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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

The Independent Investor: Time to Hedge Your Bets?
By Bill Schmick,
03:41PM / Thursday, February 15, 2018
Over the last few weeks, the threat of rising inflation has triggered a great deal of concern among investors. Given that inflation has been at a low level for a number of years, their concern may be justified.   Many market pundits were surprised by the wage data in the non-farm payroll report for December, which was released two weeks ago, Friday. In that report, wages jumped far more than most expected coming in at a 2.9 percent annualized growth rate.   Given that our central bank monitors wages as one of their key indicators to gauge future inflation, that number sent the bond and stock markets into a tizzy. Again this week, investors received another inflationary surprise

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'Peter Rabbit': Hop to It!
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
03:25PM / Thursday, February 15, 2018
The kids whooped and hollered in gleeful approval of director Will Gluck's adaptation of Beatrix Potter's "Peter Rabbit." This even included the 10-to-12 contingent, usually too sophisticated to admit endorsement of an entertainment that might indict them of liking "baby stuff." And while the littler ones among the audience of fully engaged firstnighters whose space I recently invaded brought fingernails to lips whenever the title character risked cottontail and whiskers for ill-gotten vegetation, they, too, were otherwise charmed.      I was heartened by several insights, not the least of which was the erudition evinced by these young moviegoers

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Guest Column: Quit Smoking to Celebrate American Heart Month
Guest Column,
03:00PM / Thursday, February 15, 2018

To the Editor:

February is American Heart Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is a leading cause of heart disease. Smoking can:

• Raise triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood) • Lower "good" cholesterol (HDL) • Make blood sticky and more likely to clot, which can block blood flow to the heart and brain • Damage cells that line the blood vessels • Increase the buildup of plaque (fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances) in blood vessels • Cause thickening and narrowing of blood vessels

Smoking can lead to the narrowing of blood vessels and high blood pressure and quitting smoking greatly

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Holiday Hours: Presidents Day
02:00PM / Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Gen. George Washington taking command of the Continental Army in Cambridge in 1775.

Washington's Birthday will be celebrated on Monday, Feb. 19.

The holiday was first enacted by Congress in 1879 to mark George Washington's birthday on Feb. 22 and later moved to the third Monday in February in 1968. While the name of the federal holiday remains Washington's Birthday, it is more often referred to as Presidents Day to include the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12.

Washington was born in 1732 (or Feb. 11, 1731, according to the old-style calendar) in Colonial Virgina. A Founding Father, he would lead the new nation as head of the Continental Army in the Revolution and as

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MCLA Rolls Out New Career Development Platform
01:57PM / Wednesday, February 14, 2018

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Center for Student Success and Engagement at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts has launched a new, online career software portal to help prepare students for employment.

"The Career Trail Online" will provide a wide variety of services aimed at connecting students with their first jobs as college graduates and serve as a resource for alumni.

According to Dale Osef, MCLA's career development specialist, "The Career Trail," by Purple Briefcase, is a top-of-the-line, industry standard for connecting students to employers, faculty, staff, alumni and more.

"MCLA saw a need for a fresh, new approach to career development on our

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Consider Financial Gifts for All Your Valentines
11:34AM / Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day is here – and it's a pretty big business. In fact, U.S. consumers spent about $18 billion on their valentines in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation. Of course, recipients certainly appreciate flowers, candy, jewelry and so on, but this year, consider going beyond the traditional favorites to give your loved ones something more long-lasting – a financial gift.

And, while you're doing so, why not also go beyond the traditional definition of a "valentine"? After all, not all that $18 billion went to spouses or significant others. A sizable amount also went to non-romantic connections, including children, parents, friends,

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BART Basketball Advances to League Title Game
11:20PM / Tuesday, February 13, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- It was not that long ago that the BART basketball team was the kind of program others might see as a doormat.   Now, the Wolf Pack is on the doorstep of winning a league championship.   Brandon Bamba scored 27 points Tuesday as Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School defeated Eagle Hill, 59-52, in the semi-finals of the River Valley Athletic League’s B Division Tournament.   On Thursday afternoon at the North Adams Armory, BART will host the league title game -- a far cry from the program’s early days.   “Two years ago, we were getting beaten by 60 and 70 points per game,” BART coach Rob Daugherty said after

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Biz Briefs: Bank of America Offers Free Museum Admission to Members
03:07PM / Monday, February 12, 2018
Admission's on us

The Clark Art Institute is now a member of Bank of America's "Museums on Us" program, providing cardholders with free admission on the first full weekend of each month.

Each Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or US Trust cardholder is allowed one free general admission to participating institutions on any eligible day. The program applies only to the first full weekend (consecutive Saturday and Sunday) of every month. Admission is non-transferable and for the cardholder only; guests of the cardholder do not receive free admission. Photo ID is required along with the valid credit or debit card.
 
Museums on Us is designed to provide a benefit to Bank of

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BRTA Strike Delayed
Staff Reports,
03:00PM / Monday, February 12, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A scheduled strike at the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority has been delayed.   BRTA Administrator Robert Malnati issued a notice on Monday saying the paratransit operators have delayed a striked scheduled to begin on Monday, Feb. 19. A federal mediator will be meeting with BRTA on Feb. 21 to further discuss the situation and has asked the union workers to delay their strike.   Drivers for Paratransit Management of the Berkshires voted down the best and final offer during contract negotiations and voted on Feb. 6 to strike. The 18 workers are represented by International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 404.   The BRTA, which oversees

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Berkshires Beat: Final Steel Beam Placed on New Tanglewood Complex
01:50PM / Monday, February 12, 2018
Moving along

Tanglewood hosted a ceremonial topping off event at the construction site of the festival's new four-building complex on Monday, Feb. 12, celebrating the placement of the final steel beam on top of the building site. The new building complex will support the performances and rehearsal activities of the Tanglewood Music Center — the BSO's prestigious summer music academy — and serve as the home of the new Tanglewood Learning Institute. The beam—which was placed on top of the covered walkway connecting each building—was painted white and signed by the construction team, who were feted at the event in celebration of this project milestone.

Since

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Northern Berkshire Waste District Sets Fiscal 2019 Budget
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
01:12AM / Monday, February 12, 2018
ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Commission passed an $87,877.52 budget with level town assessments.    The committee met Thursday to go over a proposed budget with assessments based on population. Each member community of the 13-town district will be charged $2.87 per person based on the 2010 Census.    "The assessments will be level," Program Manager Linda Cernik said. "It will be the same as last year."   The two largest assessments were the town of Adams for an assessment at$24,354.64 and Williamstown at $22,256.43.   The rest of the assessments ranged from just under $10,000 to just under $400.   The town of

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Guest Column: Time to Enact Paid Family Leave
State Rep. Tricial Farley-Bouvier, Guest Column
06:12PM / Friday, February 09, 2018
Twenty-five years ago, on Feb. 5, 1993, President Clinton signed into law the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows certain workers to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to deal with a serious health condition, have a baby, bond with a newborn or adopted child, or take care of a seriously ill relative.   The FMLA was a major stride forward for the rights of workers and their families, but after a quarter decade the program's major gaps are clear. However, FMLA does not cover about 40 percent of the workforce, including workers at smaller companies and those who have recently changed jobs. And many workers who are eligible FMLA can't afford to take unpaid

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