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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Berkshire, Bennington Cultural Institutions Create 'Art Country'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:50PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Mass MoCA Director Joseph Thompson talks about the ArtCountry collaborative on Wednesday morning.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Joseph Thompson's been talking for years about creating a destination in North County that will keep tourists longer than a day.

The director of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is convinced that trading up day-trippers for overnights, weekends or longer will cause a seismic shift in not only the way Northern Berkshire is perceived but exponentially increase the cultural economic impact on the region.

On Wednesday morning, Thompson was joined by the directors of four other major cultural institutions in launching ArtCountry.org, a collaborative

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Payless Shoe Store to Close at Berkshire Mall
Staff Reports,
01:57PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Payless ShoeSource at the Berkshire Mall is slated for closure, the latest hit to the struggling shopping center.

Payless joins a number of national brands closing brick-and-mortar storefronts in the face of declining sales and the rise of online shopping. Two weeks ago, J.C. Penney, a founding anchor at the 30-year-old Berkshire Mall, announced its store there would be one of 140 nationwide slated for closure.

Best Buy and Macy's left within the last 18 months and Sears, also a founding anchor, this quarter said, "substantial doubt exists related to the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

Payless filed Chapter 11

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BArT Charter Public School Announces New Executive Director
01:05PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Trustees of BART Charter Public School has named James "Jay" C. White II as the school's executive director, starting June 19.

Trustee Chair Charles Swabey said White will bring to BArT more than 30 years of teaching, administrative and fundraising experience in a variety of settings, including middle and high school, colleges and universities, and national and international nonprofit organizations.

White currently serves as provost, dean of the college, and professor of physics at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vt., which he joined in 2015.

Swabey said White was inspired to apply for the executive director position by a visit to

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How Can the Sandwich Generation Relieve Financial Stress?
11:31AM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Don't worry too much if you haven't heard, but April is National Stress Awareness Month. Of course, stress can present emotional and physical challenges to all of us, but if you belong to the “sandwich generation” – that is, you may be caring for aging parents while still supporting your own children – you may be facing some financial stress as well. What can you do to relieve it?

For one thing, be aware that you're certainly not alone. About one in seven middle-aged adults is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child, according to the Pew Research Center.

Still, knowing that you have plenty of company won't provide you with

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Higher Ed Commissioner Santiago to Speak at BCC Commencement
Staff Reports,
02:47PM / Tuesday, April 04, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago will be the keynote speaker at Berkshire Community College's 57th commencement.   Santiago was appointed to his position by Gov. Charlie Baker in July 2015. Working with the Board of Higher Education, he is responsible for providing overall direction to public higher education in Massachusetts and helping shape state-level policies that maximize the benefits of higher education to the commonwealth and its citizens. Santiago joined the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in April 2013 as the senior deputy commissioner for academic affairs.   "On behalf of the students, faculty, staff and

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Medford Woman Killed in MassPike Accident
03:32PM / Monday, April 03, 2017
LEE, Mass. — A Medford woman died after a one-car crash on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Monday morning.   The accident, which occurred in the westbound lane near the 13.6 mile marker in Lee, was reported at 7:48 a.m.    Bernadette D. Murch, 53, the operator and only occupant of the vehicle, was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. She was pronounced dead a short time after arrival.   Preliminary investigation by Trooper Eric Bauman indicates that Murch's 2015 Fiat 500 was westbound in Lee when, for reasons still under investigation, the vehicle went off the right side of the road and rolled over.

The investigation is being conducted by state

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Biz Briefs: Two Pittsfield Businesses Get Help to Grow
02:23PM / Monday, April 03, 2017

There they grow: The city of Pittsfield has fully supported two local businesses, Modern Mold and Tool and Shire City Herbals, which were recently awarded tax incentives through the state's Economic Development Incentive Program to facilitate expansion projects in the city. The businesses were among 13 companies across the commonwealth that received tax incentives through the program. EDIP is designed to foster job creation and stimulate business growth; companies receive state and local tax incentives in exchange for job creation, manufacturing job retention and private investment commitments.

Modern Mold received $145,000 in investment tax credits toward a $3 million investment to

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Berkshires Beat: St. Stan's Sendings Soccer Balls, Legos to Haiti
01:34PM / Monday, April 03, 2017

To Haiti with love: Students in St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Adams presented soccer balls and Lego sets to Holly Palardy for children living in rural Haiti. Palardy is the assistant director of the Haiti Plunge, a mission founded by Sister Eunice Tassone through the Cote Center 30 years ago. Money for this gift was raised by the students during Catholic Schools Week, where daily activities are dedicated to one of the elements of Catholic schools - faith, service and knowledge.  

This year, during Vocations Day, Sister Eunice Tassone, a native of North Adams, spoke to students about her vocation and the Haitian Plunge Mission. At a school-wide presentation, she gave an overview of

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@theMarket: New Quarter, New Market
By Bill Schmick,
02:03PM / Saturday, April 01, 2017
As traders and institutions put to bed the first quarter, several concerns loom large in the weeks ahead. How things play out over that time period will have important implications for the averages, given that they are not far from their all-time, historical highs.   What will the Fed do in May? Will Washington pursue tax cuts and if so, will there be opposition?  What will first quarter earnings look like and how will markets react to all of the above? Let's look in my crystal ball, shall we?   Wall Street analysts expect corporate earnings to be higher by as much as 10-11 percent. That would be a big change from the recent past, where dismal guidance and feeble results

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Williamstown Teacher Honored by State Down Syndrome Congress
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:39PM / Friday, March 31, 2017

Frani Miceli's class participates in World Down Syndrome Day in honor of their classmate Cole by wearing crazy socks to school.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Williamstown Elementary School teacher has been named the Educator of the Year by the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress.

Fifth-grade teacher Frani Miceli was nominated for the award by Steve and Donna Narey, whose son Cole has Down syndrome and has been with Miceli for both fourth and fifth grades. Miceli joined other award recipients as well as Principal Joelle Brookner and paraprofessional Kelly Galusha at a ceremony in Worcester on March 25.

"One of the reasons the kids in Cole's class are so wonderful to him and

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Jacobís Pillow Dance Award Given to Choreographer
01:20PM / Friday, March 31, 2017

BECKET, Mass. — The 2017 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award, a prestigious honor that carries a $25,000 cash prize, will be presented to choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker Liz Lerman in acknowledgement of her vision and outstanding contributions to the dance field.  

Long ago dubbed the "Democrat of Dance" by Alan M. Kriegsman of The Washington Post, Lerman's extraordinary career of the past four decades includes a wide range of groundbreaking work. Established in 2007, the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award's previous recipients include the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham; MacArthur Fellows Michelle Dorrance and Kyle Abraham; and

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Superior Court Briefs: March 20 - March 28
Staff Reports,
09:50AM / Friday, March 31, 2017
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, March 20.   Riley Nolan, 23, of Clarksburg pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, possession of cocaine, and possession of diazepam.   He was ordered to serve concurrent one-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession of heroin and conspiracy charges. He was placed on one-year probation on the others.   The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on October 5, 2016.   Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 21.   Eric Hunt, 51, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of

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