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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

DCR to Offer Lifeguards Bonuses
10:00AM / Saturday, February 26, 2022
BOSTON —The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) announced that the agency is offering bonuses totaling up to $1,000 to qualified lifeguard applicants for the 2022 season.    An early sign-on bonus of $500 will be offered to candidates who commit to being an agency lifeguard for the summer season by Sunday, March 27, 2022. The sign-on bonus is in addition to the agency's $500 retention bonus that will be provide to lifeguards who continue to work for the department through the end of the season.    DCR has also raised the hourly rate for lifeguards for the 2022 season to between $21 and $26 depending on position and associated

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Former Veterans Services Assistant Tapped as RSVP Director
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:30PM / Friday, February 25, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Retired Senior Volunteer Program welcomed a new director this week.

Lisa Torrey began her leadership role in the department on Wednesday and looks forward to working with city seniors.

"I'm super excited to be in this position and it's a great opportunity to serve my community," she said.

Torrey has been employed by the city for 11 years and has a degree in human services. She worked in the School Department's Parent Child Home Program as a special education paraprofessional for the district, and most recently as the administrative assistant in the Veterans Services Department since 2018.

This position is a step up from her

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@theMarket: Blood in the Streets
By Bill Schmick,
03:06PM / Friday, February 25, 2022
It turns out that the president was correct in his warnings. Russia did invade Ukraine. Financial markets predictably crashed, but then rebounded. That's old news. What happens next?   In my last column, I wrote that the fate of the markets was in the hands of two big "ifs." One was an invasion of Ukraine by Russia. That has now occurred. That event broke the range the market was struggling to maintain on Thursday, Feb. 24. But by the end of the day Thursday the markets bounced back up big time. It was a classic investor behavior pattern of "sell the rumor, buy the news." Stocks fought to continue that bounce on Friday.   There is an old saying, attributed

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BHS Offering Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics
02:19PM / Friday, February 25, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With COVID-19 still impacting the region, Berkshire Health Systems is expanding its vaccination program with special vaccine clinics, specifically for children.    These pediatric clinics will provide COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 and will be held the first Saturday of each month, beginning March 5 at the BHS Vaccine Center, 505 East Street in Pittsfield, from 8am to noon.    Each child being vaccinated must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.   Appointments are required and can be made by calling the BHS COVID-19 Hotline, 855-BMC-LINK, or 855-262-5465 or by booking an appointment online through the child's

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Northern Berkshire United Way Receives Emergency Funds For Assistance
01:30PM / Friday, February 25, 2022
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Emergency Food and Shelter Program Awarded Berkshire County $62,726 in Phase 39 (FY20) and $193,871 in Phase ARPAR (FY21) Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) assistance funding.   Northern Berkshire United Way, local administrator of the program, urges qualifying organizations located throughout Berkshire County to submit an application for supplemental emergency food and shelter and to obtain it at this link: https://www.nbunitedway.org/emergency-food-and-shelte-program   Local organizations chosen to receive funds must be private voluntary non-profits (with a voluntary board) or units of government; have an accounting system; practice

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BMS Announces Talent and Merit Scholarship Auditions
01:14PM / Friday, February 25, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Music School continues its enhanced scholarship program to support musicians of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of experience.    For the 2022-2023 academic year, BMS will offer increased need-based financial aid for private lessons, as well as competitive talent- and merit-based scholarships to attract the most talented and promising musicians in the region.   Students accepted into BMS Talent & Merit Scholarship Program will benefit from: financial assistance (up to 100 percent tuition); invitations to participate in masterclasses with guest artists; audition coaching and workshops; complimentary tickets to performances at BMS

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Dalton Town Hall Reopens, COVID Cases Drop
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
12:19PM / Friday, February 25, 2022

DALTON, Mass. — Town Hall is once again open to the public after about two months of closure because of the winter COVID-19 surge. The change is due to a decrease in Dalton's case counts.

Health Agent Agnes Witkowski reported the doors opened last Tuesday when there were seven COVID-19 cases during the previous week. The threshold for reopening Town Hall is 25 cases or fewer in seven days.

"Our latest information is eight for the last seven days," Witkowski wrote in an email to iBerkshires, adding that this number doesn't include at-home tests.

In mid-December, the offices closed to the public until further notice because of an uptick of the virus. The 25-case

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Lenox Housing Trust Holding Lottery for Two 'Affordable' Homes
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:10AM / Friday, February 25, 2022

LENOX, Mass. — A housing lottery will be held for two affordable homes on Hynes Street.

This is an opportunity for first-time homebuyers at 80 percent or less of the area median income, which amounts to $60,600 for a family of three, to own a house in the town that is known for Tanglewood and various other destinations.

Construct Inc., a nonprofit provider of affordable housing and supportive services in the Southern Berkshires, will be administering the lottery for the Lenox Affordable Housing Trust.

The sale price for each home is $254,000 with a tax rate of $10.84 per $1,000.  With all other associated costs and paying five percent down or $12,700, it amounts to a little

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The Retired Investor: Investors Should Take a Deep Breath
By Bill Schmick,
04:24PM / Thursday, February 24, 2022
The war drums are beating. Oil and gas prices are soaring. Inflation is at a decades-long high. Bearish sentiment is exploding. And the stock market is giving investors angina. What to do?   Take a deep breath and remember that whatever the circumstances, this too shall pass. I know that is easy to say, but a longer-term perspective might prevent you from doing something foolish like selling into this downturn.   Let's address the present fear that today's geopolitical tension will somehow escalate into possibly WWIII. Sure, anything can happen, but is war the most probable outcome? The present reaction by the U.S. and its allies regarding Vladimir Putin's aggression

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Impending Snowstorm Prompts Emergency Declarations, Closures
12:34PM / Thursday, February 24, 2022
  Gov. Charlie Baker said executive branch employees who could would be allowed to work from home and encouraged private employers to give their workers flexibility in this.   "By the end of the day Friday, some pockets in northern Massachusetts may see close to a foot of snow. The timing of this storm will make travel conditions especially difficult throughout the day on Friday," he said.    State road crews were being positioned and road pretreated; the MBTA was planning to run snow trains through the night and into Friday.    Secretary of Transportation Jamey L. Tesler urged motorists and truck drivers to plan ahead for difficult conditions on

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What Makes Great Social Networking?
11:54AM / Thursday, February 24, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Feb. 25 Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE) Breakfast Club will tackle social networking practices.   The virtual workshop starts at 7 am.   The 60-minute program unites professionals from the Berkshires and beyond in a moderated conversation.    Seating is limited to 20 participants to promote active networking.   Registration is a must and there is no charge to attend thanks to the sustained sponsorship of Dulye & Co. culture and engagement consultancy based in the Berkshires. To reserve your virtual seat, click on:   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dle-breakfast-club-what-makes-great-social-networking-registration-258276460847

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Pittsfield Health Board Changes Mask Directive to Advisory
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:43AM / Thursday, February 24, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With COVID-19 metrics continuing to improve, the Board of Health on Wednesday voted to move the city's masking directive to a masking advisory.

The advisory will match the state Department of Public Health's guidance that was updated on Feb. 15.  It suggests that a fully vaccinated person should wear a mask indoors if they have a weakened immune system, are at increased risk for severe disease because of age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in the household has a weakened immune, increased risk, or is unvaccinated.

Director of Public Health Andy Cambi recommended the change to the board and revealed that the way things are going, the

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