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Berkshires Beat: Real Women Essay Contest Entries Sought
02:15PM / Monday, January 15, 2018
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Winners of the 2017 Real Women Essay Contest are celebrated in March 2017.

Real women

The 32nd Berkshire County Real Women Essay Contest has been announced by the Berkshire County Real Women Essay contest task force. The contest was created to honor National Women's History Month in March as an effort to increase awareness of contributions made by women to our society and used to promote students literacy and writing skills.

Founded in 1986, the Real Women Essay contest, invites Berkshire County students K-12 to participate by writing an essay, poem, scripted conversation, first-person monologue or journal recognizing a woman in their lives that has inspired them. Students can write about a role model or mentor, a woman on the national stage who has inspired them or an historical figure whose contributions have made a difference in their lives.

The essay contest has traditionally been incorporated into the curriculum of various classes and uses recommended state standards. This year the contest has been broadened to include students whose school or class do not participate. Students who would like to submit an essay must follow the rules, standards and guidelines for their grade level but can submit their essays independently. Guidelines and further information can be found online. The deadline is Feb. 15.

Essays are judged on various criteria including awareness of the woman as a person in society and a role model. Members of the community will judge essays in up to 13 grade categories. Past essays can be viewed on the Brigham Center web site. The award celebration to recognize winning entries will be held on March 28 at Berkshire Community College. Winning essays will be compiled and published in the annual Berkshire Real Women Essay booklet.


Medicare info sessions

For those who are either already on Medicare or aging into Medicare eligibility this year, Berkshire Health Systems is offering a public presentation on the free Wellness Visits provided to Medicare recipients. Medicare covers a one-time Welcome to Medicare screening visit for those aging into Medicare during their first year of eligibility, and also a free Annual Wellness Visit for all Medicare enrollees. Registered nurse Ann McDonald, who works for the BHS Physician Practice group, will present a lecture on Medicare Wellness Visits, what they include, and how to schedule one, during two presentations.

The first will be held on Wednesday, January 17, at 10 a.m. and the second on Thursday, January 25, at 2 p.m, both at the Berkshire Athenaeum. There is no registration required and no cost to attend. The no co-pay Medicare Wellness Visit includes a health history review and other services, including blood pressure, weight and vision checks, screenings for depression, risk of falling and other potential problems, and recommendations for additional wellness services and healthy lifestyle changes. These wellness visits are performed at the patient’s primary care office.


Free skate

The City of Pittsfield Recreation Program has teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires for several upcoming free public skating events. The first 100 people through the door will receive both free admission for skating and skate rental, if needed (limited size availability) on the following times and dates: 4:30-6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20; 3-4:45 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27; and 3-4:45 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17. The Boys & Girls Club is located at 16 Melville St. For more information call 413-499-9370.


'Soul and Shul' fundraising

A Sandisfield committee working on a book titled "Soil and Shul in the Berkshires: The Untold Story of Sandisfield's Jewish Farm Colony" has announced a fund raising campaign to support the project. The Sandisfield Arts Center is serving as fiscal sponsor.

The book is expected to be about 250 pages including chapters on social, economic and religious life and rare photos. It will serve both as a resource for scholars as well as delightful and entertaining reading for anyone connected to or interested in the Jewish experience in the Berkshires. Publication is scheduled for summer 2018.

The committee is seeking financial support in the form of lead gifts in the range of $100 to $500 or more. This will ensure a high quality book at a very affordable price to reach many homes, schools, libraries and Jewish cultural organizations in western Massachusetts. Donors at these levels will be recognized in the book. Tax deductible contributions may be directed to: Jewish History Book, Sandisfield Arts Center, P.O. Box 31, Sandisfield, MA 01255. For more information, contact Ronald Bernard by email or call 413-269-0012.


Beginning Beekeeping

The Bennington County Beekeepers Club will again offer a free (donations welcomed) beginner course for new beekeepers. Participants will learn about the life of honey bees, the skills and equipment needed to care for them and the many challenges they face.

Classes will meet at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington, Vt., in the Crispe Room on Jan. 25, Feb. 1, 8 and 15, and March 1 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. To sign up or for more information call Jeanne Davis 802-823-7955 or by e-mail.


State your opinion

The city of Pittsfield, through its Human Services Advisory Council, is requesting public comment on the human service needs in Pittsfield. The Human Service Advisory Council is an 11-member advisory committee that provides funding recommendations to the mayor on how the city should allocate its human services funding. One of the considerations that the council uses to make those recommendations is to consider the input of Pittsfield residents and others.  

Public comments will be accepted now through Jan. 31. Comments may be submitted several ways: by email; phone at 413.499.9358, teletype at 413-499-9340; or by regular mail to Justine Dodds, Pittsfield Department of Community Development, 70 Allen St., Pittsfield, MA 01201.


Adams town census

The 2018 annual town census is underway in Adams. The census is mandated by the Massachusetts General Law and it is important to have the correct residential count to apply for state aid, as well as grants. This year census forms have been mailed to all residents.  Residents are asked to review the form, make any necessary changes, sign and return it to the Town Clerk’s Office in the envelope provided, even if there are no changes. There will also be a drop off box in Town Hall. Households with dependent children who are not listed on the census form should add their children and complete the information that pertains to each child.  Information regarding the children is not public record and is used only by the schools for enrollment purposes.

Residents cannot register to vote or change party enrollment on the annual town census.  Any resident who is not registered to vote may register by mailing a voter registration form or visiting the Town Clerk's Office.  Failure to respond may result in removal from the active voters list. Anyone who does not receive their census form or wishes to provide the information on the phone should call the Town Clerk’s Office at 413-743-8300, ext. 176, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


EMT course

Southern Berkshire Volunteer Ambulance Squad, Great Barrington, and Lee Fire & Rescue are partnering to teach an Emergency Medical Technician course in February 2018. The purpose of the joint training endeavor is to not only bolster interagency relations, but capitalize on the breadth of instructor knowledge between the two organizations.

The course, which will be conducted at Lee Fire & Rescue headquarters, 177 Main Street, Lee, is approximately 160 hours long over a three-and-a-half month span. Students will learn critical thinking and practical skills necessary to provide emergency medical care in the pre-hospital environment. Modules include scene safety, patient assessment, fracture stabilization skills, bleeding and wound care, and pathophysiology of medical emergencies and traumatic injuries.

Students who successfully complete the course and pass both a National Registry of EMT (NREMT) written and practical examination, will earn National certification that meets minimal occupational requirements to start a career in Emergency Medical Services. For more information or to register for this course, go online or call 413-884-5729.

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