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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

@theMarket: Regaining the High Ground
By Bill Schmick,
10:44AM / Saturday, October 24, 2015

As of today, the S&P 500 Index is in the plus column for the year. That seemed impossible to most investors just a month ago. And I expect more gains to come over the next two months.

In last week's column, I predicted the worst was over and the price action this week confirms that. This will be the fourth week in a row that U.S. markets have generated positive returns. The engine of growth behind these further gains this week came as no surprise to me.

I have argued repeatedly that the monetary stimulus programs underway by central banks across the globe would keep stock markets climbing. Last week I wrote that "The ECB launched a stimulus program at the beginning of the


Williamstown-Lanesborough Superintendent Discusses Goals
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:36AM / Saturday, October 24, 2015
Tri-District Superintendent Douglas Dias meets with school committee members from Lanesborough and Williamstown to discuss his goals. WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Tri-District School Superintendent Douglas Dias on Tuesday told his bosses that the challenges of his first five months have been an opportunity to grow in the job faster than he anticipated.   From a building project with a strict, state-proscribed timetable to a busted pipe that forced a one-day closure at one of the Tri-District's elementary schools to an effort to break up the Mount Greylock Regional School District itself, it has been an eventful trial by fire for the first-time superintendent.   On


Feeding the hungry
by buddy 04:12PM / Friday, February 21, 2014

Williamstown Community Preschool Installs New Signage
by Billsville 02:46PM / Tuesday, February 26, 2013

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Community Preschool began sprucing up its new home by hiring local sign maker Lindsay Neathawk,

Williamstown Youth Center Thanks Bedard Bros.
by Billsville 02:13PM / Friday, June 22, 2012
Bedard Brothers Chevrolet, through the Chevrolet Youth Soccer Program, has helped sponsor the Williamstown Youth Center's Soccer Program for the 2012 season. In addition to soccer equipment, this

The Independent Investor: Water Scarcity Not Only California's Problem
By Bill Schmick,
06:39PM / Friday, October 23, 2015

Just about everyone is aware of the California water crisis. You may be tempted to simply dismiss this on-going event as a local problem, but it isn't. Our world is running out of water and we are on the brink of a freshwater shortage.

At least that is the conclusion of NASA, in a recent report that argues that even giant lakes are disappearing. The agency believes that sometime within the next 35 years the globe will be facing a long and protracted drought of epic proportions.

You might say, "So what? We have plenty of time to come up with solutions. Besides, the 'authorities' will handle it." A look at what is happening in California might dissuade you of that


Ten Mount Greylock Students Commended in Merit Scholarship Program
11:05AM / Friday, October 23, 2015

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Ten students at Mount Greylock Regional High School have been named Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.

A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented by the principal to these scholastically talented seniors: Hannah Fein, Adam J. Hall, Noah J. Howard, Graham N. Kaegi, Noah O. Savage, Greta L. Savitsky, Anya Sheldon, Melissa C. Swann, Samuel J. Swoap, and Adly H. Templeton.

About 34,000 commended students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.  Although they will not continue in the 2016


Berkshire Bank Foundation Awards More Than $200,000 To County Nonprofits
11:01AM / Friday, October 23, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Berkshire Bank Foundation has awarded $202,416 in grants and pledges to 41 non-profit organizations in Berkshire County during its third quarter grants cycle.  

Some of the organizations receiving support include the Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Innovation Center, Pittsfield Public Schools, Literacy Network of Southern Berkshire, The Christian Center, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Railroad Street Youth Project, the Dalton CRA and Construct Inc.

·  Berkshire Museum based in Pittsfield received a grant to support their educational programs for local schools.

·  Berkshire Innovation Center based in


Primary Care Doctor Joins SVMC Pownal Campus
10:57AM / Friday, October 23, 2015

POWNAL, Vt. — Dr. Robert Tarnas has joined the SVMC Pownal Campus, a new family medicine practice to serve patients in Southwestern Vermont and the Northern Berkshires.

Tarnas has been a member of the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center staff since 1985 and a member of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians since its inception in 2012. He worked at the SVMC Deerfield Valley Campus in Wilmington starting in 1997 and was the leader of the medical team at SVMC ExpressCare since it opened in February 2015.

