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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

October Mountain Financial Advisors Appoints Managing Director
10:35AM / Friday, May 27, 2016

LEE, Mass. — October Mountain Financial Advisors has appointed Gary M. Schiff as managing director of the firm, which provides client-centered investment management, financial planning, and trust administration services to clients in Berkshire County and throughout New England.

Formed earlier this year, October Mountain Financial Advisors is an alliance of Lee Bank and St. Germain Investment Management, based in Springfield.

“We’re excited to welcome Gary to October Mountain Financial Advisors. As managing director, he will be leading our efforts in the Berkshires and our alliance with Lee Bank,” said Tim Suffish, senior vice president and head of equities at St.


Residents Urge Attorney General to Appeal Pipeline Court Ruling
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:44AM / Friday, May 27, 2016

Williamstown resident Sam Smith was one of many who urged the office to appeal.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Environmental advocates want the attorney general's office to appeal a decision allowing Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to start construction on a pipeline in the Otis State Forest.   The group 350 Massachusetts sponsored a listening session with representatives of the office on Thursday to discuss a wide range of environmental and energy concerns.   The intent of the two-hour session at the Ralph Froio Senior Center was for those staff members to hear the concerns of Berkshire residents.   One message was clear: the residents want to


Greylock Trail Races Set for June 19
10:53PM / Thursday, May 26, 2016
ADAMS, Mass. -- The Western Mass Athletic Club’s Mount Greylock Trail Races will be held Sunday, June 19, at 10 a.m.   There will be a 13.5-mile race and a 5-kilometer race, both starting at the Greylock Glen.   For an application and information, visit  


'The Nice Guys': The Case of the Dueling Detectives
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
08:54PM / Thursday, May 26, 2016

First of all, you should know that most of the people who meet their untimely and often gruesome demise in director Shane Black's wacky combination of comedy and murder are bad.

Still, it takes a little getting used to the seesaw temperament in this throwback buddy movie dialed up to today's cynicism. But thanks to Black's smart tempo and the fine chemistry Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling conjure as nuttily contrasting private eyes, it works.

Debating if it's OK to laugh as the body count rises, you ultimately decide in favor of mirth. Set in that "L.A. Confidential" (1997), "Chinatown" (1974) kind of West Coast, film noir nihilism, things in "The


The Independent Investor: How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Multi-Level Marketing
By Bill Schmick,
03:41PM / Thursday, May 26, 2016

So you want to be your own boss, make lots of money and do it all from the comfort of your home? It is the siren song of direct sales that has recruited legions of Americans through the years. Some make it, most do not. Here are some tips to help you in your new adventure.

Whether you want to sell jewelry, vitamins, candles, cosmetics or home products, a healthy dose of skepticism should be applied to the promises these companies make on their websites. Many reports, including those filed with the Federal Trade Commission, warn that almost 99 percent of multilevel marketing (MLM) distributors lose money. In addition, the dropout rate is upwards of 60-70 percent per year. Those are


McCann Senior Named U.S. Presidential Scholar
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:05AM / Thursday, May 26, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Tech senior Samantha Dorwin is going places.

Or, to be more accurate, she is going MORE places, as the 18-year-old already has logged 15,000 miles in the air in last two years participating in SkillsUSA conferences. This coming summer, while attending SkillsUSA's National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., she will fly to Washington, D.C., for a couple days to be honored for receiving one most prestigious awards a graduating high school senior can earn: the U.S. Department of Education's Presidential Scholar award.

Appropriately for Dorwin, daughter of Daniel and Pamela Dorwin, she learned she was a finalist for the honor while on


Berkshire Chamber, Visitors Bureau Merge Into 1Berkshire
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:40AM / Thursday, May 26, 2016

John Toole led a toast after the meeting to honor the occasion.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After living together for three years, the Berkshire Visitors Bureau and the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce announced their engagement on Wednesday.   The two organizations will become one as of July 1 as part of the 1Berkshire Strategic Alliance, joining Berkshire Creative and the Berkshire Economic Development Corp. and cementing a relationship the organizations have been growing for a decade.   "The whole is greater than the sum of our individual parts. Our capacity is larger, our voice is louder, and our influence is stronger," Berkshire Chamber of Commerce President


Berkshire Tidbits: Rhubarb Festival Returns
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
05:40PM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This week is the hoped-for time for the reopening of 20 Railroad Public House in Great Barrington under its new owners, partners Laura Shack of Firefly Gastropub in Lenox and Ben Downing — not the state senator but a 32-year-old Great Barrington native.

Downing, with longtime good relationships in town, will manage the pub.

"We see ourselves as bringing back an icon," he said of the work he and Laura are doing on the restaurant previously known as 20 Railroad Street. "But we don't want to undo what's worked."

He said they will emphasize craft cocktails, craft beers and a wine list and, in January, when it will be quieter, they plan to add a wood fired


Berkshire Innovation Center Hitting Number of Funding Hurdles
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:14PM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The plans for the Berkshire Innovation Center have hit a number of financing snags.   On Tuesday, the City Council was informed that the city did not receive a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Agency that was eyed to improve the gateway to the William Stanley Business Park and the Berkshire Innovation Center. The news is on top of a still dormant funding gap for construction, penned at $3 million, which has delayed construction.   BIC officials say they still have a number of companies and educational organizations signed on to be members of the building, which is hoped to provide research and development for small and medium-sized advanced


The Independent Investor: Let's Have a Jewelry Party
By Bill Schmick,
12:43PM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Contrary to all the present and future trends in retailing, multilevel marketing (MLM) is still alive and well in this country. Exactly what is MLM and why are so many Americans enamored with hitting up their friends and relatives in an effort to succeed at personal retailing?

MLM is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for what they sell but for the sales of other people they recruit. These new recruits in the chain are referred to as the participant's "downline" and, if done right, can provide multiple streams of compensation.

Most readers are familiar with these companies. Amway, Avon and Mary Kay come to mind, as does Herbalife, a


Stop Ignoring Recall Letters From Auto Manufacturers
Sponsored Content,
09:56PM / Monday, May 23, 2016

Over the past two years, 113 million vehicles have been recalled by manufacturers. According to, that’s approximately one of every four cars on the road being recalled. This does not mean cars are any less safe than in the past; in fact, industry experts feel that cars are safer than ever before. It’s just that detection systems are now extremely advanced and defects are picked up much more quickly and easily. 

This should all be great news for the consumer, except … not all drivers are taking the recalls seriously. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as many as 25 percent of car owners do not respond to a


Berkshires Beat: Honoring Downing On His Way Out
02:31PM / Monday, May 23, 2016

More praise: State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) received awards from advocates for the Massachusetts tourism industry and advocates for clean energy in two ceremonies at the State House earlier this month.

Downing, a former chair and current vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, was presented with a Champion of Tourism award at Massachusetts Tourism Day. The annual event is sponsored by the Regional Tourism Councils and the Mass Office of Travel and Tourism. Tourism is the third-largest industry in Massachusetts, supporting over 132,000 jobs and generating $19.5 billion annually in visitor spending.

Downing also was honored by the


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