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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

New Berkshire Theatre Awards Program Names Winners
11:40AM / Friday, October 21, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - The winners of the First Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards have been announced. Seventeen arts journalists voted on 120 nominees in 25 categories chosen from artists in the 75 live theatre productions mounted in Berkshire County and adjacent areas between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2016.

The winner of the special Larry Murray Award, to be given to a person or theater project that advances social, political or community issues, will not be announced until the Winners’ Celebration at 5 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret in Pittsfield. Nominees for the Larry Murray Award are Kristen van Ginhoven, co-founder and artistic director of WAM Theatre, and

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Founding Director Bowen Leaving BArT at End of School Year
Staff Reports,
05:30PM / Wednesday, October 19, 2016

ADAMS, Mass. — The founding director of Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School will leave at the end of the school year.

Julia Bowen informed the BArT community by email on Wednesday afternoon that she was departing after 13 years guiding the region's first and only charter school.

"I feel confident that this work will continue long after my departure," she wrote. "Over the years, we have built a team that has the intelligence to take on new challenges, the wisdom to focus on the most important work and the moral clarity to do this with integrity and respect, always with students' best interests at heart. I couldn't have imagined we would

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Letter: Ballot Question 2
Letters to the Editor,
02:29PM / Wednesday, October 19, 2016

To the Editor:

There are good educational arguments for both sides of Question 2 on increasing the number of charter schools. However one claim by the proponents of this issue is misleading.

They say that passage of the ballot question will increase the amount of state funding going to public education. It is true that the enabling legislation for charter schools calls for transitional reimbursement to the sending district for students going to charter schools.

The problem is that, like every state program, this reimbursement is "subject to appropriation." No ballot question can in fact bind the legislature, as it considers the state budget, to prioritize a particular line item.

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Letter: How Should I Vote On Prop 2?
Letters to the Editor,
02:00PM / Wednesday, October 19, 2016

To the Editor:

This was the question I was asked by a friend because they knew I had taught in both regular and charter public schools. For those who don't know, a yes vote on Prop 2 [Question 2 on the general election ballot] will expand the charter school program in Massachusetts and a no vote will keep charters at current levels.

To understand how to vote, you need to understand why we have charter schools. Charter schools are the invention of progressives who wanted to create a sort of education laboratory where they could re-create, innovate, and advance modern education beyond the stranglehold of bureaucracy. New education techniques that were proven to be effective would then

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SVMC Presents 'Taking the Scare Out of an Abnormal Mammogram'
01:41PM / Wednesday, October 19, 2016

BENNINGTON, Vt. — If you're a woman over the age of 40, you may have been there: You get a call that your mammogram is abnormal, and you get scared. It's completely natural. The fear sometimes stops women from getting a mammogram in the first place or from coming back for the recommended diagnostic breast imaging.

What you need to know is that there is a long way between an abnormal mammogram and a breast cancer diagnosis. Information about the process of breast cancer screening, including what is happening behind the scenes, can help you cope with this unsettling news and move forward with confidence.

That's why clinicians from Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's

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New Prescription Tool Has Launched Statewide
01:08PM / Wednesday, October 19, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Great Barrington/Fairview Hospital Task Force on Opioid Abuse hosted two education programs for physicians and medical professionals to introduce them to the new MassPAT (Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool), which was launched by the state in August and becomes mandatory for every prescription or refill for any narcotic schedule II or III drug as of Oct. 15.

The trainings took place at Fairview Hospital and East Mountain Medical Center on Oct. 13, hosted by the task force, a collaboration between Great Barrington, Fairview Hospital and other community organizations that has formed to address opioid abuse and deaths in southern Berkshire

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Stay Away from Frightful Investment Moves
11:43AM / Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Halloween is almost here. When you're passing out candy, you'll see many "scary" costumes that will probably just make you smile. But in real life, you can easily find some things that truly are frightening – such as bad investment moves.

Here are a few that you will want to avoid:

* Chasing after "hot" stocks: Many so-called "experts" – not to mention your friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers – are more than willing to provide you with "tips" on "hot" stocks. But by the time you hear about these stocks, they may already be cooling off – and, in any case, they may not have been appropriate for your

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Massachusetts Voters Can Vote Early; Registration Deadline Wednesday
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:47AM / Tuesday, October 18, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — You won't have to wait until Nov. 8 to cast a ballot for president.

More than 1.2 million votes have already been cast in this election season across the country. Now, for the first time, Massachusetts voters will also be able to avoid the lines and vote early.

"We don't know what to expect," said City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau. "We're prepared as much as we can be."

Gov. Deval Patrick signed the 2014 law that expanded voting times to between 11 and two business days prior to Election Day, always the first Tuesday in November.

This year, towns and cities across Massachusetts are preparing for early voting to begin on Monday, Oct.

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Biz Briefs: Carr Hardware Opens New Store in Connecticut
01:57PM / Monday, October 17, 2016

Expanding again: Pittsfield-based Carr Hardware has opened a new 11,000-square-foot hardware store at 481 Enfield Street, Route 5, in Enfield, Conn. The Enfield location of Carr Hardware emerged from a partnership between Brightwood Hardware formally in Longmeadow, Mass., and Carr Hardware & Supply Co.

Partner Ken Cohn, formerly of Brightwood Hardware, said, "I'm excited to bring a complete hardware store to Enfield, Longmeadow, and the surrounding communities. We were able to keep our staff primarily intact and supplement them with some exceptional talent from our partners at Carr Hardware."
 
This new store was designed based on the Destination True Value model

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Norman Rockwell Museum Eyes Expansion
01:08PM / Monday, October 17, 2016

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum, the world's largest and most comprehensive repository of art and archival materials relating to Norman Rockwell's life and work, is assessing possibilities for expansion and has initiated feasibility studies to examine various options for meeting its pressing need for more space.

The need for expansion derives from numerous factors. Primary among these is the museum's broadened mission, which now includes the collection, study and exhibition of illustration art not only by Rockwell, but by the full range of American illustrators. Other areas of major growth include educational programming, scholarship and outreach to global

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Berkshires Beat: Williams Seeks Home for Winter Blitz Weatherization
12:54PM / Monday, October 17, 2016

Ready for winter: Williams College's Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives is seeking homeowners in Northern Berkshire County, as well as Pownal, Vt., who would like their homes weatherized for the upcoming winter. The weatherization efforts will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12, during the college's ninth annual Winter Blitz day. Homeowners who are seeking to lower their energy costs and who cannot weatherize themselves are encouraged to participate.

During Winter Blitz, teams of students go out and prepare homes for winter weather by installing storm windows, door sweeps and energy-efficient light bulbs. Trained student leaders lead teams and all materials are paid for by

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Berkshire County Kids Place Honors Petriccas as Community Leaders
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
12:08AM / Monday, October 17, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Perri Petricca and Michelle Thorpe were getting married, they decided the best way to celebrate their union was to provide support for the children served by Berkshire County Kids Place.

"Children have always been the center of our lives," said Michelle Petricca on Friday night at Kids Place's annual gala where she and her husband were presented with its Community Leadership Award. They both come from large families and have four children together.

"When we got married three years ago, we were talking about registering for gifts," she said, but realized that "we don't need any more china patterns and we don't need

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