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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: New Quarter, New Market
By Bill Schmick,
02:03PM / Saturday, April 01, 2017
As traders and institutions put to bed the first quarter, several concerns loom large in the weeks ahead. How things play out over that time period will have important implications for the averages, given that they are not far from their all-time, historical highs.   What will the Fed do in May? Will Washington pursue tax cuts and if so, will there be opposition?  What will first quarter earnings look like and how will markets react to all of the above? Let's look in my crystal ball, shall we?   Wall Street analysts expect corporate earnings to be higher by as much as 10-11 percent. That would be a big change from the recent past, where dismal guidance and feeble results

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Williamstown Teacher Honored by State Down Syndrome Congress
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:39PM / Friday, March 31, 2017

Frani Miceli's class participates in World Down Syndrome Day in honor of their classmate Cole by wearing crazy socks to school.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Williamstown Elementary School teacher has been named the Educator of the Year by the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress.

Fifth-grade teacher Frani Miceli was nominated for the award by Steve and Donna Narey, whose son Cole has Down syndrome and has been with Miceli for both fourth and fifth grades. Miceli joined other award recipients as well as Principal Joelle Brookner and paraprofessional Kelly Galusha at a ceremony in Worcester on March 25.

"One of the reasons the kids in Cole's class are so wonderful to him and

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Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award Given to Choreographer
01:20PM / Friday, March 31, 2017

BECKET, Mass. — The 2017 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award, a prestigious honor that carries a $25,000 cash prize, will be presented to choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker Liz Lerman in acknowledgement of her vision and outstanding contributions to the dance field.  

Long ago dubbed the "Democrat of Dance" by Alan M. Kriegsman of The Washington Post, Lerman's extraordinary career of the past four decades includes a wide range of groundbreaking work. Established in 2007, the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award's previous recipients include the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham; MacArthur Fellows Michelle Dorrance and Kyle Abraham; and

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Superior Court Briefs: March 20 - March 28
Staff Reports,
09:50AM / Friday, March 31, 2017
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, March 20.   Riley Nolan, 23, of Clarksburg pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, possession of cocaine, and possession of diazepam.   He was ordered to serve concurrent one-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession of heroin and conspiracy charges. He was placed on one-year probation on the others.   The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on October 5, 2016.   Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 21.   Eric Hunt, 51, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of

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Living together is not what it used to be
By Bill Schmick,
05:33PM / Thursday, March 30, 2017
Times are changing. Over 12 million Americans now "live in sin," as my parents would say, and their numbers are increasing every year. As long as they remain together, everything is copacetic, but what happens when they break up?   Thanks to the economy, demographics, and life-style choices, young couples today are living together and having children despite their unmarried status. In my own family, my niece is pregnant, unmarried, and has no intentions of tying the knot. Although her partner is the love of her life, they have decided (for now) to keep it that way.   And in today's economy, there may be a lot of good reasons not to get married. Number one among them

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'Life': No Bowl of Cherries
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:22PM / Thursday, March 30, 2017

I'm tempted to give away the ending of director Daniel Espinosa's "Life," an extremely tense but run-of-the-mill outer space adventure that was heading for an only so-so rating even before its curiously misanthropic finish. I'd be doing you a favor.

Sure to be shocked, the viewer is left wondering why Espinosa, working from a script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, would paint such a depressing conclusion. You mean that's it? That's where we're headed? Well then, let me kill myself now. Even Schopenhauer, the granddaddy of pessimism, would be depressed.

Unable to recall another film that imploded so devastatingly in the last two minutes, canceling out

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Teach Your Children Well … About Finances and Investing
11:04AM / Wednesday, March 29, 2017

High debt levels … lack of savings … the inability to budget – these problems all have several causes, but one of them is almost certainly financial illiteracy. Too many of us just never developed the money management skills necessary to cope with our complicated – and expensive – world. But if you have young children, you can teach them some money-smart lessons – and who knows? You could use the opportunity to give yourself a few valuable reminders, too.

Here are some suggestions for a financial "curriculum":

* Save for a goal. In our highly commercialized culture, it's almost inevitable that your children will eventually become

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Berkshire United High School Rugby Seeks Players
09:22AM / Wednesday, March 29, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Berkshire United High School Rugby Club is seeking new players for the 2017 season.   No experience is necessary. Berkshire United practices Monday,Tuesday and Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Osceola Park in Pittsfield.   Berkshire United has both high school girls and boys teams and needs 15 new players for the each team this spring.   Players must be in high school grades 9-12. Berkshire United High School Rugby Club has been comprised of players from Monument Mountain, Taconic, Pittsfield High, Mount Everett, Wahconah, Mount Greylock, Drury and Hoosac Valley.   Players from all Berkshire County schools are welcome.   Berkshire United

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Fake News Not New But Can Be Combatted: Panel
By Rebecca Dravis, iberkshires Staff
07:17PM / Tuesday, March 28, 2017

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — This article is not fake news.

How do you know? Well, for one, it's appearing in a reputable publication. Two, there's a byline at the top of the story. Three, there are actual real people quoted within the story.

Those are just three ways media consumers can judge the veracity of something they see online, according to a panel of media and education professors. The panel participated in a forum on Monday evening called "Fact or Fabrication in Today's News," jointly sponsored by the North Adams Public Library and the Milne Public Library in Williamstown. 

State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi moderated the panel, which included Tammy Daniels,

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Berkshire Money Management Pays For BCC Nursing Exams, Licensing
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:16PM / Monday, March 27, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The times when Bill Schmick of Berkshire Money Management was in the hospital, it was BCC graduates who helped him.   For that he is grateful. So grateful that he's helping Berkshire Community College nursing students with their licensing and exam fees. Berkshire Money Management on Monday donated $7,740 to the 18 students currently enrolled in the college's nursing program. The money will pay for the exam and licensing costs for when the students graduate and enter the field.   "We're just happy to give back after all you've given me," said Schmick, who also write money columns that appear on iBerkshires.   One of those

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Non-Partisan Advocacy Workshops Offered
02:21PM / Monday, March 27, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Wondering how to make a difference on local, state and national issues? Looking to learn the basics of door to door canvassing, calling your legislators, or running for office? The Four Freedoms Coalition in partnership with Berkshire Community College, is offering a day of free non-partisan advocacy workshops called "Act Now: Civic Participation Workshops for Everyone" on Saturday, April 1.

Participants are welcome to stay for an hour or the whole day. All workshops will be held on the Berkshire Community College campus at 1350 West St. in Pittsfield, which is fully accessible.

The non-partisan Berkshire-based Four Freedoms Coalition was founded in

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Berkshires Beat: Volunteers Needed to Monitor Water Quality As 'River Smart' Month Nears
01:25PM / Monday, March 27, 2017

Help wanted: The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, with two watershed partners - the Hoosic River Watershed Association and the Housatonic Valley Association - invite interested individuals to a training on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Bill Laston Memorial Park on Route 7 in Lanesborough.

Once a month, trained volunteers will collect water samples at designated locations on the Green River in the Hoosic Watershed and Wahconah Falls Brook and the Southwest Branch of the Housatonic River in the Housatonic Watershed. The samples will be tested to determine bacteria levels. Currently, all three tributaries are partly or wholly listed as "impaired" by the

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