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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Biz Briefs: Nonprofit Leaders Participate in Training
12:54PM / Monday, May 16, 2016

Leading the way: Four Berkshire County nonprofit leaders participated in Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s 2016 Nonprofit Leadership Institute, a collaborative and peer-learning program for executive directors across the region to strengthen their leadership and management skills.

Facilitated by veteran consultant Janet André Block, the program includes small group meetings for five full days, followed by two full days of personalized coaching and consulting for each participant.

The Nonprofit Leadership Institute is made possible through the generosity of individual donors and four Berkshire Taconic area funds.

Participating were Nick Pohl, Housatonic Youth Service


Graduates Leave MCLA Commencement 'One Degree Hotter'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:53PM / Saturday, May 14, 2016

Krystal Henriquez, organizer of last month's Figment North Adams, is among Saturday's graduates. She is starting an internship at Mass MoCA.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts made 404 graduates "one degree hotter" on Saturday morning.

And it wasn't from the traditionally steamy Amsler Campus Center gymnasium, but the awarding of 369 bachelor's degrees and 35 master's degrees and certificates at the college's 117th commencement.

"You will leave this room one degree hotter, you will be leaving this room with the knowledge and skills to face any obstacle thrown your way," Kelsey McGonigle, president of the class of


Clark Curator Explores 'Enigmatic' Artist in New Book
By Phyllis McGuire, Special to iBerkshires
07:30AM / Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Clark Art's Lara Yeager-Crasselt will speak on her new book this Sunday. Copies will be for sale.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Lara Yeager-Crasselt's enthusiasm was palpable as she gestured to an image of a painting in her newly published book "Michael Sweerts (1618-1664): Shaping the Artist and the Academy in Rome and Brussels."

"This is called 'A Painter's Studio,' " Yeager-Crasselt said. "It was done when Sweerts was in Rome and shows how he approached the subject of artists at work 'with an exceptional degree of immediacy and complexity,' which distinguished him from his contemporaries."

Asked what motivated her to write


@theMarket: Traders Build a Wall of Worry
By Bill Schmick,
05:33PM / Friday, May 13, 2016

The markets are marking time. Earnings season is just about over. The lofty levels of the stock market survived those results largely because they were not quite as bad as expected. Now it is on to the next worry.

Pick your poison — uncertainty over this summer's political conventions, can oil prices sustain these price levels or how about the possibility of a Fed rate hike in June? No question, there is a wall of worry out there, but so far the markets have weathered everything the bears have thrown at them. That is quite impressive given that we have had a 13 percent gain from the lows and hovering just a percent or so below all-time highs.

We have been trading in a tight


Superior Court Briefs: May 3 - May 11
Staff Reports,
02:31PM / Friday, May 13, 2016
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, May 3.   Joseph Wiggins Jr., 39, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card and armed career felon.   He was ordered to serve four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the armed career felony change and given concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charge. His sentence will begin on June 2, 2016.   The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home in Pittsfield on May 8, 2015.   James Swift, 55, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his


Downing Honored During Brien Center's UNICO Dinner
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:33AM / Friday, May 13, 2016

Maria Congelosi shared her story of how the Brien Center saved her life. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Maria Congelosi was feeling so low that she tried to kill herself.   Congelosi is a Romanian native who came to the Berkshires because she was adopted. By the age of 9 or 10, she started getting into physical altercations with her adoptive mother. Throughout school she felt self-conscious, had depression and anxiety. She was teased by her peers.   "Growing up wasn't easy. I had image issues. I didn't like myself. I was excluded a lot. I didn't have friends," Congelosi said.   Her mother put her in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and Congelosi

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The Independent Investor: Estate Planning — The Final Chapter
By Bill Schmick,
12:49AM / Friday, May 13, 2016

The weekend is over. During the last two days your family came together and had that "talk," but before everyone goes their separate ways; some followup is required. Here are some of the things you should make sure are accomplished.

As readers may recall, in this series we have covered a wide variety of subjects from leaving your legacy to collecting and reviewing all of your assets. Trusts, insurance policies, tax deferred savings plans, wills, living wills and durable powers of attorney are just some of the items we have discussed.

We have talked about the family meeting and who should attend. Be sure that someone is responsible for taking notes during this event because you


'Captain America: Civil War': This Isn't Your Father's Superhero
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:09PM / Thursday, May 12, 2016

It wasn't just because "Captain America: Civil War" was unnecessarily convoluted that I grew despondent as I sat through its 147 minutes of confusion. Later I would also be miffed by the lack of clues leading to the surprise conclusion. But I am beside the point. With nary a Smartphone a-texting, the kids around me seemed to love it, totally welcoming the cacophony and esoteric story details. Such is what Father Time wreaks.

A new generation's ascendancy first begins with the confiscation of popular culture. Anyway, who's to argue with someone who's pinned a small ball bearing to the tip of their tongue?

But hey, wait a minute now. Most of the superheroes who


Grilling Safety Tips Offered by Great Barrington Fire Department
11:36AM / Wednesday, May 11, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Chief Charles Burger and the Great Barrington Fire Department would like to remind the community to follow grilling safety tips to ensure a fire-free season as the warm weather begins to arrive.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS), Massachusetts fire departments responded to 431 fires involving grills, hibachis and barbecues between 2011 and 2015. These fires caused 20 civilian injuries, three firefighter injuries and $3.5 million in property damage.

“Warm weather means that more residents will be barbecuing and we want to make sure they do so safely,” Chief Burger said. “Please follow the safety tips provided


Here’s How to Keep Your Portfolio Healthy
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:07AM / Wednesday, May 11, 2016

If you have a medical appointment this week, you might want to wish your nurse a happy National Nurses Week. This annual event is designed to celebrate the important role nurses play in health care.

Of course, while nurses and doctors can help you in many ways, you can do a lot of good for yourself by adopting healthy living habits, such as eating right, exercising frequently, and so on. But you can also do much to help your financial health.

Here are a few suggestions:

Stay invested. During times of market volatility, it can be temping to head to the investment “sidelines” until things “cool off.” Going to the sidelines can mean a few different things –


Annual Humane Race Set for Saturday
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:20PM / Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Kitty cats painted by pupils at Williamstown Elementary School will be part of a display for the Humane Race. Christa Abel of Bark N' Cat said the Williamstown community has been supportive of the benefit race.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The annual Humane Race scheduled for this Saturday has been raising critical funds for the Berkshire Humane Society for 14 years.

Hundreds of dogs (and owners) take off each year from Water Street for a fun run and walk and that ends at the finish line on Spring Street.

It's a great time for people and their pets to get fresh air, meet friends and have fun.

"People love it because people love to run and walk with their dogs," said


Berkshire Tibits: Israeli Holiday, Cooking Demos
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
03:08PM / Tuesday, May 10, 2016
This Tuesday evening, May 10, from 7:30 to 10, the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires will celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day with Tastes of Israel at the Gateways Inn, 51 Walker St. in Lenox, 413-637-2532. The public is invited to come, take part in and enjoy this free event which will feature Israeli music, cooking demos and tastings — while they last — of Israeli food specialties.   Federation executive director Dara Kaufman said this celebration will kick off the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires new partnership with the Afula-Gilboa region of Israel. Michele Gazit, chef and owner of Gateways Inn, will assist visiting Israeli chefs Tamar Salemeh


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