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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Markets Bounce 10 Percent Since Christmas
By Bill Schmick,
10:34AM / Saturday, January 12, 2019
The stock markets have gained almost one percent per day since the beginning of the year. If you had panicked and sold during the Christmas holidays, you are sitting in cash wondering when to get back in. Here is some advice.   Patience should be at the top of your "to-do" list. If you believe we are in a bear market, then the kind of rebound we are seeing in the equity markets is completely normal. Bear markets are characterized by waterfall declines followed by sharp, explosive upside rallies. Unfortunately, these fantastic trading opportunities are just that — trades.   If you are not living the markets every single moment, day-in, day-out, then forget about

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New President Named at Berkshire Gas
04:00PM / Friday, January 11, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  Franklyn D. Reynolds has been named to lead Berkshire Gas as its 11th president since the company's founding in 1853.

In this role, Reynolds will have overall responsibility for operations and management of the company and its 124-member workforce. Berkshire Gas provides natural gas service to 40,000 customers in 20 communities in the three westernmost counties of Massachusetts.

A 25-year veteran of the utility industry, Reynolds also serves as vice president of gas integration for Avangrid Networks, where he leads the restructuring of the gas operations and gas engineering lines of business.

"Frank is a proven leader with broad experience in the

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Two Appointed Department Chairs at Berkshire Medical Center
03:53PM / Friday, January 11, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems announces the appointments of Dr. Marcella Bradway as chair of the Department of Surgery and Dr. Jessica Krochmal as chair of the Department of Pathology at Berkshire Medical Center, extending its history of equity in leadership. 

Dr. Bradway is the first female chair of Surgery and previously served as interim chair of Surgery for half of 2016 and throughout all of 2018, and was vice chair for five years. Dr. Krochmal is the second woman to serve as chair of Pathology, and she previously served as vice chair from 2016 to 2018. 

"Berkshire Medical Center has a remarkable medical staff, and its foundation is a physician

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Berkshires' First Recreational Marijuana Dispensary Opens to Long Lines
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:30PM / Friday, January 11, 2019

Staff had come in well before the opening to prepare for what was expected to be a big day in retail sales. GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Cheers roared in the parking lot of Theory Wellness at 10 a.m. as staff held a signed reading "recreational cannabis, now open."   At that point, there were about 100 people standing in the blistering cold waiting to get through the doors. It's been more than two years since voters approved the legalization of recreational cannabis in Massachusetts and Theory became the Berkshires' first dispensary to sell the products, leading the way for an industry that has been bursting through the doors throughout the

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Shutdown Could Impact Renters, Landlords Who Rely on Section 8 Vouchers
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:10AM / Friday, January 11, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local landlords and recipients of Section 8 housing assistance could start feeling the pinch if the shutdown of the federal government continues much longer.   That is the assessment of the chief executive officer of Pittsfield-based Berkshire Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit dedicated to helping provide affordable housing throughout the region.   Elton Ogden indicated Wednesday afternoon that the shutdown is not having a major impact on Berkshire Housing or its clients — for now — but he is concerned about "mom and pop" landlords with tenants who rely on the federal subsidies to pay the rent.   "It's really the

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The Independent Investor: Changes to Social Security and Medicare Benefits
By Bill Schmick,
04:03PM / Thursday, January 10, 2019
As the year begins, those who are retired, or who plan to soon, need to know the changes the government has recently announced to your benefits.   The good news is that retirees will get a 2.8 percent increase in Social Security payments. While that doesn't sound like much, it happens to be the largest cost-of-living adjustment in seven years. What that amounts to for the average couple in retirement is about $67 per month, or an average monthly payment of $2,448.   If you are one of those workers like me, who waited until 70 years of age before collecting benefits and are considered a "high earner," then you will be receiving as much as $73 more per month up to

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Easy New Year's Resolutions For Your Health
By Chrissy Garner, LDN,
11:35AM / Wednesday, January 09, 2019

As the clock struck midnight, and you were sipping and kissing away the last of 2018, you and millions of people were also making New Year's resolutions.

