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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Berkshire Planners Remain Concerned About DLTA Program
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:49AM / Monday, October 10, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Regional Planning Commission remains concerned about the funding for its District Local Technical Assistance program.   The organization lobbied for the state fund the program at $3.4 million during the budget season but ultimately the state Legislature funded it at $2.8 million — level with previous years. But, the administration hasn't released those funds yet and state revenues have been coming in lower than hoped.   Now, many are expecting mid-year cuts from Gov. Charlie Baker and BRPC fears part of those 9C cuts will include that program.    "We think we will know more about DLTA next week, the 15th or so of

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Zogics To Senate President: Lack of Skilled Work Force Biggest Setback
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:44AM / Sunday, October 09, 2016

For more than an hour on Friday LeBlanc spoke about his company with Rosenberg and Hinds. LEE, Mass. — With the state of current technology, a company can basically operate from anywhere. So can employees.   The current workforce wants more out of life than traditional jobs. They want to find ways to combine their lifestyles with a career. That's the angle Paul LeBlanc has taken when building Zogics, an e-commerce company based out of a small office in Valley Industrial Park.    "For me, it is all about lifestyle. Whether it is the company I've created, the location I've chosen to build the company or anything else. We are all faced with choices

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Downing, Rosenberg, Olver, Rally Support For Hinds Senate Campaign
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:13AM / Saturday, October 08, 2016

State Sen. Benjamin Downing endorsed Hinds on Friday to follow in his footsteps. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The common theme Friday night, when Adam Hinds relaunched his campaign for state Senate, was unity.   Hinds won the Democratic nomination for the state Senate seat being vacated by Benjamin Downing. Hinds now takes on Republican Christine Canning-Wilson in the Nov. 8 general election.   On Friday, Hinds held a kickoff for the general election campaign featuring Downing, former U.S. Rep. John Olver, and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg. To a crowd full of elected officials and local leaders, the three rallied support for Hinds around the concept of

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Berkshires Beat: Grant Helps Farmers Market Continue Its Mission
12:24PM / Friday, October 07, 2016

Farmers market grant: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has awarded the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market $10,000 to support its work in fostering good eating habits, active lifestyles, and healthy environments,

The Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market was started with the belief that everyone in our community should have access to healthy food. With 50 percent of city residents being low-income, the market was located in the Morningside neighborhood, which has even lower rates, where more than 80 percent of elementary school students qualify for free lunch and where there are no grocery stores in walking distance.

Two years ago, the market launched its Double Value Program, a

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Biz Briefs: Bookstore in Lenox Features in New Book
11:43AM / Friday, October 07, 2016

Bookstore features: The Bookstore in Lenox is featured in a new book that offers a look inside local bookstores that have thrived as central hubs of conversation and learning. Famous New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein's new book "Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores" invites readers into the heart and soul of every community: the local bookshop, each with its own quirks, charms, and legendary stories.

The Bookstore is not just in Eckstein’s collection of great local bookstores, they kick the whole thing off as the first book featured right on page one. Owner Matt Tannenbaum said that making it into a book like this that only has spots for so many stores

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Holiday Hours: Columbus Day
10:18AM / Friday, October 07, 2016

Dióscoro Teófilo Puebla Tolín's 'First landing of Columbus on the Shores of the New World,' at San Salvador, W.I., Oct. 12, 1492, from 1862.

Columbus Day is a state holiday being observed Monday, Oct. 10, to commemorate Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492.

Columbus' voyage had been celebrated on significant anniversaries but did not become an official holiday until being recognized by Colorado in 1905. It was declared a federal holiday in 1937.

Not all states recognize Columbus Day. Some local and state governments have alternative Native American or indigenous peoples' days to reflect that others had

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Berkshire Taconic Announces Final Round of 2016 Grant Deadlines
10:09AM / Friday, October 07, 2016

SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation today announced the fourth and final round of deadlines for competitive grants in 2016.

Covering the period from October 1 through Dec. 31, the fall cycle of deadlines is open to regional nonprofits, schools and individuals.

 

For nonprofits

The William J. and Margery S. Barrett Fund for Adams, Cheshire and Savoy supports nonprofits, public agencies or community organizations that provide services to the residents of Adams, Cheshire or Savoy. The fund has up to $100,000 to grant out this year. Applications are due Nov. 1.

The Central Berkshire Fund supports nonprofits, public agencies or community organizations serving

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'Queen of Katwe': Commanding Performance
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:28PM / Thursday, October 06, 2016

You should see director Mira Nair's "Queen of Katwe," especially if you want to feel miserable, sad, perhaps a little guilty, frustrated and angry on the way to becoming a better person.

It's the true story of how Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl, had her life changed after learning the game of chess. But that's just the movie's way to get us into Poorest Africa … to abash us with its divulgences of the Third World. Expect no really great surprises. What an absolute downer it would be if the impoverished Phiona had no talent to pull her from the muck and mire of squalor.

None of this is to say that folks with absolutely no social conscience won't find

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Letter: Flavored Tobacco Products and Children
Letters to the Editor,
11:32AM / Thursday, October 06, 2016

To the Editor:

As the school year begins, let's be aware that youth are being targeted by the tobacco industry. Big Tobacco is sweet talking our kids with products that are sweet, cheap, and easy to get. Fruit and candy flavors in little cigars, chewing tobacco, hookahs, electronic cigarettes and e-liquids attract youth and contain varying amounts of nicotine that can lead to nicotine addiction.

The tobacco industry has been producing these tobacco products using the same flavor chemicals found in candy and soft drink products like Life Savers, Jolly Ranchers, and Kool-Aid. Yet they are NOT harmless. The tobacco industry is using these flavors to attract youth to products that are

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Guard Against Identity Theft - And Protect Your Finances
10:24AM / Wednesday, October 05, 2016

In 2015 alone, more than 13 million Americans were victimized by identity theft, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. What can you do to guard your identity and protect yourself from potential financial losses?

Here are some ideas to consider:

* Review your statements. Closely review the monthly statements from your checking and other financial accounts. If you find any unfamiliar charges, contact your bank or other financial services provider immediately.

* Order your credit reports. The three credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – are each required by law to provide you one free credit report a year. Make sure your name, address and other

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BNRC Releases Plan For Countywide Hiking Trail Network
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:29AM / Tuesday, October 04, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Natural Resources Council envisions a day when one can walk through a network of trails to each and every town in the Berkshires.   The organization has been working for the last couple years to do just that. The organization has raised $4.25 million toward the creation and maintenance of such a network.    "It is sort of a counterpart to the Appalachian Trail," President Tad Ames said, explaining that the network will allow someone to travel on foot the length of Berkshire County, stopping in at towns, staying a local hotels, while not having to carry food for a long trip.   The concept is something that's been done

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Biz Briefs: Jacob's Pillow Archive Site Builds on Successful Season
12:25PM / Monday, October 03, 2016

Door to the past: Following the record-breaking success of Festival 2016 and the increased demand for its resources, Jacob's Pillow Dance announces year-round online access to its impressive archives through a new website. Beginning this year, digitized content and a large amount of information is available to the public, offering an unprecedented resource to the global dance community.

Festival 2016 was one of the most successful seasons on record for Jacob’s Pillow, a National Historic Landmark, National Medal of Arts recipient, and home to America’s longest-running dance festival. The Pillow hosted a record-breaking 108,000 visitor experiences throughout the summer,

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