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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

@theMarket: The Only Game in Town
By Bill Schmick,
05:31PM / Friday, June 10, 2016

Investors are scratching their heads in confusion. How can U.S. stocks, bonds, commodities and the dollar all go up at the same time? It flies in the face of historical relationships that have been around for years. Thank the central banks of the world for the present situation.

It all comes down to negative interest rates. This year, both European and Japanese central banks have instituted this tactic in an effort to jump-start their economies, weaken their currencies, and offer lending institutions a disincentive to hoarding cash, rather than lend it out.

So far, this strategy has had dismal results.

Foreign institutions have flocked to the American financial markets where in our bond


Girl Scout Troop Donates 'Buddy Bench' to School Playground
01:50PM / Friday, June 10, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -— Girl Scout Junior Troop 12940 is donating a "buddy bench" to Williamstown Elementary School in honor of a friend and classmate who passed away at the beginning of the school year.

The troop, composed of 12 fourth-graders from Williamstown and Lanesborough, presented a slide show to explain the donation to the Williamstown Elementary School Committee at its June 8 meeting.

A buddy bench is a bench placed on or near a playground on which a child who is feeling lonely can sit as a signal that he or she is looking for a friend or playmate. The troop is dedicating the bench in the memory of Eve Claffey, a fellow fourth-grader who died right before school


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

Williamstown Elementary Reserve Funds Running Low
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:28PM / Friday, June 10, 2016

Chairman Dan Caplinger engaged in dialogue with speakers during the public comment, breaking with tradition. The committee is trying to be more responsive to the community. WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The elementary school district is on track to finish the fiscal year in the black — but not by much.   "We're pulling into the gas pumps on fumes in terms of the operation budget," Business Manager Nancy Rauscher told the School Committee at its monthly meeting on Wednesday.   If current budget projections hold the district hopes to close the books on fiscal 2016 later this summer with about $38,000 in its school-choice reserve account.   "To give


MCLA to Offer Violin Repair Workshops
11:46AM / Friday, June 10, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts  once again will welcome violin repair expert Hans J. Nebel to campus as he presents four week-long workshops in June.

The workshops will include “Introduction to Proper Violin Set-Up” June 6-10, “Tonal Improvements” June 13-17, “Fitting New Upper and Lower Block June 20-24, and “Crack Repair and Crack Reinforcements” June 27-July 1.

Nebel is the fourth generation of violin makers in his family, and a graduate of the Bavarian State School of Violinmaking in Mittenwald, Germany.

Nebel started his professional career at Rembert Wurlitzer, Inc., in New York City, where he worked


WES Sixth-Graders Present 'Lion King Jr.'
11:18AM / Friday, June 10, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Elementary School Deaprtment of Music and Performing Arts will present "The Lion King Jr." in three public performances this weekend in the school's auditorium.

The show will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, and 3 p.m. Sunday, June 12.

The show is the annual sixth-grade musical performance and features dozens of the school's graduating sixth-graders as well as some of their younger siblings. It is directed by Betsy Reali, the school's vocal music instructor.

"The Lion King Jr." is a 60-minute adaptation of Disney's "The Lion King" created especially for the strengths and


The Independent Investor: How Does the Stock Market Perform in an Election Year?
By Bill Schmick,
02:34PM / Thursday, June 09, 2016

There is quite a bit of worry over this year's presidential elections. Most of that angst centers on the possibility that Donald Trump might be elected to the office and that this could be a disaster for the stock market. If history is any guide, those concerns may be misplaced.

Granted, we haven't seen a candidate quite like the "Donald" in modern history. Some would like to point out that Ronald Reagan, a movie star best known for co-acting with a chimp, did not give many Americans a warm, fuzzy feeling either. Others say Reagan was a pillar of common sense compared to Trump. A President Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, would be a down right relief.

Supporters will


McCann Tech Graduates Asked to Keep Berkshires In Mind
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
10:56PM / Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Valedictorian Amanda Vallone told the class that challenges can be overcome through perseverance. See more photos here. Scholarships and awards can be found here.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical School sent 119 graduates out into the world on Wednesday night. And asked them to consider coming back.

"You're really an impressive group of young people and you're all capable of accomplishing a lot," said Principal Justin Kratz, speaking the class of 2016 in the crowded Amsler Campus Center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. "This group is off to do amazing things."

While some will be staying right here to make their futures, most of the class


Williams College Starts Science Center Expansion
06:57PM / Wednesday, June 08, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Be prepared for some noise this summer as Williams College begins another round of construction.

Site work has already started this week on the next phase of a multiyear project to expand the Unified Science Center. The science center project will be completed in 2020 at an estimated cost of $204 million.

Construction crews will begin blasting and ledge removal behind the Morley Science Labs, off Walden Street, to build an approximately 77,000 square-foot expansion to house new research labs for biology, chemistry, and physics.

The blasts will be preceded by a siren warning; the expectation is they will occur twice a day, at about 10 and 2.

The ledge removal


June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month
02:40PM / Wednesday, June 08, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new feline family member is waiting at Berkshire Humane Society or Purradise Feline Adoption Center.

BHS and Purradise have adoption counselors to help people find the right match. Their adoption fee includes spaying/neutering, micro-chipping, age appropriate vaccinations, and so much more.

According to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, about 3.4 million are cats and only 1.3 million of them are adopted.

Although BHS's multiple low-cost spay and neuter programs have drastically reduced feline overpopulation in Berkshire County, hundreds of kittens and cats are still brought to the


Greylock Announces BCC 'Marilyn Sperling Greylock Scholar' Scholarship
02:36PM / Wednesday, June 08, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Greylock Federal Credit Union has established the “Marilyn Sperling Greylock Scholar” Scholarship to honor the credit union’s recently retired president and CEO.
The scholarship will be awarded annually to a recent female high school graduate, or non-traditional woman student interested in studying business at Berkshire Community College (BCC). It provides a maximum award of $5,000.

This year’s scholarship recipient is Lori Cormier, a non-traditional student who is studying Business Career Health Information Management and plans to graduate with her associate's degree from BCC in December 2016.

“The ‘Marilyn


Miss Hall's School Graduates 48 Students
02:24PM / Wednesday, June 08, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Forty-eight students, including 16 local girls, graduated during Miss Hall's School's 118th commencement on Sunday, June 5.

Ceremonies took place in the Thatcher Family Gymnasium of the Anne Meyer Cross '37 Athletic Center on the school's Holmes Road campus. Vittoria Incandela, a criminal investigator with the Cook County State's Attorney's Investigations Bureau in Chicago and a member of the Miss Hall's School Class of 2000, delivered this year's commencement address.

Among the class of 2016 graduates were the following local students: Isabella Beckington of Pittsfield; Amelia Biancolo of Richmond; Casey Booth Desnoyers of


The Independent Investor: One For The Little Guy
By Bill Schmick,
01:16PM / Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The retirement world is changing. A long-sought-after regulation by the Department of Labor was released in April. It goes a long way toward protecting retirement savers from brokers and insurance agents. Here is what you need to know.

The new ruling insists that those who advise investors on appropriate investments for their IRAs, 401(k)s and other tax-deferred savings plans must put the client’s interest above their own and the company they work for. In short, they must act as a “fiduciary” rather than simply recommend “appropriate” investments.

You see, an “appropriate” investment for someone with little investment experience might be an


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