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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

E-Book Review: 'Symphonies & Scorpions' by Gerald Elias
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires
02:24PM / Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Musician/author Gerald Elias is widely known by Berkshires classical music aficionados for living a double artistic life as a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, performing at the BSO's Tanglewood Music Festival each summer, and also being the gifted author of six classical music-themed mystery "whodunits": "Devil’s Trill," "Danse Macabre," "Playing With Fire," "Death and the Maiden," "Death and Transfiguration" and "Spring Break."

Now, Elias has just released his first downloadable e-book, "Symphonies & Scorpions." A memoir, he has subtitled it "Ramblings of a Wand'ring

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New Year's: Time for Financial Resolutions
Submitted by Edward Jones,
01:35PM / Wednesday, December 27, 2017

We've reached the end of another year – which means it’s just about time for some New Year's resolutions. Would you like to study a new language, take up a musical instrument or visit the gym more often? All these are worthy goals, of course, but why not also add some financial resolutions?

Here are some ideas to think about:

Increase contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan. For 2018, you can contribute up to $18,500 (or $24,500 if you're 50 or older) to your 401(k) or similar plan, such as a 403(b), for employees of public schools and some nonprofit groups, or a 457(b) plan, for employees of local governments. It's usually a good idea to

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Contact Your Elected Officials
11:27AM / Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Have something to say? Here's how to get in touch with your local officials, both on the national and state level.

 

U.S. Senate

Markey, Edward
202-224-2742
www.markey.senate.gov

Warren, Elizabeth
202-224-4543
www.warren.senate.gov

 

U.S. House of Representatives

Neal, Richard
202-225-5601
https://neal.house.gov/

 

State Senate Hinds, Adam
617-722-1625 413-344-4561 adam.hinds@masenate.gov

 

State Representative Barrett, John john.barrett@mahouse.gov 617-722-2400   Farley-Bouvier, Tricia Tricia.Farley-Bouvier@mahouse.gov
617-722-2240
413-442-4300   Mark, Paul Paul.Mark@mahouse.gov
617-722-2692
413-464-5635

Pignatelly, William

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Williamstown Scoutmaster Retiring After 25 Years With Troop 70
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:27AM / Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Outgoing Scoutmaster Rich Davis poses with current and past members of Boy Scout Troop 70 of Williamsown on the day of his last meeting.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — There's only one question left for Rich Davis, retiring after 17 years of being Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 70 in Williamstown.

"What are you going to do on Thursdays now?" incoming Scoutmaster Emily Brannan asked Davis at a party celebrating Davis' retirement on Dec. 21 (a Thursday, of course).

"My wife will come up with something," Davis quipped to applause and laughter from the current and past Scouts and their families gathered in the parish center of St. Patrick and Raphael Parish after a

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@theMarket: The Market That Keeps on Giving
By Bill Schmick,
11:01AM / Saturday, December 23, 2017
You can't say enough about a stock market that continues to climb, day after day, month after month. Best of all, it looks like it will continue to do so through the end of the year. What happens in 2018? Well, that may be a different story.   There is no evidence, however, that things will have to change in the New Year. Thanks to the big fat tax refund check that Corporate America will receive next year, investors will be expecting several quarters of better earnings. At the very least, that should support stock prices for a few months, if not more.   Let's not get into whether the tax cuts are good or bad for the economy. If you have been reading my columns, you know my

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Berkshire Natural Resources Council Appoints New President
05:14PM / Friday, December 22, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The board of directors of Berkshire Natural Resources Council has appointed Jenny Hansell of Sharon, Conn., as its next president, succeeding Tad Ames, who will step down from the organization at the end of the calendar year.

Hansell has served as the executive director of the North East Community Center in Millerton, N.Y., since 2001.

"We conducted a national search resulting in an initial pool of 60 applications. Out of this, Jenny rose to the top on the strength of her experience, track record, and clear articulation of the leadership skills necessary to match the organization's needs and aspirations," said Tim Crane, BNRC's chairman.

