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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

Williamstown Fire District Trying Out Web App
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:45AM / Sunday, December 28, 2014
The Prudential Committee is exploring how to reduce the cost of false alarms.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Fire Department is trying out new technology officials hope will help firefighters stay connected.

At December's monthly meeting of the Prudential Committee, which oversees the fire district, Fire Chief Craig Pedercini told the body about "I Am Responding," an app designed to let emergency services contact their people through phones and allow the first responders to notify the base that they are on their way to the scene of an emergency.

"Essentially, it's a supplement to our pagers," Pedercini said. "What it would do is when the


@theMarket: Santa Comes to Town
By Bill Schmick,
11:56AM / Friday, December 26, 2014

Pessimists are on vacation this week. It doesn't matter that the indexes are overbought. That markets are hitting new highs without a pause. It's Christmas and Hanukkah week. The Big Guy has come to town.

Of course, investors have had a little help from the Fed and the latest revision of U.S. third quarter GDP. It appears that the economy grew faster than economists expected. Would you believe 5 percent? That's one barn burner of a number even for me, an uber bull on the economy. It is the fastest the economy has grown in 11 years. It follows on the tail of a 4.6 percent rate in the second quarter.

Consumer spending on health care and business investment in infrastructure and


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

The Independent Investor: IRA Distribution Time
By Bill Schmick,
11:52AM / Friday, December 26, 2014

Information abounds on why and when you should contribute to a tax-deferred savings plan such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Less is known about what happens in retirement when you have to take money out of these plans. For those who turned 70 1/2 years or older in 2014, pay attention, because it's distribution time.

The original idea behind tax-deferred savings was to provide Americans a tax break in order to encourage us to save towards retirement. Individuals could stash away money tax-free while they were working and then take it out again once they retired, when they were presumably earning less and at a lower tax rate. The government determined that once you reached


'Top Five': Top Shelf
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
11:42AM / Friday, December 26, 2014
Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
  Chris Rock takes inspiration from his comedic life in 'Top Five,' with Rosario Dawson.

With Chris Rock's "Top Five," about a revelatory day in the life of a famous comedian/film star, I expected funny, but got much better.

More or less autobiographical, it's the classic Pagliacci tale contemporized, about the clown laughing on the outside, crying on the inside, just busting to be taken seriously. Approaching his 50th birthday, Rock turns this leaf at about the same time in his career that Woody Allen added the darker yin to his zany yang ... apprising us of


Guest Column: Are you ready for Christmas?
By Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, Guest Column
07:03AM / Thursday, December 25, 2014

My brothers and sisters in Christ, are you ready for Christmas?  

How many times have we been asked that question over the past few weeks as the days from Thanksgiving to now have elapsed? This past September, I remember walking into a card shop and spotting the Christmas ornaments on display.   

My heart felt a bit sad that even before the leaves had turned to their autumn colors on the trees that Christmas was already being thrust upon us.  And yet, here we are, the time of celebration is here, whether we are ready or not.  

For these past four weeks, as a church, we have been asking ourselves "Are we ready for Christmas?" Our readings provided us


Merry Christmas From
12:45PM / Wednesday, December 24, 2014
The staff at iBerkshires sends seasons greetings to our many faithful readers.



Village Ambulance Upgrades Truck For Bariatric Patients
12:43PM / Wednesday, December 24, 2014

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Starting on Jan. 1,  Village Ambulance Service will have significantly upgraded care capabilities due to new equipment and the retrofitting of one of its four ambulances.

While Village Ambulance Service has always made accommodations for the transportation of bariatric patients, they have recently invested in the purchase of new equipment and vehicle retrofitting to increase their capabilities.

Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the treatment of patients who are classified as obese. Emergency and non-emergency transportation of patients who weigh 500 pounds or more, carries with it myriad challenges, often requiring additional vehicles

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Learn About the Advantages of Mutual Fund Investing
12:20PM / Wednesday, December 24, 2014

In basic terms, a mutual fund is a company whose main objective is to professionally invest a pool of money in securities and earn a positive return for shareholders.  In this way, these companies allow you to “mutually” share the rewards and risks of investing, hence their name.  

Buying shares in a mutual fund actually gives you stock or bond holdings in various companies, based on the underlying investments. Your shares are pooled together with other investors’ shares, and the combined assets give you access to a level of diversification that you may not otherwise be able to obtain.

It’s always important to remember that mutual fund investing involves

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Holiday Hours: Christmas & New Year's
04:02PM / Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Businesses, schools and government offices will be taking breaks over the next week as the nation celebrates Christmas and New Year's. Christmas falls on Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014, and New Year's on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2014.  

Christmas is now a state holiday but it wasn't always. The General Court under the control of the Puritans outlawed the holiday in 1659.

Too much eating, drinking, wassailing and other festiveness for the colony's righteous rulers. Even after the ban was lifted, Christmas was treated as a regular day until its popularization during the Victorian era. Thank goodness. Can you imagine Norman Rockwell not painting Stockbridge at Christmas?



North Adams American Legion Feeding the Hungry This Christmas
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:00PM / Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The American Legion holds its annual Christmas Day dinner this Thursday. The post and its volunteers feed up to 800 people each year.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The American Legion will, once again, ensure that no one goes without a hot meal this Christmas.

William Schrade, chairman of the Be Our Guest Christmas Dinner at American Legion Post 125 spends Christmas day a little differently than most. Instead of spending the holiday home with his family, he, along with a host of legionnaires and volunteers, offer Christmas dinner to anyone in need.

"It's a good meal and no one ever leaves hungry," Schrade said. "We want to make sure people have somewhere to go because


Williamstown CPC Fails in Bid to Lower Cable Mills Bond
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
09:18PM / Monday, December 22, 2014
The town will have to borrow about $1.1 million to keep its commitment to the Cable Mills project, which will include market-rate and affordable housing.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Community Preservation Committee last week was thwarted in two attempts to lower the size of the bond the town will need to pay its remaining commitment to the Cable Mills renovation project.

Town meeting in 2007 committed just more than $1.5 million of Community Preservation Act funds to support the project, which has been delayed by — among other things — an economic downtown and the death of its principal developer.

Current developer Mitchell Properties began construction on the project

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State, Transportation Officials See Opportunity in Amtrak
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
07:09PM / Monday, December 22, 2014
Amtrak's Michael J. DeCataldo Jr., left, welcomes Greenfield as an Amtrak community on Monday.

GREENFIELD, Mass. — State and local officials on Monday afternoon touted the economic opportunities opened by the return of passenger rail to the Pioneer Valley — but only if the rail line is used.

"Use it. Use it," urged former U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, speaking to a crowd at the transit center named for him. "The possibility of really seeing the benefits and economic development come from the use of this facility."

Olver, considered instrumental in reviving passenger rail here, boarded Amtrak's Vermonter in Holyoke during its inaugural run up the

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