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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Edith Wharton Writing Competition Winners Announced
10:45AM / Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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LENOX, Mass. — The Mount has announced the winners of the 15th annual Edith Wharton Writing Competition.

The Mount and The Berkshire Eagle established the writing competition in 1998 in support and recognition of emerging young writers in Edith Wharton's beloved Berkshire region. This year's writing competition is sponsored by The Berkshire Eagle, Berkshire Life, WSBS and Newspapers in Education.

The 2014 competition invited local and regional students from grades nine through 12 to submit entries in one or both categories: Fiction and Poetry. Marsha Recknagel, former writer-in-residence at Rice University, and Simon's Rock professor Peter Filkins served as judges. The

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Guido's Fresh Marketplace Collecting Pet Food
01:18PM / Monday, April 14, 2014
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In honor of Preventation of Cruelty to Animals Month, Guido's Fresh Marketplace is hosting a Pet Food Drive to benefit the Berkshire Humane Society from April 16 to April 30.

People can visit either store at 1020 South St. in Pittsfield or 760 South Main St. in Great Barrington and pick up an extra can or bag of pet food for the animals at the shelter.

Look for donation bins in the stores. For more information, visit Guido's online.

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State Senator Finegold Seeking Treasurer Post
By Andy McKeever,
02:36PM / Saturday, April 12, 2014
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State Sen. Benjamin Downing with colleague Sen. Barry Finegold, who is now seeking the treasurer's office, at a meet and greet Friday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Barry Finegold doesn't want the state's pension funds invested in fossil fuels.

Sure, he can support a bill to do that. But Finegold says he wanted to do even more with the pension system.

So he is running for treasurer.

"I want to make sure we are responsible and I want our pension funds to reflect our values. Instead of investing in companies like Exxon Mobile, we should invest in green tech and renewable companies," the Andover Democrat said on Friday, when he met with members of the

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iBerkshires Celebrates 14 Years of Covering the Region
05:04PM / Friday, April 11, 2014
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iBerkshires celebrated 14 years on Friday with cake and pizza. Members of the editorial team Community Editor Rebecca Dravis, left, Editor Tammy Daniels, reporter Jack Guerino and Pittsfield Bureau Chief Andy McKeever (a partypooper for not wearing a birthday tiara).

Fourteen years.

Doesn't sound like much but in the virtual world it's pretty significant.

iBerkshires.com is celebrating its 14th birthday today. (That's why there's balloons and candles all over our site and Facebook page.)

We're only 9 years younger than the World Wide Web. And we're among the oldest, if not the oldest, hyperlocal news site not attached to any other media, print or otherwise.

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Superior Court Briefs: April 8 - April 10
Staff Reports,
02:58PM / Friday, April 11, 2014
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, April 8.

Dylan Greiter, 24, Stephentown, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of receiving stolen property over $250, two counts of wanton destruction of property and a single count of being present where heroin is kept.

He was released on personal recognizance. Greiter allegedly sold copper that belonged to Iberdrola Renewables between October 26, 2013 and November 12, 2013.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, April 10.

Christopher Blair, 34, of Hillsdale, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of unarmed robbery and larceny over $250.

He was ordered to be held at the

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West Stockbridge Mom Targets Funds to Cure Type 1 Diabetes
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
09:37AM / Friday, April 11, 2014
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A sign at last year's pancake breakfast to raise money for JDRF educates visitors on what people with Type 1 diabetes must do simply to eat breakfast.

WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Do you know how many carbohydrates there are in half a cup of maple syrup?

Kristi Farina of West Stockbridge knows there are 50 grams. Plus she knows there are 15 grams per pancake, though that number varies widely based on the size and thickness of the pancake.

She has known since 2001, when her son Dawson, then only 2 years old, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

She now knows the "carb counts" of pretty much every food Dawson has ever eaten and knows how to try to balance those carbs with

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Advocates Look To Make Arts Part of Governor's Race
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
02:27AM / Friday, April 11, 2014
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MassCreattive's Matt Wilson is advising local organizations how to impress the importance of the arts on candidates in this election season. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — MassCreative says it wants to do what it did in the Boston mayoral race on a more statewide level this fall, with a new "Create the Vote" campaign aimed at raising the prominence of the arts as an economic and social issue in the ramp up to the coming gubernatorial election.     "We have a great opportunity to influence this election," Executive Director Matt Wilson told representatives from about a dozen local cultural organizations at a strategy meeting at Barrington Stage

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Are We There Yet?: Be a Llama Mama
By Rebecca Dravis,
09:49PM / Thursday, April 10, 2014
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"Llama, llama red pajama waiting, waiting for his mama" ... Who knew so many words rhymed with "llama"?

And who knew llamas could be so much fun! Find out for yourself this Saturday, April 12, with a double dose of llama drama (ha ha, I'm a poet) at the Mason Library in Great Barrington. First, at 10:45 a.m., children in grades pre-K through 3 can come make a fun paper llama. Registration requested at 413-528-2403 or through the website.

Then, at 11:30 a.m., the real llama will appear, courtesy of Debbie Elias, owner of Country Quilt Llama Farm. Elias will read stories (like something from the "Llama Llama" series by Anna Dewdney, where that first quote

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The Independent Investor: Banks Face Tougher Regulations
By Bill Schmick,
08:46PM / Thursday, April 10, 2014
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This week the eighth largest U.S. banks were told they need to increase capital by about $68 billion. In some ways it is too little, too late in the government's efforts to prevent another financial meltdown. Nonetheless, the regulations do provide an increased level of safety for taxpayers.

"Too big to fail" is a term that makes most of us grind our teeth. It was taxpayers, after all, who were required to pay trillions of dollars to rescue our financial sector after the 2008-2009 financial crisis precipitated by our largest banks. Ever since then, regulators have been looking at ways to prevent the same thing happening again.

Now, over five years later and despite massive

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Chamber Career Fair Connects Hundreds With Open Jobs
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:42PM / Thursday, April 10, 2014
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Those looking for a better job got to browse openings at more than 50 companies. More photos can be found here.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hundreds of job seekers flocked to Berkshire Hills Country Club on Thursday for the annual Berkshire Chamber of Commerce career fair.

The fair featured 51 employers from all over the region to collect resumes and tell people what positions they need filled.

"We've already had 230 people [at noon] and we're anticipating more than 400 for the day," said Darci Hess, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce's director of marketing.

Of note, Hess said many of those job seekers listed themselves as "underemployed" rather than

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