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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Melt-Up Continues
By Bill Schmick,
11:53AM / Saturday, January 13, 2018
It's been the best two weeks for the U.S. markets in decades. Investors seemingly can't get enough stocks in their portfolios, no matter how high the indexes climb. Ain't it grand?   Over the past few weeks, I have explained in detail that the stock market is in "melt-up" mode. You may think it's crazy, or that the gains are a result of excessive exuberance. You may even be sitting there with your arms crossed, pointing your finger at me and predicting this is all going to end badly for investors. That's fine, provide as many opinions as you like, but stay invested in the meantime.   Some ask me how you can have the U.S. dollar declining, while

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'Darkest Hour': Saving The World 101
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
07:14PM / Friday, January 12, 2018
It is said that if you're hungry and motoring in a hurry, unable to stop due to time constraints, ubiquitous eateries will line the road. Likewise, an analogous case exists in times of sociopolitical crisis. Looking at our current situation in America, I see metaphors everywhere.   But in viewing Gary Oldman's tour de force portrayal of Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright's "Darkest Hour," it takes no great stretch of the imagination to draw comparisons. A threat to civilization is a threat to civilization.   The difference is that while the United Kingdom and eventually most of its allies, including the United States, faced an external menace back in

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The Independent Investor: The Cost of MAGA
By Bill Schmick,
06:46PM / Friday, January 12, 2018
It is the guiding principle behind the Trump administration, but to "Make America Great Again" the U.S. may have to break some eggs. Are you ready for that?   "MAGA" is much more than a marketing gimmick. Almost every day, we uncover additional evidence of how the President and his supporters in Congress are dismantling regulations, taxes, and on the foreign front, trade deals.   For example, while the president professes to have "a great relationship" with China and admires its president, Xi Jinping, at the same time, he is working behind the scenes to apply more pressure to our sometime-friend, sometime-nemesis.   This week we will have surely

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Ice Jam Overflows Route 8 in Cheshire
Staff Reports,
03:24PM / Friday, January 12, 2018
CHESHIRE, Mass. — A section of Route 8 was closed for more than an hour early Friday afternoon after Kitchen Brook overflowed its banks and covered the highway with large chunks of ice.   Communities across the region have been dealing with flooding caused by the spike in temperatures and heavy rain breaking up more than a foot of snow and ice that had covered the Berkshires over the last couple weeks. The National Weather Service has posted flash flood warnings for both Northern and Southern Berkshire County through tomorrow morning — when, believe it or not, another blast of cold air will blow through the county.   The flooding over South Street came without warning

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Former Mayor Alcombright Rejoins MountainOne
01:28PM / Friday, January 12, 2018

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Former North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright has rejoined MountainOne Bank.

"We are very pleased to announce Dick’s return to MountainOne in the newly created position of Vice President – Local Business and Customer Relations Manager," said Bob Fraser, MountainOne president and chief executive officer. "While his elected role as mayor of North Adams has concluded, his new position will keep him very much in the public eye, representing MountainOne and advocating on behalf of customers and the community. Dick brings a wealth of local knowledge and strong community connections to us, and we are excited about the contribution and impact

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MCLA Announces New Performing Arts Programs
02:31PM / Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts announces the addition of five new programs to its Department of Fine and Performing Arts, as two concentrations, in design and studio art, and three minors in dance, design, and music production, recently were added.

"The design concentration prepares students for traditional graphic design careers, web design, animation, concept, as well as character development for films, graphic novels or video games. It’s also great for illustrators and public relations professionals, and for self-promotion," said Melanie Mowinski, associate professor of visual art. "We imagine that students who are choosing the

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Du Bois 150th Festival Begins on Jan. 15 in Great Barrington
12:26PM / Wednesday, January 10, 2018

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The town of Great Barrington, birthplace of W.E.B. Du Bois, begins the Du Bois 150th Festival during the Martin Luther King holiday week of Jan. 15.

The celebration of the 150th anniversary of Du Bois's birth will culminate on his birthday, Feb. 23, at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in downtown Great Barrington with distinguished guests Dr. Reiland Rabaka, Ossie Davis, Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste and other celebrants.

"We are very excited about the Du Bois 150th Festival that will begin with a series of events on January 15, including lectures, readings, concerts, exhibits, performances and guided walking tours, hosted by the town and its

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How Can You Improve Your Financial Fitness This Year?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:50AM / Wednesday, January 10, 2018

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to get healthier, you may already be taking the necessary steps, such as improving your diet and increasing your exercise. Of course, physical fitness is important to your well-being – but, at the same time, don't forget about your financial fitness. Specifically, what can you do to ensure your investment situation is in good shape?

Here are a few "healthy living" suggestions that may also apply to your investment portfolio:

Build endurance: Just as exercise can help build your endurance for the demands of a long life, a vigorous investment strategy can help you work toward your long-term goals, such as a comfortable

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Letter: Please Shovel Your Sidewalks
Letter to the Editor,
01:00PM / Tuesday, January 09, 2018

To the Editor:

I have lived in quite a few towns throughout New England, and of all, Pittsfield has the worst sidewalks during the winter.

I often see people pushing babies in strollers, disabled people with rascals and wheelchairs, as well as child and adult pedestrians, walking in the street because many sidewalks aren't cleared. I, myself, broke my tailbone, slipping on an icy sidewalk that wasn't salted or sanded a few years ago!

Other towns I've lived in fine landlords, business owners, and home owners for not keeping town sidewalks surrounding their buildings clear of snow and ice. The whole sidewalk too, not just a path the width of a shovel. I'm surprised there

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Berkshire Lacrosse Club Offers Youth Instructional Program
05:34PM / Monday, January 08, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Berkshire Lacrosse Club is hosting a four-day instructional program at The Infield (10 Lyman St.) starting Feb. 3.   The program will focus on skill development, the rules of lacrosse, and organized game play. All equipment will be provided.   The dates are Feb. 3 and 10 and March 3 and 10.   The program will run in two sessions. Grades 3 to 5 from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. and grades 6-8 from 4:15 to 5 p.m.   The cost is $35 through Jan. 21 and $45 after Jan. 21.   Register at www.berkshirelacrosse.com   For information, contact Jeff Murray at jrmurray11@yahoo.com.

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Berkshires Beat: Mass MoCA Free for Berkshire County Residents Through Jan. 19
01:11PM / Monday, January 08, 2018
Free for all

Mass MoCA is opening the doors to its 250,000 square feet of galleries free to all Berkshire County residents (that's everyone who can show proof of residing within a zip code beginning with "012") through Jan. 19. The museum hopes to welcome as many friends and neighbors as possible with its second Free Berkshire County program — the first since its critically hailed and award-winning expansion doubled the space for the museum's visual arts exhibits last May with long-term installations that include James Turrell, Laurie Anderson, Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Gunnar Schonbeck and Robert Rauschenberg.
 
Since Mass MoCA’s inception, various

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Biz Briefs: Nonprofit Center Report Addresses Sharing of Services
11:50AM / Monday, January 08, 2018
Share and share alike

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has released the results of a report titled "Sharing Nonprofit Services in Berkshire County." Authored by Erin Sullivan, who works for a Berkshire nonprofit and initiated the research as part of a requirement for a master's degree in public administration, the four-page summary details findings on which nonprofits are willing to participate in shared services, what levels of shared services are of interest or seem most beneficial, the plusses and barriers to sharing services, and the need for more structure and support for these endeavors.

Sullivan collected both quantitative and qualitative data in the forms of an

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