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Berkshires Beat: Clark Art Institute Launches Free Snowshoe Program
01:53PM / Monday, January 21, 2019
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The Clark has installed a snowshoe rack and benches adjacent to the west side of its Manton Research Center building.

Now that there's snow

The Clark Art Institute has launched a new snowshoe program to encourage exploration of the winter beauty of its Williamstown campus. Project Snowshoe provides visitors with the chance to borrow a pair of snowshoes from the Clark to trek the 140-acre campus during snow season. Details on snowshoe safety are available on the Clark's website.

The Clark has installed a snowshoe rack and benches adjacent to the west side of its Manton Research Center building. Snowshoes are available in three sizes for both adults and children to borrow. Visitors who prefer to use poles are welcome to bring their own. Participants should observe safety precautions, including dressing properly for the elements, bringing a cell phone, carrying water and snacks, and snowshoeing with a companion. Children must accompanied by an adult.


Evening bus service

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority will begin a pilot program for limited evening bus service. The initial route selected for later evening bus service is the 11N-BCC Night Loop and this will run Monday through Friday, ending on Friday, May 24.

The hours of service will be 5:50 to 9:55 p.m. and will travel: from the Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC), 1 Columbus Ave., Pittsfield, to Berkshire Community College on West Street, back to the ITC, heading to Allendale Plaza via Tyler Street, and returning to the ITC via East Street.
For additional information regarding BRTA's pilot evening service, contact the BRTA at 499-2782.


Brain Injury Day Program

Berkshire County Arc announces the grand opening of Nu-Opps, a brain injury day program providing new opportunities for cognitive wellness. Located in Lee, Mass., Nu-Opps offers a broad range of therapeutic and clinical services. The person-centered program has been designed to meet the specific and unique needs of people with brain injury, and includes both formal and informal work on cognitive and memory skills, fitness, and health.

Nu-Opps allows opportunities to engage in artistic and creative expression through in-house programming and partnerships with various community organizations, including Community Access to the Arts and the Williamstown Theatre Festival.  In addition to working on their own individualized programs, attendees can choose from a wide variety of social and leisure activities, and take part in individual or group volunteer projects.

An open house will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon at 133 Quarry Hill Road in Lee. During the open house, the program will be open to the public, and visitors will be able to meet participants and staff, hear directly about their experiences, and see this state-of-the-art facility first-hand.


Du Bois Legacy Festival

The town of Great Barrington's W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Committee will launch the 2019 Du Bois Legacy Festival with a staged reading of "Beyond the Veil," written by Emily DeVoti, directed by Regge Life, and performed by Shakespeare and Company at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center at 14 Castle St., at 7 p.m. Jan. 25. The event is free.

"Beyond the Veil" stages a fictitious meeting between W.E.B. Du Bois and Edith Wharton at The Mount, Wharton's home, in 1910. Inspired by the exclusion of Du Bois from this region's cultural history, the play examines racism in the higher echelons of our society and asks: what would happen if the racial veil were lifted and, for one magical moment, these two dazzling iconoclasts could see each other clearly — mind to mind, eye to eye? The performance will feature Ariel Bock, Andrew Borthwick-Leslie, MaConnia Chesser, Charls Hall, Rory Hammond, Tamara Hickey, Tom Jaeger and Devante Owens.

After the performance, there will be a talk-back with the play's writer, director, actors, and the scholar Dr. Frances Jones Sneed. It will be moderated by Berkshire County NAACP President Dennis Powell and Gwendolyn VanSant, who is both CEO of Multicultural BRIDGE and vice president of the W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Committee. Reservations are recommended online.

The Town of Great Barrington W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Committee was formed in October 2018 by the Great Barrington Select Board. The committee’s mission is "to preserve and promote Great Barrington native W.E.B. Du Bois's legacy as a scholar and activist for freedom, civil rights, progressive education, economic justice, and racial equality." The 2019 Du Bois Legacy Festival runs from Jan. 21 to March 1. It follows up on the great success Town of Great Barrington’s 2018 150th Birthday Celebration of its native son, scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois, with the goal of creating an annual Legacy festival in his honor.


