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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Superior Court Briefs: Jan. 17 - Jan. 19.
Staff Reports,
03:02PM / Friday, January 20, 2017
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Jan. 17.   Valerie Soules, 63, of Pittsfield, pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual relations with inmates.   She was placed on three-years probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service. Soules engaged in a sexual relationship with an inmate while employed at the Berkshire County House of Correction.   The incident occurred between October 1, 2014 and September 17, 2015.    Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, Jan. 19.   Tonia O'Brien, 19, of Hinsdale, pleaded guilty to single counts of assault and battery upon a child with substantial bodily injury, reckless

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'Hidden Figures': Amounts to an Important Tale
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:51PM / Friday, January 20, 2017

Watching director Theodore Melfi's "Hidden Figures," about the African-American women working for NASA who were instrumental if not indispensable to getting our first man in space, we scratch our heads and can't help but ask ourselves, "How come I didn't know this?" But figuring the truth here isn't rocket science.

So many years after the fact, it's the same depth of prejudice that hampered Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and their sister colleagues from convincing the space agency of their genius that has squirreled away their story.

This is a civics lesson, especially important at this tremulous juncture when a sizable portion

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Inauguration 2016
by Soapbox 02:00PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Kids 4 Harmony Provided The Music At The Inauguration Reception
by Soapbox 08:38PM / Monday, January 06, 2014

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
by Soapbox 04:10PM / Tuesday, December 10, 2013

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SVMC OB/GYNs to Appear on WAMC's Medical Monday
12:41PM / Friday, January 20, 2017

BENNINGTON, Vt. — At 2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 23, SVMC OB/GYNs Anika Chadee and Themarge Small will appear on WAMC's Northeast Public Radio's Medical Monday program.

Dr. Chadee received her medical degree from St. George's University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies, and completed the Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Bronx, N.Y., which is affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College. She joined the SVMC medical staff and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians in 2016.

Dr. Small received her medical degree from the University of California Los Angeles' Geffen School of Medicine and completed the

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Final Steel Beam Placed On New Taconic High School Structure
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:35PM / Friday, January 20, 2017

City Councilor Kathleen Amuso, a former School Committee member, has been working on this project for more than a decade. Her signature joined hundreds including students, construction workers, and staff. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The $120.8 million Taconic High School construction project hit another milestone Friday when workers placed the final steel beam on the structure.   In a topping-off ceremony, a construction tradition signifying the completion of the structure of a building, school and construction officials celebrated the milestone with a speaking program, signing of the beams, and of course, watching the workers place it.   "While they hoist the beam that

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'Travel Photography for Everyone' Begins Jan. 25
11:37AM / Friday, January 20, 2017

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — One of the joys of traveling is creating enduring photographic images of the sights that fill you with wonder, delight, and surprise.

Learn how to capture even better images next time you travel with award-winning photographer Thaddeus Kubis in OLLI: The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College's winter course, "Travel Photography for Everyone." No experience is necessary.

The class begins Wednesday, Jan. 25, and runs for four weekly sessions from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Berkshire Community College's South county Center, located at 343 Main St. in downtown Great Barrington.

Whichever media you use — film, digital,

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MountainOne Unifies Branding of Divisions
04:20PM / Thursday, January 19, 2017

The clock also has a new lighting array installed.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MountainOne Financial, the parent company of MountainOne Bank and three additional financial service divisions, has rebranded each of its divisions under the MountainOne name.

The rebranding includes a new blue and white logo, replacing the tan and white one that MountainOne has used for several years.

"For nearly two decades, the individual companies of MountainOne have worked together to successfully build a complete portfolio of banking, insurance, and investment services in the Berkshires and throughout our region," President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Fraser said. "In 2013, our

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United Way, Habitat For Humanity Launch Free Tax Prep Program
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:14PM / Thursday, January 19, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It's coming up on tax time, a chance to catch up on bills, build up savings, or make investments. And there are community groups just waiting to help people with the preparation and filing.   The Berkshire United Way and the Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity have put together a pool of volunteers to help individuals and families file income tax with the IRS securely and for free through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.   "Doing it through VITA means it is secure, direct with the IRS, and you are not paying anything. You are not paying interest on your return. It is the most secure way to do it and the cheapest way to do it,"

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Lanesborough Ambulance Presents Options For Stability
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:28AM / Thursday, January 19, 2017

Firefighter PJ Pannesco outlined ways the Ambulance Squad can improve. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Ambulance Squad has turned its call response around in the last three months and is looking to improve even more.   The squad is run through the Fire Department and, on Tuesday, fire and ambulance officials met with the Board of Selectmen to discuss its long-term stability.   The ambulance service has been going through a difficult financial time and the Selectmen has proposed to shut it down and instead contract with County Ambulance, which agreed to become the primary at no charge to the town.   The Fire Department, however, wants to keep providing the ambulance

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Pittsfield's Ladder Truck Has Returned To Service
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:01PM / Wednesday, January 18, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city's front-line ladder truck is back.   Tower 1, which has been in an upstate New York repair shop for the last seven weeks or so has returned to service. When the truck had gone out for a routine maintenance, heavy corrosion was found underneath and it wouldn't pass a third-party inspection. It has been in the shop since.   Meanwhile, the city's reserve ladder, Truck 2, a 1994 Spartan/Darley pumper, was supposed to be fill in while Tower 1 was being repaired. But that truck's stabilizers wouldn't retract and it had to be taken out of service.    Thus, the city has had no ladder truck since late November.   On

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Fifth Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest Theme: 'Trees are Terrific'
12:56PM / Wednesday, January 18, 2017

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has announced the theme of 2017's fifth grade Arbor Day Poster Contest: "Trees are Terrific … from Berkshires to Bay!"

Fifth grade classes from both public and private schools across the commonwealth are encouraged to participate in the annual Arbor Day Poster Contest by having the students create posters highlighting this year's theme, and then hosting a school poster contest. The winning poster from each school can then be submitted to the agency for review.

"I am delighted that students from across the Commonwealth continue to participate in the Department of Conservation and

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2017 Pittsfield 4th of July Parade Theme Announced
12:41PM / Wednesday, January 18, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Parade Committee announced that the 2017 Fourth of July Parade theme is "Celebrating Our Heroes."

"Most of the suggestions we received for this year's theme were based on the importance of patriotism and honoring our veterans," Pittsfield Parade Committee President Peter Marchetti said. "This theme is broad, because as we know, that in addition to veterans, heroes can also be police officers, firemen, EMTs, teachers and many others who serve and sacrifice for our communities. No doubt, the ideas for floats will be endless, focusing on the many kinds of heroes we honor, even including superheroes from

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What Should You Know About Taking RMDs?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:59AM / Wednesday, January 18, 2017

As we get older, the end of another year takes on greater meaning, in many ways, than it did when we were young. And if you're a certain age, Dec. 31 has a very specific meaning in terms of your finances, because it's the deadline for withdrawing money from some of your retirement plans. What should you know about these withdrawals? And how much control over them do you have?

Here's the picture, in a nutshell: Once you turn 70 1/2, you generally need to start taking withdrawals – the technical term is "required minimum distributions," or RMDs – from your traditional IRA and your 401(k) or similar plan, such as a 403(b) plan (for employees of pubic

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