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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

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


BRPC Wants to Know How Towns Spend Chapter 90 Funds
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:13AM / Monday, January 29, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — One of the first things Gov. Charlie Baker did on taking office in 2014 was release an additional $100 million in money for cities and towns to repair roads.   But towns in the Berkshires didn't use the money that spring. In fact, total spending on Chapter 90 allocations dropped to the lowest spending level in the last five years. Baker's announcement had come halfway through the fiscal year and was hailed by local officials.    The following year, spending peaked locally at $10 million but that was still less than what the state sent to Berkshire towns. The rest of it went into city and town's bank accounts. In the last five years, 75

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County Alums Posting Solid Indoor Track Times Sports,
01:58PM / Sunday, January 28, 2018
Berkshire County was well represented at Saturday’s Massasoit Classic indoor track and field meet at Springfield College.   Trinity College sophomore Weyessa “Ace” McAlister (Monument Mountain) won the mile run, clocking a time of 4 minutes, 33.52 seconds, to win by more than two seconds. Earlier this month, he opened the 2018 with a fourth-place finish in the 3,000 meters at the Embry-Riddle University 2018 Indoor-Outdoor Challenge in Florida.   Springfield College’s and Taconic High School’s own Courtney Luscier won the 60-meter dash in a time 7.87 seconds.   Two more Taconic alumni were busy representing UMass Boston at this weekend’s


Massachusetts Libraries Say State Budget Stacked Against Them
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
07:31AM / Saturday, January 27, 2018

Board of Library Commissioners Mary Kronholm, left, and Jan Resnick say level funding is forcing operations to eat into programming, training and support for public libraries.  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A decade ago, the state's libraries were urging legislators to provide them the funding support they needed to serve their communities large and small.    Not much has changed since then.    The Board of Library Commissioners is asking for a $2 million increase over this year; the governor's budget is giving it $175,000 instead.   "The ask is a 3 percent increase ... we have operated on less than a 1 percent increase over the last eight


@theMarket: Bulls Barrel Through Another Week
By Bill Schmick,
05:21PM / Friday, January 26, 2018
Better quarterly earnings trumped concerns of a declining greenback this week sending all the U.S. stock averages to yet more record highs. There appears to be no end in sight for this continued "melt-up" in the markets.   Over in Davos, Switzerland, President Donald Trump addressed the annual World Economic Forum. For the most part, it was a classic display of "Trumpisms"— MAGA, unfair trading partners, historic stock market.  His "ain't American grand again, thanks to me" message failed to impress most of his foreign audience although his supporters were ecstatic over his speech. But whether you love him, or hate him, "The


BArT Announces Second Quarter Honor Roll
11:40AM / Friday, January 26, 2018

ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School has announced the students who made honor roll for the second quarter of the 2017-2018 school year.

Students who earned 80 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "honors." Students who earned 90 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "high honors."

Academic courses at BArT are aligned with the Massachusetts State Curriculum Frameworks for the appropriate grade level and include all standards deemed necessary for a complete, college-preparatory, middle and high school education.

Students in grade six who earned high honors are Abreyana


WAM Announces Expansion of Theater Leadership
10:20AM / Friday, January 26, 2018

Talya Kingston has been named associate artistic director and Max Galdos-Shapiro will join WAM as general manager.

LEE, Mass. — WAM Theatre embarks on its ninth season with the announcement of two new members of the WAM Leadership Team and three new members of its board of directors.

Talya Kingston has been named associate artistic director and Max Galdos-Shapiro will join WAM as general manager. Together with Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven and Philanthropy and Outreach Coordinator Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe, they comprise the leadership team at WAM Theatre.

Newly appointed to WAM's board of directors are Lynn Festa, Wendy Healey and Arwen Lowbridge.

"We are


'Phantom Thread': When Love Is In Fashion
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
02:51PM / Thursday, January 25, 2018
Though perhaps deluded, I'd like to think I put as much effort into an essay as Daniel Day-Lewis' Reynolds Woodcock devotes to making a dress in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Phantom Thread."    This is the sort of person you want doing your heart operation, piloting the airplane you're on, or teaching your kid. He's the real deal, and suffers for it, too. The maladies of obsessive genius are many. But the inherent reward is matchless, with the added benefit, aside from financial remuneration, of almost having a right to the arrogance you exude, if so inclined.   Welcome to Mr. Woodcock's world, a special place of understated elegance based in a


GIC to Reconsider Reduction to Health Insurance Portfolio
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:06PM / Thursday, January 25, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The GIC may reverse course on its decision to slash the number of health insurance companies in its portfolio in half.   Last Thursday, the Group Insurance Commission, which administers health insurance to more than 400,000 state, school, and municipal employees, voted to decrease its options from six to three for active employees. GIC leadership said the move would save some $20.8 million.   GIC Executive Director Roberta Herman said the commission performed a study that showed many of the companies were offering similar products and that membership would have similar coverage but at a lower cost.   But, it was faced with a fierce outcry from

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Hinds Appointed to Senate Ways And Means
Staff Reports,
07:57PM / Wednesday, January 24, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Adam Hinds was appointed to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.   The Pittsfield Democrat was appointed to the committee by acting Senate President Harriette Chandler on Wednesday, the same day Gov. Charlie Baker put forth his $40.9 billion spending plan for fiscal 2019.   "I am honored to join this important committee," Hinds said in a prepared statement. "It provides an opportunity to give western Massachusetts a louder voice when the Senate is making key policy and spending decisions."   Hinds is still in his first term and the assignment is coveted by lawmakers. The group is charged with reviewing all financial


Ciccolo Case Still on Track for June Trial
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:23PM / Wednesday, January 24, 2018
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Attorneys in the case of an Adams man accused of violating federal terrorism statutes say they are still communicating about a possible plea deal but told the judge to anticipate using the scheduled June 18 trial date.   Judge Mark G. Mastroianni on Wednesday held a brief status conference in the case of the United States v. Alexander Ciccolo, who was arrested on July 4, 2015, and subsequently indicted on one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of attempting to use of weapons of mass destruction.   On Wednesday, Ciccolo's attorney, David Hoose of Northampton, told Mastroianni that he


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