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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

Williamstown DIRE Committee Chair Reports on Talk with Acting Police Chief
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Wednesday, February 24, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The chair of the town's committee on diversity, equity and inclusion Monday reported to his colleagues that he had a long conversation with the town's acting chief of police and that future dialogues between the committee and Police Department are planned.   "This past weekend, I had an extensive meeting with Lt. [Michael] Ziemba," said Mohammed Memfis, the chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee. "We met for a very long time and talked about a host of issues.   "One of the things that was really clear from the conversation that was explained by Lt. Ziemba is that DIRE has played an exceptional role for

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State Wants Students Back in the Classroom in April
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:33PM / Tuesday, February 23, 2021
BOSTON — Public school students are expected to be back in the classroom by April.    Gov. Charlie Baker and Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey Riley on Tuesday outlined a phased-in process that will begin with elementary students.    "There's no substitute for in-person learning, especially for kids in elementary school," the governor said at his daily briefing. "Our administration's been clear for months that the best place for kids is in the classroom and today Commissioner Riley started a process, working with the board of Elementary and Secondary Education, to get more kids back into the classroom full time by

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Williamstown Fire District Building Committee Recommends Owner's Project Manager
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:35AM / Tuesday, February 23, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. —The Williamstown Fire District's Building Committee Friday chose to recommend the district appoint Colliers International to serve as the owner's project manager on the district's planned project to build a new fire station.   Six of the eight committee members in a virtual meeting selected Colliers, which has offices in Boston and Agawam and throughout the country, from among three firms the panel interviewed.   "Colliers stood out," said committee member James Kolesar, an emeritus vice president for public affairs at Williams College. "Their presentation was thoughtful, crisp, to the point. They highlighted things that the

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Williamstown Officials Express Regret Over Town Manager's Departure
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
09:28PM / Monday, February 22, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Four members of the Select Board said Monday they regretted the departure of the town manager, and all five offered praise for his management as the board finished an evaluation process that began even as Jason Hoch moved toward a decision to end his tenure.   Calling the town's behavior over the last six months "appalling," Andrew Hogeland indicated that "bullying" played a role in forcing Hoch out the door.   "If we're upset about this result, I think we all should be, we need to look at the bullying behavior, failure to listen, failure to speak in a way that people will want to hear you," Hogeland said.

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MCLA To Open Registration for Summer Sessions
04:01PM / Monday, February 22, 2021
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Registration for MCLA's three summer sessions will open March 1, 2021, and the majority of summer classes will be taught online this year.     Summer classes at MCLA offers summer classes for MCLA undergraduate and graduate students; students from other colleges; high school students; college graduates interested in Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Education (MEd) courses; or community members and others seeking courses.    Summer sessions schedule  Session A: May 24-July 2  Session B: June 21-July 30  Session C: July 6-August 13  MCLA's Division of Graduate and Continuing Education

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SVHC's Weekly COVID-19 Update: February 19
08:42AM / Monday, February 22, 2021
  February 19,

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Williamstown to Move Forward on Searches for Interim Chief, Town Manager
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:06AM / Monday, February 22, 2021

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The departure of the town manager may not slow the town's search for an interim chief of police, the chair of the Select Board said on Friday afternoon.

"My sense is we're not going to put the interim town manager search over the interim police chief search," Jane Patton said. "We're going to move forward on both."   Patton noted that an interim town manager would have the authority to appoint an interim police chief, presumably with the same community input that was anticipated when outgoing Town Manager Jason Hoch was heading the search.   According to the town charter, the town manager is the only position appointed

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Veteran Spotlight: Marine Lt. Dominick Sondrini
By Wayne Soares, Special to iBerkshires
04:11PM / Sunday, February 21, 2021

Lt. Dominick Sondrini with family. DALTON, Mass. — Dominick Sondrini served his country in the Marine Corps for four years as a lieutenant.    Growing up in Dalton, he attended the former St. Joseph's in Pittsfield and Wahconah Regional High School. After graduating from Western New England College, he was sent by the Marines to Quantico, Va., for Officer Candidate School, where he also completed the demanding Infantry Officer Course.    "Getting through these felt like a massive accomplishment — the drill instructors, some were mean, some were funny. There's so much yelling but I found lots of elements funny," he remembered, and

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IS183 Adjusting to Digital Platform, Welcomes New Faculty Artists
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
10:33AM / Sunday, February 21, 2021

Artist and speaker Pops Peterson, seen with students in this file photo, his hosting a scholarship fundraiser to help children attend IS183 Art School.

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — A well-known Stockbridge art school quickly pivoted to digital learning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with success and is now welcoming three new faculty artists to its talent pool.

"It's been full of changes, and full of innovation, and definitely challenges," Executive Director Lucie Castaldo said in regards to the historical year. "Virtual programming is going great, better than any of us expected because we really had no idea."

Since last April, IS183 Art School has had 648

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Speaker Challenges Williams College's Racist Legacy in Keynote to Daylong Dialogue
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
05:20PM / Saturday, February 20, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A keynote speaker for Williams College's annual Claiming Williams day challenged the school to confront its racial history, acknowledge its racist present and work toward an antiracist future.   Black queer femme activist Erika Hart, an adjunct faculty member at Pennsylvania's Widener University, addressed the college community and the public in an hourlong forum at the center of the college's full day of discussions and workshops with the theme "From Racial Injustice to Restoration."   Hart educated her audience about the roots of racism in society and the ways in which the college's own history is rooted in imperialism and

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@theMarket: Stocks Versus Bitcoin
By Bill Schmick,
04:48PM / Friday, February 19, 2021
There was no contest this week. Cryptocurrencies took center stage as the stock market churned, chopped and gave investors a little indigestion. Welcome to the market's brave new world.   It appeared that Bitcoin was the answer to whatever ails you. Higher interest rates, the threat of higher inflation, weaker (or stronger) dollar, no problem just buy Bitcoin. By the end of this week, the crypto coin had chalked up a 15 percent gain and was trading above $52,000. Ethereum, Bitcoin's younger cousin, was also up 10 percent.   None of the financial market's usual suspects — stocks, bonds, or commodities — could come close to those kinds of gains. Detractors

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Williams College 2021 Faculty Lecture Series
04:37PM / Friday, February 19, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College will present its annual Faculty Lecture Series online, starting Feb. 25.    Lectures will be offered on Thursdays, Feb. 25, March 4, 11, 18 and 25, and April 1. All lectures will begin at 4:15 p.m. Zoom links are provided on the college's website at events.williams.edu. The lectures are free and open to the public.   Feb. 25, Matt Carter, associate professor of biology, will present "The Food Network: How Your Brain Makes You Feel Hungry or Full."  March 4, Mike Glier, Alexander Falck Class of 1899 Professor of Art, will discuss "Answer Music: Observation and Abstraction of the Living

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