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Steeplecats Have Chance At $5,000 Donation

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — With some help from the online community, the North Adams SteepleCats will have an opportunity to earn a $5,000 donation from the Berkshire Bank Foundation’s $25,000 Giveaway to non-profit organizations in the area, Berkshire Bank announced Tuesday.
 
An exciting promotion from one of Northern Berkshire County’s banks will award $25,000 to area non-profit organizations, and the North Adams SteepleCats are asking for help from the community to assure themselves a portion of that donation. Through this promotion, the foundation will award $25,000 to nonprofit organizations in the bank’s four regions — Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts, southern Vermont and eastern/central New York.
 
Members of the community will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite nonprofit organization at the Berkshire Bank Facebook page. Those organizations receiving the most votes in each of the bank’s four regions will receive a grant of $5,000.00.
  
In order to vote, participants must visit the Berkshire Bank Facebook page, click “Like” and then click on the app titled “Summer of Excitement." Participants can vote online, one vote per person. Voting will take place from June 4 through Aug. 31 with winners announced in September.
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Berkshire Bank To Acquire Beacon Federal

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. and Beacon Federal Bancorp, Inc. announced that they signed a definitive merger agreement under which Berkshire will acquire Beacon in a transaction valued at approximately $132 million. Under the agreement, Beacon's subsidiary bank, Beacon Federal, will be merged into Berkshire Bank.
 
Beacon is headquartered in East Syracuse, N.Y., and operates seven full-service offices with deposits totaling $677 million at March 31. The majority of its business is concentrated in the Syracuse market, as well as the Rome/Utica market which Berkshire entered last year with the acquisition of Rome Bancorp. When the merger is completed, Berkshire will have a total of 10 branches serving these markets, with approximately $700 million in deposits and third position in market share among regional banks. Additionally, Berkshire will add  Beacon's Chelmsford office located north of Boston, which will be Berkshire's first Eastern Massachusetts full-service branch office,  complementing the 10 residential and commercial  lending offices that Berkshire presently operates in central/eastern Massachusetts.
 
Under the terms of the merger agreement, 50 percent of the outstanding Beacon shares will be exchanged for Berkshire shares at a fixed exchange ratio of  0.92 shares for each  Beacon share, while the remaining 50 percent of Beacon shares will be exchanged for cash in the amount of $20.50 per share.
 
The transaction is valued at $20.35 per Beacon share, based on the $21.96 Berkshire closing stock 
price on May 30. This represents 111 percent of Beacon's tangible book value per share and a 
3.4 percent premium to core deposits based on financial information for the period ended March 31.
 
"We are very pleased to extend our presence in Central New York in this partnership with  Beacon," Michael P. Daly, Berkshire's president and chief executive officer, said. "Our New York expansion last year exceeded our expectations in terms of financial return, customer retention, and business development opportunities. I am confident that our Beacon partnership will also prove to be a solid success for all of our constituencies."
 
Each Beacon shareholder will have the right to elect the form of consideration, subject to proration procedures to maintain the overall 50/50 mix of stock and cash consideration.  The transaction is intended to qualify as a reorganization for federal income tax purposes, and as a result, the shares of Beacon common stock exchanged for shares of Berkshire common stock are expected to be transferred on a tax-free basis. The definitive agreement has been approved by the unanimous vote of the board of directors of both Berkshire and Beacon. Consummation of the agreement is subject to the approval of Beacon's shareholders, as well as state and federal regulatory agencies. 
 
The merger is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012. One Beacon director will be appointed to Berkshire's board of directors. Berkshire anticipates that it will divest Beacon's modest-sized Tennessee operations in conjunction with the consummation of this merger.
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Berkshire Trendsetters Being Honored

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Visitors Bureau and 1Berkshire will present the second annual Berkshire Trendsetter Awards on Thursday, June 7, at 6 at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute in Lenox.

The awards recognize individuals, businesses and communities for their outstanding marketing and economic development efforts in the Berkshires and will be presented as part of the Celebrate the Berkshires event.

A catered cocktail hour reception will include a preview of approximately 30 select items from the Berkshires Dream Auction. Following the reception, awards will be presented in the categories of Overall Marketing, Workforce Development, Marketing on a Shoestring, Public Relations, and Inspiring a Community.

The evening will culminate by recognizing Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival as the "Putting the Berkshires on the Map" honoree for 2012.

Tickets start at $55 and can be purchased by visiting www.berkshires.org. A portion of the ticket is tax deductible.
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Cariddi Hosting Meetings With Small-Business Owners

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — State Rep. Gailanne M. Cariddi will host meetings on Monday, May 21, in North Adams, Adams and Williamstown for local small-business owners.

Local business owners from towns in the representatives district are invited to come and talk about their businesses and operations and any concerns or any points for discussion they may have.

Monday, May 21, though Friday, May 25, is National Small Business Week, initiated by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 as an annual celebration to recognize the important contributions of entrepreneurs and small businesses to our economy.

Cariddi will be at the Williamstown Town Hall from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m., at North Adams City Hall from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Room 201, and Adams Town Hall from 2 to 3 in the Mahogany Rooom.

Cariddi encourages business owners and affiliates in all neighboring towns to meet with her.
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Berkshire Chamber Nite Planned at Lenox Woods

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will host Chamber Nite at Lenox Commons and Lenox Woods located at 55 Pittsfield Road, Lenox, on Wednesday, May 16. Networking will be from 5 to 7.

Chamber members are invited to join the Berkshire Chamber for its popular monthly after-hours event. Guests will enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Don't forget your business cards for networking and to be eligible for the door prizes. Guests will check in at the registration table located at the condo model and main office for Lenox Woods at Kennedy Park. Networking will take place throughout the Lenox Commons plaza.

The Berkshire Chamber offers monthly networking opportunities as a free benefit to its members. Chamber Nite events are open exclusively to members and their employees. To register, visit www.berkshirechamber.com, call 413-499-4000, Ext. 126, or email choyt@berkshirechamber.com.
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