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The kittens are coming, and the Berkshire Humane Society needs your help.

Berkshires Beat: Humane Society Holding Baby Shower for Kittens

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A purr-fect idea: Throughout the month of April, the Berkshire Humane Society is hosting its third annual Baby Shower in honor of kitten season, a supply drive collecting donations of needed items for kitten and mother cat care. Kitten season typically begins in May and winds down in October. 

In addition to the drive, BHS trains foster volunteers to care for litters from their own homes, greatly expanding the number of animals the shelter can accommodate. BSH also works with other organizations – like Animal DREAMS – to reduce unwanted cat populations in Berkshire County. Collected supplies will be shared with Animal DREAMS to assist in their work with feral cats.

Supplies requested include: bleach, Windex, Brillo Pads, paper towels, dryer sheets, kitchen trash bags, non-pine floor cleaner, H.E. laundry detergent, digital food scales, heating pads, cat toys, Crazy Circles, fleece blankets, small stuffed animals, non-clumping cat litter, baby wipes, Royal Canin Baby Canned Food, wand toys, IAMS Kitten Canned Pate, Purina ONE Kitten, Purina Kitten Chow, and Fancy Feast Kitten. Drop off supplies in the lobby of the shelter at 214 Barker Road, Pittsfield. For more information, call 413-447-7878 or go online.


Grow up: Mass Audubon rents space in its popular organic gardens to members and non-members alike at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary on Williams Street in Pittsfield. Participants have been growing vegetables, flowers, and herbs at the two-acre gardens site for over three decades. Several gardeners describe it as “the most scenic location to plant a garden in Berkshire County.”

In order to participate, all community gardeners attend an organic gardening workshop offered free of charge at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox on Saturday, April 22, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The workshop will be conducted by master gardener Diane Wetzel from Pittsfield. She will share information about the benefits of organic gardening and impart practical information on how to incorporate this approach in your garden. Gardeners in the program are also required to sign a pledge committing them to organic gardening.

The garden sites, which measure 15 feet by 20 feet each rent for $35 for Mass Audubon members and $50 for non-members. Currently, a special half price Mass Audubon family membership offer is in effect. Gardeners may rent multiple sites if they wish. Call the main office at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox to register for the workshop on April 22 and to find out more about the Canoe Meadows Community Gardens. Participants may register by phone 413-637-0320, online or the day of the organic gardening workshop.


Work it off: Applications are now available for the city of Pittsfield’s Senior Tax Work-Off Program for Fiscal Year 2018.  Eligible candidates must be Pittsfield residential property owners 60 years of age and older at the time of the application. Work-Off Program applications must be postmarked or received by the Assessors’ Office by May 12. Active municipal employees are not eligible for the Senior Citizen Tax Work-Off Program.

There will be a limit of two participants per eligible property; however, the total abatement cannot exceed the maximum exemption of $1,000. Income eligibility shall be determined by using the locally adopted income eligibility guidelines of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 59, Section 5, clause 41C (plus an additional $5,000). The selection of participants will be based on need and shall be valid for one year. In the event that other opportunities become available, qualified volunteers not selected for this program will be placed on a waiting list in order of need.  This program can be combined with other exemptions.

All volunteer work must be completed between June 1, 2017 and November 30, 2017. An application for this program can be found on the city website.


Love is in the air: Williams College will host a conference devoted to the literary genre of popular romance titled "Reading for Pleasure: Romance Fiction in the International Marketplace" from April 21-23, with major authors, publishers, bloggers, and scholars featured in panel discussions on the world of romance novels. “Reading for Pleasure” will bring together authors, publishers, bloggers, and scholars of popular romance to explore the genre's explosion in recent years both in the North America and around the world. 

The conference will kick off on Friday, April 21, with a 4 p.m. screening of the documentary “Love Between the Covers” at Images Cinema, 50 Spring St. in Williamstown, followed immediately by a panel discussion with director Laurie Kahn, author Eloisa James, and author/publisher Len Barot (Radclyffe). The screening and panel discussion are free and open to the public. The conference continues Saturday with three panel discussions that are free and open to the public. All panel discussions will take place in the Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. From 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, authors Patience Bloom, Alison Case, Sonali Dev, Eloisa James, Radclyffe, Katy Regnery, and Sarah Wendell will be at Water Street Books, 26 Water St. in Williamstown, signing their books. This event is free and open to the public.

The conference concludes Sunday, April 23, with a final panel discussion that will also take place in the Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall starting at 9 a.m. This panel, led by Williams Assistant Professor of English Emily Vasiliauskas, will feature four professors discussing various aspects of transnational romance. Details online.


Books needed: The Lenox Library is still accepting donations for its 22nd annual book sale, to be held in August. The library welcomes hardcover and paperback books in good condition, as well as DVDs and CDs. The book drive cannot accept encyclopedias, magazines, LPs, VHS videos, or books with musty odors, mold, tears or markings.

Donations can be dropped off at 60 Hawthorne St. in Lenox on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-noon. To have a donation picked up, call Ilse Browner at 413-445-5679. All proceeds from this annual fundraising event benefit The Lenox Library’s many services and programs, offered to the public year-round free of charge.

 This year’s book sale will take place on August 25-27, Friday through Sunday, at the Lenox Library, 18 Main St., and will feature over 15,000 books at bargain prices in more than 30 categories.


To a tee: The Berkshire Athenaeum and The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum are sponsoring a T-shirt drawing contest for children and youth. The contest is now open and ends at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 28. There will be two categories for entries: children 12 and under, and teens, ages 13 to 18. The winner in the children’s category will have their artwork printed on children’s T-shirts and the winner of the teens’ category will have their artwork printed on adult sized T-shirts, to be sold in the Friend’s gift shop at the library.

Entry forms and complete rules are available at the Children’s desk in the library. All participants or their parents must be a library card holder in Berkshire County. All winning entries will be showcased in the library display case and on a large format poster in the library. All entries become the property of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

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