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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'The Big Lebowski': When Dudes Abide
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:37PM / Thursday, July 09, 2020

I wish that I were reviewing one of the half-dozen movies certain to be made when this pox upon our house is no more. But until that glorious return to normality has us resuming all the simple joys of life we take for granted, like going to the movies, I'll be retro-reviewing and thereby sharing with you the films that I've come to treasure over the years, most of which can probably be retrieved from one of the movie streaming services. It is my fondest hope that I've barely put a dent into this trove when they let the likes of me back into the

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Targeted COVID-19 Testing Set for 8 At-Risk Communities
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:22AM / Thursday, July 09, 2020
BOSTON — People in Western Massachusetts, and the Berkshires in particular, frequently complain the region is being ignored by a state government headquartered at the other end of the commonwealth.   On Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new program that will impact eight municipalities — none west of I-495.   But this is not the kind of list any town or city wants to make.   Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito used their daily press briefing to announce that the commonwealth will offer targeted free COVID-19 testing sites in Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford.   All residents of those communities will be

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Baker Pushes Back on Federal Pressure to Open Schools
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com
02:30PM / Wednesday, July 08, 2020
BOSTON -- Gov. Charlie Baker Wednesday said he does not think it “makes sense” for a one-size-fits-all approach to reopening the nation’s public schools but stopped short of directly criticizing a presidential tweet pressuring states to open the schoolhouse doors in the middle of a global pandemic.   Baker was asked in his daily press availability about President Trump’s Tuesday Twitter statement that indicated his administration “May cut off funding if [schools] not open!”   The Republican governor, not for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, found himself having to argue against his party’s leader while trying to not get into a

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Early EEE Detection in State Points to Need for Vigilance this Summer
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:53PM / Tuesday, July 07, 2020
PLYMOUTH, Mass. — For nearly four months, Gov. Charlie Baker has addressed the media almost daily about a disease first discovered last year.   On Tuesday, he switched gears to remind residents of a more familiar deadly threat: eastern equine encephalitis.   "I know I speak for the lieutenant governor and myself when I say how much we appreciate the opportunity to speak about something other than COVID," Baker joked during an appearance at the headquarters of the Plymouth County Mosquito Control Project.   But things turned serious as Baker and other other officials talked about EEE, a mosquito-borne illness that infected 12 Bay State residents and killed six

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Berkshire Theatre Group to Present 'Godspell' Outdoors
10:23AM / Tuesday, July 07, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Theatre Group will produce "Godspell" this summer – the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors' Equity Association in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The show will be presented outdoors in an open-air tent adjacent to The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and is scheduled to run Aug. 6 through Sept. 4. Tickets will be available for purchase Tuesday, July 7, at noon. 

"We could not bear the thought of a Berkshire summer without live theater to support our community, so we jumped through every hoop to create a safe way to make this happen," said BTG Board of Trustees Co-President Lee Perlman.

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Managing Withdrawals Carefully Can Protect Retirement Income
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:00AM / Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Throughout much of your working life, you contribute to your 401(k), IRA and other investment accounts to help ensure a comfortable retirement. However, once you do retire, you will need to shift your focus somewhat from building these investments to using them – in other words, you will have to start withdrawing from your portfolio to meet the costs of living. How can you be sure you are not taking out so much that you risk outliving your resources?

First of all, you need to establish a proper withdrawal rate – the percentage of your portfolio's value needed for one year's worth of retirement expenses. Ideally, if you were to stick with this rate, your portfolio would

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PCTV Documentary Finds Pittsfield Parade Dates Back to 1801
11:42AM / Saturday, July 04, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Community Television's recently released documentary "Fighting For Independence:  The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade" has traced the first Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade back to at least 1801.  

An article in the Pittsfield Sun from July 7, 1801, says that "at 12:00 o’ clock at noon a Procession was formed consisting of the Militia of the town."

Previously the Pittsfield Parade Committee acknowledged that the parade dated back to 1824.

"This was a fascinating discovery, as we researched to put this documentary together," said Bob Heck, PCTV’s coordinator of advancement and

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Fourth of July: The Declaration of Independence
11:06AM / Saturday, July 04, 2020

A reminder what today is really all about: The adoption of a (literally) revolutionary document that stated the grievances of the colonists against England and their resolve to pursue a course of self-determination — without the bindings of hereditary rule.


The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent

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Rep. Mark, Panel Push County Residents to Be Counted in Federal Census
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:34AM / Saturday, July 04, 2020
Adams Council on Aging Director Erica Girgenti participates in Wednesday's virtual town hall. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Economic development agency 1Berkshire billed Wednesday's virtual town hall as one in a series of discussions dealing with non-pandemic issues.   But, as with most areas of life these days, the novel coronavirus was never far from the conversation.   The topic of the agency's weekly webinar was the decennial U.S. Census: its history, its importance and the efforts of local officials to ensure that Berkshire County will be accurately counted.   One of the big reasons the Census is important is that it determines how federal tax dollars are

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Bennington Museum Opens its Doors
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:23PM / Friday, July 03, 2020
BENNINGTON, Vt. — With less than three hours to go before opening his institution to the public, Bennington Museum Executive Director Joshua Torrance was on Cloud 9.   Or, at least, close.   "I'm actually sitting on top of a tall ladder adjusting lights as I talk to you," Torrance said on Friday morning.   The Main Street museum, which shut down in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was making final preparations for its 1 p.m. opening.   Torrance said he and his staff are excited to be able to offer patrons a little happiness and a bit of normalcy during a trying time.   Not everything will be back to normal on Day 1, of

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'The Sunshine Boys': 'All the Men & Women Merely Players'
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
11:19AM / Friday, July 03, 2020

I wish that I were reviewing one of the half-dozen movies certain to be made when this pox upon our house is no more. But until that glorious return to normality has us resuming all the simple joys of life we take for granted, like going to the movies, I'll be retro-reviewing and thereby sharing with you the films that I've come to treasure over the years, most of which can probably be retrieved from one of the movie streaming services. It is my fondest hope that I've barely put a dent into this trove when they let the likes of me back into the

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@theMarket: Markets Celebrate Fourth of July
By Bill Schmick,
10:43AM / Friday, July 03, 2020
The continuing gain in jobs cheered equity markets on Thursday, just before the holiday weekend. Given the surge in virus cases in more than half of the United States at the same time, some investors were dumbfounded. They just don't get it.   The nation added 4.8 million jobs in June, which was better than expected. It was the second month in a row that the employment data surprised investors by beating expectations. Remember, however, that this data is backward looking. The bounce back in the economy as a result of re-opening businesses resulted in these upside labor surprises. Readers should expect those employment gains to moderate next month for some obvious

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