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June Business Events
By: Staff Reports On: 10:52AM / Monday May 30, 2011
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Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of June are listed below. Got an upcoming business event? Send it to info@iberkshires.com.

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a breakfast on Friday, June 3, from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. at the Comfort Inn, Stockbridge Road. The meeting will celebrate Great Barrington's 250th anniversary; special guests include Great Barrington Board of Selectmen and 250th Committee Co-chairs Ed McCormick and Betsy Andrus, state Sen. Ben Downing. Register at 413-528-4284 or sbcc@rnetworx.com. Admission is $25 per person.

Berkshire Young Professionals will throw a networking social on Thursday, June 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hancock Shaker Village, Route 20, Pittsfield. Admission is $5 for nonmembers, free for members. Register here.

The Lenox Chamber of Commerce will hold an after hours mixer on Thursday, June 9, at Dr. Lahey's Garden Center, 1032 South St., Pittsfield. The event begins at 6 p.m. and includes light seasonal fare and a cash bar. RSVP to 413-637-3646 or info@lenox.org.

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold an after hours event on Thursday, June 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Gould Farm's Roadside Cafe, 100 Gould Road, Montery. RSVP to 413-528-1510 or sbcc@rnetworx.com.

The Zonta Club of Berkshire County will meet on Monday, June 13 at 5 p.m. at Patrick's Pub, Park Square, Pittsfield. The meeting will include the installation of new officers; the guest speaker will be this year's winner of the Berkshire Community College Scholarship. The meeting includes a brief networking time, business meeting, speaker and dinner. Reservations required for dinner. Email berkshire@zontadistrict1.org for more information.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a Chamber Nite event on Wednesday, June 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Devanny-Condron Funeral Home, 40 Maplewood Ave., Pittsfield. Complimentary hors d'ouevres will be served; bring business cards for a door-prize drawing. Open to chamber members only; register here.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce puts on a Good News Business Salute on Wednesday, June 22, from 7:45 to 9 a.m. at the Berkshire Hills Country Club, 500 Benedict Road, Pittsfield. Admission is $25 for chamber members, $35 for nonmembers. Registration is open until June 21; register here.

Northern Berkshire Professional Women will meet at the Williams Inn, Williamstown, on Wednesday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will have a baby shower theme; items brought to the meeting will be donated to a local charity. The cost of dinner is $25; for meal choice and to make a reservation, contact Sherrie Thompson at 413-458-1914.

Berkshire Creative will hold a Spark! networking event on Thursday, June 30, at the town of Adams Armory Court and Topia Arts Center, Adams. The free event runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; RSVP here.



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State Jobless Rate Drops for April
By: Department of Unemployment Assistance On: 11:39AM / Thursday May 19, 2011
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BOSTON — The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported today that the total unemployment rate in April was 7.8 percent, down 0.2 of a percentage point from the 8.0 percent March rate. The preliminary April job estimates show 3,228,000 jobs in Massachusetts, an increase of 19,500 jobs. The private sector added 20,500 jobs.

 

Job gains occurred in Leisure and Hospitality; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; Education and Health Services; Manufacturing; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; Financial Activities; Construction; Information; and Mining and Logging. Government and Other Services lost jobs. The April job gain follows a revised 1,300 jobs loss in March, previously reported as a 3,200 job gain. Over-the-year, jobs are up 40,800 (+1.3 percent) with private sector jobs up 47,200 (+1.7 percent). Since January 2011, 34,200 jobs have been added in the Commonwealth.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate remains below the national rate, which is 9.0 percent. In April, the number of Massachusetts residents employed grew and those unemployed decreased resulting in a decline in the unemployment rate. Trends for the labor force, unemployed residents, employed residents, the unemployment rate and jobs continue to indicate improvement for the Commonwealth's economy.



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Two Real Estate Agencies Open in Williamstown
By: Staff Reports On: 06:47PM / Wednesday May 11, 2011
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Judy Giamborino, Kim Burnham and Rebecca Gold.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town is getting two new real estate offices, both of which happened to schedule their open houses at almost the same time on Thursday evening, May 12.

The newest venture is among business partners Kim Burnham and Rebecca Gold, along with Judy Giamborino, who said they are excited to announce their new business Burnham Gold Real Estate. All three had been involved with Williamstown Realty,  which closed after principal Michael J. Zeppieri decided to pursue a venture on Cape Cod and put the Water Street building up for sale in March.

Now located at 191 Water St., the three women will focus on representing clients in buying and selling homes, as well as assisting customers within the academic and summer rental market. 

All are longtime residents of Williamstown and are familiar with the area and all that it has to offer. With a combined 60-plus years of experience, they said they are looking forward to utilizing their skills and knowledge to cover all aspects and demographics of the real estate market.

Hours of operation are 10 to 5 Monday through Friday, and Saturdays 10 to 1. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Thursday, May 12, from 4:30 to 7.

Also on Thursday, well-established Steepleview Realty, around the corner at 63 Spring St., will hold a reception for opening its new office in Williamstown. The agency, owned by Berkshire native Jennifer G. Segala, has offices on Park Street in Adams and Main Street in North Adams. The reception will be from 4 to 7.



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Springfield Rail Expansion Gets $30M
By: Staff Reports On: 01:37PM / Monday May 09, 2011
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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
By: Staff Reports On: 01:35PM / Saturday May 07, 2011
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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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Bill Schmick separates the bull from the bears in his weekly columns on investing and market wrap-ups.



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