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Springfield Rail Expansion Gets $30M

Staff Reports

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, left, and Vice President Joseph Biden on Amtrak, courtesy U.S. DOT.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The expansion of passenger rail from New Haven, Conn., to Springfield will get a $30 million boost, but it's far short of the $227 million Connecticut had applied for.

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday announced some $2 billion in high-speed rail grants, including $800 million for the Northeast. Nearly 100 projects in 24 states applied for funding.

Gov. Deval Patrick stated his commitment last year to the expansion of rail service to underserved Western Massachusetts. The $30 million granted by the federal goverment in this round will be used to complete double-track segments up to Springfield. The goal is to restore the line up the Pioneer Valley from Connecticut to Vermont.

The Downeaster, the popular line that runs from Maine to Boston, will get $20.8 million to construct a 10.4-mile section of double track between Wilmington and Andover.

The Springfield project is expected to cost $880 million to upgrade the 62 miles of track owned by Amtrak. Connecticut has committed $259.3 million in matching funds, reports the Connecticut Post.

Connecticut was one of a number of states, including Massachusetts and New York, that lobbied for a slice of the $2.4 billion in rail funds rejected by the state of Florida. New York's total is $361 million for various projects.

Amtrak also is getting $450 million for general improvements along the Boston-New York run. The bulk of the funds is going to the Northeast, not surprising since the densely traveled corridor accounts for more than half of Amtrak's ridership.

Read Transporation Secretary Ray LaHood's blog post on the awards here.

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Berkshire Living Folds

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The award-winning Berkshire Living has folded, according to a report in The Berkshire Eagle on Saturday.

Publisher Michael Zivyak told The Eagle on Friday that a deal to sell Berkshire Living and its affiliated titles to Delaware lifestyle publisher Today Media fell through at the "11th hour."

iBerkshires called the Berkshire Living office several times last week but no one picked up and also left phone and email messages for Zivyak when it became apparent the magazine's website was no longer being populated.

The regional lifestyle magazine, "The Good Life in the Country," offered interviews and features on local cultural attractions and leaders, reviews of music, drama, art and restaurants, and spotlights on homes, shops and other local offerings. It was recognized not only for its coverage but its design.

The financially strapped magazine and its BBQ: Berkshire Business Quarterly suspended publishing late last year. The deal was announced in early February and the magazine was to be relaunched in the spring while its online entities continued.

The Berkshire Daily e-letter and weekend preview have continued  to appear under Berkshire Living's editor Seth Rogovoy, although a notice on buying ads through BL was removed.

With the exception of some blog posts, most of the material on the website is dated; a lone listing for a Metropolitan Opera broadcast at the Mahaiwe is on the calendar. Zivyak's search for three salespeople is still on his blog and just a few weeks ago the magazine was searching for a graphic designer.

The Eagle caught Zivyak cleaning out the magazine's offices on North Street on Friday. He told the paper that Today Media had a "change of heart" and that an attempt to find another buyer failed.

The 17,500-circulation magazine was launched in 2004 with offices in Great Barrington and included BBQ, Berkshire Living Home and Garden and Berkshire Custom Publishing. It moved to Pittsfield a few years ago.

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May Business Events

Staff Reports

Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of May are listed below. Got an upcoming business event? Send it to info@iberkshires.com.

The Lenox Chamber of Commerce and Interim Health Care will host the Member to Member Business Forum "The Continuum of Long Term Care" on Wednesday, May 4, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Lenox Town Hall. Presenters include: attorney Paula K Almgren; Kira M. Breard, certified senior advisor and branch manager of Interim HealthCare; Dolly Curletti, marketing director, Kimball Farms Lifecare Retirement Community; and nurse Louise Kodela of Hospice Services of Western Massachusetts. For more information, call 413-551-7116  or 413-637-3646.

Berkshire Young Professionals will hold a networking social on Wednesday, May 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Gringos Firehouse Cafe, 47 Park St., Adams. Admission is free for BYP membership cardholders, or $5 without the card. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar will be provided. Bring business cards to be entered into a door prize drawing. For more information, click here

The Zonta Club of Berkshire County, which works to advance the status of women, will meet on Monday, May 9, at 5 p.m. at Patrick's Pub, Park Square, Pittsfield. The guest speakers will be Ann Pasko from the Pittsfield Garden Tour and Megan Monteleone, winner of this year's Young Women in Public Affairs Award. The meeting includes a brief networking time, business meeting, speeches and dinner. Guests are welcome to all meetings, but reservations are required; for more information email berkshire@zontadistrict1.org.

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will have its next Business After Hours event on Thursday, May 12, at Geer Village, Route 7, Canaan, Conn., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Geer Village is a retirement community that provides living arrangements for independent seniors, those who require some assistance, and for those with memory impairments. You can register for the event here, or for more information, contact the chamber at 413-528-4284 or sbcc@rnetworx.com.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a member orientation on Friday, May 13, from 8 to 9:30 a.m., at the chamber's office, 75 North St., Ste. 360, Pittsfield. Members are invited to meet the chamber staff and learn about member benefits. For more information, call 413-499-4000 or click here.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a "Chamber Nite" at Kelly's Package Store, 653 Main St., Dalton, on Wednesday, May 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres will be served; bring your business cards for a door prize drawing. Registration before May 13 is encouraged; go here for more information.

On Wednesday, May 18, at 6 p.m., The Lenox Chamber of Commerce will hold an educational seminar on social media at Winstanley Associates, 114 Main St., Lenox. The seminar is open to all Lenox chamber members. For more information, call 413-637-3646 or contact info@lenox.org.

