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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Give Mom a Gift to Help Her Financial Future
11:37AM / Wednesday, May 10, 2017

With Mother's Day around the corner, you might wonder if you should go beyond chocolates and flowers this year and give Mom something that can help her far into the future. What sort of financial gift can improve her life?

You could, for instance, encourage your mother to fund her IRA. As long as she has any earned income, she is eligible to invest in a traditional or Roth IRA (although a Roth IRA does have income limits which, if exceeded, will reduce and eventually eliminate contributions). In 2017, the IRA contribution limit is $5,500, or $6,500 for individuals 50 or older.

Traditional IRA contributions may be deductible, depending on one's income, and earnings can grow tax

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Government Briefs: Trees, Awards, Working Moms
Staff Reports,
03:25PM / Tuesday, May 09, 2017
More Trees: Pittsfield won a $3,000 2017 Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant for Phase II of the Wellesley Park Tree Replacement Project. The one-acre park is located at 50 Wellesly St. The funds came from $112,500 in matching grants provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service the Massachusetts ReLeaf Trust Fund.        Fire Training: State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced that the Department of Fire Services has been awarded $426,087 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's fiscal 2016 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. The funds will be used to purchase two critical training props for the Massachusetts

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Berkshires Beat: Great Barrington Police Department Earns State Accreditation
03:30PM / Monday, May 08, 2017

Extra credit: The Great Barrington Police Department has achieved full state accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. The department received its award at a ceremony on Wednesday, May 3, at the Connors Center in Dover.

Accreditation is a long and vigorous self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain the highest standards of law enforcement practice. It is considered the best measure of a police department against the established best practices around the country and region, and involves both an internal self-review and an external assessment by the commission’s team of experts.

Under the leadership of Chief

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Letter Carriers Food Drive to Benefit Local Pantries
03:06PM / Monday, May 08, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local Branch 286 of the National Association of Letter Carriers and Postal Workers, in conjunction with Berkshire United Way, Berkshire Youth United and Berkshire Community Action Council, will be running a food drive on Saturday, May 13.

Letter carriers will be collecting non-perishable food items for distribution to local food pantries and meal programs. Non-perishable food items such as peanut butter, canned soup, juice, pasta, vegetables, cereal and rice are welcome and appreciated.  

Participants should place their food donation in bags or boxes by their mailbox on Saturday, May 13. The letter carriers in Adams, Becket, Dalton, Great Barrington,

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Biz Briefs: Yummy Treasures Named Microenterprise of the Year for Massachusetts
01:12PM / Monday, May 08, 2017

Congratulations: The Small Business Administration has named Yummy Treasures the 2017 SBA Microenterprise of the Year for Massachusetts. Yummy Treasures earned the recognition for its success as the No. 1 seller in the United States on Etsy.com — a global online marketplace of handmade, vintage and creative goods. Yummy Treasures is also the No. 3 seller in the world on Etsy.com — exporting unique crafts and jewelry supplies all around the world from their boutique shop in Pittsfield.

In 2008, Beth Carpenter was trying to reduce clutter in her basement crafting room and first floor which was overflowing with beads. That’s when she discovered Etsy.com and decided to sell

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Orthopaedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist Joins BMC Staff
11:44AM / Monday, May 08, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems has announced the appointment of Dr. Mahlon Bradley, a highly experienced orthopaedic surgeon and specialist in sports medicine, to the Berkshire Medical Center medical staff and Berkshire Orthopaedic Associates, an affiliate of BHS.

Dr. Bradley is accepting new patients in need of orthopaedic care and sports medicine services, and practices out of Berkshire Orthopaedic’s North Adams Campus office and Pittsfield office. He is teamed with Drs. Jeffrey Cella, Anthony DeFelice, David Grygier, Kevin Mitts and Mark Sprague at Berkshire Orthopaedic Associates.

Bradley has a long and storied history in orthopaedic care, having treated US

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@theMarket: Earnings Better Than Expected
By Bill Schmick,
02:21PM / Saturday, May 06, 2017
First-quarter earnings are coming in higher than expected while stock indexes hover just below historical highs. All that is necessary for further gains is a catalyst and that may be just around the corner.   This Sunday, French presidential elections will occur. As I wrote last week, it appears that the centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron, has a widening lead over Marine Le Pen, the more radical right-leaning candidate. Why is that important to you?   It is all about the continued stability of the European Community and their currency, the Euro. Investors are concerned that if Le Pen should win, she might try to pull France out of the EU (think of the U.K. and Brexit). If Macron

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Locals Vying for Conference Titles on College Teams
iBerkshires.com Sports,
04:49PM / Friday, May 05, 2017
Westfield State senior Jaclyn  Farrell earned six points to help the Owls women’s track and field team win the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference Championship last month.   The Wahconah alumna placed fifth in the triple jump with a distance of 35 feet, 11-¼ inches, and she was eighth in the long jump, hitting a mark of 15-7-½.   Earlier this spring, Farrell won the triple jump at the Springfield College Invitational, a non-team scored event.   Also at the MASCAC meet, Fitchburg State’s Michaella Vecchiarelli (Drury) tied for second in the pole vault, clearing 2.9 meters and helping Fitchburg finish fourth in the

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'The Circle': The Shape of Things to Come?
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
02:45PM / Friday, May 05, 2017
Do you find yourself peering endlessly into your smartphone, hoping to make connections, seeking information, wiling away the time, looking for the secret of life and maybe even G-d? It has become your crystal ball and indeed, if we take the cue from director James Ponsoldt's "The Circle," it may show the way to a very creepy future. More important than it is good, this fictionalized audit of the mass voyeurism that has become a frightening offshoot of the information explosion demands the attention of people who still care to think for themselves.   The delve into this world by Mae Holland, a young woman previously in a dead-end customer service job who is recruited by a

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Main Street Hospitality Group Creates VP Position
12:08PM / Friday, May 05, 2017

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. – Eva Sheridan, former senior human resources officer at MountainOne Financial, has been appointed vice president of people and human development at Main Street Hospitality Group.
 
"As Main Street continues to evolve into a leading operator and developer of independent hotels, Eva will be a positive force in our business," said Sarah Eustis, CEO. "We are thrilled to have her join us. Her natural hospitality, love of people, deep experience and understanding of our company make this a great mutual fit."

In this newly created strategic role, Sheridan will be responsible for the management and development of human capital across all Main

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McCann Tech Welding Grads Hope to Spark New Careers
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:24AM / Friday, May 05, 2017

Nick Lannan looks over his certificate of completion at Wednesday's graduation event.  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Certificates of completion were awarded Wednesday to the dedicated graduates of McCann Technical School's evening welding course, part of a workforce development program to train for manufacturing skills.    "This is a compressed course. You went through a lot of material in a very short period of time," metal fabrication instructor John Kline said. "You know how far you've come in the short seven weeks we had here. ...   "I hope you got a lot of out of it, and not just the hands-on welding but what you learned in the

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The Independent Investor: Only The Rich Are Saving
By Bill Schmick,
06:12PM / Thursday, May 04, 2017
Last quarter, the  percent age of Americans' personal savings rate stood at 5.9  percent of their disposable income, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis'. Given that number had fallen to as low as 1.9 percent in 2005, that's a large improvement. But who is saving and who is not is the real question to ask.   Our savings rate is clearly higher than it used to be relative to other countries. It is nowhere near the Chinese savings rate of 38 percent of 2014, for example, but it has improved to the point that we are now somewhere in the middle of the pack when looking at the 35 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and

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