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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Baker, Polito Sign Compacts With 17 South County Towns
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:44PM / Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Lenox Board of Selectman Ed Lane signs the compact with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — It started with the six Southern Berkshire school districts.    School officials were looking at the cost of operating each district while noticing student population dropping. They realized they couldn't do it alone.   It started with the six school districts spanning three towns. Now a collaborative has grown to include all 17 South County towns and has funding from the state and private sector to increase the sharing of services.   "The community has really rallied around this thing and it is unprecedented," said state Rep. William


Baker Cheers, Challenges BArT Charter Students
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:52PM / Tuesday, December 22, 2015
ADAMS, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday congratulated the students of Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School on their accomplishments and challenged them to keep building for their futures.   "If we work it right, if we work hard and work smart and make good decisions, you wake up when you're 59 years old and think you're the luckiest man alive," Baker told an all-school assembly. "But those habits, those skills, those foundations are what you're building now.   "You guys are building a great foundation, the kind of foundation where students get to go to the great places like that list I just saw."   Baker was in


Berkshire Tidbits: Christmas Goodies, Year's End Events
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
12:48PM / Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Charles H. Baldwin & Sons
Has Extracts Galore & Plenty More

When you are on tiny Center Street in tiny West Stockbridge, you cannot miss noticing that Charles H. Baldwin & Sons, aka Baldwin's Extracts, isdressed for Christmas. Even from outside.

Giant handmade pink and blue wreaths of oversize shiny-wrapped candies, ornaments, ribbons and flowers surround the two front windows, making spirits bright as soon as you see them. If you fade the nicely paved street and overhead wires, you could be back in the 19th century when Charles Baldwin opened.

After three previous generations had made extracts before them, Charles H. Baldwin and his father, H. M. Baldwin, started the


Superior Court Briefs: Dec. 15
Staff Reports,
02:31PM / Monday, December 21, 2015
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, Dec. 15.   Kevin Fowler, 45, of Rocky Hill, Conn. pleaded guilty to 11 counts of larceny over $250, 11 counts of uttering, and 11 counts of forgery.   He was ordered to serve two to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Fowler admitted to creating false checks and cashing them in Berkshire County between June 4, 2015 and June 6, 2015. The checks totaled $27,967.


The Independent Investor: How Rising Interest Rates Will Change Your Life
By Bill Schmick,
07:11PM / Thursday, December 17, 2015

It's official: Wednesday afternoon the Federal Reserve bank hiked the short-term interest rate, called the Fed Funds rate, for the first time in 9 1/2 years. It is the beginning of a new financial era for all of us and it behooves you to understand its implications.

Let me first assuage any concerns you may have that this single 0.25 percentage point increase will impact your life anytime soon. Instead, simply view this event as the beginning of a progression to gradually higher interest rates that will ultimately impact everything from car loans to retirement savings accounts.

The mechanism by which the Fed raises rates is complicated. Just know that overtime there is a domino


'Trumbo': Write and Wrong
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:34PM / Thursday, December 17, 2015

Both fortunately and unfortunately, movies about bigotry and fearmongering in America always seem to be timely and appropriate. Hence, while director Jay Roach's engaging, wittily realized biopic about blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo isn't especially artistic or cutting edge, it's dutiful, ultimately patriotic meditations in the cause of the First Amendment please our sense of justice.

Watching "Trumbo," we can't help but mull the current crop of political bloodsuckers looking to make hay of our worries. Is it just us smart people who know history repeats itself?

A reputedly accurate screenplay by John McNamara, based on Bruce Cook's biography,


Holiday Spending Can Help Teach Children About Money
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:42AM / Wednesday, December 16, 2015

During this holiday season, you likely will be spending money, in various amounts and in various ways. And you can use this experience to teach your children about money management.

Here are a few ideas for doing just that:

* Stick to a budget. Tell your children you have set aside a certain amount of money for gifts and holiday events, such as hosting parties, and that you won’t exceed it. And if you have saved money throughout the year in a special holiday fund, let your kids know about that, too. This information should help impress upon them the importance of sticking with a budget and saving for a goal.

* Discuss credit and debt. Ideally, you won’t have to use your

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Berkshire Tidbits: Berkshires Featured on Barefoot Contessa
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
02:24PM / Monday, December 14, 2015
The Barefoot Contessa Episode
Featuring Berkshire Food Shops

Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten and her husband, Jeffrey, came to the Berkshires with friends. They shopped, they filmed and the Barefoot Holiday episode that aired starting this past weekend.

Berkshire Mountain Bakery, the actual bakery in Housatonic, behind the scenes where all the work gets done, made the cut. And baker-owner Richard Bourdon offering his Bread & Chocolate bread.

Robin's Candy and Rubiner's Cheesemongers & Grocers in Great Barrington are in the episode as is The Southfield Store.

Robin Helfand, owner of Robin's Candy, said they will be prominently featured. Her next-door neighbor Tune

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