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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Tells MCLA Grads to 'Get in the Way'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:19PM / Saturday, May 13, 2017

President Jamie Birge shakes the hand of a graduate wearing Birge's trademark fashion statements — a bowtie. See more photos here. NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An icon of Civil Rights Movement, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Alanta, Ga., urged the class of 2017 to "be brave, be bold, be courageous" and turn the world upside down.   "There are forces in America today that want to take us back to another place, another time," he told the graduates at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on Saturday morning. "We've come too far, we've made too much progress and we must not go back, we must go forward as a nation."   The Georgia


Lee Teenager Wins Congressional Art Competition
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:30PM / Friday, May 12, 2017

The self-portrait will hang in the Capitol in Washington D.C. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Fiora Caligiuri-Randall has a natural gift.   Only the second acrylic painting the 14-year-old has done will now hang in the halls of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Fiora's painting beat out 45 other high school artist's work throughout the First Massachusetts Congressional District in this year's Congressional Art Competition.   "I am a self-taught artist. I haven't taken any art classes. This year, I decided to take some art classes at Berkshire Community College. I took Drawing 1 last semester and I did this painting at fundamentals of painting this


HospiceCare in The Berkshires Earns National 'Hospice Honors' Recognition
02:42PM / Friday, May 12, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — HospiceCare in The Berkshires has been recognized as a "Hospice Honors" recipient, one of only six in Massachusetts. The designation is based on survey results from 2016.

The "Deyta Family Evaluation of Hospice Care" (FEHC) survey evaluates a hospice's performance on 24 satisfaction indicator measures. To earn the "Honors" designation, HospiceCare in The Berkshires had to be above the national average in at least 20 of the evaluated questions.

"We congratulate all of the compassionate caregivers at HospiceCare in The Berkshires for this great achievement," said Michelle Chappell, executive director of HospiceCare.


Pittsfield Man Joins CHP Board of Directors
02:38PM / Friday, May 12, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Christopher J. Pedersen of Pittsfield has joined the board of directors of Community Health Programs.

Pedersen has been involved in many areas of healthcare since 1991, and served as practice administrator of Berkshire Surgical Associates PC for 10 years. He joined Scarafoni Financial Service and Berkshire Fairfield Insurance Agency as business manager in 2015. He earned a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University.

He has been a member of the Berkshire Regional Employment Board and the chair of the Pittsfield Ambulance Review Committee; he is now chair of the Pittsfield Municipal Airport Commission. He lives in Pittsfield with his wife, Erin


Community Health Programs Names New Chief Financial Officer
01:47PM / Friday, May 12, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs has named Thomas Walbridge as its new chief financial officer. He will oversee the health network's budget, financial operations and planning.

Walbridge has served as chief financial officer and vice president for the Kinsley Group Inc. and as CFO for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority; he was also director of finance and human resources at Six Flags New England. His early professional career was spent in the banking sector in Pittsfield, where he spent his childhood years. He holds a business degree from Babson College and an MBA from Western New England University.

"Tom's background in executive-level financial


Lee Bank Official Named 2017 'Community Bank Hero'
12:36PM / Friday, May 12, 2017

LEE, Mass. — Lee Bank announces that Bruce J. Marzotto, senior vice president of commercial lending, has been named a Community Bank Hero by The Warren Group and Banker & Tradesman. Community Bank Heroes is an annual award that honors the achievements, commitment, and dedication of financial professionals who go above and beyond for their institution and community.

Award recipients are nominated by their peers and selected by Banker & Tradesman's editorial board; this year's class of 13 winners comes from community banks throughout Massachusetts.

Marzotto has been with Lee Bank for 10 years and has worked in banking in Berkshire County for 40 years. After receiving


North Adams Event Tries to Link Local Vendors with Anchor Institutions
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:07AM / Friday, May 12, 2017

Jeffrey Thomas of Lever organized the event at Mass MoCA's B10 Club.  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Last Friday's foul weather was just fine with Jeffrey Thomas.   "I've never hoped so hard for rain," Thomas said as the crowd filtered in to a Buyer/Supplier Meetup event he planned at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts' Club B10.   Thomas is the executive director of North Adams non-profit Lever, which seeks to foster entrepreneurship throughout the region.   On Friday, Lever hosted the first-ever event to try to form connections between small- and mid-sized businesses and the area's major "anchor" institutions, like


Great Barrington Rescuers Locate Missing 13-Year-Old Boy
10:24PM / Thursday, May 11, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A 13-year-old special needs child who went missing early Thursday afternoon during a hike was located shortly before 7 p.m.

Police Chief William Walsh and Fire Chief Charles Burger said more than 75 rescuers took part in the search that successfully located the child.

Rescuers responded at 12:15 p.m. to Fountain Pond State Park, a 250-acre park bisected by U.S. Route 7, for a report of a missing hiker. Upon arrival, officials were told that the boy became separated from his group during a hike and could not be located.

Firefighters began a search of approximately 3 miles of trails, but were unable to locate him.

Multiple jurisdictions were summonsed to


The Independent Investor: Cosmetics Survive, Prosper Despite Competition
By Bill Schmick,
05:26PM / Thursday, May 11, 2017

As the clash between brick-and-mortar retail enterprises and the mighty Amazon escalates, the internet shopping colossus is laying waste to one store or mall after another. One of the few areas that has not only staved off the internet shopping giant, but has actually turned the internet and social media to its advantage, is the cosmetics industry.

There is a combination of fortuitous developments, some peculiar to the makeup industry, and others the result of adept marketing that has allowed the beauty trade to grow unencumbered. Social media, as you might imagine, has played a big part in growing an industry that has revenues of $62 billion and climbing.

For decades, women would pay a


'A Quiet Passion': Rhyme and Reason
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:36PM / Thursday, May 11, 2017

Digging into my trove of words rarely used to describe most movies, but certainly apt in the case of director Terence Davies' biopic of the American poet Emily Dickinson, "A Quiet Passion," I have located and here employ the term, highbrowed. Truth be told, though I spent much of my formative years at institutions of higher learning where one can stave off the inevitability of work and earn a degree or two by paying the tuition and showing up for class somewhat regularly, I estimate that I just barely learned enough to appreciate this masterpiece.

Continuing in my hifalutin assay of expressions pertinent to this highly intelligent work, note that I've never really liked


State Drops Criminal Charges But Pipeline Protesters Demand Trial
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:05PM / Thursday, May 11, 2017
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Sixteen of the 24 protesters arrested fighting a natural gas pipeline being built on state forest land in Sandisfield showed up in court Thursday morning ready to proudly say they are not criminals.   The state agreed their actions didn't warrant criminal charges and entered a motion to convert those charges to civil citations. Those who were arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct then left the courtroom without an arraignment.   But the protesters say they were already treated like criminals through the arrests and being brought up on criminal charges in the first place. They want a trial on those original charges because


Letter: BAtT Fundraiser Success Because of Community Support
Letters to the Editor,
01:00PM / Wednesday, May 10, 2017

To the Editor:

On Saturday, April 8, Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School hosted our 10th annual "Get BART Smart" fundraiser – and raised $27,843 (net) for the school's college preparatory programs. Over 130 people attended – and re-lived their high school years through our team trivia game. A huge "thank you" to all who played and made it a great evening!

This night would not have been possible without the support of over a hundred local organizations and businesses.

Our High Honor Roll sponsors: Aladco Linen Services; Berkshire Bank; Cord Master Engineering; Primary Venture Partners; Shine Wire Products Inc.; Smith Watson &


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