The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce will hold a networking social at Wild Oats, Main Street, Williamstown, on Thursday, May 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event is open to all Williamstown Chamber members, their employees and guests. It will feature samples of local craft beers, wines, hors d’oeuvres, local handmade cheeses and locally made ice cream. Overflow parking will be in the Hoosac Bank Parking lot. RSVP by calling 413-458-9077 or emailing info@williamstownchamber.com.

Berkshire Young Professionals will have an 18-hole golf tournament on Sunday, May 22, from 1 to 7 p.m. at Wahconah Country Club, Dalton. Teams of four are encouraged; if you don't have a team of four, but still want to play, you will be matched with others to create a team.  Space is limited; admission is $60 per person for BYP membership cardholders or $75 without the card. For more information, go here.

Berkshire Young Professionals will hold the second installment of BYP Power Hour, a quarterly professional development seminar series for young professionals, on Tuesday, May 24, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Brulees Restaurant & Catering, 41 North St., Pittsfield. The theme will be "Powerful Face-to-Face Networking." For more information or to register, call 413-499-4000, ext. 26, visit www.berkshirechamber.com, or email choyt@berkshirechamber.com.  

The group Northern Berkshire Business and Professional Women will meet on Wednesday, May 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Williams Inn, Main Street, (Route 2) Williamstown. The program will include installation of officers and a jewelery party fundraiser. Dinner will be served for $25; proceeds will support NBBPW's community service. For meal choices and to make a reservation, contact Maureen Riley-Moriarty at 413-743-0432.

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Pittsfield Job Fair Draws Hundreds

Andy McKeever


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hundreds of job seekers perused job offerings Thursday from more than 45 local businesses.

The annual job fair at the Berkshire Hills Country Club, sponsored by the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, is considered a huge success after the near-future's workforce filled the ballroom all day.

While the troubled economy has lowered hiring rates in the county in recently, this year was different. Employers filled the available spots quicker than ever before, according to Christine Hoyt, director of programs and events at the chamber.

By noon more than 200 people browsed a range of company booths – ranging from manufacturing to health care to banking – for jobs running the whole gambit of levels.

Companies included General Dynamics, which is planning to add 200 jobs this year, LTI Smartglass and Interprint, Onyx Specialty Papers, Wave Systems and InterTech and Dunkin' Donuts as well schools, training centers and career placement organizations.

Sponsors are BerkshireJobs.com, a sister site of iBerkshires, BerkshireWorks Career Center, Interprint Inc., Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Partnerships in Employment and New England Newspapers.

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April Business Events

Staff Reports

Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of April are listed below. Got an upcoming business event? Send it to info@iberkshires.com.

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold an economic development breakfast on Friday, April  8, from 7:45 to 9 a.m. at Crissey Farm, Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington. Admission is $25 for chamber members who register in advance, and $30 for nonmembers and walk-ins. Speakers include attorney Kathleen McCormick, Tony Patterson of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Sally Harris of St. James Place, and Tim Geller of Community Development  Corp. To register, call 413-528-4284 or email sbcc@rnetworx.com.

Berkshire Young Professionals will hold a networking social on Tuesday, April 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Underground, located at the Crowne Plaza, One West St., Pittsfield. Admission is $5 per person or free for BYP cardholders; register here.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a "Chamber Nite" event on Wednesday, April 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mildred Elley, 505 East St., Ste. 107, Pittsfield. The event is for members only; go here to register.

The Lenox, Stockbridge and Lee chambers of commerce invite their members to a tri-town chamber mixer on Thursday, April 14, at Gateways Inn, 51 Walker St., Lenox, from 5 to 7 p.m. "Light fare" will be served and a cash bar will be available. A chance to win a door prize is open to anyone who brings their business card. RSVP to your own chamber: Barbara Zanetti, Stockbridge Chamber, 413-298-5200; Danielle Mullen , Lee Chamber, 413-243-0852; Ralph Petillo, Lenox Chamber, 413-637-3646.

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a business after hours event on Thursday, April 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Egremont Country Club, Great Barrington. Wine and cheese will be available; RSVP to Joy at 413-528-1510 or sbcc@rnetworx.com.

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce is offering a series of educational seminars, all to be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at Berkshire Community College's 353 Main St., Great Barrington location. The schedule is as follows:
Friday, April 15: Building a Marketing Plan
Friday, April 29: Branding Your Name
Friday, May 13: Creative Online Marketing

The cost to attend is $25 each for chamber members, or $60 for all three. Nonmembers must attend all three sessions, for which the fee is $80. Register to sbcc@rnetworx.com or 413-528-4284.

The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce will hold a breakfast meeting on Wednesday, April 13, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Waubeeka Golf Links, 137 New Ashford Road, Williamstown. The keynote speaker will be state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams. Admission is $18 for chamber members and $22 for nonmembers; call 413-458-9077 or email info@williamstownchamber.com to register.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a Good News Business Salute on Wednesday, April 20, from 7:45 to 9 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, One West St., Pittsfield. Admission is $25 for chamber members, $35 for nonmembers. Register here.

The Northern Berkshire Business and Professional Women will hold a dinner meeting on Wednesday, April 27, at the Williams Inn, Williamstown. The keynote speaker will be Kara Lozier, community coordinator for American Councils for International Education, who will speak about the Youth Exchange and Study Program. The program begins at 6:30; the meal costs $25, with proceeds supporting the group’s community service. For meal choices and to make a reservation, contact Nancy Lescarbeau at 413-663-6083.

On Thursday, April 28, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce will hold a networking social at the American Legion, 117 Latham St., Williamstown. Snacks and a cash bar will be available. RSVP to 413-458-9077 or info@williamstownchamber.com.

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