th annual Western Massachusetts Region 1 High School Science & Engineering Fair.    Displays ranging from wall-climbing robots to talking to plants to red dye in sports drinks to coral bleaching were set up on the Amsler Campus Center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, offering a chance for students to explain their projects and move on to the annual state fair.    An item on reef


Mount Greylock Audience Urged to Have 'Courage' to Fight Racism
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:28AM / Monday, March 11, 2019

A student asks a question at Jackson's March 6 presentation.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — When author and educator Ty Allen Jackson asked the audience at a talk on racism how many of them believed Colin Kaepernick was disrespecting the flag by kneeling during the national anthem, not a single hand in the Mount Greylock Regional School auditorium went up.

"OK, thing's over, nice to meet you," Jackson joked as he pretended to exit the stage, his work there done.

The audience laughed — and laughed later when Jackson said the mostly white community members who had come to see his talk appeared to be "woke." But even in this progressive little town in the


Workforce Board Initiative Looks To Connect Jobs With Job Seekers
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:44AM / Sunday, March 10, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The most recent data shows that there are 1,143 jobs available in Berkshire County ranging from sales to health care to engineering to maintenance.   And yet, there are thousands of people unemployed. Shortly after state Sen. Adam Hinds was elected he asked MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board Executive Director Health Boulger what would be the magic wand to matching up jobs to the unemployed.   "There are a lot of great agencies that are doing a lot of great work but we need somebody or a team of people to focus solely on identifying what the industry needs are truly and connecting them to the job seekers," Boulger said.   Hinds took that


@theMarket: Pick Your Poison
By Bill Schmick,
04:32PM / Friday, March 08, 2019
Investors were greeted on Friday with two nasty surprises. Both occurred in February. Chinese exports dropped by 20.7 percent, while in the U.S., the nation added a dismal 20,000 jobs. As you might expect, the stock market did not take the news well.   What really spooked traders was how far apart these numbers were to expectations. Over here, we were expecting 180,000 jobs to be added to the payroll number. In China, where the economy had been expected to weaken, exports had been forecasted to decline by 6 percent, versus the prior year.   Before the ink had dried on the jobs data, the administration was already sending their point man on the economy, Larry Kudlow, the director


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