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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Markets Still on a Roll
By Bill Schmick,
05:55PM / Friday, June 02, 2017

Additional gains propelled stocks higher this week with all three averages closing at record highs once again. Despite the fact that more and more experts are warning of a possible fall in the averages, investors continue to pile into stocks. Should you?

The short answer is no, wait for that decline, unless you have no exposure to the stock market. That would be hard for me to believe if you have been reading my column regularly. My readers also know that the threat of a pullback hangs over the market all the time since we can expect as many as 2-3 declines in the stock market every year.

The economy, however, is still growing enough, and interest rates are still low enough, to justify

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American Institute for Economic Research Names Next President
01:47PM / Friday, June 02, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Edward P. Stringham, a prominent U.S. political economist and thought leader in the field of private governance, has been named president of the American Institute for Economic Research, an 84-year-old research and education organization headquartered in Great Barrington.

In addition, he will serve as the organization's director of research and education. The appointment, announced  by AIER’s Board of Trustees, was effective May 24.

"Dr. Stringham's accomplishments and experience make him uniquely qualified to build upon AIER’s great traditions and lead the institute in fulfilling its goals," said AIER Chairman Gregory

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Restoration Group Purchases Historic Great Barrington Church
Community Submission,
01:17PM / Friday, June 02, 2017

The purchase allows the restoration to begin fundraising for Phase II to begin repairs on the building.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Clinton Church Restoration Inc. has finalized its $70,000 purchase of the historic former Clinton African Methodist Episcopal Church at 9 Elm Court.

Community members contributed $110,000 toward the Phase I effort; the additional funds will provide a jump-start for costly repairs needed at the property.
 
Wray Gunn and Cora Portnoff, former church members and board members of the nonprofit organization that now owns the property, issued a joint statement of gratitude to the community.

"We are overwhelmed with the support the Clinton Church

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Berkshire Natural Resources Council President to Depart
01:09PM / Friday, June 02, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Natural Resources Council president Tad Ames will depart the organization on December 31, 2017, after more than 27 years of service, the last 16 as president.

Ames said that he has made the decision to resign from BNRC in order to make a change in his professional career and to seek new opportunities.

"I am now in my mid-50s and I've reached an age and a stage in my professional life where I have the opportunity to create one more chapter," he said. "It is not easy to leave a place and people whom I love so much, but I want to seize the opportunity to be part of another story. It's time to pass leadership to a new leader to bring

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National Trails Day Activities Planned at Great Barrington River Walk
11:40AM / Friday, June 02, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Great Barrington Land Conservancy will celebrate National Trails Day at the Great Barrington River Walk with several activities throughout the day on Saturday, June 3.

At 9 a.m., a paddle and hike will be held. Canoes will be provided for a lovely Housatonic River paddle that will bring the trip to Kellogg Road and the Appalachian Trail. There, the group will put down their paddles and hoist on their packs for a gently upward 1.7 mile A.T hike up June Mountain to Home Road. Transport will be provided back to River Walk and the potluck picnic. Registration is required at info@GBLand.org. The hosts will include Christine Ward (GBLC), Dennis Regan (HVA)

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'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales': Many Asleep in the Deep
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
06:01PM / Thursday, June 01, 2017
I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to over-analyze "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales." I do that whenever I can't fathom for the love of me why someone would want to see the second-rate movie in question. After all, directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg's rambling, rambunctious and dysfunctionally repetitious absurdity should spell an easy day for the critic. The temptation is to write, "It's lousy and that's that. Trust me. I've been writing film criticism for years. This is strictly for those possessing the bad movie gene."   But of course I can't. Besides the fact that such short shrift would put my

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The Independent Investor: Elder Care in an Age of Confusion
By Bill Schmick,
05:54PM / Thursday, June 01, 2017
Many Americans confess that they are confused when faced with the myriad Medicare choices available to them. Others are simply not planning, nor saving enough to meet the challenge of health care costs in old age. In response, a whole new industry has sprung up nationwide.   It's called "life care planning," an off-shoot and a natural progression for those practicing elder law. What, you may ask, is elder law and why has it become so important? Attorneys that practice elder law are essentially advocates for the elderly and their loved ones. They routinely handle a range of legal issues that usually accompany an older or disabled person.   Many of these topics have

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State Police Seek Information on Credit Card Fraud Suspects
12:00PM / Thursday, June 01, 2017

The State Police Detective Unit assigned to Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni's office is seeking the public's help in identifying three individuals authorities believe to be involved in numerous credit card fraud cases in Western and central Massachusetts, Connecticut, and possibly Rhode Island.

The credit card fraud took place in March 2017. The suspects traveled to numerous Walmart stores and used stolen credit card information to make fraudulent purchases worth thousands of dollars. The suspects traveled together in a white Ford expedition EL (extended length) SUV at the time, which may have been a rental car with possible Rhode Island or other out-of-state

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Guest Column: Time to Reassess growth Across the Commonwealth
By state Sen. Adam Hinds & Dan Hodge, Guest Column
05:38PM / Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Massachusetts budget process demonstrates economic progress does not always create revenue for the commonwealth. Total employment is eclipsing previous highs, unemployment rates are below 4 percent, and per capita state GDP is strong. Yet the state's budget is difficult to balance and news stories about revenue shortfalls feel like waking up in Groundhog Day.
 
Balancing the budget in an imbalanced economy with limited income growth, regional disparities and outdated tax codes will always be difficult. Health care costs and other non-discretionary budget items pose central expenditure challenges that we must address. But underperforming revenue – statewide and regionally

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Unpublished Edith Wharton Play Discovered by Scholars
12:55PM / Wednesday, May 31, 2017

LENOX, Mass. — Two scholars have made a new archival discovery: a previously unknown, original, full-length play by Edith Wharton called "The Shadow of a Doubt."

The location of the discovery at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin was unexpected. Wharton scholars have been traveling to the Ransom Center for more than three decades to research Wharton's papers. The source of their interest, however, was the author's correspondence to her lover, Morton Fullerton. What scholars missed was hidden, in plain sight, in the center's Playscripts and Promptbooks Collection (Performing Arts): two typescript copies of "The Shadow of a

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What Does Conservative Investing Mean to Older Investors?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:02PM / Wednesday, May 31, 2017

If you're a certain age, or getting close to it, you might hear something like this: "Now that you're older, you need to invest more conservatively." But what exactly does this mean?

For starters, it's useful to understand that your investment preferences and needs will indeed change over time. When you're first starting out in your career, and even for a long time afterward, you can afford to invest somewhat aggressively, in stocks and stock-based investments; because you have time to overcome the inevitable short-term market drops. At this stage of your life, your primary concern is growth – you want your portfolio to grow enough to provide you with the

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Berkshire Force Softball Team Wins Greenfield Tourney
11:37AM / Tuesday, May 30, 2017
The 10 and under Berkshire Force softball team won the Greenfield Memorial Day Bash Tournament with a 5-0 record over the weekend of May 27-28.   The team was 3-0 in pool play, outscoring the competition 35-5. The girls then won the semi-final game, 5-3, before securing a 6-5 win in the championship with clutch hitting, great fielding, and tremendous pitching.   The team is coached by Will Glebus, Jessica Potter, Rick Arpante and Kevin Sherman and includes: Kamryn Renata, Audrina Maloney, Caroline Sherman, Natalie Arnhold, Taryn Bannon, Ja’Leah Rosa, Michaela Hinckley, Jaezsa Bartolotta, Amanda Pou, Cheyann Goddard and Mia Arpante.

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