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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

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

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'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,

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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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@theMarket: Where Oil Goes, So Goes the Market
By Bill Schmick,
09:34AM / Saturday, December 12, 2015

Stocks had a tough week. All averages are now negative for the year once again and will continue to go lower until oil finds a bottom or the market disconnects from energy prices. The problem with that scenario is that no one knows if and when that will occur.

The price of crude is down 14 percent since December 1 and 35 percent since May. Controversy rages over whether the precipitous decline in oil over the last year from $114 a barrel to $36 a barrel is a supply or demand imbalance. New technology in the form of hydraulic fracking has unearthed a huge new supply of natural gas and oil worldwide. So much so that consuming these new sources of energy will require decades. At the same

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