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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Cross Currents Confuse Investors
By Bill Schmick,
12:42PM / Saturday, March 27, 2021
You would think that with a $1.9 trillion spending package, an increasing rate of coronavirus vaccinations, and a potential $3 trillion infrastructure package waiting in the wings, the market would be at record highs. That it is not should tell you something about the indecision plaguing investors.   When good news fails to impress, it usually means stocks (or at least some stocks) are headed lower. That should come as little surprise to readers. I advised investors to raise cash last month in preparation for what I see as a buying opportunity this month. The challenge — when do you put that cash back to work?   No one can call a bottom in stocks, so last week, I did advise

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Three Men Sentenced In Separate Domestic Violence Cases
06:19PM / Friday, March 26, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — According to a statement released by the District Attorney's Office Friday, on Thursday, Kyle Porterfield, 33, of Wyandanch, N.Y. was sentenced in Southern Berkshire District Court to one year at the Berkshire County House of Correction on single counts of assault and battery on a household member, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery.   On March 7, Porterfield assaulted a woman at the Holiday Inn in Great Barrington. Great Barrington Police secured surveillance video of the attack and the Berkshire District Attorney's Office proceeded with the prosecution with that evidence.   Last week, Christopher Siok, 40, of

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MCLA Launches New Student Support Services
03:49PM / Friday, March 26, 2021
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Massachusetts College Of Liberal Arts will launch TRIO Student Support Services Program (SSS) that aims to empower first-generation, low-income, and students with disabilities to explore and engage with their educational, professional, and personal goals.   SSS offers comprehensive academic and personal support designed to assist with retention, academic success, and persistence to graduate.   Student Support Services (RISE) is a federally-funded TRIO program that provides opportunities for academic development, assists scholars in meeting college requirements, and serves to motivate scholars towards the successful completion of their post-secondary

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Berkshire Agricultural Ventures Announces New Interim Director, Staff, and Board Members
01:42PM / Friday, March 26, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass — Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) announced their new Interim Director, Glenn Bergman.    A native of Philadelphia, Penn. Glenn has been a long-term, part-time resident of Stockbridge and currently shares his time between his homes in Philly and Great Barrington. He has a long history of working with nonprofit organizations. For five years he was the Executive Director for Philabundance, the largest hunger-relief organization in the Philadelphia area. Prior to this, he was the General Manager for Weavers Way Co-op for eleven years.    "I'm thrilled to be assisting the staff and board with the transition of our next chapter, BAV

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Neal Touts County's $41M Portion of American Rescue Plan
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
01:36PM / Friday, March 26, 2021

Congressman Neal speaks about the American Rescue Plan during Friday's press conference. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal stood in Council Chambers on Friday morning to tout the American Rescue Plan that will allocate $34 million to the city of Pittsfield and $41 million to Berkshire County.   Neal was joined by Mayor Linda Tyer, state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, and state Sen. Adam Hinds.   "Boy, it is so refreshing to have the federal government on our side, I must say that for the entire year of 2020 It felt like communities were on their own in this fight against COVID-19," Tyer said as she opened the press

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The Retired Investor: Cannabis Catalysts Coming Soon
By Bill Schmick,
12:39PM / Friday, March 26, 2021
Last week, a bipartisan slate of U.S. Senate co-sponsors introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (the SAFE Act) that would allow the cannabis industry to tap the federal banking system. If passed, this could be a game changer for marijuana companies.   The SAFE Act has already been passed by the House back in September 2019 but was never brought up for a hearing, much less a vote in the Senate.   The bill's author, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat, has introduced several versions of this bill many times over the last eight years. During that time, the legalization of marijuana has moved from a pie-in-the-sky hope of a few legislators to something

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Great Barrington Roundabout Project To Begin
03:52PM / Thursday, March 25, 2021
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The state Department of Transportation (DOT) is beginning preliminary work on a new traffic roundabout at the intersection of Main Street and Route 23, in front of the Great Barrington Police Department.   The $2 million project is expected to span two construction seasons  and to improve safety, traffic flow and aesthetics at the intersection. The project includes new street lighting, improved sidewalks and safer crosswalks, buried utilities and landscaping of a new roundabout island.   "This state project is planned and funded by DOT and is not consuming financial resources reserved for other town infrastructure projects, as some are

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State Program to Bring COVID-19 Vaccines to Homebound Residents
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com
12:14PM / Thursday, March 25, 2021
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday announced a statewide program to vaccinate about 25,000 homebound Massachusetts residents in their homes.   The homebound vaccination program will consist of visits coordinated by local boards of health or through the Commonwealth Care Alliance, Baker said during his COVID-19 update on Beacon Hill.   "As we continue to roll out the vaccination program, we always knew there are individuals for whom we would have to go to them," Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said. "Whether it's in certain communities … or individuals who are homebound. The federal government came out with some

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BCC to Hold Virtual Commencement Ceremony
07:58AM / Thursday, March 25, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Community College (BCC) plans to hold its 61st Commencement Ceremony on Friday, June 4, via virtual broadcast.   With the COVID-19 pandemic still posing challenges to holding large gatherings, Tanglewood — the annual host of BCC's commencement ceremony — has made the difficult decision to not host certain gatherings at this time that may create a safety risk, including graduation ceremonies.   "The College understands and respects Tanglewood's decision, and we agree that we should continue to err on the side of caution with in-person gatherings," said Celia Norcross, Dean of Students. "We look forward to

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BRTA Receives MassDOT Funds
12:15PM / Wednesday, March 24, 2021
BOSTON — The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) will receive $488,880  from MassDOT to continue the Evening Service Pilot program.   The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced that $3.5 million in grants have been awarded to Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) across the Commonwealth that will be used to implement best practices and innovative services to benefit customers.   BRTA received $488,880 to continue the Evening Service Pilot program. Funds will allow the BRTA to continue evening services on Routes 1, 4 and 22, while adding evening service on Route 14, which connects several Environmental Justice communities in Pittsfield

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MCLA to Present Panel On COVID-19 Vaccine
08:03AM / Tuesday, March 23, 2021
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will host a virtual panel, "Closing the Gap on Herd Immunity," featuring three experts in public health at 5 p.m. on April 8.    Topics covered will include COVID-19 vaccine access, misinformation, and a look ahead as vaccines become available to wider segments of the population in Massachusetts and across the U.S.     The panelists are Michelle Williams, dean of the faculty and professor at Harvard College's T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Mary Clarisse Kilayko, a doctor of infectious diseases and internal medicine at Berkshire Health Systems; and James Lederer, Berkshire Health

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@theMarket: Rising Rates Create Headwinds for Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
04:36PM / Friday, March 19, 2021
The saga of rising interest rates in the long end of the U.S. Treasury market continued this week. Investors, fearing runaway inflation, sold both bonds and stocks. Will the selling continue, or Is this a buying opportunity?   It depends upon which asset class we are talking about. Yields on the 10, 20, and 30-year U.S. Treasury Bonds, I believe, will continue to rise. How far? It is possible that the benchmark "Tens" could finish the year at 2 percent. In the short-term, however, I expect yields to fall a bit on profit-taking.   Last week, I warned readers that the rise in rates was not over. I expected yields on the U.S. Ten Year Treasury Bond to hit the 1.70 percent

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