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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Downing Ending Tenure In State Senate
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:22PM / Monday, January 25, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing announced on Monday his decision not to run for re-election after 10 years representing the Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin District.   "This is something I thought about for a while. It's not a decision I came to lightly. I care deeply about the city. I care deeply about the Berkshires. I care deeply about the region and Western Massachusetts. I also care about it enough to know that if I didn't have it in my heart to do it 100 percent, I couldn't tell voters that I was," Downing said.   Downing remembers when there was an open state Senate seat for the 2006 election and friends and family urged the

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@theMarket: Stocks Rebound
By Bill Schmick,
02:31PM / Friday, January 22, 2016

It had to happen at some point. The averages declined almost every day for three weeks in a row, so a relief rally should be expected. The question is will it continue?

Unfortunately, that depends on the price level of oil. The bounce in stock prices that began on Wednesday was directly related to the bounce in oil. Oil has gained over 10 percent in just two days. Traders believe we still have not seen a bottom however. No one knows when and at what price oil will finally bottom. Until it does, stocks will be held hostage to the energy market.

No one knows when and at what price oil will bottom. Until it does, stocks will be held hostage to the energy market.

In the meantime, everyone

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Burns Suppers Celebrate Scotland's Favorite Poet & Haggis
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
02:18AM / Friday, January 22, 2016

Monday, Jan. 25, will be the Scottish poet Robert Burns' 257th birthday.

The poet and lyricist, collector of folk songs, farmer and liver-of-life-to-the-fullest, was so beloved that, only a few years after his early death at the age of 37, friends began the tradition of celebrating his birthday with merriment, music, feasting, dancing and drinking which persists into the present.

Scots and fans of the poet all over the world still celebrate his birthday with bagpipes, readings, singing, feasting and drinking — eating haggis and other, more elegant fare; drinking stout, ale, beer and scotch. Burns Night Suppers now happen all over the globe, pretty much in the same manner whether

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Baker Gives State of the Commonwealth Address
12:49AM / Friday, January 22, 2016

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker delivers his first State of the Commonwealth address from the House Chamber of the Massachusetts State House. Remarks as prepared for delivery:
 

Mr. Speaker. Mr. President. Members of the House and Senate. Fellow Constitutional Officers. And Members of the Governor's Council.

Mr. Chief Justice and Members of the Judiciary. Members of the Cabinet and my Administration.

Senators Warren and Markey. Members of Congress. Sheriffs. District Attorneys. Mayors. Distinguished Local Officials. Reverend Clergy. Distinguished Guests. And fellow Citizens.

I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to some special people. For the support and

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'Carol': Sings a Sad Song
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:58PM / Thursday, January 21, 2016

It often takes a long time, sometimes forever and then perhaps never, for someone to become tolerant of something that he or she doesn't understand. More often than not, it's because they feel threatened by it.

Director Todd Haynes, who with "Carol" champions for lesbians what his "Far From Heaven" (2002) embraced for male gays, knows homosexuality is way up there on the list. To illustrate the scope of this prejudice, he finds dramatic effect by reaching back to the 1950s and showing how, just yesterday, countless lives were ruined by this primeval bigotry.

This isn't to say civilization has now cured itself of centuries devoted to enforcing strict taboos

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Berkshire Tidbits: Church Suppers, Guido's Thank-Yous
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
02:43PM / Wednesday, January 20, 2016
First Congregational in Lee
Sets Free Wednesday Suppers
Fall through spring at 5:30   Almost every Wednesday evening, from the end of summer until the next summer, church members, local service clubs, supermarkets and restaurants spend the afternoon in the kitchen of First Congregational Church in Lee, 413 243-1033, 25 Park Place, making simple but tasty suppers for their community.   They welcome everyone. Personally.   It's a pretty friendly place. Many regulars take the time to make newcomers feel at home as they eat their freshly made salads, ham dinners, chicken with pineapple over rice, shepherd's pie

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Mount Washington Broadband Bill Awaits Governor's Signature
02:38PM / Friday, January 15, 2016

MOUNT WASHINGTON, Mass. — A bill giving the town the right to set up its own broadband service now goes to the governor's desk after being enacted by the state Senate.

Under the leadership of state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, the Senate enacted S. 1978, An Act authorizing the town of Mount Washington to establish, own, and operate broadband infrastructure and services and to issue bonds or notes therefor.

Mount Washington plans to build and operate a modern, fiber-to-the-home network to provide high-speed Internet access to its residents.

This home rule petition, filed on behalf of Mount Washington by Downing and state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli,

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'The Revenant': Will Haunt You
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:52PM / Friday, January 15, 2016

Director Alejandro González Inarritu's "The Revenant," starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the ultimate survival tale, is the adult equivalent of those scary films when you were little that gave you nightmares for a week, causing Mom to decree, "That's it, no more watching those movies."

Chronicling the mostly true travail of Hugh Glass, a trapper in what would become the Dakota Territory, circa 1823, DiCaprio's tour de force chillingly reminds that the real horrors of life are far more frightening than anything one can conjure.

This is deadly serious stuff, unremitting in its mission to ferociously parallel the terrors capable of being unleashed by both

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The Independent Investor: This Too Shall Pass
By Bill Schmick,
01:17PM / Friday, January 15, 2016

The markets have gone straight down for almost two weeks. The media is becoming more and more pessimistic as the averages plummet. Doom and gloom permeates the investor population. This usually means that opportunity is just around the corner.

In my own world, the telephone has been ringing off the hook and my inbox is full of panicky emails. So this column is for all those clients, readers and prospective clients out there who are wondering what the heck is going on.

First you must take a look at the emotions you are feeling. Fear, anxiety, even panic are just some of the emotions I have identified in my communications with investors. Most of you reading this column, however, have

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Will the Presidential Election Affect Investment Outlook?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
01:00PM / Friday, January 15, 2016

We’re just a few weeks away from the first caucuses and primaries, so presidential election season is in full swing. As a voter, you may be keenly interested in the election process. But as an investor, should you be concerned?

If you take a look back, you might be somewhat encouraged over the prospects of the financial markets this year. In the last 12 presidential election years, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been up nine times and down just three. So, election years must be good for the financial markets, right?

Not necessarily. In every year, the markets are influenced by a variety of factors: interest rates, inflation, corporate profits, geopolitical events, economic

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Berkshire Tidbits: Berkshire Grown Market, Ramen Nights
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
03:28PM / Thursday, January 14, 2016

Berkshire Co-op Market still has deals on holiday fare. Berkshire Co-op Market Member Appreciation Day Friday, Jan. 15; 8 to 8   Berkshire Co-op Market in Great Barrington on Friday will host the first of this year's quarterly Member Appreciation days during which Co-op members receive a 10 percent discount on everything in the store.   This is the Co-op's thank you to their owners for being owners and for shopping there. Over the course of the day, from morning to night, there will be an atmosphere of celebration with tastings, product demonstrations, giveaways, raffles and general fun.   Berkshire Co-op Market, 413-528-9697, is located at 42 Bridge St. in

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Jacob's Pillow Names New Executive Director
01:15PM / Wednesday, January 13, 2016

BECKET, Mass. — Esteemed arts leader Pamela Tatge will join Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival as executive director in April.

Following a record-breaking 2015 season, Jacob’s Pillow, a National Historic Landmark, National Medal of Arts recipient, and home to America's longest running dance festival, launched a national search for its next leader.

For the past 16 years, Tatge has served as the director of the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University in Middletown, onn., overseeing robust programming and acclaimed artistic initiatives for dance, music, theater and the visual arts. At Jacob’s Pillow, Tatge will set the artistic vision and strategic goals for all

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