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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Hillsmen Take Home Awards
11:22AM / Tuesday, May 28, 2019
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The Pittsfield chapter had a quartet that competed (Berkshire Blend), as well as a chorus and a VLQ.

Berkshire Hillsmen compete

The Berkshire Hillsmen, the Pittsfield chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, participated in the Western Regional Competition of the Northeastern District of BHS in Lake George, N.Y., on May 3 and 4. The Berkshire Hillsmen were awarded the 2019 Mountain Division Small Chorus Championship Trophy as a result of their performance. Berkshire Blend, the chapter’s quartet entry, won the 2019 Mountain Division Novice Quartet Championship.

The Northeastern District (NED) is made up of five divisions. The competition that took place in Lake George was for the Mountain and Yankee Divisions. The Mountain Division comprises of Western Massachusetts, New York from Poughkeepsie to the Canadian border, Vermont, and Montreal. The Yankee Division is made up of chapters representing Connecticut. During the festivities that weekend, there was a quartet competition, a chorus competition, and a "very large quartet" (VLQ) competition. The Pittsfield chapter had a quartet that competed (Berkshire Blend), as well as a chorus and a VLQ.

Berkshire Blend is made up of Maurice Brazie singing tenor, Joel Merker singing lead, Dan Burkhard singing baritone and Mitch Hunt singing bass. The chorus sang "That’s An Irish Lullaby" and "Little Girl" and earned a qualifying score to compete at the Northeaster District contest in October in Portland, Maine. The VLQ, called the Berkshire Mount Tone Airs, sang "It's A Good Day" and "Never the Less."  They were tied for first with a VLQ from Schenectady, N.Y.

The Berkshire Hillsmen were founded as a chapter in 1957. The group meets every Monday night at the Richmond Congregational Church in Richmond from 7 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, contact President Tim Potter at 413-443-7478.


Caprice Hover of United Way of Rutland County, far left, delivered a plaque commemorating Southwestern Vermont Health Care as the winner of this year's Peanut Butter and Jam Slam event. SVHC staff, shown from left to right, are Christopher Dargie, director of Environmental Services; Andrea Wheeler, retail manager; Laura LaCroix, executive chef; Tiffany Tobin, director of Hospitality Services; and Morgan Ackert, nutrition assistant.

Peanut Butter & Jam Slam

Staff members of the Southwestern Vermont Health Care met with Caprice Hover of the United Way of Rutland County in the lobby at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center to accept the plaque for Bennington County's top business participant in this year’s United Way Peanut Butter & Jam Slam. Traditionally, food pantries experience a slow-down in donations after Thanksgiving and through the spring. This event looks to bolster supplies during a lean time of year by encouraging local businesses and civic organizations to collect jars of peanut butter and jelly to donate to food pantries.

More than 20 groups from all over the county participated in this year's effort. Thirty departments of Southwestern Vermont Health Care collected a combined total of 2,113 jars, taking the top prize. Arlington Lions Club placed second with more than 500 jars collected. A total of 4,757 jars were collected by all participants combined. Hover suspects the donations fed many children during the recent school vacation.


Pike roadwork

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division District 1 crews will be doing bridge maintenance operations at specific locations on I-90 eastbound and westbound in West Stockbridge and Russell. The work is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 28, and will continue through Thursday, May 30, and will occur between the daytime hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Travel will be maintained on I-90 in this area at all times.

The locations and schedules for lane closures for the work include West Stockbridge (bridge steel repair work will take place at Mile Marker 1.8 eastbound in West Stockbridge; there will be intermittent lane closures on Tuesday, May 28, through Thursday, May 30, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also, bridge cleaning and painting work will take place at Mile Marker 4.5 eastbound and westbound in West Stockbridge.  There will be intermittent lane closures on Tuesday, May 28, through Thursday, May 30, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Russell (deck repair work will take place at Mile Marker 32.9 westbound in Russell.  There will be intermittent lane closures on Tuesday, May 28, through Thursday, May 30, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Drivers who are traveling through the affected areas should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution. All scheduled work is weather dependent and/or may be impacted due to an emergency situation.


Dalton Beautification Commission

The Dalton Beautification Commission opened its 2019 season on May 7 with its first planting at 707 Main St., which had been particularly hard hit this winter where vehicles had driven over the garden during a thaw and caused extensive damage. This is the group's 18th year of designing, planting and maintaining the gardens in traffic islands and other areas in town as well as the baskets on the Benjamin Muraca Memorial bridge and the library.

A crew consisting of commissioners and volunteers who enjoy gardening and socializing get together every Tuesday at 8 a.m. to maintain the gardens once they are planted. Those interested in joining can contact the Dalton Town Manager's office. Plants and supplies have been financed by an annual stipend from the town, a onetime gift a number of years ago from the Dalton Rotary Club, gifts from individuals, and contributions of supplies and discounts by local businesses.


Eclipse grant

Jay Pasachoff, the Field Memorial professor of astronomy at Williams College and director of the college's Hopkins Observatory, has received a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation for support of his solar-eclipse research over the next three years.

The grant includes support for expeditions for his team of students and colleagues for the July 2, 2019, total eclipse in Chile; for the December 14, 2020, total eclipse in Argentina, and the December 4, 2021, total eclipse on and over Antarctica. The 2019 total eclipse will be Pasachoff’s 35th, and his 71st solar eclipse over all. Pasachoff is currently on sabbatical leave at the Carnegie Observatories, based at their headquarters in Pasadena, California.
Supporting the research is the Solar Terrestrial Program of the Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Division of the NSF. The grant, for $251,000 over the three years, includes travel, equipment, summer salary for faculty and students, shipping charges, scientific-meeting participation, and publication charges. The grant is a successor to two immediately previous eclipse-related grants from that program.


CHP Dental

Community Health Programs is now scheduling appointments at its new dental practice in Northern Berkshire, CHP North Adams Family Medicine and Dental Center, at 71 Hospital Ave. The new dental suite was funded in part by a $10,000 gift from MountainOne.

CHP accepts all forms of health insurance, including Berkshire-Fallon, the region’s MassHealth plan. CHP North Adams Family Medical and Dental Center will share reception and support staff on the third floor of 71 Hospital Ave. The dental center is staffed by a dental team led by Dr. Michael Wasserman, DDS, and will have office hours three days per week. For appointments, call 413-664-4088.


Farming series

Hancock Shaker Village presents three new weekend series, held from June to August: Planting Seeds (first Saturdays at 2 p.m., beginning June 1), Open Stalls (first Sundays at 2 p.m., beginning June 2), and Row by Row (every Saturday except the first at 2 p.m., beginning June 8). All sessions are included in the price of admission.

Planting Seeds: Get into the fields to plant, pick, taste, and learn. Bring your garden questions and get the dirt from our farmers. The June 1 program focuses on how to give your plants a vigorous start. July 6 will focus on how to control weeds naturally and improve plant and soil health. And Aug. 3 will show how to partner with insects for a thriving garden

Open Stalls: Take an opportunity to get friendly with our animals and learn how we care for them. Each week focuses on a species and its unique needs. June 2 will focus on Merino sheep, July 7 on heritage pigs and Aug. 4 on goats.

Row by Row: Walk the fields with our farmer/farmher and get an up-close look at how we use Shaker and regenerative farming to make our gardens grow.

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