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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Berkshires Beat: Adams Alert Hose Brings Home Awards
11:09AM / Friday, August 26, 2016

Trio of honors: The Alert Hose Co #1 of Adams attended the Bennington Battle Days parade on Aug. 14, in which members pulled their infamous parade cart, which was built in 1885.  

The department is well known for wearing their Prince Albert- style buff and white uniforms. This rare uniform style has been preserved by the company as a memorial to its predecessors and is worn proudly with distinction by the alerts today.
 
The Alerts proudly took home three new trophies: the Vermont State Firefighters Association's "Best Appearing Antique Hand Drawn Equipment-Out of State," the Vermont State Firefighters Association's "Best Appearing Marching Unit, With

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The Mountís Writers-in-Residence Program Application Deadline Nears
10:35AM / Friday, August 26, 2016

LENOX, Mass. — The 2016 Edith Wharton Writers-in-Residence, a two- to three-week residency offering writers the opportunity to work and create in the house Wharton built as a writer’s retreat, will accept applications through Sept. 2.

The program is open to writers of demonstrated accomplishment who are currently working on a new piece of writing. Additional information including submission guidelines can be found online.

New this year, The Mount will be offering residency for up to three women writers. Each resident will receive a work space at The Mount, a $1,000 food and travel stipend, and lodging for the duration of their residency. Residents must provide their own

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Baker Highlights Craft Industry With Trip to Berkshire Mountain Distillers
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:30PM / Thursday, August 25, 2016

The governor bellies up to the bar to become the first customer to purchase a cocktail from the distillery — thanks to new legislation making that possible. SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Twelve years ago Chris Weld had grown tired of his work in emergency rooms. So, he moved back to Massachusetts and bought an apple farm.    With all of the products he needed right on site, Weld started to distill. He makes whiskeys, gins, vodkas and other spirits. In 2007, he turned it into a business — Berkshire Mountain Disillers. The company began to grow and two years ago he opened a tasting room and store along with a new distillery. He now employs eight people and ships his

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End of Session Review: Benjamin Downing
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:54AM / Thursday, August 25, 2016

Senator Downing at the governor's signing of the energy diversity bill earlier this month in Boston. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Benjamin Downing is happy with the state's new energy bill but feels it doesn't go far enough.   Just before the July 31 end of the formal legislative session, the state passed an omnibus energy bill which increases hydro-electricity, off-shore wind, and raises the net metering cap for solar, among the many provisions.   Downing headed the state's Telecommunication, Utilities, and Energy Committee and spent a lot of time during the two-year session on it. He filed a bill that was aimed to significantly boost the state's

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Centennial Hikes Across Massachusetts Celebrate 100th Anniversary of National Park Service
01:38PM / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

BOSTON — The Department of Conservation and Recreation will lead park visitors on free "Centennial Hikes" at 12 parks across Massachusetts, including two in the Berkshires, on Thursday, Aug. 25, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

The DCR-managed parks are part of the cherished and historic legacy of America’s state and national parks system, and serve as excellent examples of land conservation efforts that have been made across the country.

"I cannot think of a better way to celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service and their efforts of preserving this country’s natural resources, than going on a Centennial

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Post-Tanglewood, Area Chamber Concerts Blossom
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires.com
11:30AM / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The approach of Labor Day marks the conclusion of the summer music festival season, and so the local classical music scene coalesces, as regional presenters favor intimate spaces for chamber music during the upcoming fall.
This will become the dominant genre of music making to be found until next June, when the warm late spring weather invites us to share massed performances outdoors at Tanglewood and other venues, large and small.

Looking ahead, you'll find a variety of concerts presented in churches, chapels, small auditoriums, halls and the like throughout the region. Even Tanglewood's acoustically superb Ozawa Hall is really too big for a string quartet or piano trio to be

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Investors Can Learn Much from Workers
10:40AM / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Next week, we observe Labor Day, a celebration of the American worker. And there's a lot to celebrate, because our workers have accomplished great things and, in the process, demonstrated a variety of impressive character traits – many of which also can be useful to investors.

For example:

Perseverance: Have you ever read about an inventor who failed dozens of times before finally hitting on a winner? Or a scientist who studied the same problem for decades before discovering a revolutionary solution? All kinds of workers display this type of perseverance, in one form or another. As an investor, you, too, will need this "stick-to-itiveness" because you will face

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State Senate Candidates Focus On Economics In 5th Debate
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:07AM / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Adam Hinds cited his work with the U.N., Pittsfield Community Connection, and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition as showing he has the ability to bring parties together to tackle tough issues. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — As director of the Pittsfield Community Connection Adam Hinds reeled in a $5 million grant to fight crime an violence in the city.   Over the next 10 years, the grant will supplement salaries to put at-risk youth in jobs, provide job training, get them counseling, and employed outreach workers who had been in gangs or jail and can show the youth that that lifestyle doesn't work.   The crime numbers overlapped with the three most impoverished census

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North Adams Downtown Hosts Motorama This Weekend
09:57AM / Tuesday, August 23, 2016
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The 6th annual Motorama will roar back into the city on Sunday, Aug. 28, from 9 to 3.    Main, Holden and Eagle streets will be closed to all but pedestrian traffic as downtown North Adams fills with cars, trucks, motorcycles, snowmobiles, tractors and more. Anything with a motor is welcome.   Last year's Motorama brought more than 500 vehicles, and this year hopes to draw record attendance. Those interested in exhibiting their vehicles can register beginning at 7:30 a.m. the day of the event. The cost to enter a vehicle is $15, but the public can enjoy the event free of charge. Trophies will be presented at the end of the event.   In

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Q&A With MCLA President James Birge
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:53AM / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Originally called the North Adams Normal School, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts was founded to train public school teachers.   True to that heritage, today's MCLA faculty members take seriously their role as educators. That is the message the college's 12th president received when he arrived on campus earlier this year.   "To a department, the faculty talked about their commitment to students achieving their academic goals, which isn't always the case," James F. "Jaime" Birge said recently. "Faculty aren't always as uniformly committed to that purpose as our faculty here. Literally, every

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Local Author Unveils Real Magic on Mount Greylock
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
06:13PM / Monday, August 22, 2016

Ilvermorny's granite castle may be fictional, but there's a granite tower at the summit.

ADAMS, Mass. — Local author Kristen Demeo has written "Shrouded in The Mist" to show kids the facts behind the fictional Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry located on the summit of Mount Greylock.

When Demeo heard that J.K. Rowling, the author of the "Harry Potter" book series, chose Mount Greylock to be the home of her fictional North American wizardry school, she felt she could harness a teachable moment.

"It connects kids with local history and helps them learn through a subject that may really interest them," Demeo said. "I hope kids

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MassDOT Moves Forward on All Electronic Tolling
05:18PM / Monday, August 22, 2016

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board decided Monday to move ahead with plans to completely demolish the Interstate 90 toll plazas by the end of 2017 as a milestone in the state's progress toward All Electronic Tolling along Interstate 90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike), the Tobin Bridge and Boston tunnels.  

MassDOT said that AET will "go live" on Oct. 28. The board approved toll demolition contracts, reviewed data security and retention proposals and instructed MassDOT to proceed with public hearings on proposed toll rates designed to be revenue neutral and minimize changes in toll charges for current commuters.  

"The AET system

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