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Eggs & Issues Event Focuses on Rail Cars, Development
On: 12:10PM / Friday January 17, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold an informational breakfast titled "Eggs & Issues" at the Country Club of Pittsfield, 639 South St., on Thursday, Jan. 23,  from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

The event is sponsored by United Personnel and will feature David Curtis, economic development specialist at 1Berkshire.

1Berkshire is the county's designated regional economic development organization. In his role there, Curtis is the go-to person for businesses looking to expand, relocate or open in the Berkshires. Curtis will address the challenges and highlight the attributes of the region, outline the essential components to building an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and discuss the MBTA Rapid Transit Rail Car Project.

The Eggs & Issues series was developed to provide member businesses with a forum to learn more about and participate in conversations regarding issues and initiatives happening in their area from local and regional experts and officials.

Guests will be served a light breakfast as part of the program. The cost to attend the event is $10 for Berkshire Chamber members and $15 for non-members.

To register visit www.berkshirechamber.com, email dthomas@berkshirechamber.com, or call 413-499-4000, Ext. 126.



     
New Biotech Firm Setting Up in Pittsfield
On: 06:05PM / Wednesday December 04, 2013
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new biotechnology firm, Molecular Metabolism LLC, born out of a relationship with Nuclea Biotechnologies, has chosen Pittsfield as its  headquarters.

Molecular Metabolism is in the process of assembling its management team and is expected to create seven to 10 new jobs locally.

It is a development stage company focused on the discovery of biomarkers and therapeutic-based targets for metabolic syndromes and central nervous system (CNS) diseases. These biomarkers can aid physicians in determining the best, individualized courses of treatment for patients suffering from metabolic conditions, such as obesity, fatty liver disease and diabetes.

Molecular Metabolism and Nuclea Biotechnologies have established a collaboration with Joslin Diabetes Center, the diabetes research and care organization affiliated with Harvard Medical School, in biomarkers of insulin resistance and applications of imaging. The initial research in imaging will help identify "brown fat" in humans, a type of fat that drives energy expenditure and may potentially benefit metabolic endpoints.

Molecular Metabolism's collaboration with Joslin will assess the feasibility of using MRI and Infrared thermal imaging to measure the mass and activity of cold-activated human brown adipose tissues (BAT). The partners believe that the results of this research will provide greater insight into how Type 2 diabetes is evaluated and diagnosed with the goal of screening new therapies that stimulate generation of brown fat.  This work will be done with Dr. Aaron Cypess, assistant professor and investigator at Joslin Diabetes Center.

"Diagnostics and imaging techniques can make a significant impact on the detection and management of diabetes and its complications, and Joslin’s interest in brown fat stimulation and energy expenditure is an exciting area to apply this to," said Cypess. "We hope to advance our techniques to a stage where brown fat can be easily detected and quantified."

Patrick Muraca, interim president of Molecular Metabolism and president and CEO of Nuclea Biotechnologies, said, "Molecular Metabolism will collaborate with Nuclea in the research and development of the biomarkers. Joslin is a tremendous partner and I believe this research in brown fat imaging will help us as we work to create new tools for the treatment and diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes."

Joslin will also work with Nuclea Biotechnologies, under the direction of Dr. Mary Elizabeth Patti, assistant professor and investigator at Joslin, to apply proteomic analyses on patient cohorts in order to understand pathways leading to insulin resistance and develop biomarkers of risk of Type 2 diabetes.

"We are very pleased to be partnering with Nuclea to identify new biomarkers which could potentially be used to determine risk of diabetes and other metabolic disease," said Patti. "These efforts are crucial in the fight against diabetes, so that we can identify those individuals at the highest risk of disease, and also to individualize optimal treatment strategies."



     
Crane Museum Opens Retail Store
On: 03:08PM / Monday November 25, 2013
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The Crane Museum now has a retail shop to pick up note cards and other Crane products.

DALTON, Mass. — The Crane Museum of Papermaking opens a new retail store on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Housed in what was formerly Crane's stainless steel fabrication shop, the space has been transformed into 500 square feet of retail, which is accessed through the museum.

"We're very excited about this project," said Crane Museum Director Peter Hopkins. "Almost without fail, visitors to the museum want to purchase Crane stationery. We're pleased to bring them a generous assortment."

The store is stocked with dozens of Crane's engraved holiday cards, as well as initial notes and cards, thank-you notes and a mix-and-match bordered stationery and envelope table. The table itself was once used by a Crane borderer. It features many stocking-stuffer items and hard-to-find Crane stationery.

The opening also marks the return of Crane's Old Money list pads, made with recycled U.S. currency paper. Crane has supplied the United States with currency paper since 1879.

"We see this space as somewhere between a museum store and a factory outlet," said Hopkins. "Everything we have is available at significant discounts."

The store hours will coincide with those of the museum, which for the first time, will be open year-round. Regular hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. In anticipation of the holiday season, the museum and store will be open Friday, Nov. 29, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Wednesday before Christmas until 7 p.m.

The Crane Museum is housed in what was the rag room of Crane's Old Stone Mill, built in 1844. It is located off West Housatonic Street behind Crane's Main Office. For GPS purposes, use West Housatonic Street, and you will see signs.



     
North Adams Big Y Celebrates Renovations
By John Durkan On: 03:00PM / Friday November 08, 2013
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Store Manager Raanan Hartman cuts the cake as Mayor Richard Alcombright, left, and others look on.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Some of the changes at D'Amours Big Y have been obvious throughout the last couple months.

