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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

BRTA Paratransit Drivers Accept Contract, Reject Strike
Staff Reports,
08:37PM / Friday, February 23, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A potential strike by paratransit drivers has been called off after members voted to accept an agreement with Paratransit Management of the Berkshires on Friday.   Robert Malnati, administrator of the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority, sent a brief notification late Friday that he had been told the tentative agreement settled on Wednesday had been voted by the paratransit union membership. Paratransit Management has operated the bus agency's paratransit services for nearly two years.    The workers represented by International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 404 had rejected a "best and final offer" in early February and called for a

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MCLA Stages Adaptation of 'Rhinoceros'
06:30PM / Friday, February 23, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The third show of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Fine and Performing Arts Department's theater program continues to emphasize this season's theme of "We the People" with its adaptation of Eugene Ionesco's play, "Rhinoceros," which will open at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, in MCLA's Venable Theater.     Guest artist David Lane, who directs the production, described "Rhinoceros" as an absurdist theater production that includes comedy and tragedy, as well as dark political tones.   "'We the People' is not a given, and democracy doesn't exist without a country of people to

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@theMarket: Interest Rates and Stock Market
By Bill Schmick,
05:28PM / Friday, February 23, 2018
After years and years of historically low-interest rates both here and abroad, stock investors are suddenly paying attention to the day-to-day movements of the world's bond markets. They may be getting a little too obsessive for their own good.    This week, the 10-year Treasury note and the equity averages moved hand in hand. As the yield on the U.S. Treasury moved higher, stocks moved lower. As the yield fell, stocks gained ground. This change in behavior is causing a great deal of needless volatility but I believe it is all part of the "normalization" process.   That is a term coined by investors to explain what happens when our central banks begin to back

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Democrats Meeting Across Berkshire County
02:35PM / Friday, February 23, 2018

Democratic town committees have been meeting and preparing for the Massachusetts Democratic Party Endorsing Convention and hosting other events across Berkshire County. The following is a sample:

Adams

The Adams Democratic Town Committee held its annual caucus to elect delegates to the Massachusetts Democratic Party Endorsing Convention being held in June in Worcester. The caucus was run by Town Democratic Chair Ed Driscoll, and elected six delegates and one alternate. They are: Charles Forsman (7 Columbia Terrace), Joe Nowak (78 East Hoosac St.), John Zelazo (22 Summitt Ave.), Adele Michaud (5 Dubis St.), Melissa Mendes (7 Columbia Terrace), Andrea Filkins (195 East Road), and Jon Duval;

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Norman Rockwell Museum Appoints Chief Philanthropy Officer
01:54PM / Friday, February 23, 2018

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The Norman Rockwell Museum has appointed Ellen Spear, currently president and CEO of Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Mass., as the museum's new chief philanthropy officer.

Spear will officially join Norman Rockwell Museum over the summer, assuming a newly created senior-level position to lead the museum's development efforts at a pivotal time of growth. Spear succeeds chief advancement officer Michelle Clarkin, who joined the development staff of Fordham University in Manhattan.

Norman Rockwell Museum recently announced plans to assess the feasibility of adapting the Old Stockbridge Town Hall as a National Center for Illustration Education

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Women's Day: How Can Women Make Financial Progress
12:33PM / Friday, February 23, 2018

On March 8, we observe International Women's Day. This year's theme is "Press for Progress," and events around the world will celebrate women's advancements in the political, social and cultural arenas. But right here in the United States, women still face barriers to their financial progress. If you're a woman, you need to recognize these challenges – and respond to them.

So, what are the key obstacles to financial security for a woman? Probably the first thing that comes to mind is the gender wage gap: Women generally earn around 80 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But women also face other threats to their financial

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CHP Board of Trustees Names New Members
12:07PM / Friday, February 23, 2018

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs has welcomed two new members to its board of trustees.

Nicole Antil and Gloria Escobar took their seats on the board of the countywide health care network in December, said Christopher Phillips, board chair.

Antil, a native of Morris County, N.J., is the owner of Antil Creative and chief creative officer for Graham-Pelton Consulting, a nonprofit fundraising and management consulting firm. A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, she is also a 2017 graduate of the Berkshire Leadership Program. She previously worked as a marketing and proposal manager for Maxymillian Technologies. She and her husband Peter live in Richmond with

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BMC Nurses Call Off Strike
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:23AM / Friday, February 23, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The union nurses at Berkshire Medical Center have called off next week's planned strike.   After a late night of last-minute negotiations Thursday, the local Massachusetts Nurses Association chapter opted to withdraw the strike notice as contract negotiations have progressed. The nurses were planning on a one-day strike on Tuesday, which likely have been followed by a lockout.   "We made enough progress to avert the strike scheduled for Tuesday and continue bargaining with the hospital," reads a notice from the local MNA to its membership.   But, "we retain the right to re-issue another 10-day notice for a one-day strike

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Matuszko Tapped As Next BRPC Executive Director
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:44PM / Thursday, February 22, 2018

The full commission made the decision on Thursday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After 21 years with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Thomas Matuszko is poised to become the commission's next executive director.   The commission chose Matuszko out of three finalists Thursday evening. The executive committee will now negotiate terms for employment with Matuszko for him to become just the third executive director since the commission was formed in 1967.    "He has a number of strengths that would serve the agency well," said BRPC Senior Planner Lauren Gaherty, who represented the staff on the search committee. "He knows each community's

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'The Art of the Oscar Picks': The Devil Is in The Details
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
05:04PM / Thursday, February 22, 2018
On a recent gloomy night I pondered weak and weary, not because I was necessarily weak or weary, but because I like the expression and it was time to make my Oscar picks, an annual tradition I abhor with no small amount of dread and disdain. All the same, I was determined that this year's choices would be the likes of which the world has never before seen. Believe me.   They'd be so correct that people would be bored by them. I'm like a smart person. I went to the best schools. I make great deals. All I had to do was get a little help from the outside. It's all the rage, y'know?   Thus it was quite fortuitous that, after channeling the modus operandi of New

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The Independent Investor: Is America Back in the Space Business?
By Bill Schmick,
04:03PM / Thursday, February 22, 2018
If you were watching television this Thursday, you may have caught the launching of a low-orbit Spanish government-commissioned satellite launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The difference between today and 25 years ago is that it was a private company called Space X, rather than NASA, that made it happen.   For old guys like me, space exploration was a big deal while growing up. Americans my age cheered and cried as the U.S. raced for space from the tragic death of the crew of Apollo One in 1967, to the first moon walk in 1969 (and no, I don't mean Michael Jackson). The work day would be put on pause as everyone watched the latest rocket launch from Cape

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Letter: BMC: A North County Perspective
Letter to the Editor,
04:00PM / Thursday, February 22, 2018

To the Editor:

With all of the recent news on Berkshire Medical Center, the registered nurses' contract disputes and a looming second strike by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, we shouldn't be surprised that financial rating agencies have expressed concern for the future of our community hospital.

The costs of the union's demands and funding replacement nurses during the strike, combined with significant reimbursement changes, all have a negative impact on BMC. The community and the nurses' union must understand that we depend on Berkshire Health Systems to be healthy.

I am a North Berkshire resident and business owner, and I have seen up close what Berkshire Health

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