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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

'Boom Town': Bet Your Bottom Dollar You'll Lose the Blues
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:04PM / Friday, April 10, 2020
 ………………………………………………………………………………………………….   "Boom Town" (1940), a romantic adventure yarn about oil wildcatters starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert and Hedy Lamarr, passes with flying colors the GTWMOVF. In case you're unfamiliar with the designation, that's the Goldberger Test for Whether a Movie is One of your Very Favorites. It's foolproof. Just replace Goldberger with your own name.

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MountainOne Commits $100,000 to BMC's COVID-19 Efforts
12:56PM / Friday, April 10, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — MountainOne has committed $100,000 to Berkshire Health Systems to support the Berkshire community and help BHS fight the coronavirus pandemic.   "As a community bank, we always strive to respond to the needs of our friends and neighbors. The need has never been more apparent than now, during the COVID-19 crisis," said Robert Fraser, president and CEO of MountainOne. "I continue to be impressed with the strength and leadership of Berkshire Health Systems in their compassionate care for our community, especially in North County, where we are headquartered. ...   "This gift is given in appreciation for BHS, Berkshire Medical Center, and

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Wally the Stegosaurus Departs for Restoration Summer
Staff Reports,
11:58AM / Friday, April 10, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Wally was hoisted from his Berkshire Museum home and onto a flatbed Friday morning to take a trip to his birthplace in New York for some freshening up.    The 1,200-pound Stegosaurus sculpture is a favorite feature of the local museum and has stood guard near its entrance since 1997. Created by Louis Paul Jonas Studios in Hudson, N.Y., Wally spent his first 30 years at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Cleveland commissioned a twin, "Steggie II," to take his place from the original casts.   Wearing a mask just in case, the fiberglass Wally was carefully lifted by Berkshire Crane and Logistics onto a trailer for the 40-mile trek back

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Federally-Backed & Local Loans Aim to Support Small Business in Crisis
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:01AM / Friday, April 10, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — As small businesses confront what some analysts already have called the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the phones of a small-business adviser have been relatively quiet.   "The main contact we're getting is through email," Keith Girouard said this week. "That is a lot more effective and efficient for us.   "We're working through phone and Zoom [video conferencing] as well. But the phone is not ringing off the hook. The emails are ringing off the hook."   Girouard is the Berkshire regional director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network. He operates one of five such centers

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Local Libraries Turn to Digital Services During Pandemic
Staff Reports, iBerkshires Staff
01:30AM / Friday, April 10, 2020
With many people spending more time at home, we spoke with some of our local library directors about what their libraries can offer to keep children and adults not only entertained but informed. Even with the doors closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries have a wealth of resources and ideas that can accessed online.    We asked questions of Sarah Sanfilippo of the North Adams Public Library, Holly Jayko of the Adams Free Library and Alex Reczkowski of the Berkshire Athenaeum.   Sarah Sanfilippo, North Adams Public Library Q: Instead of just turning on the TV during self-isolation why would you urge folks to pick up a book instead?   A: TV is

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The Independent Investor: Small-Business Owners Run Into Red Tape
By Bill Schmick,
05:07PM / Thursday, April 09, 2020
The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has two programs that can help America's business owners to weather the COVID-19 storm.    The $349 billion, first-come, first-served loan programs have seen an overwhelming response from troubled small-business owners nationwide. The job is to get the money into their hands quickly.   The challenge will be to remove or amend a mountain of regulatory requirements that the Small Business Administration and the financial sector have had in place for decades. Adding to the confusion are the owners themselves, who are either not aware that there are actually two loan programs or aren't sure which to

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Biz Briefs: Tunnel City Coffee Offering Coffee Care Packages
03:41PM / Thursday, April 09, 2020
Coffee Care Packages

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Tunnel City Coffee has seen more online orders coming in every day from customers sending coffee care packages to friends and family as a way to stay connected while social distancing. By sending something familiar and comforting like a pound of coffee, they are able to share the experience of having a cup of coffee together, even when they can't be together in person. 

Tunnel City Coffee's two shops in North Adams and Williamstown, Mass., are also witnessing love and support from their local community, with customers ordering coffee for takeout and continuing to purchase store gift cards. "A coffee shop provides

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Massachusetts Unemployment Numbers Rocket to 470,000
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:15PM / Thursday, April 09, 2020

 BOSTON — Massachusetts could see its unemployment rate jump from 2.5 percent to 25 percent by June. 

Gov. Charlie Baker at Thursday's daily COVID-19 briefing said an astonishing 470,000 unemployment claims had been filed in the past three weeks with 140,000 in the last week alone.    "Typically in the course of the past six or seven months, we will get roughly seven to 10,000 new points a month," he said. "These numbers obviously are staggering. And we all know the story behind all of them is about more than just numbers because every new claim is a story of economic disruption and hardship caused by the unprecedented impact of this

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Spring Snowstorm Could Drop 1-3 Inches on North County
10:55AM / Thursday, April 09, 2020
Northern Berkshire may be in for an April snowstorm as an Alberta Clipper moves across the Midwest and into northern New England.   The tip of the storm reaching into North County and Southern Vermont could mean 3 inches or more in the higher elevations and sudden drop in temperatures within 24 hours.    According to Accuweather, the storm could turn into a "bomb cyclone" from Thursday to Friday.    "A bomb cyclone is a storm that strengthens so rapidly that the central barometric pressure plummets to 0.71 of an inch of mercury or more in 24 hours," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.   Even if the storm doesn't

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Hancock Shaker Village to Live Stream Baby Animals
10:50AM / Thursday, April 09, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hancock Shaker Village announces plans to stream live on Facebook this Sunday, April 12, at 1 p.m. 

Bill Mangiardi, director of farm and facilities, will lead a virtual tour of the Round Stone Barn, the iconic centerpiece of the village's campus that houses sheep, goats, calves, pigs, chickens and donkeys. 

Several animals have recently been born, while others are expected shortly. The Easter Sunday tour will be streamed live to the village's Facebook account and will be posted later in the day to the village's Instagram and YouTube accounts, as well as to the website.

Mangiardi, who has worked at the Village for more than 15 years, will

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Williamstown Author's Book is a Massachusetts Book Awards 'Must Read'
10:41AM / Thursday, April 09, 2020

The Massachusetts Center for the Book has announced the "Must Read" long lists in the 20th annual Massachusetts Book Awards.

The awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry for adults and young readers written by Massachusetts authors and published during the preceding calendar year.  

This year's long list for Middle Grade/Young Adult books includes "The Next Great Paulie Fink" (Little, Brown), by Williamstown resident Ali Benjamin. The book is a funny and touching story about being thrust into the spotlight as a new kid and outsider in a small rural middle school.

"What a lucky group our state's tween and teenage readers

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Berkshire Money Management Names New Administration Specialist
10:22AM / Thursday, April 09, 2020

DALTON, Mass. — Berkshire Money Management has added Tammy Gaherty to its fast-growing team. 

Gaherty is the second hire for 2020 and will be handling scheduling for advisors, managing content distribution, and helping with the flow of operations throughout the firm. Prior to joining BMM, she worked for nearly two decades as an administrative assistant with the Dalton Housing Authority. 

Gaherty comes to BMM during an unprecedented time locally, nationally and globally.

"Everyone is going through a difficult time right now," BMM President Barbara Schmick said. "We are hiring in order to better service our clients now and in the future.  We are getting

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