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Berkshire Community College Brings On New Faculty and Staff
04:49PM / Friday, December 22, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College has announced new faculty and staff additions.

Pam Coley McCann joined BCC as an assistant professor of human services. Prior to joining the college, McCann had a full-time private practice in Pittsfield, and before that she worked for the Department of Mental Health as a clinical social worker. McCann received a master’s degree in social work at Springfield College. She currently lives in Pittsfield with her husband and her dog.

Antonia Buckley joined BCC as the Berkshire Immigrant Stories coordinator. Buckley previously worked as a freelance photographer and was a co-founder of The Hoping Machine. Buckley received a

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'Wonder Wheel': Round and Round It Goes
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
12:17PM / Friday, December 22, 2017
Woody Allen flummoxes us. I think it was Henry Miller who asked to be judged by his literary work and not his personal life. "Fat chance" said some; "OK" said others; and "Who's Henry Miller?" was doubtlessly the response by most.   While Allen makes no such plea, aloud or tacitly, the arrival of each new movie from this film genius is always a sticky wicket. We are put at odds by alleged misbehavior, objectionable proclivities and charges of sexual harassment never quite resolved in the cauldron of public opinion.   Thus, with the opening of "Wonder Wheel," sometimes dramatically brilliant, cleverly derivative in its homage to a gaggle

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Tree Lightings & Holiday Events 2017
01:11AM / Friday, December 22, 2017
Holiday Events

(Visit our Holiday Bazaars and Craft Fairs list for holiday fairs.)

 

Wednesday, Dec. 20

'BEER & CAROLS,' Pittsfield, 7 p.m.: Zion Lutheran Church presents “Beer & Carols” at the church, 74 First St., the fifth annual installment of its popular Christmas sing-along that s intended to gather people together for a lively night of popular Christmas carols and songs. Leading the evening will be pianists Amy Renak and Timothy Weisman, along with Daniel Broad on string bass. Light food and non-alcoholic beverages will be served to all; beer and wine will be available for purchase. There is no admission fee; aA free-will offering will be taken to

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Snow & Ice Forecast for Christmas Weekend
Staff Reports,
05:44PM / Thursday, December 21, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Another storm system is expected to hit the region over the Christmas weekend, bringing sleet and snow.    The National Weather Service is forecasting a mixture of snow, ice, freezing rain, and rain starting Friday morning and extending into Saturday. It's starts with light snow Friday morning and that becomes heavier into the afternoon.   Preliminary snowfall projections indicate that up to 3-6 inches of snow could fall by Friday evening across northern Massachusetts along the New Hampshire and Vermont borders, with snowfall amounts falling off to the south and east.    Greylock Snow Day has increased the probability of Friday being

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The Independent Investor: To Roll, or Not to Roll Your 401(k)
By Bill Schmick,
05:18PM / Thursday, December 21, 2017
Rolling your 401(k) or 403(b) into an IRA can be a good idea for some savers but not for others. Here are some things to think about before you make a decision.   In my last column, I outlined some of the more obvious reasons for rolling over your retirement accounts: cost savings, larger selections of investment choices, more flexibility. I also discussed some of the cons against rolling it over: the ability to borrow against your 401(k), a lower age for beginning distributions from your 401(k) (55, versus 59 ½ for an IRA), the ability to delay minimum required distributions after 70 1/2, if you are still working.   This week, I want to focus on one of the greatest

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Amatul-Wadud Announces Bid For U.S. Representative
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:19PM / Wednesday, December 20, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Tahirah Amatul-Wadud wants to unify the First Congressional District.   The Springfield Democrat announced on Wednesday that she will be challenging incumbent Richard Neal for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.   Amatul-Wadud told a large audience at Dottie's Coffee Lounge joining her in the announcement that while the district is "jerry-rigged" with a mix of rural and urban areas, everybody shares common concerns. She wants to unite the entire district behind addressing those.   "One of my jobs won't be just to listen to you but to unite. We will not allow us to be strangers. We will not allow us to be

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