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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

What Can You Do With Your Tax Refund?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:42AM / Wednesday, April 10, 2019

We're getting close to the tax-filing deadline. For many of us, this means it's that time of year when we get our biggest financial windfall – a tax refund. If you have recently received a refund, or are expecting to get one in the next few weeks, what should you do with it?

Of course, you could just spend the money on something you want, but if you would like to maximize the financial benefits from your refund, you might want to consider other options, including the following:

Invest the money. In 2018, the average tax refund was about $2,700. For this year, it might be somewhat lower, due to changes in the tax laws and the failure of taxpayers to adjust their withholdings

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Primary Care Offices Offer More Than Ever
By Dr. Robert Schwartz,
11:26AM / Wednesday, April 10, 2019

As little as five or 10 years ago, you visited your doctor at your primary care office for your yearly physical and when you were ill. You might need to visit three or four other offices to get all of the care you needed.

But times are changing. Many primary care offices are offering patients more types of care more conveniently than ever. Knowing about all of the services your primary care practice offers can help you take better care of yourself and your family.

The shift in primary care started several years ago with the concept of the medical home. When patients first hear the term "medical home," they are often confused. "Do you mean nursing home?" they think.

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Letter: DA's Decision on Prevention Programs Hurts Children & Families
Letter to the Editor,
07:00PM / Tuesday, April 09, 2019

To the Editor:

For 15 years,the Community Outreach and Education Department (COE) in the Berkshire District Attorney's Office has provided student-based, educational and prevention programming to elementary, middle and high school students throughout Berkshire County. Tens of thousands of students have received vital educational programming and support on bullying, online safety, safe and healthy relationships, substance abuse and leadership.

These grant-funded programs required data collection and the Berkshire results continually showed positive outcomes for our students. Alongside student programming, staff and parents have received the training and guidance they need to support

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Harrington Launches Plan to Address Domestic, Sexual Violence
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:38AM / Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Freeman Center Executive  Director Janis Broderick said domestic and sexual assault has been a growing problem in recent years and a lot more can be done. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Domestic and sexual violence has hit a "crisis level" according to District Attorney Andrea Harrington.   On Tuesday, she announced a new countywide Berkshire Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force that will focus on curbing what is now growing numbers of sexual and domestic violence cases.   The task force will focus on outreach, securing new resources, and providing education and training throughout the Berkshires in an effort to prevent such crimes from

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Easter Events in the Berkshires
10:23AM / Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Hippity, hoppity, Easter's on its way ... and so are lots of fun family events in the Berkshires. If you have one you want included on this list, just email us at info@iberkshires.com.

April 13

Lenox: Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum will offer its annual Slavic Easter egg decorating demonstrations and instructional workshops at the mansion’s former gatehouse at 55 Kemble St. from 10 a.m. to noon and then again from 1 to 3 p.m. This Eastern European tradition of creating intricate and beautifully decorated eggs has been passed down for generations.  Lenox resident Tjasa Sprague, who will again lead the workshop, learned the technique many years ago from her

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Preschool, Kindergarten Registrations Scheduled Around County
10:43AM / Monday, April 08, 2019

Berkshire County schools are starting to schedule preschool and kindergarten registration dates for the 2019-20 school year. Schools can send their information to info@iberkshires.com to be included on this list.

All students, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or homelessness, have equal access to the general education program and the full range of any occupational, vocational programs offered by public school districts.

Adams/St. Stanislaus Kostka

Preschool open house and registration for 3- and 4-year-olds will be held on Tuesday, April 2, at 6 p.m. in the St. Stanislaus Kostka preschool building on

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@theMarket: Markets on a Tear
By Bill Schmick,
04:22PM / Friday, April 05, 2019
As fearful as investors were back in December, the greedier they have become in April. Investor sentiment is climbing, interest rates are falling, and the Fed is on hold. All we need to push the markets even higher is a trade deal with China. It's coming.   The S&P 500 Index has tacked on a hundred points in nine days. The all-time record highs for that index is at 1,940 less than 50 points away. That index has been up seven days in a row. The Dow up 6 out of 7. Last week's worry, the inverted yield curve, which occupied everyone's attention, is a barely remembered footnote in buyers rush to own stocks.   Of course, there are warning signs sprouting up throughout

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Rodgers Takes Over as Head of Berkshire Museum
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:07PM / Friday, April 05, 2019

Rodgers watches as a student learns hands on about Leonardo Da Vinci machines. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Museum is a place you can grow up in, according to Jeff Rodgers.   Rodgers is the new executive director of the museum and started his new gig on Monday. He comes in the wake of a controversial period of the 116-year-old museum's history when museum officials sold off nearly two dozen pieces of its collection to raise $53 million. The sale of the art spurred significant backlash and tore a rift in the community.   For Rodgers, that's in the past. As his first week comes to an end, his goal is to build the inter-disciplinary experience at the

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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Grown Hosts Spring Supper
10:46AM / Friday, April 05, 2019
Spring Supper

Berkshire Grown chefs will celebrate the coming of spring at the Spring Supper on Monday, April 8. Host chef Alex Hammond of the Mezze Restaurant Group has assembled a talented group of local chefs: Daire Rooney Corcoran from Morgan's at Interlaken Inn, Alex Hammond from Mezze Catering, James Lowe of the Pittsfield Country Club, Peter Platt from The Old Inn on The Green, and Doria Polinger of H.R. Zepplin Fine Handmade Chocolates. The chefs are collaborating on a farm-to-table menu that will highlight the freshness of the spring season.

This year's event is at the Country Club of Pittsfield and benefits Berkshire Grown and its win-win project, Share the Bounty. Share

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Freeman Center Rally Raises Awareness of Domestic Violence
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:51PM / Thursday, April 04, 2019

Each flag represents a new victim of sexual or domestic assault in the Berkshires. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There were 345 flags in Park Square on Thursday, with each one representing a new local victim of domestic and sexual violence.   The Elizabeth Freeman Center placed one flag per new disclosure of sexual or domestic violence in 2018. And those are only the victims that received services from the organization.   The flags, coupled with a rally in the city's center, were intended to demonstrate the issue and the services the center provides.   "April is sexual assault awareness month so each year we put out flags for our survivors that we served the

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The Independent Investor: Coffee Prices at 13-Year Lows
By Bill Schmick,
04:45PM / Thursday, April 04, 2019
A few days ago, arabica coffee futures prices fell to a price they haven't seen since December 2005. But don't expect your morning cup of coffee to reflect those cheaper prices. The coffee business doesn't work like that.   Normally, when the price of a commodity falls (like oil), consumers can expect to see a drop in price at the gas pumps within a week or three. The same thing might happen if the price of beef, wheat, corn or any number of commodities experienced a decline in price, so why not coffee?   You might guess (as I did) that the demand for coffee by consumers must be falling, but that's not the case. In fact, more Americans are drinking at least one cup

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'Us': It Takes Two to Terrorize
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:38PM / Thursday, April 04, 2019
Point of disclosure: Save for classics like "Dracula" (1931) and "Frankenstein" (1931), I'm a scaredy-cat when it comes to horror films. I'm not simply afraid of them, but rather, in the parlance of childhood, "a-scared'"of them. That is, until now. Gripping my armrests in anticipation of a body-elevating jolt whilst viewing film auteur Jordan Peale's "Us," his unconnected followup to the highly praised "Get Out" (2017), the epiphany dawned on me.   Having lived through the last two years of the real-life horror that has masqueraded as American politics, I am immunized. Any fiction purporting to be horror pales in

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