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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Stocks Soar on 'Skinny' Deal
By Bill Schmick,
04:43PM / Friday, October 11, 2019
Global markets regained their footing this week, as expected good news on the trade front produced a "relief" rally in equities. Who cared that there was little substance to the deal? Investors decided that even a tiny deal was worth more than no deal at all.   As I wrote last week if "Trump believes he needs a 'win' to counter the slowing economy and the impeachment inquiry, then even a half-hearted deal might be in the cards. In which case, we could see a 10-15 percent move higher in the averages."   But before we pop the champagne, I want to see exactly what the trade deal agreement actually says. So far, we know that both sides have agreed to some

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State Briefs: Last Mile Funding, Grant Awards
02:23PM / Friday, October 11, 2019

State Sen. Adam Hinds takes a photo of Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito at the core bore site.

BLANDFORD, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, state Sen. Adam Hinds, state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, Blandford Select Board member Eric McVey and other local leaders observed a core bore drilling on Thursday afternoon to replace outdated utility poles and install broadband internet.

Blandford was awarded a Last Mile Infrastructure Grant worth $1.04 million in 2018 to deliver broadband access to residents. Following the demonstration, Baker announced $5 million supplemental funding for the Last Mile Program, which will cover roughly half the cost of connecting

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Northern Berkshire United Way Kicks off 2019-20 Campaign
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:26AM / Friday, October 11, 2019

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire United Way touted its successes from the last year as it looked ahead to the next year at its annual meeting and campaign kickoff breakfast on Thursday.

Speaking to a sold-out crowd of 210 people gathered in the new Williams Inn, Christa Collier, executive director of the Northern Berkshire United Way, said the 2018-19 campaign goal of $480,000 was not only met but exceeded by $8,765. Much of that will be directed back to NBUW's 20 member agencies, but Collier on Thursday also wanted to highlight some of the other work the agency has been doing above and beyond those allocations.

To that end, two speakers shared news of programs last

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The Independent Investor: Brokerage Business Not What It Used to Be
By Bill Schmick,
04:15PM / Thursday, October 10, 2019
Last week, Charles Schwab, the mega-discount broker, disrupted the brokerage industry yet again by dropping its per-trade commission rates for U.S. and Canadian stocks, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and options for both mobile and internet trades. It was inevitable and simply recognizes what the future holds for that segment of the financial industry.   Since Schwab's announcement on October 1, three additional big brokers — TD Ameritrade, E-Trade and Fidelity Investments — have thrown in the towel leaving only Vanguard (among the big houses) left out of the zero-commission trend.   The stock market reacted in shock. Traders hit the sell button on their computers

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Berkshires Beat: Tanglewood to Offer Year-Round Programming
04:01PM / Thursday, October 10, 2019
Tanglewood news

For the first time since it was established as the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood will be holding programming during the fall, winter and spring. This change is enabled by the the development of Tanglewood's new Linde Center for Music and Learning, which was launched in the summer of 2019.

The Linde Center will host a variety of programming, offering participants a wide spectrum of performances and multidisciplinary activities designed to attract both newcomers and longtime patrons seeling to becoming more involved with music and the arts. The Linde Center will also serve as an event and concern rental space for use by the Berkshire community

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'Joker': Doesn't Kid Around
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:12PM / Wednesday, October 09, 2019
If van Gogh were alive today and dabbling in film, I expect that he might create something as artistically maddening as Todd Phillips' "Joker." But we must tread carefully. The controversy is there for the taking.    Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, who will ultimately evolve into his alter ego, the Joker, before the closing credits fall on this fantastically directed, acted and produced "Batman" offshoot, is off the hook in every definition of the term. Thus the question is begged: Is it OK to derive entertainment from the criminally insane?   Phillips, who co-wrote this magnum opus with Scott Silver, throws all decorum and caution to the wind as

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Valley Flyer Connecting Springfield Region to New York City
06:05PM / Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Enjoyed the opportunity over the weekend to join federal, state and local partners to celebrate the launch of Valley Flyer service, which will strengthen western Massachusetts' transportation network along the Knowledge Corridor.

