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Pittsfield's Whole Life Pet Products Expands

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Whole Life Pet Products is expanding in scope and size.

The company, established by John Gigliotti in 2005, is moving from Hawthorne Avenue into a 10,000 square-foot building at 1520 East St. and investing $300,000 in a high-tech freeze dryer to make its all-natural pet treats.

Gigliotti says Whole Life Pet treats are the world's first "Farm to Friend" treats for dogs and cats. The fresh ingredients used in the company's products are sourced from farmers and fisherman with whom Gigliotti directly works and are produced in small, fresh batches that are micro-tested for quality and safety at a level he says is "unprecedented in the pet treat industry."

"I am thrilled that my Berkshire-based company has grown to the point that expansion was necessary in order to fulfill our goals and sales on a national and international level," said Gigliotti, who had more than 20 years experience in the natural pet food industry before founding Whole Life. "I could not be happier to be bringing a very specialized manufacturing process to the area."

The products are made from human-quality, free range and organic meats and are freeze dried. The company plans to launch an organic product line of pet treats scheduled in early October.

The move will consolidate manufacturing, shipping, sales and marketing under one roof. Whole Life employs six full-time staff and recently hired a national director of sales and marketing.

"This expansion would not have been possible without the support of the Berkshire Opportunity Fund," said Gigliotti. "In addition to providing funding, the business mentoring I've received from the BOF's general partners has been an invaluable asset to me in managing the growth of Whole Life Pet. At the end of the day, it's all about aligning yourself with the right people and BOF has proven to be exactly that."

Whole Life Pet Products will host an open house on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 11 to 3. Dog owners are invited to bring their pets and the opening celebration will include tours, free samples, a free rabies clinic for dogs from 11 to 1  courtesy of Dr. John Reynolds of the Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital, dog adoptions through the Berkshire Humane Society, and complimentary apple cider and doughnuts from Bartletts Apple Orchard. A professional photographer will take photos of owners and pets for a small fee.
 
For more information contact Whole Life Pet Products at 877-210-3142 or at www.wholelifepet.com and www.facebook.com/wholelifepet.

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Bay State Senators: Stop The Presses

Staff Reports
iBerkshires

'All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, so much as downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.'
Massachusetts' two U.S. senators may hail from different parties but they're in agreement that the presidential dollar coin series has to stop — and stop now.

The Currency Efficiency Act of 2011 was filed by U.S. Sens. Scott Brown and John Kerry to prevent a program they are calling "runaway waste" and stop minting a coin that nobody wants. The extremely unpopular coins have been piling up in vaults to the tune of $1.2 billion.

"The one dollar coin is misleading because it costs taxpayers so much more. A broken law requires taxpayers to spend millions of dollars a year minting and storing coins they don't want," said Brown.

Kerry said, "Streamlining the dollar coin program is a simple fix when we have over a billion excess coins sitting in a vault."

The presidential coins series started in 2007 by an act of Congress and is designed to honor the nation's presidents (at least those who have died by 2014), similar to the very popular state quarters. However, dollar coins have been a tough sell to the public — they don't fit in most vending machines and are often confused for quarters.

A dollar coin featuring Adams native daughter Susan B. Anthony had a brief unpopular run and was replaced in 2000 by the Sacagawea coin, which has continued to be printed alongside the presidential coins.

The unwanted $1 coins cost $300 million to produce and the overflow is forcing the Fed to build new vaults to store them, say the senators. Shipping alone will cost $3 million and the idle coins cost the government $37 million a year in lost investment income.

The Federal Reserve reports that it has more than $1.2 billion in excess $1 coins sitting in its vaults, growing every day toward an estimated $2 billion by 2016 when the program ends.

A Harris poll in 2008 found 76 percent of Americans prefer a folding bill, like the kind printed on currency paper made by our own Crane & Co. in Dalton.
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BCC Workshop Seeks to Make You Work Better

Staff Reports

Looking to improve your workplace performance? Berkshire Community College is offering a one-morning workshop in Great Barrington that could help you change your behavior at work for the better.

