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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Mount Greylock Audience Urged to Have 'Courage' to Fight Racism
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:28AM / Monday, March 11, 2019

A student asks a question at Jackson's March 6 presentation.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — When author and educator Ty Allen Jackson asked the audience at a talk on racism how many of them believed Colin Kaepernick was disrespecting the flag by kneeling during the national anthem, not a single hand in the Mount Greylock Regional School auditorium went up.

"OK, thing's over, nice to meet you," Jackson joked as he pretended to exit the stage, his work there done.

The audience laughed — and laughed later when Jackson said the mostly white community members who had come to see his talk appeared to be "woke." But even in this progressive little town in the

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Workforce Board Initiative Looks To Connect Jobs With Job Seekers
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:44AM / Sunday, March 10, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The most recent data shows that there are 1,143 jobs available in Berkshire County ranging from sales to health care to engineering to maintenance.   And yet, there are thousands of people unemployed. Shortly after state Sen. Adam Hinds was elected he asked MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board Executive Director Health Boulger what would be the magic wand to matching up jobs to the unemployed.   "There are a lot of great agencies that are doing a lot of great work but we need somebody or a team of people to focus solely on identifying what the industry needs are truly and connecting them to the job seekers," Boulger said.   Hinds took that

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@theMarket: Pick Your Poison
By Bill Schmick,
04:32PM / Friday, March 08, 2019
Investors were greeted on Friday with two nasty surprises. Both occurred in February. Chinese exports dropped by 20.7 percent, while in the U.S., the nation added a dismal 20,000 jobs. As you might expect, the stock market did not take the news well.   What really spooked traders was how far apart these numbers were to expectations. Over here, we were expecting 180,000 jobs to be added to the payroll number. In China, where the economy had been expected to weaken, exports had been forecasted to decline by 6 percent, versus the prior year.   Before the ink had dried on the jobs data, the administration was already sending their point man on the economy, Larry Kudlow, the director

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WAM's Production of 'ANN' Heads for Dallas, D.C.
02:18PM / Friday, March 08, 2019

Atkinson returns in the role of Texas Gov. Ann Richards. LENOX, Mass. — WAM Theatre's fall 2018 production of "ANN" by Holland Taylor was a record-breaking success. Now it's moving to the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and Dallas Theater Center for a new co-production of the Jayne Atkinson-starring production in July and October of this year.   WAM's Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven will again direct the production and Atkinson returns to star in the title role.    The one-woman play "ANN" is a spirited portrait of Ann Richards, legendary governor of Texas, a complex, colorful, and captivating character, with a personality

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Berkshire County Arc Expands Leadership Team
11:06AM / Friday, March 08, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire County Arc has promoted Sonja Stewart to director of Family Support and Advocacy and hired David Singer as director of Marketing and Communications, a redesigned position. Both will join the agency's administration team.

As the director of Family Support and Advocacy, Stewart will continue to oversee case management in the Adult Family Care program. She will direct the operations of BCArc's Family Support Center, providing services that support children and adults with disabilities living in the community with their families. She will also coordinate Berkshire County Arc's respite services, which provide a break for family members and create

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Turn Your Clock, Test Your Smoke Alarm
10:37AM / Friday, March 08, 2019

It's time to spring forward when daylight saving time starts this Sunday, March 10. As people TURN their clocks forward one hour, the American Red Cross reminds everyone to TEST their smoke alarms.

This weekend is also a good time for everyone to take lifesaving steps to help prepare households for home fires, the nation's most frequent disaster.

Check smoke alarms and replace batteries if needed. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Test smoke alarms once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms, and sleeping areas. Create and

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Teachers' Union Rallies Support for Increased State Education Funding
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:47AM / Friday, March 08, 2019

Neil Clarke of the MTA outlined action steps to rally support for the bills. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When the school gymnasium is full of excitement and noise for a rally, some children don't respond well.   They cover their heads and cry. But they might not if they had a paraprofessional with them.   A couple of years ago, the city of Pittsfield cut more than 30 paraprofessional positions from the school system's budget. Parent Starr Williams on Thursday asked that people envision each one of those paraprofessionals as being one child covering their heads and crying.   Williams is a Berkshire Community College student studying social work and will graduate in

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The Independent Investor: A Nation United in Debt
By Bill Schmick,
04:16PM / Thursday, March 07, 2019
About a month ago, the national debt topped $22 trillion for the first time. What's more, it only took a year to tack on another $1 trillion. Unless we do something soon, we could see those kinds of yearly borrowing double within the next decade.   Let's define U.S. debt as the sum of all outstanding debt owed by the federal government. Two-thirds of this debt is held by you and me. It is called public debt, while one-third is held by various inter-governmental departments and agencies such as Social Security and other trust funds.   We have the distinction of being the world's largest debtor, although the European Union is a close second. We now have more debt on our

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Black Bears Waking Up in Massachusetts
03:10PM / Thursday, March 07, 2019
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Officials with the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife are warning it's time to take down bird feeders.    Black bears have been spotted in Western Mass, northern Middlesex County and Worcester County. Bears will often ignore natural foods including skunk cabbage in favor of an easy meal at a backyard bird feeder. Other species including wild turkeys and coyotes may also frequent bird feeders leading to a variety of nuisance issues.    To avoid these problems, MassWildlife asks property owners to be proactive by removing bird feeders and other potential food sources including garbage or open compost. If you enjoy watching birds in your

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Community Forum: Weed is Here. Now What?
02:50PM / Thursday, March 07, 2019
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A community forum is being held to discuss the wide-ranging implications of the legal sale of marijuana for recreational purposes on Wednesday, March 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.   Community leaders representing law enforcement, youth services, local government and the drug treatment community will discuss the changing landscape of marijuana's place in Southern Berkshire County with an extended question-and-answer period from the audience.    "The goal is to learn about what the changes in the laws are and how they are being enforced, and to start to understand how it impacts our community," said

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Housatonic High Wakes Up With Musical 'Rip Van Winkle'
01:49PM / Thursday, March 07, 2019
FALLS VILLAGE, Conn. — Set against the backdrop of Colonial America, "Rip Van Winkle: The Musical!" shares the untold story of Washington Irving's legendary farmer who slept for 20 years, from 1770-1790. This family musical celebrates community, love, forgiveness, and home through music, comedy, dance, and a little gnomish mischief.   The Housatonic Musical Theatre Society, entering its 16th year at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, will present Rip Van Winkle: The Musical for one weekend only: Thursday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, March 16 at 2 and at 7:30 p.m. Performances take place at the Henry Burgess Auditorium at

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'Greta': Guilty Thrills
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:28PM / Thursday, March 07, 2019
In my bedroom when I was little, a sloppily misplaced piece of clothing on a chair in the dark of night sure could look like a saber-toothed tiger. Experiencing this and other such optical illusions every so often during those tender years, I estimate that I adequately satisfied the quota for horror that one must endure in a lifetime. Hence, it should go without saying that horror and all its filmic relations are my least favorite forms of cinema entertainment.    Nevertheless, in the esprit de corps of being an equal opportunity film critic, I like to think I approach every such movie with an open-minded challenge. But hark, in every instance, I am also on a mission. It is my

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