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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@theMarket: Are We There Yet?
By Bill Schmick,
08:45AM / Saturday, August 29, 2015

This week we witnessed the first substantial correction in the stock market of the year. What matters most to investors now is whether we are at the end of the decline or the beginning of something worse.

We've seen the lows, in my opinion, but that doesn't mean we won't retest them. Normally, I would expect to see at least one re-test of the lowest level made by the S&P 500 Index before all is said and done. If so, there could be risk of as much as a 5 percent decline over the very short-term for the markets. That doesn't have to happen, but it may, so I want you to be prepared for the worse.

It was certainly a bad week to be out of the office visiting clients.


The Independent Investor: The Marijuana Market
By Bill Schmick,
05:40PM / Friday, August 28, 2015

Only four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use so far. Another 23 have given the nod for using cannabis for medical usage. Today it is a $2.7 billion industry that is set to grow substantially in the years ahead if more states jump on the band wagon.

Whether legalization is a fad or a trend in this country will have to wait until the next election cycle in 2016. Legalizing the drug will most likely be on the ballot in several more states. Researchers from California-based The ArcView Group, a cannabis investment and research firm, predicts that 14 more states will legalize marijuana while two more will legalize medical marijuana next year. In addition, at least 10 more


'Mile in Her Shoes Art Show' Seeks Participating Artists
12:40PM / Friday, August 28, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development and Elizabeth Freeman Center are teaming up to call out to artists to participate in the inaugural Berkshire County “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Art Show.”

The art show is being held in conjunction with the annual "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" Men’s March against Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence, which is scheduled for Third Thursday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m.

The Walk a Mile Art Show presents artists and community members with an opportunity to create wearable art for a great cause.  Artists may enter one or more pair of shoes. The shoes must be new and never worn, and they should be


Berkshire Opera Festival Appoints First Director of Development
10:22AM / Friday, August 28, 2015

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Berkshire Opera Festival has appointed Karl E. Held as its first director of development. He begins his role with BOF on Sept. 1.

Held, who hails from Gettysburg, Penn., brings a wealth of producing and fundraising experience across a broad spectrum of the performing arts. His clients have included such institutions as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, the Spoleto Festivals in South Carolina and Italy, the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and The Philadelphia Orchestra. He was the visionary and driving force behind the renovation and gala re-opening of Gettysburg’s Majestic Theater, and the


Economist Urges Berkshires To Build Around Strong Non-Profit Economy
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:05AM / Thursday, August 27, 2015
Steven Sheppard outlined the state of the Berkshires economy at Wednesday's Good New Business Salute.   LENOX, Mass. — Following a shock to the economic eco-system, economist Steven Sheppard says an area needs to mitigate the negative fallout, understand the changes, and then focus on rebuilding on the strengths.   The Williams College professor said the Berkshires had multiple "shocks" to its economy and still hasn't fully recovered.   Since the 1970s, population has been dropping and, in 2010, the county's gross domestic product "hit bottom" from


The Classical Beat: Chamber Concerts Blossom Throughout Region
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires
01:21PM / Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Kalichstein, Laredo, Robinson Piano Trio will perform as part of the South Mountain Concerts series on Sunday, Sept. 6.

Labor Day marks the conclusion of the summer music festival season, and so the local classical music scene coalesces, as presenters favor intimate spaces for chamber music.

This will become the dominant genre of music making to be found until next June, when the warm late spring weather invites us to share massed performances outdoors at Tanglewood and other venues, large and small.

Looking ahead, you’ll find a variety of concerts presented in churches, chapels, small auditoriums, halls and the like throughout the region. Even


Austen Riggs Center Commends Berkshire Community Scholarship Recipient
01:14PM / Wednesday, August 26, 2015

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The Austen Riggs Center has announced that Christopher Broast is the 2015 recipient of the Austen Riggs Center Scholarship.  

Given annually since 1977, the scholarship is awarded to a graduating Berkshire Community College student who has demonstrated academic excellence in the behavioral sciences.

Broast is graduating with an associate degree in Human Services and will be attending the College of St. Rose in September. An army veteran who served in Iraq, Broast interned at Berkshire United Way and the Barrington Stage Company while a student at BCC.  

BCC staff member Jennifer Larkin said Broast has “been a very big positive presence on


Cameron Black of West Stockbridge Awarded Scholarship to Pursue Music
01:50PM / Monday, August 24, 2015

WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Cameron Ryan Black of West Stockbridge was awarded a $1,150 scholarship from The Jamie Fund, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation named in memory of Stockbridge resident and gifted musician Jamie Bugley.

Black, who recently  from Monument Mountain Regional High School in June, will attend the University of New Haven this fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music and sound recording.

Black was selected from a field of eight applicants for his academic achievement and leadership in the classroom, as well as his independent initiative to produce music outside of school. He aspires to be a music producer, performer or professional disc


Volunteers Needed for Sept. 20 Josh Billings RunAground
01:45PM / Monday, August 24, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The 39th annual Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon is calling on volunteers to help support its historic race which this year is taking place on Sept. 20. Routinely, the race requires some 350 volunteers to help the event run smoothly.

“The Josh” – as it is known to locals and participants – is the second oldest triathlon of its kind in the country and has taken place in Berkshire County since 1977.  Race proceeds have benefited Berkshire United Way since 2002 and total nearly $60,000 since that time.

“We’re always happy to support Berkshire United Way,” Patty Spector, Josh Billings race director, said.


@theMarket: Markets Are Supposed to Pullback
By Bill Schmick,
04:57PM / Friday, August 21, 2015

It was a sea of red for stocks this week. Global markets broke a seven-month trading range and the rest is history. Consider this week's decline a positive development. Here's why.

Over the last seven months, the S&P 500 Index has traded in a narrow range between a gain of 3.5 percent and a loss of minus-3.2 percent. That hasn't happened in almost 50 years. As markets go, this was a highly abnormal development. Something had to give and I have been writing for months that at some point we could expect a larger, more "normal" sell-off in the market. Well, now we are returning to normalcy. It isn't pleasant, because losses make us feel worse than gains make us


Lift Ev'ry Voice Festival Celebrates Achievement of Youth
11:51AM / Friday, August 21, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival celebrated the achievements of Berkshire County youth who completed the Festival’s inaugural program, Project eLEVate, this summer with a closing ceremony on Aug. 8

Project eLEVate featured workshops, lectures, films, tours, and other thought-provoking activities, designed to provide the youth, “Project eLEVate scholars,” with an opportunity to learn more about themselves, as well as the Berkshires’ rich African American history, culture and heritage. At the ceremony, the scholars received a certificate for successfully completing the 11-day program and also had an opportunity to share their experiences


Berkshire Venues Participate in Last 'Free Fun Fridays' of Summer
11:45AM / Friday, August 21, 2015

BOSTON — The Highland Street Foundation's seventh annual “Free Fun Fridays” initiative, a summer program that offers visitors no cost admission to many of the most treasured cultural venues in Massachusetts, includes several Berkshire County institutions in its last two weeks.

“The Highland Street Foundation’s ‘Free Fun Fridays’ provides access to the best  exhibits, programs and experiences that the city and the Commonwealth have to offer,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I join the Highland Street Foundation in inviting residents from across Boston and around the state to take advantage of our rich cultural community by


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