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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Higher Wages Clobber Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:59PM / Friday, February 02, 2018
@theMarket: Higher Wages Clobber Markets   Gains in a worker's paycheck are supposed to be a good thing, right? It means they can spend more, which contributes to growth in the economy, and maybe have a happier life. If all of that is true, why has the stock market swooned in response to Friday's labor report?   It's simple really. The non-farm payrolls report was another upside surprise. The nation gained 200,000 jobs in January, which is better than the 180,000 we expected. While the official unemployment remained at 4.1 percent for the fourth straight month, it was the growth in wages that surprised the market most.   Hourly wages rose 0.3 percent over the


'Hostiles': Requiem for the Horse Opera
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
02:08PM / Friday, February 02, 2018
You know that lyric from "Home on the Range," where the cowpoke asserts that "seldom is heard a discouraging word?" Well, if you go by the realistic take on the Old West proffered in director/writer Scott Cooper's "Hostiles," the reason no one says anything discouraging is that they're either dead or fighting like crazy to keep from being dead.    While poet Joel Barlow hoped his "Vision of Columbus" (1787) would be our version of "The Iliad," he was premature. There would be 100 more years of conquering the natives before America's character would be formed.   This is a very studied work, contemplative, moody,



New Trustee Joins MCLA Board
11:09AM / Friday, February 02, 2018

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker has appointed Frederick J. Keator, the managing partner of Keator Group, LLC, in Lenox, as the newest member of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts board of trustees.

MCLA President James F. Birge said he is delighted to welcome Keator to the board.

"As managing partner of the Keator Group, Frederick has been recognized by numerous organizations as one of America's top independent financial advisors and will bring a wealth of knowledge to MCLA," Birge said. "Over the years, the Keator family has been a great supporter of the College and I look forward to working with him as we continue to advance the work of


Bay State Games Return Feb. 10
05:39AM / Friday, February 02, 2018
WOBURN, Mass. – The 2018 Bay State Winter Games Figure Skating competition will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 10 and 11, at the Williams College’s Lansing Chapman Rink in Williamstown.   This marks the 33rd year of the event and features nearly 450 performances from skaters representing Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Skaters ranging in age from 5 to over 65 represent the United State Figure Skating Association or the International Skating Institute.   Local skaters scheduled to compete include:   From the Pittsfield Figure Skating Club: Daniella Santamarina, Rebecca Drager, Aimee Boulais, Katie Malone, Dakota Marquis,


The Independent Investor: Health Care and the 3 Musketeers
By Bill Schmick,
10:28PM / Thursday, February 01, 2018
Earlier this week, three of the country's most influential corporate titans sounded a call to battle. Given the inaction of our government, these modern-day musketeers are preparing to storm the battlements of sky-rocketing health care costs.   Jeff Bezos of Amazon may not have the swash-buckling prowess of Athos, nor does JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon compare in physical strength to Porthos. And granted, Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway would be a stretch in playing Aramis, but make no mistake, they do bring a combination of strengths that could revolutionize what I believe is the single greatest threat to our nation's economy.   Back in May of last year, I wrote a


Neal Ready to Negotiate an Infrastructure Bill
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:34PM / Thursday, February 01, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The ranking Democrat in the U.S. House's Ways and Means Committee wants to get to negotiations on an infrastructure bill.   President Donald Trump is proposing a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill to fix the nation's roads, bridges, airports, and railways. And that is exactly the kind of bill U.S. Rep. Richard Neal has been wanting for years. But, the Berkshire's congressional representative says negotiating how that will be paid is still on the table.   "The improvements in the public arena are our responsibility and they should be done. So when the president says he wants to do a big infrastructure program, alright let's get on to


Greylock Thunder Travel Softball Sets Tryouts
10:58AM / Thursday, February 01, 2018
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Greylock Thunder Travel Softball program will hold tryouts Feb. 11 for its under-14 and under-16 squads.   Any player from any town is welcome to try out for the squad. Players who participated in the fall tryouts are encouraged to attend.   The Feb. 11 tryouts will be at Williams College's Towne Field House, 82 Latham St., Williamstown, from 9 a.m. to noon. Sneakers are required.   The program will hold tryouts for its under-12 team at a later date.   For information, email


Dreaming Of A White Groundhog's Day?
01:53PM / Wednesday, January 31, 2018

After a few days of seeing grass, snow is back in the forecast tonight, with a chance of snow showers, mainly between midnight and 4 a.m., according to the National Weather Service, and then again on Thursday into Friday.

Just how much snow will we get on the day Punxsutawney Phil lets us know when winter will end?

The National Weather Service predicts less than 1 inch overnight tonight into Thursday and snow showers overnight Thursday into Friday, with less than 1 inch possible. Snow showers might continue into the afternoon on Friday. Temps will turn cold Friday, with a low around 4 and a high of only 22 on Saturday.


The Weather Channel is predicting snow showers early tonight, with


Put a Trusted 'Quarterback' on Your Financial Team
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:17PM / Wednesday, January 31, 2018

On Feb. 4, the eyes of most of the country – and much of the rest of the world – will be on Minneapolis, site of the most-watched football game in the United States. As a fan, you can admire the way quarterbacks in the Big Game direct their teams. But as an investor, you can learn something from the big game by putting together your own team to help you achieve your financial goals – and you may find it helpful to have your own "quarterback."

Who should be on your team? Your financial strategy will involve investments, taxes and estate planning, so you will likely need a financial advisor, a tax professional and an attorney. Ideally, your financial advisor


Health Matters: Antibiotic Resistance And What You Can Do About It
11:54AM / Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The introduction of antibiotics in the late 1930s decreased U.S. infection deaths by 73 percent in the first 15 years. Antibiotics have enabled complicated surgery, chemotherapy for cancer, care for premature babies, organ transplants and more. As a result, many claim that antibiotics are the most important medical advance of the 20th century.

What's troubling about antibiotics is that scientists are discovering fewer antibiotics than ever, and those we have are losing their effect. Bacteria and other microorganisms, which cause infections and disease, use several ways to impede antibiotic action and thus become "resistant" to the antibiotic. They can change themselves by


Great Barrington Firefighters Snuff Kitchen Blaze at Pizzeria
12:07AM / Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Fire damage was limited to areas on the first floor and a second-floor bathroom.  GREAT BARRINGTON — The Fire Department extinguished a fire at Pizza House on State Road early Tuesday morning that severely damaged the business's kitchen and structure's first floor.    "Our crews did an excellent job limiting the damage despite the challenges posed by this particular structure, which has been a fixture in town for decades," Chief Charles Burger said. "I'm extremely grateful that a tragedy was avoided this morning, and I'm hopeful that Pizza House will be able to rebuild and the residents will be able to return home


Berkshires Beat: Sports Teams Donate Blankets to Cancer Center
12:52PM / Monday, January 29, 2018
Losing Is Not An Option

Staff from Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, a department of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, and the founders of the LINAO grassroots fundraising movement, accepted a donation of more than 20 handmade blankets from the Castleton University softball and men's soccer teams on Jan. 9. The blankets will be given to patients undergoing treatment at the Cancer Center.

The blankets were given in honor of John Werner, who coached both the Castleton University softball and men’s soccer teams and who founded the LINAO movement. LINAO stands for "Losing Is Not An Option." It was a motto that Werner adopted to encourage strength in his battle


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