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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Trump's Trade Wars Sink Markets
By Bill Schmick,
08:55AM / Saturday, March 24, 2018
World markets declined again this week. Despite world condemnation, which included most of America's economists and corporations, Donald Trump unilaterally forged ahead in implementing his own brand of protectionism. Investors fear the consequences.   While tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are still being negotiated, the president has upped the ante and is now pursuing China. The United States has long accused China of stealing our intellectual property. The Chinese, of course, have denied that and so, for years the discussions went round and round — until now.   On Thursday, our president announced his intention to slap $60 billion of tariffs on 1,300 product


Citizens with Disabilities & Their Families Share Their Stories
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:26AM / Saturday, March 24, 2018

Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Jane Ryder speaks at Friday's legislative breakfast.   PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Elected officials from throughout the county Friday morning were at Berkshire Hills Country Club to enjoy the 18th annual Berkshire Disabilities legislative breakfast.   And they heard how any breakfast — or any meal — can be a challenge for some of their constituents.   "I was speaking with [United Cerebral Palsy's] Louise Norton in the assistive technology department one day, and she told me, 'Well, Jennifer, this is where I come in. I can help you to be able to communicate with [your daughter] and she


Mass RMV Service Interruption Runs Through March 26
01:30PM / Friday, March 23, 2018

The Registry of Motor Vehicles has announced that all RMV services and system access, with the exception of law enforcement, will be unavailable from 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, until 8 a.m. Monday, March 26.

The service interruption is due to the RMV transitioning to a new computer system that will allow the RMV to comply with federal and state mandates. During this time, there will be no motor vehicles inspections available in the state, no RMV online services, and all RMV service locations will be closed.

Please note AAA locations will be unable to process RMV services for AAA members.


MCLA President Appointed to Two Local Boards of Directors
01:12PM / Friday, March 23, 2018

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts President James F. Birge has been appointed to the 1Berkshire Board of Directors and the Lever Board of Directors.

His participation on these two boards augments the college's outreach to the greater community as MCLA continues to maintain and expand vital connections throughout the Berkshires.

Birge said he is delighted to join the 1Berkshire and Lever boards as they, along with MCLA, work to elevate economic growth all over the region.

"I look forward to working with 1Berkshire and Lever to gain further insight on how we might best prepare our students to fill positions across the Berkshires," he said.


Chesterwood’s Executive Director Wins Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome
12:50PM / Friday, March 23, 2018

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Donna Hassler, executive director of Chesterwood and administrator of the Historic Artists' Home and Studios (HAHS) Program, has been awarded a National Trust for Historic Preservation Affiliated Fellowship of the American Academy in Rome during the month of April.

While at the Academy, Hassler, an art historian and authority on American sculpture, will retrace the steps of distinguished 20th-century public sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931) in Italy when he was a young student, as well as subsequent trips there later in his career. French, who was a founding board member of the Academy, maintained diaries of his European travels, now in the


The Independent Investor: Medicare Premiums and Your Income
By Bill Schmick,
04:04PM / Thursday, March 22, 2018
We all know that Medicare is not free. Once we enroll in Part B and D, we start paying monthly premiums. What many consumers fail to realize is that how much you pay depends on how much you make.   For most of us, this is a moot point. We assume that we will be retiring at 65 years old (at the same time Medicare kicks in) but that assumption is no longer accurate. The reality is that Social Security, retirement, and Medicare can happen at different times in your life.   Take, for example, Social Security benefits. Every year the target date for full retirement creeps higher. It used to be 65, but now, for many, it is edging up to almost 67 over the next few years. When that


'Love, Simon': You've Got Blackmail
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:54PM / Thursday, March 22, 2018
While director Greg Berlanti's "Love, Simon" is at once funny, serious and important, it's a darn shame that it is so very apt ... that this astute tale about a teenage boy's struggle to make his gayness known is revolutionary at all. Memo of inquiry to American civilization: It's the spring of 2018, and this fact of life is just making the mainstream? Well, better late than never.    Truth is, attitudinal changes come slowly, especially to the narrow-minded. But the seed of tolerant reformation, boosted during the enlightenment of the '60s, has finally gained pragmatic traction. Today's kids, who have of late heroically evidenced that they'll


Time for Financial 'Spring Cleaning'
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:41AM / Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The days are longer and the temperatures are warmer – so it must be spring. For many of us, that means it's time for some spring cleaning. But why stop with sprucing up your living space? This year, consider extending the "spring cleaning" concept to your financial environment, too.

How can you tidy your finances? Here are some suggestions:

"De-clutter" your portfolio. As you go through your home during your spring cleaning rounds, you may notice that you've acquired a lot of duplicate objects – do you really need five mops? – or at least some things you can no longer use, like a computer that hasn’t worked since 2010. You can create


Andrea Harrington to Challenge Caccaviello for District Attorney
10:49PM / Tuesday, March 20, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local attorney Andrea Harrington took out papers on Tuesday morning to primary Berkshire District Attorney Paul Caccaviello, who was sworn in just five days ago.   The former Democratic candidate for state senator had hinted last week on "The John Krol Show" that she was interested, saying people had reached out to her about running and that she was "taking a really hard look at it."    She ended any speculation by pulling papers Tuesday morning at the secretary of the commonwealth's office in Springfield.  She said she will be officially kicking off her campaign in the weeks ahead.   "I'm excited to

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Fallon Health Puts Two Local Councils on Aging on the Road
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:35PM / Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The two Nissan Rogues were branded with each Council on Aging logo and Fallon Health's graphic. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Adams and Lee Councils on Aging took possession of two shiny copper-colored Nissan Rogues on Tuesday, courtesy of Fallon Health.   The gifts, along with a number of "big checks," is the health insurance provider's way of supporting the community, said Richard P. Burke, president and CEO.   "We think it's important to support the communities within which we offer our products and services," he said as recipients of this year's Fallon Health grants admired the pair of sport-utility vehicles parked outside the offices


Democratic Candidates for Governor to Speak in Pittsfield
03:34PM / Tuesday, March 20, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The three gubernatorial candidates running in the Democratic primary will appear at the American Legion on Wendell Avenue on Sunday at 4 p.m.   Jay Gonzalez, Bob Massie and Setti Warren will present their platforms in a forum to be moderated by state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield.    The forum is being sponsored by the Berkshire Democratic Brigades and the Berkshire Central Labor Council.   Warren is a veteran and former mayor of Newton, Massie is a global sustainability advocate, and Gonzalez is a former health system CEO and Health Connector chairman.   This event is free but the sponsors are encouraging donations to help support


NBCC Forum: 'Domestic Violence is a Matter of Life or Death'
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:46AM / Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Participants in the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition meeting on Friday stood to indicate that they have been touched by domestic violence in some way, personally or professionally.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — By the end of the exercise, nearly everyone was standing.

Participants in the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition forum on Friday were urged to stand if they ever had responded to a domestic violence situation, counseled a domestic violence victim, suspected a friend or family member of being a victim of domestic violence, or were themselves affected by domestic violence. Nearly all of the 75 guests stood up.

"So we can see that we're already standing together for


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