📰 via @WWLP22News: https://t.co/cuLvvKEk74 pic.twitter.com/8dxkJi0DOZ

— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) October 7, 2019 SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — State officials on Saturday highlighted the Valley Flyer rail pilot that began service on Aug. 30 and will allow daily connections to New York City for the first time in 50 years.    Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, Mayor Domenic Sarno, Amtrak officials and community members

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It's Not Too Soon for End-of-Year Financial Moves
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:22AM / Tuesday, October 08, 2019

We've still got a couple of months until 2019 draws to a close, but it's not too early to make some end-of-the-year financial moves. In fact, it may be a good idea to take some of these steps sooner rather than later.

Here are a few suggestions:

* Boost your 401(k) contributions. Like many people, you might not usually contribute the maximum amount to your 401(k), which, in 2019 is $19,000, or $25,000 if you're 50 or older. Ask your employer if you can increase your 401(k) contributions in 2019, and if you receive a bonus before the year ends, you may be able to use that toward your 401(k), too.

* Add to your IRA. You have until April 15, 2020, to contribute to your IRA for

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Williams College Wants to Hear From You
04:41AM / Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Williams College invites its neighbors to think out loud about ways that Williams and its students, faculty, and staff might become more fully and effectively engaged in the local community—and beyond.

Williams will host the following open forums to provide an opportunity for community voices to be heard and to contribute to shaping Williams' future:

* Thursday, Oct.17, 5-6:30 p.m., The Green, 85 Main St., North Adams

* Tuesday, Oct. 22, 6 -7:30 p.m., Williamstown Youth Center, 66 School St., Williamstown

* Thursday, Oct.24, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Zion Lutheran Church, 74 First St., Pittsfield.

All are welcome; there is no need to RSVP. For more information, visit the website.

 

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Greylock Federal Prepares to Open Community Empowerment Center
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:51AM / Monday, October 07, 2019

Nancy Gomez tells her story with the help of Gloria Escobar, standing.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The newly renovated Greylock Federal Credit Union on Kellogg Street will be offering more than just banking services. The site will house a new Community Empowerment Center offering free counseling to help residents in determining their financial futures.   The branch is set to open within a couple weeks but U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and CDFI Director Jodie Harris were invited to the facility last week to learn about what the CEC will mean for the area's underserved and underbanked communities.    "I hope you can hear how we're here for the whole community.

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Markey Says He'll Keep Fighting for Progressive Values
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:25AM / Monday, October 07, 2019

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, left, Mayor Thomas Bernard and Mayor Linda Tyer come out in support of Senator Markey. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state's junior senator pledged on Saturday to stand with the Berkshires for another six years — if they continue to stand by him.    U.S. Sen. Edwardy Markey had announced last year that he would be running for a second term representing the Bay State. His stop at Dottie's Coffee Lounge on Saturday morning hosted by the Berkshire Brigades follows a similar visit a few weeks ago by U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III — the day after he declared his intent to primary Markey.    "I'm going to fight

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Magical Wings Herald Unique Airlift for Dragonflies
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
05:28PM / Sunday, October 06, 2019

A mating pair of ebony jewelwings will remain coupled for hours in a bizarre configuration with the male attaching behind her head, and female attaching at first abdominal segments instead of conventional distal end. As a boy of seven years outside in the flower garden teaming with life, I was free to observe the natural wonders of flying insects abounding at assorted flowers including tiger swallowtails, mourning cloaks, silver spotted skippers, and the many bees, paper wasps, from honey bees to hornets and cicada killer giants. Katydids and praying mantis, too.   Thanks to incentive provided by my dear parents, Leonard and Eleanor Hansen, my appetite for insect studies was

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