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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Much Ado About Nothing
By Bill Schmick,
06:25PM / Friday, September 16, 2016

It has been a volatile week in the markets. The averages have rocketed up and down by a percent or more as traders bet for and against a Fed move on interest rates next week. Does it matter?

If you aren't tired after more than two years of reading what the Fed may or may not do, you have the patience of Job. Whether an interest rate hike happens next week during the FOMC meeting or in December should not mean much to the market. But it does.

When fully 70 percent or more of daily trading activity is now in the hands (or keyboards) of high-frequency traders (HFT), short-term moves are where they make most of their money. During the summer months, they practically starved to death


Concerns Raised With MassPike Tolling Plan
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:16PM / Friday, September 16, 2016

State Rep.  Tricia Farley-Bouvier said she has concerns about the 30-cent fee-per-gantry that drivers will be charged if they do not have a transponder. LENOX, Mass. — For 17 years, residents in the Berkshires could take the turnpike for six exits before having to pay anything. For many, there was little need to get an E-Z Pass transponder. Rather, they just paid the five or six bucks for the rare trip to Boston.   On Oct. 28, however, if a Berkshire resident takes that trip to Boston without a transponder, the cost has nearly doubled. The state is moving to an all-electronic tolling system that includes reducing from 26 toll gantries to 16.   While the total cost


Trendsetter Winners Named at Celebrate the Berkshires Event
Submitted Content,
01:54PM / Friday, September 16, 2016

LENOX, Mass. — Seven individuals and organizations were feted on Thursday night as the this year's Berkshire Trendsetters.

The awards were presented at the sixth annual Celebrate the Berkshires event at Tanglewood before a crowd of more than 300 with state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, as master of ceremonies. The awards are a program of 1Berkshire.

The night's special honoree was Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for "Putting the Berkshires on the Map." Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, accepted the award.

Over the past 10 years, close to 3.5 million people have enjoyed the "Tanglewood


Paul Reiser Headlines Fairview Hospital's 2016 Gala
01:36PM / Friday, September 16, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Actor, comedian, writer and producer Paul Reiser will headline the Fairview Hospital 2016 Gala, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington.  

A seasoned actor, writer and producer, Reiser continues to add to his list of accomplishments. Having co-created and starred in the critically acclaimed NBC series "Mad About You," which garnered him multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, American Comedy Award and Screen Actors Guild nominations, Reiser returned to television last year in the FX series "Married."

While developing several television projects which he will write and produce,


The Independent Investor: Woman Need to Invest More
By Bill Schmick,
02:34PM / Thursday, September 15, 2016

We all know women generally make less than men. On average, female workers make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns doing the same job. If you are a woman of color, or work in some lower paid industries, the gap could be even wider. It is one of the reasons women need to invest and save more, not less.

That may sound counter-intuitive. After all, if you are making less, you have less to save and invest. You are absolutely right, but there are important reasons that you still need to save more. One of the main reasons is that the chances are you will live longer than your male counterparts by about five years.

That means if you are living on $50,000 a year, you will need $250,000 (five


'Sully': Down to Earth Ace
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:04PM / Thursday, September 15, 2016

Director Clint Eastwood's "Sully," detailing the little-told backstory of Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's "Miracle on the Hudson," is a competently dramatized paean to a very deserving hero, and much more entertaining than I had anticipated.

Sure, Tom Hanks is going to be as good as ever, and Eastwood will bring his journeyman skill to the work. But in capturing the idea of a human being functioning at his very best, Todd Komarnicki's swell adaptation of the book, "Highest Duty," by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow, puts it all across.

As you may have surmised by now in your traipse on this mortal Earth, our species is capable of


Want to Retire Early? Start Planning Now
12:10PM / Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The average American retires at about age 63, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. If you enjoy your work, of course, you may want to go well beyond that age. But what if you don't want to wait until 63 or so? Can you afford to retire early?

Possibly – if you follow these suggestions:

Research the costs involved: What will you do during your retirement years? Will you travel the world or stay close to home, pursuing your hobbies? Will you downsize from your current home? How will you pay for health care until you're old enough for Medicare? You will need to answer these and other questions to determine how much you will need to sustain a comfortable lifestyle as


MassDOT Sets Lenox Hearing on Toll Rates
03:46PM / Monday, September 12, 2016

LENOX, Mass. — The state Department of Transportation is holding hearings this week on the proposed new gantry prices for all-electronic tolling.

The only hearing in the Berkshires will be held Thursday at District 1 Headquarters at 270 Main St. at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to the hearings, written comments will be accepted for two weeks following the hearings, until 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29.

In October, MassDOT is scheduled to activate all-electronic tolling to collect tolls on I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) and the tunnels in the Metropolitan Highway System. All-electronic tolling, or AET, has been in place for vehicles since July 2014 on the Tobin Bridge.

The rates being proposed

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Biz Briefs: Senior Crimestoppers Boosted by Berkshire Bank
03:10PM / Monday, September 12, 2016

Stopping crime: Berkshire Bank have joined CRA Partners and is helping vulnerable seniors by funding the Senior Crimestoppers program.

CRA Partners, powered by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, is a national organization that guarantees banks federally mandated CRA credit through the operation of the turn-key Senior Crimestoppers program, providing safe and secure living environments for the nation's low to moderate income seniors.

Berkshire Bank was approached by CRA Partners to participate in Senior Crimestoppers and gladly accepted, choosing the Vermont Veteran's Home in Bennington, Vt., to be the site of their funding. Berkshire Bank has a history of making


Is Renting Out Your Vacation Home Right For You?
02:34PM / Monday, September 12, 2016

The vacation rental market is lucrative. Are you a Berkshires homeowner who wants to take advantage?

Greylock Insurance, Berkshire's Neighborhood Insurance Agency, is here to tell you how.

A lot has changed in the vacation travel industry over the past five years, but arguably the biggest game-changer has been the growing desire of travelers to book vacation home rentals versus staying at traditional hotels or resorts.

In fact, according to a study of the American traveler by the Ypartnership/Harrison Group, nearly 50 percent of all travelers are now interested in renting properties for their vacation.

So for Berkshire homeowners considering renting out their second home,


Berkshires Beat: 'Walk & Roll' Raises Brain Injury Awareness
01:53PM / Monday, September 12, 2016

Walk & Roll: Residents from across Western Massachusetts gathered to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Cheshire on Sept. 10 for a Walk & Roll hosted by the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.

The walk aimed to further help their mission of creating a better future for brain injury survivors and their families.

One participant was Matthew LeBorgne, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2014. For Matt and his family, raising education and supporting BIAMA has become very important since his accident.

"Many people don't know a lot about brain injuries, both traumatic and acquired. I know we didn'r before Matt's accident," said Dawn LeBorgne,


County's Collegians Hit the Athletic Fields of Fall
12:55AM / Monday, September 12, 2016
Mount Greylock Regional School alumnus Jake Benzinger was credited with one tackle for Wake Forest Saturday in the Demon Deacons’ 24-14 win at Duke.   Benzinger, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound lineman and 2015 Mount Greylock graduate, is listed as a red-shirt freshman on the Wake Forest roster.   Saturday’s game was telecast on ESPNU. next week, Wake Forest hosts the University of Delaware in a game that will be seen on online on the ACCN Extra telecast.   In Division III, Lenox High graduate and Lee High football alum Matt Heppleston has appeared in one game so far as a freshman defensive lineman at Macalaster College in Minnesota, which is 1-1 this fall.   The MCLA


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