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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

Bernice Madigan, State's Oldest Citizen, Dies at 115
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:00PM / Saturday, January 03, 2015
Bernice 'Aunt Bennie' Madigan died Jan. 3 at age 115.

CHESHIRE, Mass. — The state's oldest citizen and the fifth-oldest person in the world died early Saturday morning.

Bernice Emerson Madigan was 115 years, 163 days, old.

Arrangements were being made at Dery Funeral Home.

Affectionately called "Aunt Bennie," she became something of a local celebrity when she returned in 2007 to her hometown. She was grand marshal of the Memorial Day parade and the recipient of local and state proclamations and presidential letters, and her annual birthday parties drew old and new friends together.

She appeared in numerous media over the past few years, including in a news


@theMarket: What Will the New Year Bring?
By Bill Schmick,
07:21AM / Saturday, January 03, 2015

It was a good year for the stock market. The S&P 500 Index was up in excess of 12.5 percent with the other averages putting in a good performance as well. Naturally, investors are hoping for another year of stellar returns. Is that a reasonable expectation?

At the beginning of each year, people like me are expected to gaze into crystal balls or swirl the tea leaves at the bottom of a cup and pontificate on what the New Year will be like for investors. Unfortunately, I have an "Eight Ball" but no crystal ball and I drink coffee not tea. Honestly, I have as much chance of calling the market over the next 12 months as you do. However, there are some things I do know to be


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

'Into the Woods': Lumbers a Bit
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:47PM / Friday, January 02, 2015
Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
The baker (James Corden) and his wife's (Emily Blunt) quest for a wicked witch that intersects with familiar fairy tales in the movie version of 'Into the Woods.'

Director Rob Marshall's movie adaptation of James Lapine (book) and Stephen Sondheim's (music and lyrics) "Into the Woods" is whimsical and enchanting until about the 60 percent mark, at which time it bogs down into the catastasis. That's the point in drama, as I explained to my daughter Erin when she was little, when push comes to shove and it looks like things might not work out too well. She


The Independent Investor: Could Greece Upset the Applecart?
By Bill Schmick,
02:16PM / Friday, January 02, 2015

This week a parliamentary vote to elect a president failed in Greece. National elections have now been called for late January. The outcome could trigger a revolt against an austerity program that has brought years of suffering and pain to the population.

Today, the unemployment rate is about 25 percent in Greece. Its citizens have been living with higher taxes, less goods and services, declining government spending, fewer pension benefits and longer work hours for many years. This unhappy saga was the result of a decadeslong binge of government spending, huge deficits and even higher debt. Detractors and creditors alike say the Greeks have only themselves to blame.

The global financial


OLLI Offering Dozen Classes in Literature, Science, More
01:51PM / Friday, January 02, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, better known as OLLI, has a sure cure for cabin fever for residents this winter.

From Jan. 13 to Feb. 25, OLLI offers almost a dozen classes in four locations in Berkshire County, ranging from literature to science, current events, history, photography and more.

OLLI is the largest organization in the Berkshires providing a wide variety of programming designed especially by and for people 50 years old and up.  OLLI offers four semesters a year of courses in a wide variety of subjects, a distinguished speaker series, special events, trips and more. OLLI’s educational partners


Berkshire UCP Executive Director to Leave Post in April
12:48PM / Friday, January 02, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — United Cerebral Palsy Association of Berkshire County is losing its director of 18 years this April.

Christine Singer is resigning to focus on her business, Your Personal Best: Workshops for Success, a Massachusetts certified woman-owned business enterprise. Singer is UCP's second executive director, having stepped into the post following the retirement of the late Mitzi Scelsi, who spent 34 years with the organization.

Mitzi Scelsi

"On behalf of the board of directors, we want to thank Christine for her 18 years of dedicated service to the organization and our mission. Although we are sad to see her go, we are excited for Christine as she initiates this


Be A Contrarian
Paul Harsch,
04:59PM / Thursday, January 01, 2015

Following "conventional thinking" definitely has its merits.  Knowing others have gone before you is comforting and therefore they can't ALL be wrong.  Right?  Not necessarily.  In fact once the crowd hops onto a trend in the stock market, that is frequently a sign of a top in that market and thus those who jumped late on the band wagon will be the biggest losers.

Do you remember 2005, 2006 or even 2007?  Real estate was everyone's darling and buyers were piling on top of each other, putting in competing bids and selling prices were often over listing prices particularly in the really hot markets.

Those who jumped into real estate in those years


2014: The Year in Review
iBerkshires Staff,
02:00PM / Thursday, January 01, 2015
The Year That Was

Adams Year in Review

North Adams Year in Review

Pittsfield Year in Review

Williamstown Year in Review

State Election Roundup 2014

Berkshire County Yearbook 2014

Top 10 Stories

Selected by the staff at

1. North Adams Regional Hospital Closes/BMC Buys Campus
3. Clark Art Reopens
4. EPA Releases Housatonic Cleanup Plan/Silver Lake


The Year in Review: Williamstown Under Construction in 2014
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:07AM / Thursday, January 01, 2015
The reopening of the Clark Art Institute was an internationally noted event.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Housing developments and economic development dominated the headlines — and the landscape — of the Village Beautiful in 2014.

The year that ends today saw the end of three major construction projects, the beginning of two more and the prospect of another, which is percolating in a state-mandated pre-development phase.

No single issue has consumed the town more than affordable housing the last few years, and 2014 was no different.

Housing advocates can point to triumphs and tribulations as the town still grapples with the aftermath of 2011's Tropical Storm Irene and


Restaurants Open for New Year's Day Breakfasts
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
05:17PM / Wednesday, December 31, 2014
There are plenty of places in Berkshire County serving breakfast for hungry New Year's customers, including dining in style at Cranwell.

LENOX, Mass. — When I was growing up, my parents would eat New Year's morning breakfast out. At a restaurant, with their friends, not with us. Us being the three kids.

Before they went out they would get dressed up.

My mother put on a strapless evening gown made of heavy satin in a color I couldn't na.m.e. Somewhere between black and purple. I remember that distinctly. At least, II do. My mother did not regularly wear evening gowns.

My father wore a tuxedo. A tuxedo? Is this memory really true? Well, some suit with which he had to have

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State Election Roundup 2014
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:04PM / Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Republican Charlie Baker didn't find a lot of support in here in his successful bid for governor against a Berkshire native but he still made a few trips west to meet with voters.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state elected a new governor in 2014.

Republican Charlie Baker found little traction in the Berkshires but corralled more than enough votes in the eastern end of the state win the governor's office.

Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick opted not to run for re-election, opening the door to a crowded Democratic primary and a hard-fought election. The Berkshires saw most of the election action leading into the Democratic primary that saw North Adams' Martha Coakley come

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Williamstown ZBA Clears Office Rental at Sand Springs Pool
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:50AM / Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Sand Springs has been allowed to rent out two offices people with pool-related activities.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Zoning Board of Appeals had no trouble deciding it wanted to accommodate a request from Sand Springs Pool.

But the body took the better part of an hour figuring out how to do so.

The non-profit recreational facility was before the ZBA on Dec. 18 to request permission to rent two small office spaces on the second floor of its facility.

The sticking point for the board was the location of the newly renovated pool, which is located in a general residence zone.

"In the past, this board has been cautious because it is in the general residence," ZBA Chairman

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