Tarnas will join Michael Welther, MD, whose appointment to the SVMC Pownal Campus team was announced in June.

“Dr. Tarnas’s experience in family medicine and his long


Williams Alumnus Wins National Physics Award
10:48AM / Friday, October 23, 2015

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Benjamin Augenbraun '15 has received the nation’s highest honor for undergraduate physics research, becoming the fifth Williams alumnus in recent years to win the Leroy Apker Award from the American Physical Society. He joins Chris Chudzicki '10, Nathan Hodas '04, Charles Doret '02, and Brian Gerke '99.

The Apker Award is presented to just two undergraduates each year — one from a Ph.D. granting institution and one from a non-Ph.D. granting institution. Over the past 20 years, more Williams alumni have received Apker awards than alumni from any other college or university in the country.

“We’re utterly thrilled for


Williamstown Planning Board Has Vacancy
10:29AM / Friday, October 23, 2015

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — As a result of a recent resignation, there is now an open seat on the Planning Board.

The public is encouraged to apply for this vacant seat. Interested parties may submit a Citizen’s Activity Form found online to the Town Manager’s Office if interested in serving.

The deadline for application is Nov. 18. A new member will be appointed, per Massachusetts General Law, by a vote of the remaining Planning Board Members, and by a vote of the Board of Selectmen. This appointment will only run until the next town election in May of 2016.

Any questions about the roles and responsibilities of Planning Board members can be directed to Andrew Groff in the


Williamstown Fire Chief: Decorate With an Eye Toward Safety
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:08AM / Friday, October 23, 2015
A 60-watt bulb was hot enough to set a holiday decoration on fire at Williams College. Fire Chief Craig Pedercini is asking residents to take care with flammable decorations. WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — With October comes the advent of the holiday season.   And when there are holidays, there are decorations and the potential for fire hazards.   At Wednesday's meeting of the Prudential Committee, Fire Chief Craig Pedercini related an incident that came in Tuesday night from a building on the Williams College campus.   A 60-watt light bulb in an electric window "candle" was too close to a Halloween-themed plastic window covering. The heat from the light bulb


'Bridge of Spies': Spans Troubled Waters
By Michael S. Goldberger,
08:47PM / Thursday, October 22, 2015

I suspect Steven Spielberg, realizing that few folks were as lucky as I to have Mr. Green as their high school social studies teacher, felt the necessity to impart the grand civics lesson contained in his highly exciting "Bridge of Spies." Chastising the baloney and opportunism that too often attend the application of patriotism, he cannily mines its most honest essence in this important chronicle of the May, 1960 U-2 incident and the Cold War drama that followed. Our spy, Captain Francis Gary Powers, is caught, and the Russians plan to make the most of it.

This calls for good old American ingenuity ... the more homespun the better. Granted, it's a cliché, but a great


Classical Beat: Ready to Present New Works at The Clark
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires
01:17PM / Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Borealis Quartet (Photo by Steven Lemay) will present new work by Williamstown composer Stephen Dankner on Sunday at the Clark Art Institute.

During the 15 months from February 2012-April 2013, my attention was drawn, as it was twice before in years past, to the string quartet medium, and I composed my latest six quartets in a burst of uninterrupted creative activity. Each led to the next, though there is no relationship between them, i.e. sharing of themes, forms, or modes of expression.

This was not, though, a novel experience for me. My previous 12 quartets were also written in cycles: quartets 1-6 in 1991-1993 (another period of white-heat activity), and quartets


Lenox National Bank, Adams Community Bank Complete Merger
01:01PM / Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ADAMS, Mass. — The Lenox National Bank and Adams Community Bank completed their merger at the close of business on Friday, Oct. 16.

The former Lenox National Bank located at 7 Main St. in Lenox has reopened as a branch of Adams Community Bank.

“We plan to continue the Lenox tradition of strong community banking with local decision making. This merger is beneficial to everyone who lives or works in the Lenox community,” said Charles P. O’Brien, Adams Community Bank president and CEO.
Lenox National Bank CEO Paul Merlino will continue in an advisory role with Adams Community Bank in connection with the transition.

“Paul has been a mainstay of community


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