"How Behavior Impacts Management, Impacts Performance" (WKS-2514), according to the college, "introduces a pattern of behavior that follows participants through life and explains why people do what they do."

The course description says the new pattern forms the basis for a "proven management system." Through lectures, illustrations and games, the workshop's leaders will show how to improve performance in any of the hundreds of variables that affect quantity, quality, timeliness and cost.

The class meets Friday, Oct. 21, from 9 to noon in the South County Center. Cost for registration is $30. Call BCC's South County Center at 413-528-4521 to register.

If you go, let us know if it made a difference in your behavior.

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Pittsfield Jobless Rate at 7 Percent

Executive Office of Labor & Workforce Development

BOSTON — Pittsfield saw its seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate drop to 7 percent during the month of July, compared to 7.8 percent jobless rate statewide.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported Tuesday that the July seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates were down not only in Pittsfield but also in the Framingham, Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, Peabody, Barnstable, Amherst, Great Barrington, Nantucket and Tisbury areas; unchanged in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Worcester and North Adams areas and up in the remaining 10 areas.

The Pittsfield area also had the largest over-the-year growth rate at 5.4 percent followed by the Worcester area, at 3.7 percent.  

In Pittsfield, out of a work force of 41,773, 38,830 were employed. The metropolitan area had a jobless rate of 7.3 in June; a year ago, the rate was 7.9 compared to the statewide jobless rate of 8.5

Great Barrington jobless rate was 5.4 percent, down from 5.6 in June and 6.0 from a year ago.

North Adams remained the same at 8.8 percent, although that is still down from 9.4 percent a year ago. Some 1,554 were out of work in July out of a work force of 17,647.

Statewide, the July seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.8 percent.
 
Over-the-year, unemployment rates were lower in 21 areas and unchanged in one area. The state unadjusted unemployment rate was down 0.7 of a percentage point from the 8.5 percent rate in July 2010.
 
The Barnstable and Pittsfield areas had continued strong seasonal job growth rates at 3.6 and 3.2 percent respectively. Over-the-month, Other Services jobs increased in all 12 areas, while Leisure and Hospitality jobs increased in eight of the areas.
 
The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate released on Aug. 18 showed a 12,700 job gain. The seasonally adjusted statewide July unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6 percent for the third consecutive month and was down 0.8 of a percentage point from the 8.4 percent rate recorded in July 2010. The Massachusetts statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains well below the national rate of 9.1 percent.
 
The unadjusted unemployment rates and job estimates for the labor market areas reflect seasonal fluctuations and therefore may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.
 
The August 2011 unemployment rate, labor force data and jobs estimates for Massachusetts will be released on Sept. 15, 2011; local unemployment statistics will be released on Sept. 20, 2011. For more information: www.mass.gov/lmi.

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Chamber Drive Nets Donation for Shelter

Tammy Daniels

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Allen Harris of Berkshire Money Management is pledging to donate thousands to the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter as part of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce membership drive.

Harris, a member of the chamber and an advocate for the care of abandoned animals, combined his two philanthropic interests by promising to donate $1,000 to the shelter for every person who joins the Chamber of Commerce through Berkshire Money Management.

"In my business you try to create synergy and leverage in investments. I thought I would try it on the non-profit side," Harris said. "The Sonsini Shelter needed improvements and when we heard about the chamber's membership drive, we wanted to do something different."

Harris, founder and president of Berkshire Money Management, said he has been able to get the community involved in two worthy causes that could provide a blueprint to all nonprofits in the area.

He will present a check to the shelter on Wednesday, Aug. 24, during a chamber night at the investment firm's offices on Merrill Road.

Berkshire Money Management's membership fund drive continues until Sept. 7. If you are interested in joining the chamber through Berkshire Money Management, call 413-997-2006.
 

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