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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Guest Column: The Explosion of Vaping and Youth Use
By Joyce Brewer, Guest Column
07:00PM / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

To the Editor:

Last spring, I was inundated with requests from curious and concerned parents and schools about vaping. Vaping among youth had skyrocketed. Particularly I heard questions about the use of one product, JUUL, and adults were trying to figure out how to respond. Many had no idea that vaping products contain nicotine that can damage a teenager's developing brain and lead to addiction.

As young people go back to school this fall, some schools will have developed successful strategies to address this public health issue and yet new challenges will need to be addressed as the tobacco and vaping industries continue developing new tactics to addict young people to nicotine;

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Merlins Abide at Spruces Park
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
05:30PM / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A closeup of a small merlin hawk.  WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Look aloft, for I hear wings stirring the air and the primeval cry of a falcon in the spruce!   Also known as pigeon hawk, a family of merlin falcons occupies a significant niche in the open meadow known for its tall Norway spruce, seeded when these 38 acres was formerly a thriving mobile home park.   While I was surveying this moist meadow for butterfly diversity, both resident and migratory, walking the dirt roads between weedy quadrants, I heard a deliberate outcry from above, and looked up to behold some large hawk-like birds swiftly flying between the tall spruces that punctuate the grassy meadow like

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Berkshire OB/GYN of BMC Continues to Expand With New Doctor
04:44PM / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems has appointed Dr. Margaret Gordon-Fogelson, an obstetrician/gynecologist, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the physician staff of Berkshire OB/GYN of BMC. 

Dr. Gordon-Fogelson is accepting new patients in need of obstetrical and gynecologic care and is teamed with doctors Herbert Kantor, Robert Benner, Miriam Goldfarb, Lindsay Miller, Charles O’Neill, Kalpesh Patel, Jill Samale, Cassandra Service, Kathleen Sheridan, Michael Shreefter and Lauren Slater, nurse practitioner Sharon McLaughlin-Carvajal and certified nurse midwives Patricia Giardina, Kirsten Kowalski and Maribeth Pomerantz at Berkshire OB/GYN of

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State Officials Mark Boat Ramp Upgrades in Tyringham, Great Barrington
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:24PM / Monday, September 17, 2018

The new boat ramp was welcomed by those who use the pond often. TYRINGHAM, Mass. — Hundreds of boats can take to the waters of Goose Pond on a weekend.   But in recent years, the boat access has been in poor condition.  It was all gravel, was filled with holes, and when it rained, it all washed out. It was eroding away.    "Every time you have a heavy rain it would carry the gravel down and fill in this section of the lake," said Terry Smith from the state Department of Fish and Game's Fishing and Boat Access division.    Town officials reached out to Smith and the department asking if something could be done to improve it. And things

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Biz Briefs: Three Local Businesses To Be Celebrated For Growth
02:30PM / Monday, September 17, 2018
Rural Small Business Initiative

Berkshire County comprises 931 square miles, making it the second-largest county in Massachusetts. Census estimates a total population of 126,313, with approximately 135 residents per square mile within this large land mass - creating many economic challenges in a mostly rural county.

On Wednesday, Sept. 19, officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center will celebrate three local small businesses that have received free counseling from the MSBDC and successfully acquired SBA financing to grow their business. The three local businesses to be highlighted are: Klara's Gourmet Cookies, 195 Water

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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Grown Sets 20th Annual Harvest Supper for Sept. 24
12:54PM / Monday, September 17, 2018
Good meal

Berkshire Grown’s 20th annual Harvest Supper puts local food at the center of the celebration on Monday, Sept. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Ski Butternut in Great Barrington. More than two dozen Berkshire Grown member chefs and local beverage producers will be on-hand. The chefs will be serving a wide selection of tastings - all featuring fresh ingredients from local farms. The evening also includes a silent auction with favorites like dinner and an overnight stay at Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough, dinner at Blue Hill New York City, a sheepskin from Mayflower Farm in South Egremont, and fruit trees from Windy Hill Farm.

