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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Q&A: Wahconah High Teacher to Participate in NASA Program for Educators
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:30AM / Sunday, March 22, 2020

Wahconah science teacher David Dahari is participating in a NASA program this summer. DALTON, Mass. — Wahconah Regional High School science teacher David Dahari is looking out of this world to get some real world experience.   This winter, Dahari was selected to participate in the 2020 NASA Airborne Astronomer Ambassador program.   As one of 28 teachers selected from 13 states, Dahari will have the opportunity this summer to train at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, Calif., and study aboard the agency's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a modified Boeing 747 carrying a 100-inch diameter

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Governor Says Army Corps Sussing Out Patient Capacity Options
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
09:20PM / Saturday, March 21, 2020
BOSTON — The state's COVID-19 command center has been in discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers about expanding patient capacity.   "Earlier today, we had a very productive conversation with U.S. Army Corps about ways they could potentially support the commonwealth and its citizens and its health-care system," Gov. Charlie Baker said at Sunday's coronavirus update. "During this outbreak, as most people know, the Army Corps has expertise and skills in designing and building critical infrastructure in a big hurry in times of need."   The governor said the Corps is looking at structures that can be easily modified into patient facilities, with

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Business as Unusual: Small & Large Shops Try to Weather Outbreak
By Tammy Daniels & Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:13PM / Friday, March 20, 2020
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Peter Oleskiewicz was near tears early this week as he called his employees and told them they no longer had jobs.    "Hardest thing I have ever had to do," he said.    Like so many local restaurants, Oleskiewicz's Desperados on Eagle Street is trying to adapt to the coronavirus shutdown by shifting from sit-down service to takeout. But you don't need waiters or hosts or bartenders to do that. Oleskiewicz is down to two people in the kitchen as he tries to keep his business alive.    Storefronts and restaurants are going dark or reducing hours across the country as governors and local officials try to keep a

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Baker: No 'Shelter-in-Place' Planned in Massachusetts
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:46PM / Friday, March 20, 2020
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker said on Friday that it was "heartbreaking" that the commonwealth has seen its first fatality because of COVID-19 and continued to maintain he has no plans to issue the kind of shutdown of nonessential businesses New York's governor ordered earlier in the day.   A man in his 80s from Suffolk County with pre-existing medical conditions became the first resident of the commonwealth to die from the pandemic disease, state officials confirmed on Friday.   "Obviously, it's heartbreaking to say, but this is certainly a day I think we all knew would come," Baker said during a livestreamed 40-minute Boston news conference with

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Food Services Continue to Adjust; Fundraiser Set for Williamstown Pantry
Staff Reports,
01:20AM / Friday, March 20, 2020

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry will continue to operate during the COVID-19 emergency, officials announced Thursday, a day after changing its pickup procedures for the first time as a result of the pandemic.

"We as a group are committed, in the time-honored fashion of North Adams and Northern Berkshire pulling together, to do our part to take care of each other," Mark Rondeau, co-founder and board president, said in a statement. "We have hope that after this crisis much better days are coming. Stay tuned."

The next pickup is Wednesday, March 25, from the center's 45 Eagle Street location. Social distancing procedures will be

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Governor Activates Massachusetts National Guard
06:55PM / Thursday, March 19, 2020
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker late Thursday activated the Massachusetts National Guard to support the commonwealth's response to the COVID-19 outbreak.   Baker's order authorizes activation of up to 2,000 National Guard members who will be tasked with supporting requests from state agencies for equipment, logistics, warehousing, and related duties. Local cities, towns, and state agencies should submit requests for support through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.   "Activating the National Guard will help support our administration's efforts to keep residents safe and secure during the COVID-19 outbreak," said Baker in a statement. "The

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Berkshires Beat: Local Community Radio Station WBCR Goes Live
04:45PM / Thursday, March 19, 2020
Going live

Berkshire Radio Community Alliance is now broadcasting live from its new location on Main Street in Great Barrington. Passersby will now be treated to both veteran and newly trained volunteer programmers and their guests appearing “front and center” in the station’s storefront window. There, the resurrected and much-loved on-air mixing board’s red and yellow lights are lit to affirm that 97.7FM has come alive again.

"Live" programming — as differentiated from automated music and syndicated shows — requires a specialized, direct connection from the station's fully integrated, on-air mixing board at 320 Main St. to the radio tower

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The Independent Investor: An Old Dog Learns New Tricks
04:00PM / Thursday, March 19, 2020

Bill trying to work from home.  COVID-19 has upended my life. Like so many other elderly workers, I am at risk, according to the government, the media and the medical community. As a result, if I want to avoid getting sick or dying, working from home is my only option.   When I made that decision last Friday, I didn't think it would be a big deal. After all, I have worked at home before (when I was sick or recovering from one of my many surgeries).   But as I am in day four of this self-imposed isolation, I am learning that, at least for me, my work habits are going to need an overhaul.   As a self-confessed workaholic, who loves what he does, even the idea of

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'Emma': Coming Late to the Party
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:50PM / Thursday, March 19, 2020
Point of disclosure: I find no movies more difficult to review than those I've bunched into the category I call: "Film Adaptations of 18th and 19th Century British and American Comedies of Manners, and those More Currently Written Paeans, like 'Downton Abbey,' Emulating said Bygone Style to Please Adults who Grew Up on the Stuff and Just can't get Enough of the Prim, Proper and Courtly."   In other words, stuff with which I never bothered.   It's not that I poohpooh the genre and all that it entails. Oh, that more of our population might attempt just a scantling of the civility so intelligently dissected by the likes of Jane Austen, whose

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BRTA Limiting Access to Intermodal Center in Pittsfield
03:10PM / Thursday, March 19, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is limiting public use of the Intermodal Transportation Center to those utilizing BRTA's bus service, Peter Pan, Greyhound, Amtrak, or buying food at the coffee shop.    BRTA has also instituted social distancing within the ITC, by removing tables and spacing out the remaining chairs to ensure staff and customers' safety.   Bus service remains in effect and all vehicles are cleaned every evening using products that are effective against the spread of the novel coronavirus. The facilities are being cleaned using the same coronavirus effective products multiple times a day, especially in high-traffic,

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Local Grocers & Retailers Reduce Hours; Regional Malls Closing
12:39PM / Thursday, March 19, 2020
Shopping centers around the region are closing down, some by order and others out of caution in the wake of the novel coronovirus pandemic.    Lee Prime Outlets is closed until March 29.   TJMaxx/HomeGoods/Marshalls stores are closed globally for two weeks, along with the companies' online ordering and distribution centers.     Dick's Sporting Goods and related stores are closed until April 2 but online ordering and curbside pickup are available between 9 and 6 daily.   The Holyoke Mall was ordered closed by Mayor Alex Morse on Tuesday along with other retailers in the city with the exception of grocers and pharmacies.   Governors in New York,

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State Shutting Down Child-Care Facilities, Bottle Redemption
06:37PM / Wednesday, March 18, 2020
BOSTON – The governor on Wednesday issued an executive order requiring all early education centers and child-care providers to close effective Monday, March 23, except for those determined to be critical to maintaining services. The shutdown runs through April 6.    The administration had initially resisted closing day-cares even as schools and preschools were ordered closed across the state. Gov. Charlie Baker has said at several press conferences that the need for access to child care was critical for health workers and front-line responders. Guidance had been issued more than a week ago for child-care facilities.    At a COVID-19 update on Wednesday, Baker said

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