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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

@The Market: Full Steam Ahead
By Bill Schmick,
03:53AM / Saturday, February 28, 2015
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The major averages made all-time highs again this week, except the Nasdaq. It is just a matter of time before that tech-heavy index joins the party. But what happens after that?

The short answer is that we go higher, maybe not right away, but soon. January, you may recall, was a down month, which was similar to last year. This month saw a recovery followed by higher highs just like last year. If the trend versus last year continues, we should see further gains in March, possibly fueled by more demand from overseas investors.

Given that the United States is the only game in town for bond buyers, if off-shore investors want yield and safety, we should expect to see a continuation of demand

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Commission on Status of Women, Groups, Share Concerns With Lawmakers
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:00AM / Saturday, February 28, 2015
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State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier addresses the large crowd of mostly women at Friday's legislative breakfast.

LENOX, Mass. — Food assistance for young mothers can help a lot.

But it won't buy diapers.

And the cost of those very necessary items have become a burden on low-income mothers.   Marcy Gaul helps provide them through the newly formed Berkshire County Diaper Project, which collects donations and redistributes them.   "Our diapers disappear in days," Gaul told the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women and state legislators Friday morning.   The commission is a volunteer group of local women designated as special state

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'Still Alice': A Sadness to Remember
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:31PM / Friday, February 27, 2015
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Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
Sony Pictures Classics Julianne Moore loses herself in an Oscar-winning portrayal of a woman facing Alzheimer's disease.

Exiting from a screening of "Still Alice," the heart-wrenching tale of a renowned linguistics professor's valiant struggle with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, a fellow viewer bemoaning the fragility of life adamantly apprised her pal, "which is exactly why I'm going to Costa Rica!" I analogously thought "Ferrari" ... as if some consolation prize could possibly assuage any fears of the life-stealing horrors just witnessed. . Oh,

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The Independent Investor: New Fiduciary Rule Would Benefit All of Us
By Bill Schmick,
03:48PM / Friday, February 27, 2015
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The Department of Labor is trying again. This week, a proposed new rule, backed by the president, would force all financial advisers to adopt a "fiduciary responsibility" toward their clients when overseeing retirement plans. If passed, it could substantially reduce the fees and expenses we pay for that advice.

So exactly what is this fiduciary responsibility that President Obama is championing? The rule would require all advisers to put their client's interests above all other considerations when making investment recommendations on accounts covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. That means the bulk of middle class savings represented by all types of

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Berkshire Reps Rise In Legislative Ranks
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:08PM / Friday, February 27, 2015
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The speaker of the house assigned committees on Thursday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire's House of Representatives delegation is moving up in rank.   On Thursday, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo assigned committees, which placed local officials in leadership roles.    "I believe the Berkshires fared extremely well with this reorganization of the house," the dean of the delegation, state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, said Friday morning.   Pignatelli was promoted to vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development (on which he's served for some time), Rep. Paul Mark to vice chairman of both

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Farley-Bouvier Files Bills To Combat Sexual Assault On Campus
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:02PM / Thursday, February 26, 2015
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Tricia Farley-Bouvier has filed two pieces of legislation aimed at on-campus sexual assault. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier is focused on tackling the issue of sexual assault on campus.   The Pittsfield Democrat has sponsored two major bills aimed to ensure safety on private and public college campuses across the state.   One will treat sexual assault allegations under Title IX provisions and the other would create a "bill of rights" for victims.   "We do believe the federal level is the best place for these kind of reforms. However, this is going to be a companion bill with what is happening on the federal level to ensure that

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Congressman Neal Calls For Major Public Works Investments
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:24PM / Monday, February 23, 2015
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U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, right, tours Unistress, which makes concrete blocks for such projects as bridges. PITTSFIELD, Mass. —— A $70 million concrete contract for the repairs on New York's Tappan Zee Bridge has led to hundreds of jobs in the Berkshires.    U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is calling for even more of those types of projects.   The Springfield Democrat met with Unistress owner Perri Petricca and union officials on Monday to discuss the impact federal public works projects can have on local companies and workers.   "The best, fastest and most dependable way to put people back to work is with a big public works initiatives," Neal

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The Carpet Guy: Take Simple Steps to Protect and Care for your Carpet
By Chuck Roberts,
11:34AM / Monday, February 23, 2015
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Caring for your carpet is similar to taking care of yourself. Annual visits to your doctor, a proper diet, exercise, all lead to good health and hopefully, an extended life.

The same is true for your carpet. An annual professional cleaning, vacuuming, spot cleaning, and catching dirt before it enters you home, all helps to keep your carpet and home healthy, and extend the life of your carpet.


Catching dirt

Most dry soils, approximately 70 percent, that are brought into a home are deposited within the first 10-15 feet. Using mats outside and inside, help reduce the amount of soils brought further into the home. Removing shoes upon entering the house also helps. Change filters in your

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Mosquito Control Project Sets $250K Budget For 2015 Summer
By Morgan Middlebrook, iBerkshires Correspondent
01:07PM / Saturday, February 21, 2015
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Superintendent Christopher Horton outlined the reasons for the mosquito control at Thursday's meeting. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project will spend a quarter of a million dollars next year to fend off communicable diseases.   The board members stressed the seriousness of the threat West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis poses to public health on Thursday when they set the $249,403 budget.   The budget is 3.7 percent more than last year, according to Superintendent Christopher Horton, and is split among the seven participating towns by percentage.   The organization monitors the mosquito population and looks for the presence

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Drury High Class Bringing Tony Winner to Perform at School
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
01:36AM / Friday, February 20, 2015
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The Drury High School's Performing Arts Management class is bringing singer and songwriter Duncan Sheik to the school in April.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Drury Performing Arts Management Class will bring in Grammy and Tony-winning artist Duncan Sheik to the high school this April.

Tucked away in the arts wing of Drury High School, you can find Jamie Choquette's Performing Arts Management (DPAM) class sitting around a table conference style and talk business.

At first glance, one would not think they were standing in a high school classroom as the students talk marketing, lighting specifics, ticket sales, and fog machines.

Many of these conversations are focused around

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