An aisle was knocked down at the entrance for an expanded produce section. Pizza and grinder stations and a soup bar have been set up at the back of the store. New cafe seating now exists on the east side.

The list of changes go on at the 47,000 square-foot store: new floors, motion-sensor energy-efficient lights on the now completely encased frozen food cases, new signage, new equipment, and new storage spaces for meat and dairy.
 
The renovations began at the beginning of September. Store Director Raanan Hartman said there's not much left to get done except some back-of-house tweaks and replacing the lobster tank.
 
"I know my employees did a great job getting this ready and we're all happy that it's coming to an end," said Hartman. "And the store came out really nice, it looks great, and I look forward to the future here in North Adams."
 
Big Y celebrated the change with many samples for its customers and an official cake-cutting ceremony with Mayor Richard Alcombright on Friday morning.
 
Alcombright said although the investment speaks about Big Y's financial dedication, to the city, he credited the convenience and service to the store's success.
 
"People wouldn't come here if they weren't well served," Alcombright said.
 
At the entrance a table was set up with coffee and doughnuts. Employee Becca Pike raced around the store hustling fresh, made-from-scratch pizza and sharp cheddar cheese. Near the bread section, a popcorn machine was set up. And of course, a celebratory cake rested on a table at the cafe.
 
The cafe offers two rows of tables with chairs and is convenient for eating a slice of pizza, a sub or enjoying some coffee and doughnuts. A bar is set up against the window looking outside with stools to come, Hartman said.
 
"It's nice, it's great for my customers. It's great for my employees," Hartman said. "It's a nice change."
 
North Adams wasn't the only North County store to get a makeover. Next door in Adams, the smaller 27,000 square-foot store had some changes of its own.
 
Adams Store Director David Smith said the store expanded in many departments. The bakery now offers single-serving desserts. The produce and meat departments and the hummus and cheese section has expanded. The deli now offers premade on-the-go and hot foods, including stuffed roast chicken.
 
In addition, to compensate for the store's tighter space, there are new smaller carriages for easier mobility.
 
Hartman said the renovations cost a total of $1.4 million for both stores. The North Adams store employs 110 people while Adams has 100 employees.


     
Decor Store With Local Motives Opens In North Adams
By John Durkan On: 08:30PM / Thursday July 25, 2013
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Ashley Priester poses in front of her storefront with her 'child' and store mascot Scarlett.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Ashley Priester took her passion for locally produced crafts and has channeled that into a small business.
 
Her store, AP Home Decor and More, located at 10 Ashland St., opened on Monday and on Saturday will have its grand opening.
 
Priester said the idea for a store came about as her house began to run out of room for crafting and friends encouraged her to open a business. Renee Tassone, owner of Eat to Total Health, encouraged Priester to take a chance at the spot next door to her business.
 
"I just went for it," Priester said.
 
Aside from her candles, the shop currently includes products — jewelry, quilts, massage oils, jams, artwork and knitted hats — from different vendors from around the county — including Katie's Custom Jewelry, Cheshire Cat Creations, Sentient Skin Care, Tanya's Country Kitchen and Angela's Sock Cupcakes and More. Priester said when the store fills up it will feature 40 different artisans.
 
Even the store's displays are locally made, handcrafted by Corey's Country Creations based in Cheshire.
 
"It's definitely about keeping stuff local," Priester said.
 
Prices on items vary. Generally, most cost under $20 —  the candles are $6.25 for a 4 ounces and $12 and for an 8 ounce, most jewelry ranges from $5 to $15. Some of the higher-end items, such as quilts, paintings and crystal jewelry, cost more than $50. 
 
The store also features pieces from younger artisans, and will sell work Duct-tape flower pens by Hope and Hannah Blake who attend Clarksburg Elementary School.
 
Candles can also be made in customized containers.
"I'm looking to get as much unique [items] in the store as possible," Priester said.
 
Priester dived into her candle-making hobby about four years ago and began selling to friends and at craft fairs. She decided on soy candles after researching the process because soy wax burns slower and is easier to clean than paraffin wax; She said to clean soy wax you just need a wet towel. Priester also said soy wax burns cooler, and is safe to touch. The wicks, too, are cleaner, she said, as she opted to make them with cotton wicks instead of lead.
 
On Saturday, the grand opening will feature specials and sales with vendors on hand, raffles and massages from Circle of Life.
 
Every month, there will also be raffles for customers, whether its just stopping in, purchasing a product or reviewing their visit on the store's Facebook page. Priester also hopes host vendor parties and ladies' nights.
 
She's still figuring out more marketing plans, but plans to team up with other small businesses in the immediate area for a coupon book.
 
The store accepts cash, card and check, and is open Monday and Wednesday from 10 to 5:30, and Thursday though Saturday from 10 to 7.

 



     
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News Headlines
Mount Greylock Committee Taking Up Delayed Superintendent Search
North Adams to Williamstown Bike Path Public Meeting Set
Pittsfield Schools Review Teacher Evaluation Process
'North Adams' Added to Harriman-West Airport Name
Tri-District Search Committee Advises Interim Superintendent
BMC Awarded $3M for Health Care Center in North Adams
Pittsfield Expecting Heavy Usage at Renovated Common
Williamstown Students Celebrate Power of Words
Former Senator Bill Bradley Shares Insights at Williams
Cheshire Town Cleanup Deemed Success

 


Bill Schmick separates the bull from the bears in his weekly columns on investing and market wrap-ups.



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