Among the popular ones: eat less, move more, cut back on sweets, quit smoking, volunteer, and spend more time with family. Few, if any, of these resolutions (especially those that are health-based), are actually kept. How many will still be priorities at the end of January?

For many of us, the path to good health is not an easy one. Procrastination, family obligations, work demands and lack of time and energy are just a few reasons that can halt best intentions in their tracks.

But consider these simple resolutions for 2019:

* Eat

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Roth vs. Traditional 401(k): Which Is Right for You?
11:27AM / Wednesday, January 09, 2019

For many years, employees of companies that offered 401(k) plans only faced a couple of key decisions: how much to contribute and how to allocate their dollars among the various investment options in their plan. But in recent years, a third choice has emerged: the traditional versus Roth 401(k). Which is right for you?

To begin with, you need to understand the key difference between the two types of 401(k) plans. When you invest in a traditional 401(k), you put in pre-tax dollars, so the more you contribute, the lower your taxable income. Your contributions and earnings grow tax-deferred until you begin taking withdrawals, which will be taxed at your ordinary tax rate. With a Roth 401(k),

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Berkshires First Recreational Marijuana Store Opens Friday
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:31AM / Wednesday, January 09, 2019
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The county's first recreational marijuana retailer opens its doors on Friday at 10 a.m.   Theory Wellness will be the first to sell retail, rather than medical, cannibis products in the Berkshires after being approved by the state's Cannabis Control Commission last month.   "This is the beginning of a movement in the Berkshires," CEO Brandon Pollock said.   Theory opened as the county's first medical marijuana dispensary in September 2017 and will also be the first to include recreational sales. It was originally formed in 2015 and constructed the 2,500 square-foot facility for the medical marijuana

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Big Y Plans to Eliminate Single-Use Plastic Bags in 2020
Staff Reports,
05:32PM / Tuesday, January 08, 2019
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Both Berkshire County cities last year spent months, if not years, talking about banning single-use plastic bags but they might find business is moving ahead of them.    Big Y Foods Inc., one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, will eliminate its use of the bags from all 70 of its markets, specialty stores and Big Y Express Gas and Convenience locations in 2020.   That decision was prompted, in part, by local towns that have already prohibited the use of the bags. The 83-year-old company says it has been complying with bag bans in Adams (which launched a free bag initiative), Amherst, Great Barrington, Lee,

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Berkshires Beat: Winners of the Pittsfield Photo Challenge Announced
02:51PM / Monday, January 07, 2019
The winners are ...

This past fall, Downtown Pittsfield Inc. held a photo challenge to find the photo that best captures why downtown Pittsfield is the "Heart of the Berkshires." Entrants were encouraged to capture photos that showcased the beauty and personality of downtown Pittsfield, keeping in mind the theme "Heart of the Berkshires."

The first-place winner, as determined by a panel of local judges, is Zach Morris of Pittsfield. His photo, titled "Tropical Pittsfield," has won him a prize package donated by local downtown businesses, and his photo will be featured in Pittsfield's 2019 Downtown Guide and a Downtown Pittsfield Inc. social marketing

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Messy Winter Weather on the Menu This Week
01:48PM / Monday, January 07, 2019
 

Did someone order snow?

The National Weather Service originally issued a "Hazardous Weather Outlook" for the Berkshires and southern Vermont for basically the entire first half of this week, then upgraded it to a "Winter Weather Advisory" for 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday for the first leg of the multi-day storm.

Monday's cold temperatures will push in some snow overnight tonight, with an inch or 2 possible to the south and up to 3 inches in the northern part of the county. Then, as temperatures rise a bit Tuesday morning, there could be a mix of snow and sleet before the precipitation changes to freezing rain and then plain rain throughout the afternoon.

When

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