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Berkshires Beat: WAM Theatre Names Fall Beneficiaries at Gala
02:52PM / Monday, July 30, 2018
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The Denise Kaley Fund, which supports the day-to-day living expenses of Berkshire women who are living with cancer, will benefit from the WAM Theatre fall production, officials announced at the WAM gala on July 25.

WAM Beneficiaries

WAM Theatre supporters packed the grounds of the Berkshire Equestrian Center in Richmond on July 25 helped raise more than $38,000 for WAM's Education programs and the company's upcoming fall production of Ann by Holland Taylor, starring Emmy-award winning actress Jayne Atkinson and directed by WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven.

The highlight of the evening was the premiere of WAM's 2018 Girls Ensemble's new devised theater piece, "Seeking Justice." The 12 participants of this year's cohort received a standing ovation for their performance. Audience members were delighted to hear that, thanks to WAM’s education sponsors, Girls Ensemble was a paying summer job for the participants.

Gala participants were the first to learn the identity of the nonprofits that will benefit from WAM's fall production of "Ann." In keeping with its double philanthropic mission, WAM Theatre will be donating 25 percent of the box office proceeds from "Ann" to its 14th and 15th beneficiaries, The Denise Kaley Fund and the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts' 2018 Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI).

The 2018 beneficiaries were chosen after a rigorous selection process, including a request for proposals and site visits, overseen by a committee at WAM consisting of Kristen van Ginhoven, Margaret Fluhr (WAM volunteer), Wendy Healey (WAM Board of Directors), and Lia Russell-Self (WAM artist).


'Back-Packed for Success'

The Family Place is hosting its sixth annual back-to-school event for kids entering K through 12th grade for local northern Berkshire students. Students will receive a free backpack filled with school supplies.

The event for families living in Florida & Savoy will be located at Gabriel Abbott Elementary School, 56 North County Road, Florida,  on Tuesday, Aug. 14, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event for families living in Williamstown, North Adams, Clarksburg, Adams and Cheshire will be located at The North Adams Armory, 206 Ashland St., North Adams, on Thursday, Aug. 16, from 1 to 3 p.m.

This event requires advance registration to ensure backpacks ready for each child, as supplies are limited. Contact The Family Place at 413-663-7588 between Monday, July 30, and Friday, Aug. 10, to register.


HiSET/GED prep

Preparation for Northern Berkshire Adult Basic Education Program's High School Equivalency Exam (HiSET/GED), Bridge to College, English as a Second Language and Basic Skills classes begin the week of Sept. 10. New Programs include "Career Readiness" and "Personal Care Attendant Fundamentals."

Enrollment for new students begins with an orientation process starting Aug. 13.Find more information online or call 413-662-5314 or 413-662-5310 or to schedule enrollment.


Crewdson photoshoots

Since late July, noted photographer, Gregory Crewdson and his team have set up photoshoots at different locations throughout Pittsfield. The photoshoots are expected to continue through early-to-mid August.

The upcoming shoots for the week of July 30 through early next week will include some road closures. For businesses and residences within the vicinity of the road closures, please know officers will be on the scene to allow customer and resident through traffic.

Here’s a schedule of the photoshoots and related road closures:

* Monday, July 30:
Gillette Shows Inc., 291 Pecks Road

* Tuesday, July 31, and Wednesday, Aug. 1: Precision Precast Inc., 343 Pecks Road

* Thursday, Aug. 2: George's Liquor Store, 19 Elm St. This will include minimal traffic disruption.

* Sunday, Aug. 5: Royal Cleaners, 68 Dalton Ave. Please note Dalton Avenue will be closed between Harvard and Westminster streets starting at 10 a.m. through 10 p.m.

* Monday, Aug. 6-7: Parking lot, 10 Lyman St., East Street. This part of the street will be closed starting at 4 p.m. through 10 p.m. Residents should come in from Newell Street.


Downtown Celebration

Applications are being accepted until Aug. 1 for the 22nd annual Downtown Celebration, which will fill downtown North Adams on Wednesday, Aug. 15, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. The rain date is Thursday, Aug. 16.

The event includes food, shopping, giveaways, live music, performances, games, and activities. Applications can be download online.


MCLA grant

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts has received a three-year, $135,000 grant to improve persistence, retention and academic standing for MCLA students. The grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation, established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis's retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets.

