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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'Ghostbusters': The Graces of Wraith
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:35PM / Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Ghostbusters," the third film in the franchise originated by Aykroyd, Ramis and Reitman in 1984, reboots the saga of paranormal booga booga with four funny ladies starring in what is essentially a séance gone wild. Asserting that anything the male Ghostbusters could do, they can do wackier, it is a movie of moments and ideas, most of them witty, some of them hilarious.

Unfortunately, the thinnest of refurbished plots is unable to meld the cerebral with the onslaught of special effects. It gets a bit out of hand.

Still, when isolated from the obligatory Sturm und Drang, the sketch comedy crafted by the endearingly enthusiastic Ghostbusters wins our affection. Each


Berkshire Tidbits: Gather-In Celebration, Farmers Markets
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
04:06PM / Thursday, July 21, 2016

This Saturday, July 23, from noon to 7, the Berkshire branch of the NAACP, with the lead sponsorship of Greylock Federal Credit Union, hosts the free annual Gather-In Festival in Rev. Willard & Rosemary Durant Park, formerly Pitt Park, on Columbus Avenue in Pittsfield.

Last year, the day was so hot and sunny. I even enjoyed getting my blood pressure taken by Berkshire Health Systems because I could go into a cool trailer for a few minutes. They gave me a nice, blue tote bag as a memento and to carry around my day's stuff in.

The weather is predicted to be in the mid-80s with sun and clouds for this afternoon of barbecue and other homemade foods, a basketball tournament, a stage


The Independent Investor: Candidates & the Economy
By Bill Schmick,
01:29PM / Thursday, July 21, 2016

As the GOP political convention winds down and the Democrat convention gears up, we continue to hear a steady stream of economic "one liners" from the candidates. We all know that fixing the economy is one of the major issues of this campaign but so far the candidates are long on words and short on specifics.

"If I'm elected," promise both candidates, there will be more jobs, trade, wages and growth. According to them, all we need do is check the right boxes come Election Day and the rest will be a foregone conclusion. Historically, Wall Street and corporations vote Republican because the GOP is good for business, while labor, minorities and the "have


BRPC Hears Update To 'Last Mile' Broadband Plan
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:26AM / Thursday, July 21, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Finishing out the so-called "last mile" of broadband connectivity will take a flexible approach, giving towns an array of options to connect, according to Massachusetts Technology Collaborative implementation liaison Bill Ennen.   Ennen was appointed in June at the same time Peter Larkin, former Pittsfield state representative, was appointed to chair the board of the state's Massachusetts Broadband Initiative. The two are now heading the operations to bring high-speed internet into 44 unserved towns in Western Massachusetts. Ennen's role is to be the middle man between the MBI  and individual towns.   Their approach, under the

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Berkshire 11-Year-Olds Third at Cal Ripken Tourney
03:15PM / Wednesday, July 20, 2016
PEPPERELL, Mass. – Pepperell handed Berkshire a 12-6 loss on Monday in the semi-finals of the Western Massachusetts Cal Ripken 11-and-under State Championship.   After dropping a 4-0 loss to Pepperell on Sunday in pool play, Berkshire came out fired up and took a quick 3-0 lead after the top of the first inning on three walks and two Pepperell errors.   The score remained the same until the top of the fourth, when Brendan Armstrong scored his second run of the night on a double by Cliff Flynn, putting Berkshire ahead 4-0.   In the home half of the fourth, Pepperell finally broke through against starting pitcher Flynn with four consecutive singles and two walks. He was


Great Music at Tanglewood, Manchester and Glimmerglass
11:21AM / Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tanglewood enters its third week, and the highlights abound. Performances of music by great Classical, Romantic and 20th Century composers, i.e. Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Dvorák and Vaughn Williams, take center stage, featuring outstanding examples of chamber and orchestral music by these iconic masters.

Why go? Add to the above the Festival of Contemporary music that contributes some modern-day spice to the mix and you have a week of future musical memories that define what Tanglewood is all about - the best of older and newly composed music.

