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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Bulls Barrel Through Another Week
By Bill Schmick,
05:21PM / Friday, January 26, 2018
Better quarterly earnings trumped concerns of a declining greenback this week sending all the U.S. stock averages to yet more record highs. There appears to be no end in sight for this continued "melt-up" in the markets.   Over in Davos, Switzerland, President Donald Trump addressed the annual World Economic Forum. For the most part, it was a classic display of "Trumpisms"— MAGA, unfair trading partners, historic stock market.  His "ain't American grand again, thanks to me" message failed to impress most of his foreign audience although his supporters were ecstatic over his speech. But whether you love him, or hate him, "The

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BArT Announces Second Quarter Honor Roll
11:40AM / Friday, January 26, 2018

ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School has announced the students who made honor roll for the second quarter of the 2017-2018 school year.

Students who earned 80 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "honors." Students who earned 90 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "high honors."

Academic courses at BArT are aligned with the Massachusetts State Curriculum Frameworks for the appropriate grade level and include all standards deemed necessary for a complete, college-preparatory, middle and high school education.

Students in grade six who earned high honors are Abreyana

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WAM Announces Expansion of Theater Leadership
10:20AM / Friday, January 26, 2018

Talya Kingston has been named associate artistic director and Max Galdos-Shapiro will join WAM as general manager.

LEE, Mass. — WAM Theatre embarks on its ninth season with the announcement of two new members of the WAM Leadership Team and three new members of its board of directors.

Talya Kingston has been named associate artistic director and Max Galdos-Shapiro will join WAM as general manager. Together with Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven and Philanthropy and Outreach Coordinator Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe, they comprise the leadership team at WAM Theatre.

Newly appointed to WAM's board of directors are Lynn Festa, Wendy Healey and Arwen Lowbridge.

"We are

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'Phantom Thread': When Love Is In Fashion
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
02:51PM / Thursday, January 25, 2018
Though perhaps deluded, I'd like to think I put as much effort into an essay as Daniel Day-Lewis' Reynolds Woodcock devotes to making a dress in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Phantom Thread."    This is the sort of person you want doing your heart operation, piloting the airplane you're on, or teaching your kid. He's the real deal, and suffers for it, too. The maladies of obsessive genius are many. But the inherent reward is matchless, with the added benefit, aside from financial remuneration, of almost having a right to the arrogance you exude, if so inclined.   Welcome to Mr. Woodcock's world, a special place of understated elegance based in a

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GIC to Reconsider Reduction to Health Insurance Portfolio
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:06PM / Thursday, January 25, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The GIC may reverse course on its decision to slash the number of health insurance companies in its portfolio in half.   Last Thursday, the Group Insurance Commission, which administers health insurance to more than 400,000 state, school, and municipal employees, voted to decrease its options from six to three for active employees. GIC leadership said the move would save some $20.8 million.   GIC Executive Director Roberta Herman said the commission performed a study that showed many of the companies were offering similar products and that membership would have similar coverage but at a lower cost.   But, it was faced with a fierce outcry from

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Hinds Appointed to Senate Ways And Means
Staff Reports,
07:57PM / Wednesday, January 24, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Adam Hinds was appointed to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.   The Pittsfield Democrat was appointed to the committee by acting Senate President Harriette Chandler on Wednesday, the same day Gov. Charlie Baker put forth his $40.9 billion spending plan for fiscal 2019.   "I am honored to join this important committee," Hinds said in a prepared statement. "It provides an opportunity to give western Massachusetts a louder voice when the Senate is making key policy and spending decisions."   Hinds is still in his first term and the assignment is coveted by lawmakers. The group is charged with reviewing all financial

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Ciccolo Case Still on Track for June Trial
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:23PM / Wednesday, January 24, 2018
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Attorneys in the case of an Adams man accused of violating federal terrorism statutes say they are still communicating about a possible plea deal but told the judge to anticipate using the scheduled June 18 trial date.   Judge Mark G. Mastroianni on Wednesday held a brief status conference in the case of the United States v. Alexander Ciccolo, who was arrested on July 4, 2015, and subsequently indicted on one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of attempting to use of weapons of mass destruction.   On Wednesday, Ciccolo's attorney, David Hoose of Northampton, told Mastroianni that he

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Berkshire Workers Critical Of GIC Reducing Health Care Options
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:40PM / Wednesday, January 24, 2018

GIC Executive Director Roberta Herman said many of the companies currently in the program offered very similar options.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — GIC Executive Director Roberta Herman asked how many people get their health insurance through Tufts.   And nearly all of the 50 or so state employees in the audience at the Berkshire Athenaeum on Wednesday morning raised their hands.   Tufts is one of three insurance companies planned to be eliminated as an option for hundreds of thousands of employees throughout the commonwealth.   The Group Insurance Commission, which administers health care coverage to nearly a half-million state and municipal workers, voted to cut

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Questions to Ask Before Taking Social Security
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:38AM / Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Social Security can be an important part of your retirement income. So, before you start making decisions about your payments, you'll want to know what questions to ask.

Here are a few to consider:

How soon can I start collecting Social Security? You can begin receiving Social Security as early as age 62. However, your payments, as well as the survivor benefits payable to your spouse, will be significantly lower than if you wait until your full retirement age, which is likely to be between 66 and 67.

Can I wait until I’m past full retirement age to begin collecting payments? Yes. Your monthly benefits will continue to rise until you reach 70, at which point they will max

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Baker Highlights Successes in Third State of Commonwealth
10:10PM / Tuesday, January 23, 2018
BOSTON – Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday night delivered his third State of the Commonwealth address from the House Chamber of the State House.   Remarks as prepared for delivery:   Mr. Speaker. Madame President. Congressman Neal. Fellow Constitutional Officers. Members of the Governor's Council. Mr. Chief Justice and Members of the Judiciary. Members of the Cabinet and my Administration. Sheriffs. District Attorneys. Mayors. Local Officials. Reverend Clergy. Distinguished Guests.    Members of my family that are here this evening – Andy, Kristen and William.     My children, AJ and Caroline. And my wife Lauren. The love of my life for the

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Berkshire County Democrats Meeting to Choose Delegates
01:55PM / Monday, January 22, 2018

Berkshire County Democratic committees will be holding their caucuses in February. This year's Massachusetts Democratic Party Endorsing Convention will be held June 1-2 at the DCU Center in Worcester, where thousands of Democrats from across the state will come together to endorse Democratic candidates for statewide offices, including constitutional officers and gubernatorial candidates. Committees can submit their information to by email to be included in this list. A complete list of caucuses across the state can be found here.

* Adams: The Adams Democratic Town Committee will hold its caucus at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Adams Free Library, Miller Annex, 92 Park Street,

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MCLA Adds New Minor in Entrepreneurship
01:21PM / Monday, January 22, 2018

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts recently approved a new minor in entrepreneurship within the Department of Business Administration and Economics. Although many of the classes required for this new minor already are offered at the college, new courses will be added when the program is officially offered in January 2018.

According to Dr. Thomas Whalen, associate professor of business, the entrepreneurship minor may be added to most – if not all – of the majors MCLA offers.

"I cannot think of a single major that cannot be brought into some sort of entrepreneurial endeavor," Whalen said. "For example, someone in education might

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