BCC nursing students excel

Berkshire Community College's 2018 Associate’s Degree in Nursing students who sat for their first time in the National Council Licensure Examination scored an 84 percent, higher than the pass rate necessary for regular accreditation as stipulated by the Accreditation Commission in Education for Nursing in a 12-month period. The NCLEX is a standardized exam that each state board of nursing uses to determine whether or not a candidate is prepared for entry-level nursing practice.

In 2017, the first-time nursing students in the ADN program NCLEX pass rate was 74 percent, necessitating a review by ACEN and resulting in the BCC ADN program receiving an Approval with Warning status from the Massachusetts Board of Registered Nurses. Prior to 2017, the ADN NCLEX first-time exam scores were consistently above 80 percent,

The recent improvement in first-time pass rates can be attributed to the strength and diligence of the BCC nursing faculty, said Christine Martin, interim director of nursing at the college. "The on-campus ADN faculty has more than 76 years of combined teaching experience at BCC. Our students are well-prepared for employment as entry-level registered nurses."

In the Practical Nursing program at BCC, which is not under any review or warning status, the first time NCLEX exam takers achieved an 80 percent pass rate in 2018 and achieved above an 80 percent for the past few years as well.


Land conserved

Beautiful unspoiled mountain views, open fields, and a large stretch of the Green River are now conserved through a partnership of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation and the Berkshire Natural Resources Council. Together with landowners Deborah Menaker Rothschild and David Rothschild, the conservation organizations protected the legacy of the Oleson and Brookman families, who cared for the land on Old Mill Road since the 1920s.

While the land is not yet open to the public, in the future WRLF envisions a walking trail to and along the Green River. WRLF owns the fee interest in the land while BNRC holds a Conservation Restriction over it, ensuring there will be no further development on the land. A building lot remains along Old Mill Road in the ownership of the Rothschilds.

This tract is designated a "Distinctive" landscape in the state's Scenic Landscape Inventory, its highest ranking. The property contains more than 2,000 feet of frontage along the west branch of the Green River, a water body designated by the MassWildlife as a Coldwater Fisheries Resource – an important and sensitive wildlife habitat. The property also holds prime agricultural soils and prime forest, resources that can’t be replicated once gone. These natural resource values of the land are priorities for protection by WRLF and BNRC.

Projects like this wouldn't be possible without the support of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through its Conservation Tax Credit Program which offers a helpful incentive for landowners who want to conserve their land, and support from the town of Williamstown, which endorsed the conservation restriction over the land.


SVMC certification

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's cardiac rehabilitation program has been certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. SVMC was recognized for its commitment to improving the quality of life by enhancing standards of care.

Cardiac rehabilitation programs are designed to help people with cardiovascular problems — including heart attacks, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, congestive heart failure, valve replacement, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary stent placement — recover faster and improve their quality of life. The program includes exercise, education, counseling, and support for patients and their families.

The SVMC’s cardiac rehabilitation program participated in an application process that requires extensive documentation of the program’s practices. AACVPR Program Certification is the only peer-review accreditation process designed to review individual programs for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by AACVPR and other professional societies. Each program is reviewed by the AACVPR Program Certification Committee and Certification is awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors.


Volunteers honored

The Berkshire Food Project recently honored volunteers at a luncheon in their honor. The following volunteers were recognized for their commitment to volunteering during 2018: Bob Simons, 720 hours; Jeff Page, 430 hours; Marianne Bailey, 430 hours; Gary Cellana, 347 hours; Patrick Hernandez, 310 hours, Erika Uchman, 256 hours, Elaine Durant, 229 hours.

Additionally, the following volunteers were recognized for volunteering over 100 hours: Carolyn Toomey, Chris Bonner, Diana Elvin, Evelyn Ostrander, Jennifer Peabody, Jill Monchecci, Joan Rubel, John Denley, Kathryn Benson, Leah Couture, Priscilla Tracy, Peter Elvin, Susan Kohut and Tom Leamon. And the following volunteers were recognized for over 50 hours of volunteering: Tony Perry, Bob Wiley, Caitlyn Johnson, Cheryl Hsieh, Dave Racette, Jennifer Munoz, Kathy Schulze, Kevin Netti, Sue Denley, Thomas DuCharme and Tilly Brule.

The Berkshire Food Project serves lunch every weekday at noon in downtown North Adams.  All are welcome and lunch is always free. Check out the website for more information.

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