And, if the offerings at Tanglewood aren’t enough to pique your musical interest, there are also outstanding

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Investing: A Marathon, Not a Sprint
10:59AM / Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Next week, the 2016 Summer Olympics begin in Rio de Janeiro. One of the most compelling events is the marathon, a 26.2-mile endurance contest with roots dating back to ancient Greece. It may be that we’ve kept our interest in the marathon because it can teach us much about life – and it certainly has lessons for investors.

In fact, if you were to compare investing to an Olympic sport, it would be much closer to a marathon than a sprint. Here’s why:

Long-term perspective: Sprinters are unquestionably great athletes, and they work hard to get better. Yet their events are over with quickly. But marathoners know they have a long way to go before their race is done, so they


Panel Discussion, Film Screening Sheds Light On Heroin Epidemic
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:45AM / Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Congressman Richard Neal headed the effort to bring the screening to BCC. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire County has seen 105 people so far this year taken to the hospital after overdosing.   That's on pace for more than 300 in a year.   Last year, there were 158, a sharp increase from the average of 40 to 60 from 2011 through 2013. There were 36 deaths in 2015 from overdoses and so far in Pittsfield alone there have been nine. A total of 36 out of 800 babies born this year have been exposed to opioids while in utero.   Those statistics come from John Rogers, vice president and general counsel for Berkshire Health Systems. He detailed those numbers after a

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Berkshire Cal Ripken All-Stars Move on to Western Mass State Semis
09:31PM / Monday, July 18, 2016
PEPPERELL, Mass. -- The Berkshire Cal Ripken 11U All-Stars split a pair on Sunday to finish pool play in the Western Massachusetts state tournament.   Dylan Ely got the call to pitch the opener against Frontier and didn't disappoint, throwing a complete game shutout and giving up one hit with six strikeouts.   Ely also helped out on the offensive side as well going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Braxton Crandall was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Blake Cella and Nick Vaber also had strong games for Berkshire, each scoring a run in the process.   Berkshire took the shutout win by the score of 8-0.   Berkshire faced the undefeated host, Pepperell, in the pool play


Congressman Neal Hosts Heroin Documentary, Panel Discussion
04:02PM / Monday, July 18, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal is hosting a screening of the HBO documentary "Heroin: Cape Cod USA" at Berkshire Community College on Tuesday.

Neal is joined in the event by Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer; North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright; Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bowler and Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless.

The showing in the Koussevitzky Arts Center is free and open to the public. The event begins at 5 p.m. with brief remarks; a panel discussion about current efforts to reduce the drug problem in Berkshire County will follow the 77-minute film. It is expected to conclude by 7:45 p.m.

Panelists include Alcombright; Bowler; 


Biz Briefs: Rotary 'Citizen of the Year,' Bank Grants
03:21PM / Monday, July 18, 2016

Good citizens: The Rotary Club of Great Barrington presented its annual “Citizen of the Year” award to Sally and Fred Harris of Saint James Place.  A luncheon presentation took place on June 29 at Crissey Farm, with selection committee chair, MaryAnn Norris, presiding.

Each year Great Barrington Rotarians honor a member or members of the community exemplifying the Rotary motto “service above self.” Sally and Fred Harris were chosen for their significant contribution to Great Barrington in saving St. James Episcopal Church and embarking on a six-year long historic restoration to transform the church buildings into a cultural center destined to enhance the


Great Barrington Fire Wins Federal Grant To Replace Airpacks
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:17PM / Monday, July 18, 2016

Chief Charles Burger said the grant will purchase 28 new airpacks, replacing the 11-year-old ones the department currently uses. GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Fire Department is replacing its 11-year-old airpacks with more modern and safer ones.   U.S. Rep. Richard Neal announced a $160,477 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase the 28 new units. The packs are used more than two dozen times a year to help firefighters breathe in hazardous conditions.   "This grant is going toward replacing our self-contained breathing apparatus, or what most people know them as airpacks. They are the cylinders we wear on our backs in order to breath clean


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