Implementation of this new project, “Enriching Advising Culture for Integrative Learning,” will allow the campus to unify previous initiatives into a cohesive, systemic culture, as MCLA continues to provide a more cognizant and intentional advising system focused on student support, success and persistence.

Through the use of its online course management system, Canvas, “Blazing a Trail for Student Success,” MCLA will identify at-risk students as soon as they begin to fall behind in courses; improve communication flow among faculty, faculty advisors, and support services; provide an electronic communication mechanism to facilitate and record interventions; and develop a tested set of intervention strategies for students who fall behind.


Lunch and learn

Throughout the month of August, the Berkshire Athenaeum will host a series of lunch-and-learns on financial management and professional development. The workshops are designed to help participants take charge of their economic future. Both workshop series are free, but space is limited and registration is required. To register, call the library's reference desk at 413-499-9480, ext. 202.

On Thursday, Aug. 2, the athenaeum will host Greylock Federal Credit Union's workshop on "Building a Basic Budget - The 5-Step Spending Plan" from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Certified Federal Credit Union Financial Counselor Lynn Wallace will discuss Greylock' s easy-to-use approach to personal financial management. This session will include tips on saving money, tracking strategies, an interactive exercise on identifying how money is spent, prepping for the unexpected, the key difference between budgeting, saving and investing, and one strategy does not fit all – a review of available budgeting options. All participants will receive information packets, a budget tracker book, and access to schedule free one-on-one Financial Wellness Coaching appointments with a certified coach at Greylock.

Starting Tuesday, Aug. 7, Goodwill Job Readiness Trainers will be at the library for a three-week job seeking and retention training program. The workshops will occur 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday through Aug. 21. The trainers will help participants gain operational skills, soft skills and ‘real work’ experience. Lunch will be provided.


LitNet gift

The Literacy Network of South Berkshire has received a $50,000 gift from the Matthew and Hannah Keator Family Foundation to enhance LitNet's citizenship program and expand its reach. As both multi-generational residents of the Berkshires, Matthew and Hannah were inspired by LitNet's exceptional track record and the people associated with its organization.

In the coming months, LitNet will be expanding its existing citizenship training and support program including: providing enhanced access to information and study materials by improving online resources, offering specialized tutor training, and growing collaborations with other local agencies that serve the immigrant population. The cornerstone of this project will be the creation of a scholarship program to defray the cost of the application process, which typically runs more than $700. This most generous gift from the foundation will help more LitNet students pass the challenging examination and enter fully into the life of the Berkshire community as American citizens.


Bus route changes

The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board has voted to implement various service changes that will go into effect on Sept. 4. The bus cash fare will remain the same for both full-fare and reduced-fare individuals. The discount on the Charlie Card will lessen. For full-fare local trips, the Charlie Card fare will go from $1.40 to $1.55 and for full-fare system-wide trips, the Charlie Card fare will go from $3.60 to $4. For reduced-fare local trips, the Charlie Card fare will go from $.70 to $.75 and for reduced-fare system-wide trips, the Charlie Card fare will go from $1.80 to $2. The bus pass prices will remain the same.

The Route 21 Express bus from Pittsfield to Great Barrington will only discontinue the 4:30 p.m. run. Hourly service will still continue on the Route 2 (Pittsfield to Lee) and on the Route 21 (Lee to Great Barrington). The Routes 5 (Pittsfield to Lanesborough) and 13 (Linden Street to Hancock Road, Pittsfield) will become a combined route traversing from the ITC in Pittsfield and accessing all current stops of the Routes 5 and 13. At the beginning of the day, the route will start at the Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC), traveling Linden Street to Hancock Road into Lanesborough via state route 7, turning around at the Mobile Station and returning via state route 7 to Wahconah Street and arriving at the ITC. Mid-day the route will reverse direction to facilitate the customer's return trip leaving the ITC via Wahconah Street to Lanesborough to Hancock Road and Linden Street. On Saturdays only, the Routes 5, 13, 15, and 16 (Pittsfield, Lanesborough, West Pittsfield) will discontinue the 7:35 a.m. run and the 12:30 p.m. run.

The Route 3S (Williamstown to North Adams) will be discontinued, with the exception of adding a 2:30 p.m. run to the Route 3. Hourly service will still continue on the Route 3 connecting Williamstown to North Adams. Non-ADA paratransit service hours will align with the ADA paratransit service hours Monday through Saturday. The updated hours of service will be Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays and Holidays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Updated schedules will be released to the public on Aug. 27 for planning purposes.

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