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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Biz Briefs: Berkshire Farm & Table, Alchemy Initiative Team Up to Aid Farmers Markets
12:33PM / Monday, October 23, 2017

Teaming up: The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, in partnership with Berkshire Farm & Table and Alchemy Initiative, has been awarded a three-year capacity-building U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service Farmers Market Promotion Program grant in the aims to address the growing needs of 20 independent markets currently operating in the Berkshires. The project will build capacity, address market challenges, provide an ongoing support network to farmers market managers, increase customer volume and sales, and ultimately contribute to economic development in the region.

The Sustainable Berkshires Plan, developed in 2014, indicates that the resident demand for

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Whiteley, Genaway Making Impact as Freshmen on College Team
iBerkshires.com Sports,
04:27PM / Sunday, October 22, 2017
Taconic’s Anthony Whiteley and Wahconah’s Will Genaway are among their team’s leaders as freshmen at Endicott College this fall.   Whiteley is second on the team in rushing with 19.1 yards per game, and Genaway is second in receiving yards per game with 31.3 ypg for the 1-6 Gulls.   Whiteley scored his first career touchdown on a 3-yard run in a 31-26 loss to MIT earlier this month. A couple of weeks before, he had 100 all-purpose yards (67 receiving, 21 rushes, 12 kick returns) on his way to earning Commonwealth Coast Conference Offensive Rookie of the Week honors.   Genaway received the same award later last month after catching five passes for 74 yards,

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North/South Rail Group Narrowing Potential New York City Market
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:21AM / Sunday, October 22, 2017

The group includes representatives from various stakeholders in the county. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Who will actually use the possible New York-to-Pittsfield passenger rail?   That's the question the NYC/Berkshire Passenger Rail Working Group is now looking to answer. The group has been tasked by the Legislature to examine the possibility of a Cape Flyer-like model for passenger rail transit in the Berkshires. To understand the feasibility of expanding in that the north/south corridor, it must first know the market.   "We need something more targeted on people who are already coming here, expressed interest in coming here, or have a link to the area," Rail

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1Berkshire Releases Report on Attracting, Retaining Millennials
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:30AM / Saturday, October 21, 2017

1Berkshire President and CEO Jonathan Butler says during the two years the BIG was ongoing, his organization made a conscious effort to keep the millennial generation in mind when launching programs.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There is a hole in the county's demographics. But there is also a clear path to fill it.   Studies, particularly one performed by Berkshire Regional Planning Commission in 2014, have outlined a significant population loss in the coming years, and a decline that is specifically defined among the 20- to 40-year-old age bracket.   That age group tends to move for college and stay away to start their careers and families. The county continues to

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'Professor Marston and the Wonder Women': La Différence to the Rescue
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
01:19PM / Friday, October 20, 2017
I was a terrible grammar school student. Bored out of my mind, I survived the droning lessons by drawing cars and baseball stadiums. It also didn't help that I was rather sleepy in class, the result of loving, liberal parents who allowed me to watch old movies on TV way past a growing boy's acceptable bedtime. The one exception to this unsatisfactory scholasticism was reading. I got straight A's.    But when the teacher asked me to tell the class why I was such a good reader and I answered "comic books," I was immediately shushed out of my First Amendment rights.   That's pretty much changed. Good teachers encourage kids to read, read, read, whatever

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Work Group Discusses Stigma Associated With Heroin Use
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:04PM / Thursday, October 19, 2017

 
Michaels said the cost to society in dealing with substance use issues is in the $400 billion range. But, most of that is dedicated to dealing with the consequences after and not prevention or treatment. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Terms like junky, addict, drug abuser, clean versus dirty, carry a negative connotation when it comes to the opioid epidemic.    That stigma makes it even more challenging to address the nationwide problem, according to Dr. Jennifer Michaels, medical director of the Brien Center.   Michaels spent about two hours Wednesday morning with many who are combating the opioid epidemic in one way or the other to discuss the impact stigma

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The Independent Investor: Taketh Care of Your Workers and They Will Taketh Care of You
By Bill Schmick,
03:30PM / Thursday, October 19, 2017
Employers have had it all their own way for a decade or more. They have been able to freeze wages, cut benefits, force overtime and even deny vacations with impunity. Now, for many, it's time to pay the piper.   There is a saying, "what goes around, comes around," which means in this case that if you have spent years abusing your employees, the first company that offers them even the slightest uptick in benefits or salary will pick off your best workers in the time it takes to sign on the dotted line.   I can walk into a company and tell you within seconds whether or not its employees are well treated and happy. I'm sure you can, too. It shows on their faces, in

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BRPC Launching Search For New Executive Director
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:27PM / Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nathaniel Karns is looking to retire in the first half of next year. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — BRPC's search for a new director will begin in earnest next month.   Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Nathaniel Karns is planning to retire in early 2018. A search committee has been formed to find who will become the agency's third executive director.   Karns said he wants to retire no earlier than Jan. 1 and no later than Sept. 1, 2018, but is "pretty flexible" with what that date will be.   "I think a realistic goal at this point is to try to have someone selected, so we know exactly where we are moving forward, by March,

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MassWildlife Offers Tips for Aggressive Turkeys
03:36PM / Wednesday, October 18, 2017
WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Because of recent inquiries and reports from the public about turkeys acting aggressively toward people, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is offering information about turkey behavior, tips to prevent turkey conflicts, and what to do if your town has an issue with an aggressive turkey.     Wild turkeys live in a variety of habitats in Massachusetts, including suburban and urban areas. They roost in large trees at night to avoid predators and you may see turkeys roosting on on railings, roofs, or vehicles in residential areas. Wild turkeys live in flocks (or rafts) organized by pecking order.

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Put Lessons From 'Retirement Week' to Work
03:05PM / Wednesday, October 18, 2017

To raise public awareness about the importance of saving for retirement, Congress has designated the third week of October as National Save for Retirement Week. What lessons can you learn from this event?

First of all, save early – and save often. Too many people put off saving for retirement until they are in their late 40s – and even their 50s. If you wait until you are in this age group, you can still do quite a bit to help build the resources you will need for retirement – but it will be more challenging than if you had begun saving and investing while you were in your 20s or early 30s. For one thing, if you delay saving for retirement, you may have to put away large

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Who Withdrew?: MNA Mixes Up Labor Board Complaints
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:16AM / Wednesday, October 18, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Massachusetts Nursing Association has withdrawn one of the multiple unfair labor practice charges it filed against Berkshire Medical Center.    In July, the registered nurses' union filed a charge against a new absentee policy the hospital's administration had established. The claim was that there was a modification to the contract because the new policy was not negotiated. The union said the hospital broadened the circumstances around absences for discipline.   However, according to a union spokesman, it was later learned that the policy was not going to be implemented for the union's membership. Last week, on Oct. 13, the union

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Education Task Force Panel Answers Questions at NBCC Forum
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:28AM / Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Panelists Jake Eberwein, left, Paul Butler, Douglas McNally, Robert Putnam and Tony Mazzucco, all members of the task force. 

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The vision of the Berkshire County Education Task Force is a single, countywide school district that would create sustainable educational opportunities and academic support to a dwindling student population.

The controversial recommendation, made in July after two years of study and modeling, hasn't been an easy sell in the small towns fearing that consolidation means school closings and loss of local control.   But task force members are hoping that officials, parents and community members will see the benefits of at least

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