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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Gib Kittredge Tournament Returns to Boys & Girls Club
08:05AM / Tuesday, January 12, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires, Inc. will host the 45th annual Gib Kittredge Hockey Tournament Friday through Monday, Jan. 15-18, at the club’s rink on 16 Melville St.   The first puck drops Friday night at 5 p.m. when the host Berkshire Bruins take on Bethlehem, N.Y., in the Squirt Division. Games continue Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The finals begin Monday at 9 a.m. The tournament also utilizes Williams College's Lansing Chapman Rink in Williamstown during the weekend. Admission is free.   “We are proud to again host the Kittredge Tournament," Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Chris Jacoby said.

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'The Hateful Eight': Guiltily Affable
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
06:21PM / Thursday, January 07, 2016

You laugh in conflicted appreciation of Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight," a throwback Western contemporized with the director's signature nihilism. Yep, it's plenty violent, pardner ... permeated with it, you might even say. You can't watch this latest example of the filmmaker's brutality beyond the pale without contemplating the curious niche he has carved for himself, a strange world of ironic justice and topsy-turvy morality full of guilty thrills.

But while iterating similar sensibilities in most of his films, the auteur has honed his style to the point where he can surprise and abash us nonetheless. Any sentimentality exhibited is to the notion of

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The Independent Investor: A Tale of Two Chinas
By Bill Schmick,
05:40PM / Thursday, January 07, 2016

For years, investors bought into the China story. Growth rates twice as fast as the rest of the world, fueled by sky-rocketing exports made competitive by billions of hard-working, low-wage employees grateful to have a job. What happened?

Times have changed. Back in the late 1970s when China first opened its fledgling economy to foreign investment, manufacturing became the chief driver of economic growth, which led to increased exports, more foreign investment and double digit growth rates. The powerful Communist government controlled the process through its sponsorship of state-owned enterprises. These mammoth companies became the symbols of a new "Chinese Authoritarian

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Macy's at the Berkshire Mall Will Close
Staff Reports,
03:42PM / Wednesday, January 06, 2016

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Berkshire Mall is about to take another hit with the closure of Macy's in the next couple months.

Employees were reportedly told on Wednesday that the store would close after nine years. A formal announcement is expected Thursday. Macy's reported the closure in a release on its website on Wednesday afternoon.

iBerkshires also has reached out to the mall's owners and Macy's for confirmation.

Macy's, with nearly 800 locations, is the largest department store by sales in the nation. But it's been battered over the last year by dropping sales and declining foot traffic at malls. It has closed 52 stores in the past five years, although

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Retirees Need 'Longevity Strategy'
11:25AM / Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The late, great Yogi Berra supposedly said it: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” And the same could be said of retirement.

Due to several factors, such as advances in health care, today’s retirees are living longer, more active lives than their predecessors. In fact, you could spend two, or even three, decades in retirement – which means you need a “longevity strategy.”

Such a strategy needs to be part of your overall retirement income strategy, but here are five key areas you’ll need to address:

* Lifestyle: What do you plan to do during your retirement years? Travel the world? Stay close to home and pursue your hobbies? Volunteer?

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Berkshire County 4-H Holds Awards & Recognition Event
Community Submission,
09:52PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 100 people gathered at the  Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires on Dec. 6 for the Berkshire County 4-H Community's annual awards and recognition event.  

The candy factory-themed night was to celebrate achievements by 4-H members. Opening remarks were given by Linda Horn, assistant director of the Massachusetts 4-H Youth Development Program, University of Massachusetts Extension in Amherst.

The highest award given in Berkshire County 4-H is the Top H Award, which can only be won by a 4-H'er once as a junior member and once as a senior member. The nominees are selected by a judging committee using their 4-H records; those nominated

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Berkshire Tidbits: Food Pantry Donations Sought, Farmer's Market Returns
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
01:54PM / Monday, January 04, 2016

CHP Family Services Pantry
Needs Nutritious Food Donations

  At Christmastime, a nice size ad in the Southern Berkshire Shopper's Guide with the words, "PLEASE HELP US" inside a festive green ribbon caught my attention. I saw, "Help the Family Services Food Pantry at CHP" in much smaller type.   Community Health Program provides high-quality health care to more than 16,000 Berkshire residents of all ages and economic levels. They are best-known for their Women, Infants and Children/WIC programs of nutrition services and access to healthy food.   There was a photo of packaged food and a

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OLLIís Winter Semester Begins Jan. 12
01:34PM / Monday, January 04, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, offers over a dozen courses this winter, ranging from photography to illuminated manuscripts, in Pittsfield, Lenox and Great Barrington.

“Our winter semester is one of our busiest. The new year is the perfect time to enjoy learning something new and interesting while meeting new people," OLLI Director Megan Whilden said.  "And there's no tests, no grades, and no formal educational requirements for taking our courses, just learning for the joy of learning!"

OLLI is a member-run organization that offers educational, social and volunteer opportunities designed

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Calling Adult Baseball Players
11:59AM / Saturday, January 02, 2016
Players  are  needed  for  the  2016  season  of  the  Berkshire Adult Baseball League.   The BABL offers competiton in a 20-and-over league and a 35-and-over league.   Players  of  all  experience  levels  are  welcome.  Teams  cover all of Berkshire County from Great Barrington to North Adams and play on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Occasionally, games are scheduled for Wednesday evenings.   Local fields are used as well as seasoned umpires.   The season runs from May 15 to August.   All ages are welcome.   For more information on teams in either league call 

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@theMarket: Nowhere Land
By Bill Schmick,
03:32PM / Friday, January 01, 2016

Most of the stock market went nowhere this year. With the exception of the NASDAQ, the rest of the market returned investors less than the average yield of a yearly CD.

It was a disappointing year, to put it mildly. Recall the months of tension as the markets gyrated between up 3 percent and down by about the same amount. Then August hit and the markets declined precipitously, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average collapsing 1,000 points in a matter of minutes. Sure, the markets recovered, but if you had tried to trade that downdraft, you would have lost even more money, because the markets turned on a dime in October with no warning and recouped all of its losses.

What's worse is

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Firefighters Learn Extrication Techniques in Dalton
By Marc J. Wrzesinski, Special to iBerkshires
08:06PM / Wednesday, December 30, 2015

DALTON, Mass. — On a chilly and early Saturday morning, more than a dozen new to early-in-their-career firefighters came out to meet with training officers and veterans to learn some valuable skills.

This morning? The proper techniques of extrication from an automobile.

Using a mixture of hydraulic and hand tools from Hurst, the trainees cut into two separate cars and pulled them apart piece by piece.

This was the sixth of seven planned classes, with the final class to be a live fire training drill still to be scheduled. Leading the this extrication class was Dalton Fire Department's Lt. Dave Thomas, with the assistance of Lt. Devon Whalen of Lanesborough Fire Department and

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'The Big Short': Hifalutin' Finance
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:54PM / Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Watching director Adam McKay's "The Big Short," you don't know whether to laugh or cry over the bald-faced bamboozlement perpetrated by the banks, Wall Street and other moneyed interests not quite so easy to identify.

"How could it go on and on?" you ask, and then, in a sober reflection, remind yourself that practically every institution forming the fabric of our civilization looks pretty crooked when you put a magnifying glass to it. It's just that this one, the world of finance, has become especially adept at profiting from humankind's hypocrisy and greed.

But hey, as the catchphrase in the GEICO commercials says, "It's what they do."

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