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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Massachusetts Joins Multi-State Council to Stage Economy 'Reopening'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:33PM / Tuesday, April 14, 2020
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. — Massachusetts' late entry into a six — now seven — state regional COVID-19 council was simply because "we had other stuff to do," said Gov. Charlie Baker.    The council announced on Monday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo brings together seven mid-Atlantic and Northeast states to create a framework for economic restoration in "reopening" their economies.    Baker said there had been no intent not to join the cooperative but rather that "sancrosact" meetings critical to the state's operations had taken precedence.    "We used to have a leadership meeting every Monday with the


Berkshire Humane Society to Hold Pet Food Drive-Thru on Friday
11:28AM / Tuesday, April 14, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Humane Society will offer free food for dogs and cats to anybody who needs help feeding their pets during a drive-through pet food drive on Friday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

No advance appointment is needed. To participate, enter Berkshire Humane Society's parking lot from the north entrance at 214 Barker Road in Pittsfield and drive up to the curb. A Berkshire Humane Society employee in personal protective equipment will take your order and load the food you need. You do not need to leave your car or give your name.

"Because of the generosity of our community and four pallets of food donated by Purina, our pet food is well-stocked and we


April 14 COVID-19 Briefs: Send SMVC Staff Meals; NAPS Registration Online
11:14AM / Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Meals for front-line staff

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has deployed an online tool to facilitate community members sending meals to front-line staff during the COVID-19 crisis. Community members can visit here and volunteer to purchase a meal for as few as two staff members or as many as 25.

"This program grew out of a desire to make supporting our staff easier for the community and the need to support our local businesses, too," said Leslie Keefe, vice president for Corporate Development.

The hospital partnered with the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce to identify restaurants to participate. Visitors to the Meal Train website volunteer to purchase a meal


What Should Retirees Consider Doing in a Down Market?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:55AM / Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The health aspect of the coronavirus affects everyone – we're all concerned about our well-being and those of our loved ones and communities. However, the economic impact may vary among different age groups – and if you're retired or about to retire, you might have some special concerns about starting to draw income from your investments when the financial markets are down. What moves should you consider making?

Here are a few suggestions:

* Review your strategy (and avoid making major changes). During a market downturn, you might be tempted to "do something" – and for many people, that "something" is selling stocks to cut their losses. But


Shakespeare & Company Postpones 2020 Summer Season
10:33AM / Tuesday, April 14, 2020

LENOX, Mass. — Shakespeare & Company is postponing its 2020 summer season to next summer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials announced Tuesday. 

This unanimous decision from the board of trustees, Artistic Director Allyn Burrows and Managing Director Adam Davis reflects the commitment to the health and safety of company patrons, artists, staff, students, volunteers, and extended community as the company's highest priority. 

The company intends to move as many of the productions planned between May and September 2020 as it can to 2021, including "King Lear" with Christopher Lloyd and the outdoor production of "Much Ado About Nothing"


Baker Announces $10M Investment for Manufacturers Pivoting to Protective Gear
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:41PM / Monday, April 13, 2020
BOSTON — Brenna Nan Schneider of 99 Degrees flipped a shapeless blue gown around on Monday at the governor's daily COVID-19 update.    This nondescript item and materials similar to it are now vital to health-care centers across the state because of the highly contagious novel coronavirus. The simple gown also marked a pivot for manufacturers in Massachusetts as a "Manufacturing Emergency Response Team" helps businesses retool to produce much-needed personal protective gear.     "Understand that very little PPE is made in the US," said Schneider, founder and CEO of the performance activewear company. "We've learned a new


Wind, Rain Could Cause Damage, Power Outages on Monday
08:25PM / Sunday, April 12, 2020

RI/MA customers, our crews are prepared for the severe weather expected to hit the region tomorrow. Forecasts are calling for severe thunderstorms & potentially hazardous winds, with sustained winds ranging from 18-35 mph & potentially 55-65 mph gusts in some areas.

— National Grid US (@nationalgridus) April 12, 2020 The Berkshires will start the week off with some blustery weather and heavy rain that could cause power outages or tree damage.    The National Weather Service has a high wind warning in effect for the region from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday. Accuweather is predicting heavy rain to reach the Berkshires a little after 6


Cereus: A Night Blooming Chandelier
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
04:55PM / Sunday, April 12, 2020

Cereus revealing opening petals and modified sepals. Seriously, we need to acknowledge untold wonder when one beholds the spurious unfolding of a night-blooming cereus.    Given time and the river flowing, nature has accomplished this miraculous mission. Can it pollinate itself by itself? Many plants can accomplish self-fertilization by means of parthenogenesis. Does cereus require external pollination via an insect, namely moth, beetle, or fly?    For cereus it is all or nothing: The elaborate flower opens only for one night.    This superbly organized bundle of cellular tissue is constructed to attract a flying insect, likely a Sphinx moth that will

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Domestic Abuse Rise Expected, Help Still Available 24/7
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
09:14AM / Sunday, April 12, 2020
If you know about the societal factors that play into domestic violence, you would expect the crime rate to rise during the most severe economic crisis in generations.   You would expect local reports of domestic violence to be through the roof.   You would be wrong. And that is what scares the executive director of Pittsfield's Elizabeth Freeman Center.   "We've seen a 20 percent drop in calls to us, and that has us all extremely worried," Janis Broderick said last week. "We've been hearing across the state and the country that everyone has been seeing some drop in calls like that, but at some point in time, the dam is going to break and people are


Governor Tours Mask Cleaning Site; Grocery Workers Given Testing Options
05:33PM / Saturday, April 11, 2020
SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The governor has added grocery market employees to the list of essential workers who can be tested for COVID-19.    The free and priority and testing sites have been set up for first-responders at the Big E in West Springfield and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.    Gov. Charlie Baker on Saturday, speaking at the N95 mask cleaning center set up in Somerville, said men and women who provide critical access to food can ask to be tested.   "Someone wants to get tested, you can make an appointment in advance with your suit by your supervisor or your manager, and you do not need to be symptomatic to be tested," he said.   The


Baker Balks at Idea of 'Exit Plan' for COVID-19 Response
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
05:32PM / Friday, April 10, 2020
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker reacted angrily on Friday to the notion that the commonwealth might be developing an exit plan to "reopen" Massachusetts after the COVID-19 crisis.   On an afternoon when his daily press briefing was devoted to discussing Massachusetts' preparation for a coming surge of cases and announcing guidance that Bay Staters wear masks whenever social distancing is not possible in public, it was a question toward the end of his press availability that caused the governor to raise his voice.   A reporter, referencing recent comments from New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio about a potential timetable for relaxing social distancing guidelines,


@theMarket: Virus Numbers Help Stocks
By Bill Schmick,
03:16PM / Friday, April 10, 2020
Stocks rose this week on the hope that the U.S. may be close to a peak in virus cases, at least in the country's "hot spots." Adding to the reduced case count, the government's efforts to support the economy and the market have had a positive impact on most financial instruments.   Some strategists have warned that the market's gains will prove to be ephemeral, once the fallout from this pandemic begins to seep into the economic data. Some of that data is already showing up. For example, Thursday's unemployment data revealed that another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits this week. That brings the total close to 20 million people in three


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