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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Tree Lightings & Holiday Events 2015
01:11PM / Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christmas Tree Lightings

ADAMS: Sunday, Nov. 29, 2 to 5, festivities at the Town Common start at 2 with music, free hayrides and hot cocoa and other refreshments provided by the Adams Lion and Elks clubs; Santa arrives at 3:30 and the tree will be lighted at 4:30.

CLARKSBURG: Sunday, Nov. 29, 6 p.m. at Town Field. Sponsored by the Peter A. Cook VFW Post, which will present donations to local groups and provide hot cocoa. Santa Claus will be lighting the tree and all residents are invited to attend.

NORTH ADAMS: Wednesday, Nov. 25, 6 p.m. at Monument Square. Caroling with the First Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir and Drury Band, hot chocolate and the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Claus will arrive


2015 Bazaars & Craft Fairs
11:01AM / Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The craft fair and bazaar listings will be updated regularly through the fall. Send information to


Friday, Nov. 13

• St. Elizabeth's Parish in North Adams annual bazaar will feature $1,000 raffle, good food, baked goods, chinese auction, white elephant sale, silent auction, plants, candy, Christmas items and more from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 14

• St. Elizabeth's Parish in North Adams annual bazaar will feature $1,000 raffle, good food, baked goods, chinese auction, white elephant sale, silent auction, plants, candy, Christmas items and more from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• The Mount Greylock Extended Care Facility on North Street,


MassPIRG Warns of Dangerous Toys For Holiday Season
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:51PM / Tuesday, November 24, 2015
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — MassPIRG is asking gift buyers to be vigilant in making sure toys bought for children this holiday season are safe.   The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group released its 30th annual report on toy safety in which it found dozens of toys inside local retail stores that are unsafe for children.    "The message today is clear: we need to protect America's youngest consumers from unsafe toys," said Michael Basmajian, of MassPIRG's Educational Fund. "We found examples of children's products that can poison or harm children."   The report released every year around Thanksgiving is intended to spread awareness


How Can the Fedís Actions Affect You?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
03:44PM / Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates? This question has been on the minds of economists and financial market prognosticators for quite some time now. But what does it mean to you, as an individual investor?

First of all, it’s important to understand just what is meant by “raising rates.” The Federal Reserve, or the “Fed,” directly controls short-term interest rates, although, through various measures, it can also affect long-term rates. Typically, the Fed will lower short-term rates to stimulate the economy. Conversely, the Fed will raise rates to slow down the economy if it seems to be “overheating” and threatening to push inflation


Berkshire Tidbits Special: Where to Eat on Thanksgiving
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
12:07PM / Tuesday, November 24, 2015
There are not many Berkshire restaurants open or serving dinner this Thursday, Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day. Many of those that are open and serving are already fully booked. Here are some that are still available to reserve seats for Thanksgiving dinner.   Everyone requires or requests reservations unless otherwise stated. Tax and gratuity are to be added to all prices unless otherwise stated.     Aegean Breeze
    This is a family-owned and run restaurant which serves mainly Greek food with an emphasis on seafood. But owners George and Irene Cami like to serve Thanksgiving dinner.   On Thanksgiving Day, in addition to their regular menu, they will be serving


Berkshire Tidbits: More Thanksgiving Specials
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
11:39AM / Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pittsfield Salvation Army
Sets Free Thanksgiving Dinner

Today, Sunday, Nov. 22, Capts. Darlene and Elliot Higgins and church members will cook and serve a free Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings for anyone who wants one.

No reservations are needed. The Pittsfield Salvation Army is at 300 West St., Pittsfield


Thanksgiving R&R
at Kripalu Center

For the entire Thanksgiving week, Sunday, Nov. 22, through Friday, Nov. 27, Kripalu, 183 West St., Lenox, is offering a special rest and relaxation retreat to reflect on your own thankfulness and practice self-care at the same time.

The R&R retreat requires a minimum stay of two days. And/or enjoy their whole-foods


'Suffragette': Heroines of Democracy
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
07:32PM / Friday, November 20, 2015

When historical films like director Sarah Gavron's "Suffragette" so movingly inform how brutally primitive we were not so long ago, it is decidedly chilling. Hardly more than a hundred years ago, so-called enlightened civilizations were beating up women because they wanted to vote ... to represent themselves within the society where they nurtured, toiled and died.

It gives me pause to wonder just how aghast future cultures may be when they study how "barbaric" we 21st century folk were. i.e., "Imagine. They made people pay for health care, food, and energy."

In that light, it's crazy to think that once upon a time half the Earth's population


Seven Children Find Forever Homes To Celebrate National Adoption Day
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:47PM / Friday, November 20, 2015
PITTSFIELD, Mass. —— Michelle Nichols remembers the phone call.   She was approved to adopt the child she had been fostering for four years. It began seven years ago, when she and her husband first decided they wanted to be adoptive parents. One of her students needed a home and the couple began to foster. Four years later, she was approved by the Department of Children and Families.   "It was a long journey. Our journey was four years for our first adoptive child," Nichols said. "Adoption is a wonderful thing. You face every obstacle with your child together."   It isn't an easy journey, she said. She remembers the feelings and concern.


The Independent Investor: How 'Black' Will This Black Friday Be?
By Bill Schmick,
08:39AM / Friday, November 20, 2015

For retailers, the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday traditionally signals the beginning of the do-or-die holiday selling season. The question worrying Wall Street and retailers alike this year is will the results justify the hype?

Listening to the third-quarter earnings and revenue guidance from retailers last week, there was little to applaud. Department stores were especially downbeat on their expectations for the entire 2015 holiday shopping season. Big discount stores, like Walmart, were less negative, and argued consumers were simply keeping their powder dry, while waiting for next weekend's super deals.

Some analysts argue that the disappointing earnings most retailers posted had


Guest Column: Why Is Berkshire County Education Task Force Important?
By John Hockridge, Guest Column
08:16AM / Friday, November 20, 2015

With a nod to Bob Dylan, "the times they are a changing."

The Berkshire County Education Task Force hopes to address changes in the educational landscape of our region by articulating a clear direction for our shared future that is intentional and focused on quality, sustainable preK-12 education.

The task force is trying to proactively address these changes affecting Berkshire public school districts:

● A general decline in student enrollment that is expected to continue;

● Rising operational costs (ie. benefits, special education, technology);

● Declining/flat revenues leading to additional financial burden to towns and

municipalities; and


Letter: BArT Example of Charter School Success
Letters to the Editor,
07:00AM / Friday, November 20, 2015

To the Editor:

A recent Pittsfield School Committee discussion included some misinformation about public charter schools that I would like to respectfully correct. (Pittsfield School Committee Endorses Moratorium on Charter Schools, Nov. 13)

Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School (BArT) is a tuition-free, public school, open to all students in Grades 6-12 from Pittsfield and Northern Berkshire County. We prepare students for college by promoting mastery of academic skills and content with a strong foundation in arts and technology. The school provides an educational community that regards everyone, including teachers and parents, as lifelong learners.

BArT serves a


BRPC: $815 Million Invested In Berkshire County Since 2012
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:08AM / Friday, November 20, 2015
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There has been at least $235 million in public monies and $580 million in private investment in the county over the past three years in ongoing or completed projects.   But those figures haven't translated to employment or wage increases.   The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission approved Thursday the annual Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy performance report. The report outlines the status of an array of economic development projects — including improvements to the Pittsfield Municipal Airport, renovations at Williams College, and the Hoosac Wind Farm.    "I expect that to be underestimated because that is just the


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