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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Hillcrest Commons Residents Receive Christmas Gifts & Cards
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:15PM / Sunday, January 09, 2022

Hillcrest was able to accommodated visitors this holiday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Santa was good to the folks at Hillcrest Commons this year.   Each resident received a gift and a card or picture from generous people who enjoy giving back.     Almost 200 residents received presents thanks to Kristen Vella Wiliams, who began providing gifts to residents who did not have family members in 2014. The nursing and rehabilitation center could not be more thankful for Vella's program and the joy it brings to everyone at the facility.   "I really can't say enough as to what they do and how it's grown,"  Admissions and Marketing Director

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Hilltop Orchards Reopens Store Damaged in Christmas Fire
10:15AM / Sunday, January 09, 2022
RICHMOND, Mass. — Hilltop Orchards has reopened this weekend after a Christmas morning fire caused smoke and fire damage the its store.   David Martell, farm manager and master wine/cider maker, said the orchard faced uncertainty after the fire.    However, he said, with hard work, dedicated deep cleaning, and a retail inspection by the Massachusetts Department of Health, store is once more offering freshly made cider doughnuts and other products such as wines and Johnny Mash/JMASH Ciders.   "The Christmas day fire was tough but we know it could have been much worse," Martell said in a statement announcing the reopening. "We feel fortunate for so

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@theMarket: Fed Meeting Notes Throw Markets a Curve
By Bill Schmick,
03:11PM / Friday, January 07, 2022
Investors were set back on their heels this week after reading the latest member comments from the Federal Open Market Committee's December 2021 meeting. It suggests that the Fed is prepared to tighten far sooner than most expected.   Members seem to say that the Federal reserve bank central bank was prepared to shrink its $9 trillion balance sheet "much sooner and faster" than anyone expected. This is in addition to the already announced plan to reduce its asset purchases faster than they first planned. Couple that with expectations that we could see three interest rate hikes this year and one can understand why stocks dropped this week.   The U.S. Ten-Year Treasury

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BCC Fall Nursing Program Deadline
12:56PM / Friday, January 07, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The deadline to apply to Berkshire Community College (BCC)'s Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program for the fall 2022 semester is Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022.    Admissions into the nursing program are based on space availability and follow a competitive process.    The BCC nursing program, which is approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, is a sequence of lectures, skills training, laboratory and clinical courses. Graduates are eligible to take the licensing examination to become registered nurses (RNs).    For more

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Letter: Merry Orthodox Christmas
Letter to the Editor,
12:35PM / Friday, January 07, 2022

To the Editor:

Hello,

Merry Orthodox Christmas, Jan. 7, 2022. This is celebrated largely in Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Greece and Serbia, by Coptic Christians in Egypt, and regions that have people from these countries

This is based on the Julian calendar. The Catholic Pope Gregory XIII organized a new calendar in 1582 and areas not affected in some cases adopted the date later. People will attend church services ( plus Divine Liturgy) and then feast on foods and some cheese dishes and other ways to celebrate. Enjoy!

Joseph Maciora

 

 

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Fire Officials Warn Against Smoking on Home Oxygen
08:31AM / Friday, January 07, 2022
STOUGHTON, Mass. — After the third death this year involving smoking and medical oxygen, Massachusetts fire officials issued a reminder that smoking is especially unsafe when using home oxygen.   "There is no safe way to smoke, but it's especially dangerous when using home oxygen," said Stoughton Fire Chief Michael E. Carroll. "A fire can start easier, burn hotter, and grow faster in an oxygen-rich environment. Never smoke while using oxygen or in a home where someone else is using it. Always keep tanks and tubes well away from heat sources and open flames."   A 77-year-old Stoughton resident succumbed on Christmas Day after sustaining injuries while

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Public Comments Sought on Human Service Needs in Pittsfield
08:07AM / Friday, January 07, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City of Pittsfield, through its Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC), is asking the public to comment on the human service needs in Pittsfield.   The Human Services Advisory Council is an 11-member advisory committee that provides funding recommendations to the mayor on how the city should allocate its human services funding.    One of the considerations that the council uses to make those recommendations is to consider the input of Pittsfield residents and others.   Public comments will be accepted now through Jan. 31, 2022.   Comments may be submitted several ways: email at jdodds@cityofpittsfield.org; phone at 413- 499-9358;

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Pittsfield COVID-19 Numbers Higher Than Ever Before
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:12AM / Friday, January 07, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The number of people being tested daily for COVID-19 by Berkshire Health Systems has almost doubled as the omicron variant surges through the state.   "We have increased our testing capacity and are continuing to adapt to meet the demand during this surge. Earlier in the fall, we were testing an average of 500 people per day and have now increased that by to nearly 900 people per day in recent weeks," said BHS spokesman Michael Leary in an email on Thursday   Leary said the health system is working to accommodate the spread of the omicron variant at its testing centers. Testing appointments at BHS and local pharmacies, however, remain scarce

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County Protests Counter Christian Nationalism, Support Democracy
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:19PM / Thursday, January 06, 2022

Organizers Betsy Burris, left, and Sherwood Guernsey address the crowd at Williamstown's First Congregational Church. WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The events of Jan. 6, 2021, spurred a local conversation about Christian nationalism.   But the roots of the issue go deeper than that.   "I came to the church in the '80s when the Moral Majority was coming into power in the United States," the Rev. Mark Seifried said on Thursday afternoon. "I say, 'coming into power' because they are a powerful force. I felt like it was incumbent for people of faith to offer a different perspective than they were offering.   "To offer a

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Snow Expected Friday Morning; North Adams Schools Close
04:51PM / Thursday, January 06, 2022
 The Berkshires can expect 2 to 5 inches of snow overnight into Friday morning.    A winter weather advisory is in effect from midnight through noon on Friday.  A wintry mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain is also possible late Saturday night into Sunday, which could result in slippery travel conditions, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.North Adams Public Schools will use an “emergency day” for Friday in light of the coming weather and staffing shortages because COVID-19. There will be no school or afterschool activities on Friday. The state Department of Transportation is warning of 3 to 9 inches across the state and the governor has directed

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The Retired Investor: My Dog's Medical Bills Are Higher Than Mine
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Thursday, January 06, 2022
On the surface, it was a good year if you were in the veterinary business. Year-over-year sales grew by 9.1 percent, while patient visits increased by 3 percent. For pet owners, however, not so much.   Owners found that the cost of keeping their pets healthy jumped by about 10 percent. Some of that price increase was due to higher fees, but consumers were also purchasing more products and services.   My chocolate Labrador Retriever, Titus, is now 13 years old. The rule of thumb: every year of a dog's life equals seven years of my life. That would put Titus' age at 91, versus my age of 73. I won't detail all his health ailments, suffice it to say that he is in the

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Pittsfield Closes Taconic, Reid Because of Staff Shortages
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
06:19PM / Wednesday, January 05, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Taconic High School and Reid Middle School will be closed on Thursday, Jan. 6, and Friday, Jan. 7, because the schools do not have enough staff to open. Both schools are anticipated to reopen on Monday but families will be notified by Sunday.

Superintendent Joseph Curtis had cautioned on Wednesday that school closures could happen because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

He sent out a video and written communication to Pittsfield Public School families announcing that the current, historically high case counts could eventually warrant the closure of one, many, or all schools.

There is no set metric for school closure but the cases have been rising

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