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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'Step Up' Event Raises Awareness of Child Abuse in Berkshires
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:39PM / Friday, April 06, 2018

Others didn't think Kiersten Thomann would graduate high school after she got pregnant. But, she proved them wrong with the help of local parenting programs. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Kiersten Thomann, a senior at McCann Tech, got pregnant, she heard what people were saying.   "People would say you can't do this, she ruined her life, she will never graduate," Thomann said.   "But I did do this. I am a great mom to my son. To me, having a baby at a young age meant my life had just begun. My son didn't take away my future. He gave me a new one."    She had quickly got in touch with Child Care of the Berkshires, which got her into

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'Isle of Dogs': Will Wag Your Tail
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:33PM / Friday, April 06, 2018
Writer-director Wes Anderson's often brilliant, stop-motion animated feature, "Isle of Dogs," about a 12-year-old boy's search for his lost pup, packs its humor-filled, sociopolitical wisdom into 101 entertaining minutes like hard ice cream jack-hammered into a pint carton. Lose concentration for a second and you'll miss a manifesto, a dictum, a theory and perhaps two or three mini-treatises on government. It soon becomes clear that the bulk of its pontifications will be gleaned not in the theater, but in the den via successive screenings over the years.   Thus the best tack to take, if you can, is to sit back, relax and enjoy this genre heir to "Animal

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Kids Place Holds Annual Benefit Race on Saturday
By Ashlyn Marcil, iBerkshires.com
11:48AM / Friday, April 06, 2018

The 5K race to benefit Kids' Place begins at 10 a.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire County Kids' Place will hold its annual Champions Against Child Abuse 5k and 1 Mile Color Fun Run on Saturday, April 7.

The 5K race begins at 10 a.m. at the Kids' Place offices at 63 Wendell Ave. Registration for the 5K is $25 for adults and $20 for children 15 and under. The 1 Mile Color Fun Run kicks off at 11 a.m. Registration for that event is $20 for adults and $15 for children between the ages of 5 and 15. Runners that want to participate in both events receive a $5 discount of both races combined ($40 for adults/$30 for children).

Laura Baran, the Development and Special Events

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Fallon Health Names Medical Director of Medicaid Programs, ACOs
11:22AM / Friday, April 06, 2018

WORCESTER, Mass. — Fallon Health, a mission-focused, community-based not-for-profit health care services organization, has appointed Dr. Linda Weinreb as medical director of its Medicaid programs and Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations.

A family physician with more than 25 years of experience directing clinical programs for, and conducting research with, vulnerable populations, Dr. Weinreb is a nationally recognized expert on the health and support needs of homeless families and the integration of behavioral health and primary care services for vulnerable populations. Dr. Weinreb has extensive expertise on the impact of social determinants on health and ways to address these

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The Independent Investor: Free Trade Vs. Fair Trade
By Bill Schmick,
04:50PM / Thursday, April 05, 2018
In today's world, talk of tariffs is part of daily news headlines. Politicians use terms like "free" and "fair" almost interchangeably in discussing trade to justify their position for or against tariffs. Maybe it's time to review the difference between the two concepts.   While they may sound similar, free trade and fair trade are often at opposite ends of the pole. Free trade is a world where the gloves are off. It allows international cut-throat competition where the marketplace can drive the cost of products way below the price where anyone can make any money. Free trade makes things cheaper including the money we earn to produce those goods.   Fair

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Guest Column: Massachusetts Can Help End Campus Violence
By Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Guest Column
01:25PM / Thursday, April 05, 2018
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Sexual assault on college campuses is a national public health crisis. Statistics show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college nationally. During their time at college, 43 percent of women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors and 13 percent of women report being stalked.   To put things in perspective in our state, more than a half a million students are enrolled in a Massachusetts institution of higher education. In 2014, there were 283 reports

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State Senate Passes Short-Term Rental Bill
01:20PM / Thursday, April 05, 2018

BOSTON — State Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, said the state Senate on Wednesday passed S. 2381, An Act regulating and insuring short-term rentals. The bill expands the scope of the state's room occupancy excise tax and local option excise tax to include short-term transient accommodations.

"Short-term rentals have immense impact in the Berkshires and on cities and towns across the commonwealth," said Hinds. "I'm pleased that the Senate bill expands local control over short-term rental services and ensures that these services are competing in a fair and balanced hospitality market."

The legislation would generate an estimated $34.5 million and $25.5

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Berkshire County Sixth-Graders 'Go to College'
03:41PM / Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Williamstown Elementary sixth-graders listen to a presentation about the Finonacci sequence - using pine cones, which they got to mark to see the sequence for themselves - on Wednesday at Berkshire Community College during the Berkshire County Goes to College Day.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 1,000 sixth-grade students from around Berkshire County are visiting college campuses this month for the 12th annual Berkshire County Goes to College Day, sponsored by the Berkshire Compact for Education and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

MCLA, Berkshire Community College, Williams College and Simon's Rock College of Bard all will host students for sessions on college life

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Wahconah to Present 'Mary Poppins'
02:34PM / Wednesday, April 04, 2018

DALTON, Mass. — The Wahconah Regional High School Apollonian Players will present the Broadway musical version of "Mary Poppins" on Friday, April 6, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 7, at 1 and 7 p.m.

This "practically perfect" musical is based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film.

The jack-of-all trades, Bert (Anthony Coviello), introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. George Banks (Joe Willson) and his wife Winnifred (Julia Drury) are at a loss as to how to properly raise their children in a society that expects them to live up to a particular status. Young Jane (Anna Duquette) and Michael (Aiden Betit) have sent

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Should You Make Extra Mortgage Payments or Boost Your Investments?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
01:36PM / Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Every month, you pay your mortgage. And, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to afford to put in additional payments – perhaps sizable ones. But should you? Or, if you really have the extra money, should you invest it?

Initially, you might think it would be quite nice to rid yourself of that mortgage sooner, rather than later. But is it really the burden it seems?

Actually, you get some real benefits from a mortgage. It certainly provides something of great value to you – your home. If you got your mortgage – or refinanced your home – within the past decade or so, you are borrowing money at a pretty favorable interest rate, by historical standards.

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Labor Board to Hear Complaints Against BMC
Staff Reports,
05:07PM / Tuesday, April 03, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The National Labor Relations Board will hear three cases against Berkshire Medical Center.   The local chapter of the Massachusetts Nurses Association had filed a handful of unfair labor relations complaints with the hospital over contract negotiations. The labor board has now determined that three of them have enough merit to be heard.   "We have been trying to negotiate a fair contract that ensures high-quality patient care since October 2016," said Alex Neary, co-chair of the nursing union's local bargaining committee.    "These National Labor Relations Board findings show that while we have been negotiating in good faith,

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BRTA Sets Hearings on Service and Fare Changes
02:53PM / Tuesday, April 03, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is planning to increase Charlie Card fares and reduce routes because of proposed budget cuts at the state level that has created a nearly $400,000 deficit.   The BRTA, the main public transportation unit serving the Berkshires, is facing an operational budget deficit of $378,400 for the upcoming fiscal year. Transit officials statewide say $88 million is needed to properly fund RTAs after four years of nearly level funding.   The proposed options for the Fixed Route bus service would be to: discontinue the 4:30 p.m. trip on Bus Route 21 Express; eliminate Bus Route 3S, adding demand stops on Bus Route 3 to

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