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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

The Retired Investor: The Billionaire Tax That Wasn't
By Bill Schmick,
03:58PM / Thursday, October 28, 2021
This week, the Democrats unveiled a new plan to finance President Biden's "Build Back Better" legislation. That proposal, along with a 15 percent corporate minimum tax, has politicians scrambling to line up for or against the idea. Does it have a chance to pass?   Credit for the idea goes to the Senate's top tax expert, Finance Chair Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat. His plan is to target only people with $1 billion in assets, or who are earning more than $100 million over three consecutive years. This group would be required to pay capital gains taxes each year on the appreciation in the value of their assets. It won't matter whether they sell or hold those

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House of Correction's Aquaponics Lab Feeding Needy, Imparting Skills
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
06:44PM / Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Sam Fleming, whose nonprofit organization 100 Gardens inspired the project, checks out the roots growing in the nutrient rich water.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire County House of Correction has had something fishy going on for awhile now.    Community leaders and others got a chance on Wednesday to tour an inmate-run greenhouse that takes hydroponics — growing plants in a nutrient solution — to another level of sustainability by using fish waste as fertilizer. While producing both fish and produce, the facility also provides inmates with valuable skills that can be transferred to life outside of the jail.   Each of the 30 towns and both

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State Extends School Mask Mandate Into January 2022
01:59PM / Wednesday, October 27, 2021
MALDEN, Mass. — The mask mandate in schools has been extended through Jan. 15, 2022. This is the second time the mandate has been extended since it was put in place in August in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases. The latest date for it to be lifted was Monday, Nov. 1.   State officials believe this extension will give time for students age 11 and younger to be vaccinated.    On Tuesday, a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended emergency authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be administered to children ages 5 to 11. Pfizer provided data that it says shows the vaccine was safe for those ages and 90.7 percent effective in

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Nor'easter Bringing Drenching Rain to Region
07:08PM / Sunday, October 24, 2021
The last couple weeks of largely pleasant weather is about to get washed out.    But instead of snow, Accuweather reports that a "rare" fall Nor'easter will bring heavy rain throughout the region this week.   "An early season tempest could bring a wind-driven, chilly rain to portions of the Northeast from Monday through Wednesday," AccuWeather meteorologist Randy Adkins said, adding that flooding could be a significant concern across southern New England.   With a late start to the fall foliage season underway across southern New England, many trees still have plenty of leaves on them, making the possibility for downed trees due to strong winds a

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@theMarket: Stocks Are Signaling an All-Clear
By Bill Schmick,
05:55PM / Friday, October 22, 2021
The S&P 500 Index and the Dow have managed to pierce overhead resistance. This week, both hit record highs. It seems only a matter of time before the NASDAQ will follow but probably not before we have a minor pullback.   As of Friday morning, equities have managed to string together seven days of continuous gains. Do I hear eight? That is a tall order, because stocks are now overextended by just about every measure I follow. We could do with a minor pullback, or pause, before extending this rally higher.   Credit for the gains can be attributed to third quarter earnings results. The results have been much better than expected. The big fear was that supply chain disruptions and

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DA's Office Holding Town Hall Meetings Across County
12:33PM / Friday, October 22, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire District Attorney's Office will hold a series of town hall events throughout the county.   District Attorney Andrea Harrington will provide a brief presentation on the state of the justice system, the office's reform efforts, and her blueprint for safety and justice in Berkshire County before opening the discussion to questions and answers.   The town halls are on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, at the Adams Visitors Center in Adams at 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 10, at at 6 p.m. at Great Barrington Town Hall; Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m., at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield.   "I am very excited for this opportunity to share

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The Retired Investor: The Fed's Key Inflation Gauge
By Bill Schmick,
03:42PM / Thursday, October 21, 2021
Inflation is worrying investors. Every new data point seems to be heightening their anxiety. Oil and other commodities are raging higher. The rate of wage increases is also climbing, but the most important variable the Fed is watching is about to move higher.   Housing and/or home ownership is one of the most important components of the U.S. economy. However, housing prices per se are not included in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Instead, the CPI measures the cost of shelter, which is broken down between actual rents paid and the Owners' Equivalent Rent or OER.   OER is the amount of rent that would need to be paid in order to substitute a currently owned house as a rental

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BBPW announces 2021 Scholarship recipients
12:12PM / Thursday, October 21, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Business & Professional Women (BBPW) announced the recipients of its annual Career Advancement Scholarship Program.   After receiving a record number of applications for the 2021 program, BBPW awarded total of $20,000 in scholarships to 20 local women.   This year's scholarship recipients include: Denise Andre, Monica Bernal, Libby Boissy, Alyssa Dunham, Brittany Durand, Diana El Hariri Saie, Ashley Brooke Fox, Nicole Haas, Tara Jones-Nutting, Johanna Lenski, Erin Merrigan, Patricia Molina, Jennifer Parker, Doreen Perullo, Lisa Polidoro, Nataliia Riva, Joanna Nicole Rivera, Kristen Sparhawk, Laura Tubbs, and Jennifer

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Pittsfield Speedskating Club Welcome New Members
Community submission,
09:38AM / Thursday, October 21, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Pittsfield Parks Speed Skating Club will begin skating Oct. 31 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club on Melville Street.   Beginners, people interested in good exercise and those interested in racing will join people of all ages for this fun activity.   The club offers a free trial session. Then, you have the option to pay as you go for $25 a session for adults and $15 for children under  18.   Seasonal  memberships are  $350 adults, $150 children and $500 for families.    Skate rentals are available.   New skaters will be required to make a reservation by calling Arthur Milano at 413-441-2691. Boys and Girls

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Great Barrington To Host American Rescue Plan Act Funds Meeting
12:29PM / Wednesday, October 20, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Select board will hold a public meeting Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. to receive residents' input on how to best deploy more than $2 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).   The meeting will be held via Zoom and will be posted on the town calendar for Nov. 1.   Half of this funding has already been received by the town, but it is not yet allocated. The remainder comes in 2022.   Use of these ARPA funds ($2,075,908 for Great Barrington) is not expected to be subject to a town meeting vote. But town leaders seek public feedback on best uses for the funds.   Expenditures must fall into one of five categories: Public

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CHP Will Assist with Open Enrollment for ACA Insurance Starting Nov. 1
12:50PM / Tuesday, October 19, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Beginning Nov. 1, the open enrollment season begins for Massachusetts residents covered by ACA health insurance plans.   The Community Health Programs insurance enrollment team is available to assist consumers with questions, plan changes or new enrollments.   Open enrollment runs through Jan. 23, 2022, but ACA customers are urged to review their plans in November to begin their process and avoid any lapse in coverage.   Many covered by Affordable Care Act plans are automatically re-enrolled in their existing plans. But anyone with questions about coverage or anyone wishing to change plans must do so during this enrollment window to remain

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Trick-or-Treat, Halloween Events 2021
12:40PM / Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Halloween this year means extra precautions because of the novel coronavirus and towns are weighing safe ways for trick-or-treaters to celebrate the spooky holiday. This may mean community events, limited trick or treating or cancelations. Check back as the holiday approaches for what your town is doing. 

If you are going door to door, remember to dress appropriately, carry a flashlight and only visit homes with lights on in your neighborhood. Some special precautions to prevent COVID-19 transmission include wearing a cloth mask instead of a costume mask, reducing physical contact between people as much as possible, handing out candy with minimal or no contact such as in small bags

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