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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Multicultural BRIDGE Summer Program Returns
12:40PM / Monday, August 03, 2015

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Multicultural BRIDGE again will offer its unique summer educational opportunity for students ages 5-12 at the Guthrie Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 10-14.

For this one week, BRIDGE staff are offering students a program that provides tools for students to flourish and thrive at home, in their neighborhoods and community, and in the school year.  BRIDGE is offering a newly designed program, Happiness Toolbox, that combines cultural, social and emotional learning models with positive psychology to support resilience, engagement and happiness. The curriculum is based on evidence-based research on how to support a child’s overall success,

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@theMarket: Month-End Musings
By Bill Schmick,
03:36PM / Saturday, August 01, 2015

While the summer months are usually the slowest season on Wall Street, July has proven to be anything but. As we enter the month of August, can we expect the same?

Whether we focus on overseas markets or review our own, it is clear that volatility remained and will remain elevated. Overseas markets in Asia took it on the chin, while the United States was trapped in a trading range that will continue in the month ahead. The good news is that this range appears to have an upward bias, so we can expect some minor new highs as time passes.

For the month, the S&P 500 Index managed to stay above water with a 2.2 percent gain bringing the year's total to an unsatisfying 2.4 percent.

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'Southpaw': Winner by a Split Decision
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:02PM / Friday, July 31, 2015
Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
Weinstein Co. Jake Gyllenhaal steps into the ring to punch out a story told many times before and still lands a KO.

The stark realism of director Antoine Fuqua's emotionally charged "Southpaw" belies the fact that you've seen this classic boxing saga at least a couple dozen times before, if not more. Oh, they get changed up a little bit, depending on the era from whence they emerge, but the plot is inevitably familiar.

The protagonist, usually of little intelligence and bereft of an upbringing that might have prepared him for a more traditional occupation, grapples his way to

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The Independent Investor: Supermarkets Evolve to Survive
By Bill Schmick,
03:29PM / Friday, July 31, 2015

We take our local supermarkets for granted. Like gas stations, there seems to one on almost every corner, at least in suburbia. With competition from a variety of sources, supermarkets have been forced to reinvent themselves and are doing a good job doing just that.

Historically, supermarkets are a low-margin business, barely eking out 1-2 percent profit margins annually. Even the "hot" areas of the grocery market, like natural. organic and gourmet food emporiums only command 3 percent to 6 percent margins but to the big store chains that's an attractive option.

In addition, the supermarkets industry is highly fragmented with the top 10 chains only accounting for 35 percent

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Biz Briefs: Mr. Tire, Tax Holiday, Business Directory
Staff Reports,
05:27PM / Thursday, July 30, 2015
Don't worry, Mister Tire will still be here when the snow flies.

Tired of Rumors

Larry Davis of Mister Tire in North Adams is assuring his many, many patrons that the 38-year-old family business is definitely not closing.

"It's come to our attention that the rumor about town has us closing our doors, or being sold to the highest bidder. We'd like to take the time to assure the community that neither of these things are true," the company posted on its Facebook page.

Rather, Davis will be spending less time at the shop, with his children Matt, Mike, and Tori, and general manager Scott taking over more of the operation.

"Larry's children will continue to

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Advocates Call For Expanding Medicare On Anniversary Of Bill Signing
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:14PM / Thursday, July 30, 2015
Advocates held a 'birthday party' for Medicare outside of the Silvio O. Conte Federal Building.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Dr. Charles Wohl says the United States ranks 37th in the world in health outcomes.

But ranks first in per capita spending.

"That is terrible," Wohl said.   "We have a highly inefficient health-care system. Twelve to 30 percent of health-care spending goes down the drain for administrative costs."   However, with the Medicare system, only 3 percent of the total expenses are for administration. The rest goes directly to keeping the elderly and those with disabilities healthy.   That's why Wohl joined with others on

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Joan of Archetype: Playwright Explores Timeless Theme With Classic Story
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:13PM / Thursday, July 30, 2015
Tina Packer as Isabelle d'Arc and Anne Troup as her daughter Joan. LENOX, Mass. — Shakespeare & Company audiences come to venue year round to see historical dramas and new works.   This summer, they get both rolled into one.   Thursday marks the world premiere of Jane Anderson's "Mother of the Maid," which tells the story of Joan of Arc through the eyes of her mother, played by the company's founding artistic director Tina Packer.   Like the Shakespeare histories that are a staple at the Kemble Street venue, "Mother of the Maid" uses the famous and the infamous to explore timeless themes and makes the events of yesteryear

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Legislature Overrides Cultural Council, Kindergarten Cuts
07:57PM / Wednesday, July 29, 2015

BOSTON — The state House and Senate voted on Wednesday to override Governor Charlie Baker's veto and restore $2.3 million in funding in the fiscal 2016 budget for the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Baker vetoed $162.8 million in line items when signing the the $38 billion budget several weeks ago. Most if not all of his vetoes were expected to be overridden by the Legislature.

Wednesday's vote restores funding for the Cultural Council to $14.16 million passed by the Legislature and means a 20 percent hike over last year's $11.8 million. The funding passed unanimously in the Senate and by 153-2 in House.

"The arts and cultural community is thrilled by the

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Berkshire Botanical Garden, Project Native Move Toward Merger
04:30PM / Wednesday, July 29, 2015

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The trustees of the Berkshire Botanical Garden and Project Native have been discussing for some time the benefits of joining forces, and last week both boards unanimously approved motions to pursue a combination.

Both nonprofit groups are still working out details but are optimistic that a final agreement can be reached and that the deal will close by the end of the year.

"Our missions are in complete alignment," said Matt Larkin, chairman of the board of BBG. "The importance to the well-being of our environment of preserving the native elements of our habitat has never been better understood or more at risk. This has been a major subject of our

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The Classical Beat: Don't Miss Tanglewood, Tannery Pond
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires
01:51PM / Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Miró String Quartet, one of America’s highest-profile chamber groups, will play at Tannery Ponds in New York.

Tanglewood in Lenox is the place to be this week for brilliant and unforgettable performances. Why go? To experience the symphonic masterworks of Beethoven, Schubert and Shostakovich, while fabulous guest artists such as the masterful pianist Garrick Ohlsson, phenomenal singers Dawn Upshaw and Matthias Goerne, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma will take center stage in the Shed.

Add to this the all-day spectacular audience favorite "Tanglewood on Parade," and you can expect another week of large-scale, not-to-be-missed stellar performances.

For

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Adams Terror Suspect Ciccolo Denies Weapons, Assault Charges
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
11:42AM / Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Attorney David Hoose of Northampton repeatedly declined to comment on anything he learned from his client, Alexander Ciccolo, on Wednesday.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Adams man suspected by the government of plotting domestic terrorism pleaded innocent on Wednesday in U.S. District Court to two non-terror charges.

Alexander Ciccolo, 23, appeared briefly before Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson.

He answered to a federal weapons possession charge and an allegation of assault while in the Franklin County lockup earlier this month.

To both chages, Ciccolo answered, "Not guilty."

After the six-minute hearing, Ciccolo's attorney met with reporters on the courthouse

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Hundreds Oppose Pipeline Project at FERC Scoping Session
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:11AM / Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The Taconic High School auditorium was filled for the hearing that lasted long into the night. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Natural Gas distributor Kinder Morgan filed some 6,500 pages of environmental reports on Friday.   On Tuesday, residents filled the Taconic High School auditorium to tell federal regulators their concerns about the environmental impacts of Kinder Morgan's proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project.   "These documents are massive with highly technical and important information," said state Rep. Paul Mark at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission scoping session.   He said the documents that were submitted contain omissions of

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