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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Cold Air Over Midwest Bring Chilly, Rainy Weekend for Berkshires
04:39PM / Thursday, November 11, 2021
Enjoy these few days of mild weather because a polar vortex is nipping at the region.   A strong cold front pushing through the Midwest and southern Canada is expected to dump snow to the south and west of the Berkshires.    But, the area will be getting the colder temperatures and heavy rain over the weekend.    According to Accuweather, "as a ripple in the jet stream moves from the eastern Great Lakes into the Northeast on Saturday, spotty showers are likely in much of the region. Outside of the very highest elevations where a few snowflakes may fall, most of the precipitation should still be in the form of rain."   The jet stream will make a large

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The Retired Investor: SALT Away?
By Bill Schmick,
01:43PM / Thursday, November 11, 2021
High-income tax states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, and New York would appear to be winners if President Biden's "Build Back Better" plan is finally passed by Congress. The Trump-era limit on state and local tax deductions could provide a $200 billion (or more) wind fall for wealthy Americans.   As it stands now, congressional Democrats, especially those who represent high tax states, are crafting a change in the SALT deduction cap. Presently American households can only deduct $10,000 of state and local taxes from their federal income taxes. That cap deduction is poised to end by 2026.   In a prior column, I explained that in exchange for their votes

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State Parks Parking Fees Waived in Honor of Veteran's Day
12:01PM / Thursday, November 11, 2021
BOSTON — In honor of Veteran's Day, the Baker-Polito Administration will once again waive parking fees at all Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) state parks throughout the state on Thursday, November 11, 2021.    Additionally, interpretive programming will also be offered at state parks during the upcoming holiday weekend. Furthermore, visitors are encouraged to participate in self-guided walks and hikes within the state parks system, where there are numerous veterans memorials, military forts, and other notable sites. The fee waiver falls in line with a National Park Service initiative that also provides free admission at federal parks nationwide on

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Norman Rockwell Museum: Special Exhibition by Jan Brett
09:01AM / Thursday, November 11, 2021
STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum (NRM) announced the upcoming winter exhibition, "Jan Brett: Stories Near and Far."   Featuring more than 100 original illustrations, sketches, and personal artifacts, this seasonal family-friendly exhibition explores the range of Brett's art and the travel experiences that have inspired her many books and characters. Spanning twenty-five years, "Stories Near and Far" is the most extensive exhibition of Brett's picture book art to date, and will be on view from Nov. 13, 2021 to March 6, 2022.    "Jan Brett, our Berkshire neighbor, is beloved near and far," NRM Director/CEO Laurie Norton

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World War II Veteran's Account Recorded for Posterity
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:08AM / Thursday, November 11, 2021

Sacco in his newly issued uniform in Miami Beach, 1943. NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Pasquale "Pat" Sacco was cruising at 32,000 feet when he realized something was wrong.    It was May 1944 and the 457th Bomber Group was headed for Berlin when it came under attack by German Messerschmitts, Me-109s.    Sacco was under the belly of the bomber, manning the gun in the ball turret. He saw flames and smoke trailing from the back of the Flying Fortress and climbed out of the cramped ball to help the radio man but he would be the only crew member killed. Sacco and the pilot were about the last to jump.    "We no sooner left the plane when it blew up

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Lee Breaks Ground on $60M Eagle Mill Redevelopment Project
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:28AM / Thursday, November 11, 2021

Jeffrey Cohen has been working to get the $60 million project off the ground since 2012. LEE, Mass. — Nearly a decade after it was first proposed, the $60 million Eagle Mills redevelopment project broke ground on Wednesday morning.    "It's been a long time coming for this project. But are we happy to be here?" asked state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli to applause. "I want to personally say that I've been involved in this project, this site for a long time. I've seen a lot of ideas come and go. I've seen a lot of developers come and go, but this one is real. And of all the developers and all the ideas that come across the

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Berkshire Planning Commission Looks to Build Housing Coalition
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
02:45AM / Monday, November 08, 2021

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is continuing its efforts to address the county's housing crisis.

On Thursday, BRPC's Executive Committee voted to submit a grant of services application to the Citizen's Housing and Planning Association's Municipal Engagement Initiative to build a regional housing coalition that will address housing of all types.

This is part of this regional housing strategy BRPC has been working on with housing practitioners. It was suggested that the planners become more inclusive by trying a broader outreach to different population groups and then build a coalition that wants to advance housing of all types.

The

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Berkshire Humane Senior Pets Seeking Homes for Holidays (And Beyond)
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
06:29AM / Sunday, November 07, 2021

PITTSFIELD, Mass.— November is Adopt a Senior Pet month and the Berkshire Humane Society has a number of furry friends in their golden years who would love to spend the holidays in a forever home.

There are currently about 10 senior cats and dogs at the shelter and, during November, adoption fees for those 7 years or older are reduced to $50.

Senior companions will also come with a goodie bag consisting of a bed and some other supplies that will help acclimate to their new home.

By incentivizing the adoption of older animals, the shelter hopes to show all that mature pets can offer and get them into loving, permanent homes.

In a press release, Executive Director John Perreault

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Public Health Officials Urge COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children
Staff Reports,
11:19AM / Thursday, November 04, 2021
BOSTON — State officials are encouraging parents to vaccinate their children now that the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine for COVID-19 has received emergency authorization for ages 5 to 11. This is the best way, they say, for the state and schools systems to get back to normal.    More information about how to schedule a vaccine appointment can be found here.   Gov. Charlie Baker, speaking Thursday at Boston Children's Hospital, said pediatric doses have already been received and he did not anticipate any supply issues, such as those that hampered the rollout for adult vaccinations earlier this year.    "We continue to lead the way in vaccinations here in the

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Becket, Peru Awarded $2M in MassWorks Grants
11:32AM / Wednesday, November 03, 2021
BECKET, Mass. — Several Berkshire towns are getting more than $2 million in MassWorks funding, largely for road repair.    The funds were part of $66.5 million in grant awards to 50 communities announced last week by the Baker-Polito administration. The administration also kicked off the first series of grant awards made through the Community One Stop for Growth program, which total a combined $88 million for projects in 122 communities across the commonwealth, including MassWorks awards.    "MassWorks and the programs accessed through One Stop support local infrastructure projects that spur housing, workforce development and private investment," said

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COVID-19 Booster Shots Available Throughout County
04:00PM / Tuesday, November 02, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — COVID-19 Booster Shots are available at Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) locations throughout the county.   BHS encourages all eligible residents to take advantage of the opportunity to secure the additional protection from COVID-19 that boosters provide.   The CDC has approved Pfizer and Moderna booster doses for individuals 65 years or older, individuals 18-64 years old who live or work in a high-risk environment, and individuals 18-64 years old who have an underlying medical condition that makes them  more vulnerable to serious infection by COVID-19.    Johnson and Johnson boosters are approved for individuals 18 years or older. Additional

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Fire Officials Reminder: Change Clocks, Check Alarms
04:00PM / Tuesday, November 02, 2021
STOW, Mass. — With the end of daylight savings time coming on Nov. 7, Massachusetts fire officials issued a seasonal reminder to check smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms when you change your clocks.   "Working smoke and CO alarms are key to surviving a fire or carbon monoxide leak," said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. "As we 'fall back' this weekend, remember to check your alarms when you change your clocks.  Unless you have newer alarms with 10-year sealed batteries, this is a good time to replace the alkaline batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms or replace the entire device if it's more than 10 years

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