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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Stockbridge Police Chief Taking Townsend Job Offer
Staff Reports,
03:27PM / Wednesday, February 10, 2016

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Police Chief Robert M. Eaton Jr. is leaving the town after two years for a position in northeastern Massachusetts.

In an statement released on Wednesday, Eaton said he has been offered a similar post in Townsend in Middlesex County.

"While the process is still not complete, and details have to be worked out, it does appear that I will be accepting the offer," he said.

"I understand that word of my candidacy for this position may have made its way to the media before I was prepared, and while I am excited and motivated for this new challenge in my career, I will be leaving Stockbridge on the best of terms. I could not be more appreciative of the

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Think About Sending Financial Valentines to Loved Ones
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:55AM / Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Americans spent nearly $19 billion in Valentine’s Day gifts last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Much of this money went for gifts with short shelf lives, such as candy, flowers and restaurant meals (and about $700 million was spent on gifts for pets).

There’s certainly nothing wrong with giving chocolates or roses. But this year, think about going beyond the classic gifts. Instead, use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to determine how you can make gifts with long-lasting impact to your circle of loved ones.

Here are some suggestions:

* For your spouse or significant other: As long as your spouse or significant other has earned income, he or she may

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Bay State Winter Games Return to Berkshires This Weekend
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:16AM / Wednesday, February 10, 2016
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Kevin Cummings knows how quickly a good idea can snowball.   The executive director of the Bay State Games is excited to see games offer two new events when it returned to the Berkshires for its 31st season.   "I started with the organization in 1984, and I remember '85 was the first figure skating competition," Cummings said. "We had under 50 skaters."   This year, there will be hundreds of skaters descending on Williams College's Lansing Chapman Rink for three days of competition that run from 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 12, through 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.   But the big news in the Bay State Winter Games is the addition of

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USDA Conservation Stewardship Program Accepting Applications
02:10PM / Tuesday, February 09, 2016

AMHERST, Mass. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has $150 million in funding available for agricultural producers across the country through the Conservation Stewardship Program, a federal conservation program that helps farmers voluntarily improve the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to add an estimated 10 million acres to the rolls of CSP during fiscal 2016.

"The Conservation Stewardship Program helps farmers boost soil and air quality, conserve clean water and enhance wildlife habitat," said Christine Clarke, NRCS state conservationist. "With this investment, we'll enable

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Grant Opens Workforce Training Opportunities in North Adams, Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:15PM / Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Mayor Linda Tyer said the program will address the changes to the local labor market. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There are currently 127 available manufacturing jobs in Berkshire County averaging annual salaries of more than $55,000, according to Interprint CEO Peter Stasiowski.   But there aren't enough workers in the area with the skills needed to fill those vacancies. The state has now allocated $138,000 to the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board to train workers to fill those jobs.   "We know the importance of growing our own," Stasiowski said.   See application and information below.   According to Stasiowski, manufacturing makes up 8

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Berkshire Tidbits: Chinese New Year Banquet, Food Events
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
07:51PM / Monday, February 08, 2016

It's midwinter and full of food delights! Events, holidays and special deals on delicious foods.


Yogurt-marinated wings at Bombay Grill in Lee.

For football fans, Sunday is Super Bowl in more ways than running through a stadium field with a pointy-ended ball. It's super bowls and bowls and platters and pans of gooey and rich, crunchy and spicy, salty, smoky, savory and sweet everything comfort foods. I'll go into local wings later.

Monday, Feb. 8, is the beginning of the 15-day Chinese Spring Festival or Chinese New Year when food offers symbolic help for health, prosperity and overall good fortune in the coming year. I arranged to have a banquet with friends at Panda House

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@theMarket: Stocks at Bottom of Trading Range
By Bill Schmick,
08:29AM / Saturday, February 06, 2016

This week was a little more promising. At least it was better than going down almost every day, as we did last month. Is this a pause or can we expect something more?

Something more is my bet, but whether it is up or down largely depends on the direction of oil. I did notice, however, that there were days this week that the oil price was not in lockstep with the markets. There was even talk that stocks and energy prices might decouple in the weeks ahead. Whether that is wishful thinking or a possibility will take more than a day or two of evidence.

I have insisted that no one knows where the bottom is in oil. Yet, a consensus seems to be forming that $30 a barrel, (give or take a few

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Election 2016: Presidential Primary Voting
06:45PM / Thursday, February 04, 2016

Wednesday, Feb. 10, is the last day to register or to change party status to vote in the Tuesday, March 1, presidential primary. Those unenrolled can chose a party to vote in for the primary.

There are four political parties in Massachusetts: Democratic (D), Republican (R), Green-Rainbow (J) and United Independent (CC). If you are enrolled in one of these parties, the corresponding initials will be next your name. If you are unenrolled, there will be a U in the party column.

You may change your party enrollment by completing a new voter registration form in person at your town or city clerk's office, by mail, or at www.RegisterToVoteMA.com.

You do not have to be enrolled in any

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'Jane Got a Gun': Misfires
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:35PM / Thursday, February 04, 2016

A few decades ago, before the revisionist Western (i.e. Robert Altman's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," 1971) moseyed into our movie palaces, director Gavin O'Connor's ultrarealistic "Jane Got a Gun" might have fascinated us and even won a few awards.

But I tell you pardner, by this juncture I've just about had a belly full of poor cowpokes and sodbusters trying to scratch out a living in inhospitable country populated by no-account varmints, gunslingers and the precursors of what would evolve into American big business.

Alas, this latest example trenchantly reminds that there's no going back to the idealistic cowboy yarn. Nope, life is tough, and

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The Independent Investor: Is a Recession Looming?
By Bill Schmick,
03:22PM / Thursday, February 04, 2016

The funny thing about declining stock markets is that when they last more than a couple of weeks, talk of recession starts to percolate among investors. It is no different this time.  

I have written before that the stock market has erroneously called six of the last 13 declines as recessions, meaning that weak stock prices do not necessarily herald a weak economy. There have been instances in the past where a prolonged decline over a year or so has contributed to a recession but even then the data is not conclusive.

There is no evidence thus far that the U.S. economy is rolling over. Economic data continues to be spotty, which is consistent with a moderately growing economy.

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NBCC Director Adam Hinds Making Run for State Senate
Staff Reports,
12:30PM / Wednesday, February 03, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Adam Hinds is tossing his hat in for state Senate.

Hinds, currently executive director of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition in North Adams, formally announced for the seat on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at the Hotel on North.

The invitation event included some 50 friends, colleagues and supporters, and local media. His campaign website is here.

"I live in Pittsfield, work in North County, come from Franklin County," Hinds said of his decision to run as the Democratic nominee. "I'm from the small towns, I understand those issues as well. I think I bring a perspective that covers each area of this district."

He is the first candidate

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Are You Prepared for Financial Disasters?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
09:19AM / Wednesday, February 03, 2016

“Be prepared” is the Scout motto, and it’s also pretty good advice for anyone seeking to guard against various disasters – including financial ones.

Here are some events that can have serious financial consequences, along with suggestions on preparing yourself:

• Loss of employment – If you were to lose your job, your family might have to struggle financially to make it until you’re employed again. To protect against this potential threat, try to build an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

That’s a lot of money, of course, so it will be challenging to build such a fund – but try to

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