This year's event is Barbara Zheutlin's

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Community Health Programs Names New Chief Communications Officer
11:50AM / Monday, September 17, 2018

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs has named Elizabeth "Betsy" Strickler as chief communications officer for the CHP countywide health and medical network. In this role, she will lead strategic marketing, communication and fundraising initiatives for the organization.

"Betsy is a great addition to the Community Health Programs' organization as we expand our marketing, outreach and fundraising initiatives throughout the Berkshires," said CHP CEO Lia Spiliotes. "As we continue to strengthen our brand of health care throughout the Berkshires, Betsy brings the tools to make it happen."

Strickler has worked for Berkshire region

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Gentrification Pops Up As North Berkshire Coalition Forum Topic
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Monday, September 17, 2018

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A new buzzword appeared repeatedly throughout the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition monthly forum on Friday.

That gathering, the first of the season, was the annual "needs assessment" forum, at which people can come throw out ideas for what future coalition meetings should focus on. In an effort to organize those thoughts, this year, the Coalition asked people to categorize their ideas into "topics," "needs" or "assets."

The one topic that was repeated several times throughout the meeting, which was attended by nearly 100 people, was "gentrification."

"Gentrification," according to Merriam Webster,

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Pittsfield Couple Expanding Gravesite Business
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:25AM / Monday, September 17, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In her final days, Matthew Kudlate's grandmother mentioned that she regretted not getting to the cemetery to clean up the family plot.    She was dying of cancer, one of five losses for Kudlate in recent years, and he and his cousin went the very next day to do it. And that is when a new business idea set in.   "It was kind of a heartbreaking thing to hear your grandmother say. We went up there to clean it the next day and started joking that it would be a good business idea," Kudlate said.   Somebody visiting the grave of a loved one had asked the two if they did it professionally and Kudlate thought it might be a way to make some

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Lemme, Mumford Top Individuals at Josh Billings Triathlon
08:34PM / Sunday, September 16, 2018
LENOX, Mass. -- Kent Lemme and Heather Mumford were the ironman and ironwoman champions Sunday at the 42nd Josh Billings Triathlon.   Lemme completed the run, boating, biking event in a time of 2 hours, 34 minutes, 38 seconds and placed fifth overall in the triathlon, which sees teams and indviduals competing together.   Mumford finished in 4:04:12.   The team from Allen Heights Veterinary (biker Josh Lipka, canoists Tom Keefe/Ben Pigott and runner Steve Monsulick) defended its overall title, finishing in 2:17:08 to edge runner-up Josh Itch (Brian Rabuse, Sue Purdy/Kurt Kuehnel and Stephen Foley). Josh Itch came across the line in 2:29:18.   The top all-female team once

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NEPR Hires New Berkshire County Reporter
01:20PM / Friday, September 14, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Nancy Eve Cohen will cover Berkshire County for New England Public Radio.

Cohen has been a freelance reporter with NEPR since 2012 and has produced an impressive body of reporting for the station including recent pieces on the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts, local farming and school safety from the perspective of students and teachers.

"Nancy is an experienced and accomplished reporter," said NEPR news director Sam Hudzik. "She has a particular interest and expertise in environment and agriculture stories - and has produced some brilliant ones for us."

Cohen has worked in public radio for more than two decades. She served as the

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New Executive Director Joins Berkshire Grown
01:04PM / Friday, September 14, 2018

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Berkshire Grown's Board of Trustees has announced that Margaret Moulton has assumed the role of executive director of the organization.

Moulton's work with the Trustees of Reservations as an engagement site manager, and her long-time interest in sustainable agriculture as a volunteer educator at Stone Barns Center for Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., have uniquely prepared her to shepherd Berkshire Grown into its next stage of development, according to Allison Rachele Bayles, president of the Board of Trustees
 
"We are thrilled to have Margaret at the helm of the organization. She is uniquely suited to engage growers and eaters alike

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