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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

The Independent Investor: Health-Care Costs Are Strangling Us
By Bill Schmick,
05:03PM / Friday, May 19, 2017
Recently, none other than the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffet, has sounded the alarm on what he sees as the number one threat to American businesses — rising health care costs. His advice is that we better do something and do it quickly.   While Congress bickers over how to repeal and replace Obamacare, there is still a large body of American politicians who believe we should simply return to the good old days. While they fiddle with adjusting insurer's premiums, or gutting Medicaid, the entire healthcare system surrounding them continues to burn. While they debate whether you should be responsible for your own medical insurance and how much Medicare should cover, health care

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Maintaining Your Current Sign Offers Many Benefits
Sponsored Content,
01:08PM / Friday, May 19, 2017

Dust and clutter begins to take over as we hibernate for winter, waiting for the highly anticipated weather of spring and summer to provide a fresh start through the ritual of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is not only for emptying garages and raking lawns, but it is also the perfect time to spruce up your business's sign.

By regularly maintaining your current sign through the completion of seasons one can significantly save their company money. Companies are always torn between two very popular provers: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and "Prevention is better than cure" - and this is especially true when it comes to signage. Now you may be asking,

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Searchers Recover Body of Missing Pittsfield Man in State Forest
01:41PM / Thursday, May 18, 2017
LENOX, Mass. — Investigators do not suspect foul play in the death of a missing Pittsfield man whose body was discovered Wednesday afternoon in October Mountain State Forest.    The body of 33-year-old Matthew J. Gottung was found about 3 p.m. Wednesday approximately 50 yards off Switchback Trail. The location of the body was not far from where Gottung's vehicle was discovered Monday.    Those involved in the search included members of the Lee and Lenox Police and Fire departments, Berkshire Mountain Search & Rescue, state environmental police, Berkshire County sheriff's office, state police from the Lee barracks and assigned to the Berkshire district

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Clothing Sale, Now a Decade Old, Set for Saturday, May 20
08:44AM / Thursday, May 18, 2017

Volunteers of all ages help make the clothing sale successful.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Fresh off being named the "Best Annual Consignment Sale" in the Berkshires, the annual Williamstown Elementary School PTO clothing sale will be held Saturday, May, 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

The sale has been an annual or bi-annual event for more than 10 years and is the largest fundraiser for the school's PTO, raising approximately enough to cover the money the PTO annually gives to each classroom at the school to help with academic materials.

The sale features gently used clothing and shoes sized from infant to teen styles, including pajamas, swimwear

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Health Officials Talk Substance Abuse From Jail to Recovery
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:27PM / Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Alan Bianchi said the Berkshire County sheriff's office focuses on helping the 'whole' person to prepare inmates for life outside of the jail. The hope is the inmate won't end up back in the Berkshire County House of Correction in the future. DALTON, Mass. — Where does the system fail from the time an addict is arrested to well after leaving jail?   That's what Marisa Hebble, of the executive office of the trial court, wants to not only answer but fix. She is heading the Community Justice Project, which focuses on "sequential intercept," essentially every point through the process someone struggling with addiction faces in the criminal justice

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Is Your Portfolio 'Healthy'?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:20AM / Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. If you can exercise regularly, you'll help yourself feel better, control your weight and even reduce the chances of developing certain diseases. But why not extend the concept of "fitness" to other areas of your life – such as your investment portfolio?

And to help maintain a healthy portfolio, you can draw on some of the same principles that apply to keeping your body in good shape.

Consider, for example, one of the things that happen when you exercise – namely, your body uses more oxygen. As an investor, you may need your portfolio to get "oxygen" in the form of infusions of new investment dollars.

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Baker, Polito Highlight Broadband Expansion in West Stockbridge
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:04PM / Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lt. Gov. Polito greets MBI Chairman Peter Larkin in West Stockbridge.

WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Jim and Jennifer Hallock took ownership of the Shaker Mill Tavern Family Smoke House almost a year ago.

They envisioned more of a family restaurant than the bar operations of the previous owners and even built out a children's area.

But being snuggled in the rural town of West Stockbridge, they had limited access to the internet.    "My whole computer system works on the internet. DSL was so random," Jim Hallock said.    Workers would scan a credit card for payment and the system would lag, slowing the business down. And then seemingly randomly,

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Biz Briefs: Greylock's Annual Shred Day Benefits Berkshire United Way
02:56PM / Monday, May 15, 2017

Paper trail: Greylock Federal Credit Union held its ninth annual Community Shred Day on Saturday, May 6, shredding more than 7 tons of paper. The effort also raised $1,184 in donations for the Berkshire United Way. The credit union suggested a $1 donation per box from people looking to dispose of personal documents.

ProShred supplied two mobile shredding trucks for the event to provide proper disposal of private documents. People were able to witness the shredding process via a closed circuit monitor mounted on the truck. Millions of Americans have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft occurs when someone uses personally identifying information, like name, social security

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Berkshires Beat: Brien Center Receives Donation from Williams Rugby Football Club
01:40PM / Monday, May 15, 2017

Tacking mental health: The Brien Center for Mental Health has received a donation from the Williams Rugby Football Club. The club has donated the earnings received from the John Donovan Memorial Tournament for the past three years, totaling nearly $4,000.

The team has been organizing the John Donovan Memorial Tournament in memory of their former teammate who lost his battle to mental illness. The tournament was designed to raise awareness about mental health and support organizations like the Brien Center working to help those suffering from mental illness in the Berkshire community. This year, six teams from four schools - Williams College, Keene State, Colby-Sawyer College, and

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Senior Citizens Prom Set for Tuesday, May 16
11:37AM / Monday, May 15, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Drury High School Current Events classes will host the annual Senior Citizens Prom from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at the Drury High School gymnasium for an evening of fun.

The 2017 theme is "Bash on the Bayou” to help celebrate the southern carnival and Mardi Gras.  

For the past 23 years, the Drury High School History/Contemporary Issues/Sociology Classes have studied generational differences, sociological impact and ways to help bridge the generational divide. Their research and curriculum culminates with the planning and implementation of a service learning project – a prom for senior citizens – that engages elderly

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House Passes Protections For Pregnant Workers
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:38AM / Sunday, May 14, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass — The state's House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday shoring up the rights of pregnant workers.   The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will require employers to provide basic accommodations for employees who are pregnant or are new mothers. Such provisions include allowing pregnant woman to take more frequent bathroom breaks, drink water while they work, or provided a stool to sit on.    "One of the holes we had in the protections was for women who are pregnant and employers, a small percentage of employers, who do not allow for any kind of accommodation for someone who is pregnant, or, quite frankly, retaliating against women who are

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Lt. Gov. Polito Praises Lee, Lenox For Sharing Town Administrator
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:20PM / Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lenox Selectman Ed Lane, state Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito at the Lee Town Hall on Saturday. LEE, Mass. — About a year and a half ago, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito signed community compacts with 17 southern Berkshire towns as the towns agreed to pursue enhanced shared services.   On Saturday, Polito came to Lee to celebrate an agreement between the town and Lenox to share a town administrator. The agreement came after years of planning and enhancing cooperation and came to fruition the help of some $200,000 in grant funding through the Community Compact program.   "It all started with your Community Compact. It was your project and

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