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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Baker Rolls Back Reopening Plan in Face of Rising Virus Rates
By Tammy Daniels,
01:35PM / Tuesday, December 08, 2020
BOSTON — The state's occupancy limits cut to 40 percent beginning Sunday as the governor rolls back the reopening phases because of rising rates of COVID-19.   Occupancy limits will be reduced to 40 percent and indoor performance venues and some indoor recreational activities will have to close. Dining indoors will be limited to six people per table for no more than 90 minutes. There will be heightened mask use and social distancing.   Gov. Charlie Baker said the rollback to Step 1 of Phase 3 reopening plan is necessary to reduce the strain on the state's hospitals during this second surge of the novel coronavirus.    "The rate Massachusetts residents

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Baker Announces Test Sites in Berkshires, Curtailment of Elective Services at Hospitals
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:16PM / Monday, December 07, 2020
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced new state COVID-19 testing sites in North Adams, Pittsfield and Great Barrington.   The sites are part of an expansion of state testing in four counties, three in Western Massachusetts: Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, as well as Barnstable on Cape Cod.   "We're working with Berkshire Health Systems to expand free testing across a number of sites in Berkshire County," Baker said during his daily press briefing.   He said the sites will be operational by the end of the month.   For more information on current testing or to make an appointment, call the BHS coronavirus hotline at 855-262-5465 seven days a

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BMC Updated Visitation Guidelines
10:48AM / Monday, December 07, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In the wake of an increasing number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the Berkshires, Berkshire Medical Center has further updated its visitation guidelines, effective Wednesday, Dec. 3.    Community spread of COVID-19 has risen dramatically in recent weeks following reports of unrestricted and non-socially distant large gatherings, which has resulted in a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 hospital admissions and cases.   BMC continues to provide safe comprehensive patient care services, both inpatient and outpatient, and these new visitation restrictions are designed to help maintain a safe environment for BMC staff and patients. The

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Berkshire DA's Office Holds Virtual Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
01:36AM / Monday, December 07, 2020

DA Andrea Harrington speaks during the recorded vigil. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The community remembered the lives lost to drunken driving on Sunday in a virtual vigil over social media.    The Vigil of Remembrance has been held annually for more than 30 years, organized by the Berkshire District attorney's office in cooperation with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.   This year's gathering, held apart because of the pandemic, was dedicated to the 53 people in Berkshire County who lost their lives because of impaired driving.   "Our community needs your voice as much now as ever as we grapple with a greater prevalence of alcohol and substance use and the

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IS183 Art School Announces Virtual Pop-up Holiday Shop
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
01:54PM / Saturday, December 05, 2020

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — IS183 Art School is hosting its first-ever Virtual Pop-up Holiday Shop from Friday, Dec. 4, through Friday, Dec. 11. For the week of the pop-up shop, the public can support Berkshire County artists by purchasing their work through this virtual market.

This virtual shop will launch on the art school's website and will include miniature shops for each of the 13 participating artists who will have more than 200 artworks for sale.

Each miniature shop holds the artist's merchandise along with videos and biographies to learn more about the artist and their creative process.

The event is set to support artists in two ways: 70 percent of the sales go directly

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@theMarket: Markets Bet on Stimulus Sweepstakes
By Bill Schmick,
03:36PM / Friday, December 04, 2020
The first week of December saw all three major averages climb to minor new highs. The trigger was more good news on the delivery timetable of the coronavirus vaccines. The expected speedy distribution of the first batch of wonder drugs encouraged investors, even while the number of COVID-19 deaths and cases nationwide continued to skyrocket.   In addition, a new dose of hopeium has infected investors on the stimulus front. The Democrats $2.2 trillion proposal has gone nowhere since July, thanks to the Republican-controlled Senate. The Democrats then reduced their price tag in an effort to forge a compromise before the election, but the Republicans refused to spend more than their

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Great Barrington Police Get Traffic Enforcement Grant
04:36PM / Thursday, December 03, 2020
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Police Department was awarded an $11,955 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security's Office of Grants and Research to increase the number of traffic enforcement patrols.   Funding will cover five traffic enforcement campaigns in December, May and April and two next summer. Emphasis will be on impaired driving, distracted driving and speeding.   The department recently purchased a new speed trailer that is being used to gather statistics to help determine times and locations where grant patrols will do the most good. With three bridges under repair, more and more traffic is being diverted to residential neighborhoods and

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Storm System Could Bring Region's First Nor'easter of Season
04:30PM / Thursday, December 03, 2020
The dusting of snow the Berkshires got on Wednesday — after enjoying temperatures in the high 50s the days before —may have been a warning of things to come.    The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., has posted a winter storm watch for the Berkshires this weekend and some forecasters say this could be the first Nor'easter of the season.    "It looks like as we go forward we are going to see a strengthening storm coming up the Eastern Seaboard, but the forecasting dilemma, and it always is, is the exact track of the storm," AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said on Thursday.   NWS is warning of heavy snow and

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The Retired Investor: Bitcoin Is Back
By Bill Schmick,
04:17PM / Thursday, December 03, 2020
After a three-year hiatus, cryptocurrencies have returned and are attracting the attention of investors. Will this time be any different?   Readers may recall the Bitcoin craze that sent the largest digital currency to an all-time high of $20,000 in 2017 and spawned numerous copy-cat cryptos like Ethereum and Litecoin.   You may also remember that all of them came crashing back to earth and ignominy where they have languished, unloved, until this year.   This week, Bitcoin hit a new three-year record of $19, 857. If that is news to you, there is a reason for that. After the last buying frenzy and subsequent crash, the financial media has taken a more cautious approach in

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CSX Acquiring Pan Am Railways
Staff Reports,
05:21PM / Tuesday, December 01, 2020
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — CSX Corp. says it has signed an agreement to acquire North Billerica-headquartered Pan Am Railways Inc.    Pan Am is considered the largest regional railroad with a 1,700-mile rail network in New England and New York and a partial interest in the more than 600-mile Pan Am Southern system. Its tracks run through the Hoosac Tunnel.    "Pan Am is pleased to reach this agreement with CSX, a North American leader in rail-based freight transportation," Pan Am President David A. Fink said in a statement announcing the deal. "This is great news for New England shippers and the national freight network overall."   Pan Am,

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Baker: COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout to Begin This Month
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:37PM / Tuesday, December 01, 2020
BOSTON — Widespread access to COVID-19 vaccines probably won't occur until late spring, Gov. Charlie Baker said at his pandemic update on Tuesday.    The governor said he anticipated that the focus would be on high-risk individuals as the vaccines are rolled out in December and the first part of the year.   "The focus is going to be on the people we are all the most worried about, right, either because of what they do for work or because of their age, or because of their physical condition," he said.   Federal officials on a call Monday told governors that the vaccine distribution is expected to begin in mid-December and through March, Baker said. The

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Holiday Events and Tree Lightings 2020
04:15PM / Monday, November 30, 2020

This year's holiday gatherings and annual tree lightings are looking much different because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Many events have been canceled or are being held virtually and/or broadcast on Facebook or local public access channels. Here's what we have so far in events below. If we're missing any, let us know at info@iBerkshires.com

Christmas Tree Lightings 🎄 Cheshire: The Police and Fire departments and Adams Ambulance will hold a Holiday Light Parade with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 3:30 p.m. The caravan will leave the fire station and first drive through the neighborhood streets before ending at Town Hall for Santa to light the Christmas

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