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In alighting its iconic entrance in gold, Mass MoCA joined Times Square, the Prudential Center, the Zakim Bridge, the TD Garden in Boston, Niagra Falls, the Eiffel Tower and other famous landmarks around the world to raise awareness childhood cancer.

Berkshires Beat: Mass MoCA Lights Up Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness

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Golden moment: Mass MoCA joined landmarks across the country and around the world, going gold this September to raise awareness for childhood cancer. In alighting its iconic entrance in gold, the North Adams museum joined Times Square, the Prudential Center, the Zakim Bridge, the TD Garden in Boston, Niagra Falls, the Eiffel Tower and other famous landmarks around the world to raise awareness of the battle children fight in this disease and the critical need for increased funding.

Major league sports teams have also recognized and honored children with cancer this month. Major League Soccer and all 30 Major League Baseball teams, including the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, did tributes in September.

Although childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children, childhood cancer research is tremendously underfunded in the United States and around the world. Only 4 percent of federal cancer research funding is directed to childhood cancer, and the pharmaceutical industry does not support childhood cancer research in the same way it supports and profits from adult cancer research. In the United States, 43 children are diagnosed every day, and five children die every day of cancer. Around the world every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer.

Kathy and Joe Arabia, who created the AYJ Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to support children with cancer in our community and to fund essential cancer research, in honor of their daughter Anna who died of a rare brain cancer, thank Mass MoCA in raising awareness this September of childhood cancer.

Oh, deer: Hopkins Memorial Forest in Williamstown will again be open to deer hunting by special permit during the 12-day shotgun season this fall.  The 2017 Massachusetts deer shotgun season runs from Nov. 7 to Dec. 9, excluding Sunday, Dec. 3, and a limited number of complimentary permits will be issued to hunters from local communities.  
Applications, which can be obtained from the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College, are due back to the Center by Nov. 1.  They will be evaluated on a first-come, first served basis and permits will be issued to selected hunters by mid-November. Hunters may obtain a no-fee permit application by contacting the Center for Environmental Studies, 55 Mission Park Drive, Williamstown, 413-597-2346 or by e-mail.

Annually, 75 to 100 hunters are awarded permits to hunt in this research and teaching forest owned by Williams College, which closes the forest to other users during the hunt. Hunter surveys from recent seasons indicate that typically four to eight deer are harvested from the area each year.  Such reductions in the herd help to minimize browse damage to the forest’s understory and herb layer and protect ecological research areas.  Due to possible conflicts with other forest uses, no other hunting, aside from the 12-day deer shotgun season, is allowed in Hopkins Forest.


Dream away: Southern Vermont College and the Bennington Free Library have been collaborating on events in October for this year's Vermont Reads book selection, “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson. The Newbery Honor book is told in verse by Woodson and discusses the author's childhood as an African American growing up in the 1960s and 1970s in South Carolina and New York.

On Wednesday, Oct. 4, the Bennington Free Library will host a book group discussion on "Brown Girl Dreaming" at 7 p.m. on the second floor. The discussion will explore memoir's themes of family, race, place, and the power of stories and poetry. This event is free and open to the public.

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, Southern Vermont College will host a poetry open mic at 7 p.m. in Everett Mansion's Theatre. The audience will have an opportunity to read aloud a poem of their choice by sharing a poem from "Brown Girl Dreaming" or another favorite. This event is intended to bring the community together to read and listen to poetry. This free event will be followed with a reception in the college's Burgdorff Gallery.


Helping out: Shakespeare & Company has added a special benefit performance to its "God of Carnage" run to give back to those impacted by the recent hurricanes. The proceeds from the added performance will be donated to the One America Appeal to support those effected by the terrible devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Shakespeare & Company joins efforts to help our fellow citizens in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean as they recover and rebuild. The One America Appeal, a joint appeal that was originally launched by all five living former American Presidents to encourage their fellow citizens to support recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey, which inundated the Texas Gulf Coast with unprecedented flooding, has been expanded to include areas most affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Written by Yasmina Reza, the author of ART, translated by Christopher Hampton, and directed by Regge Life, God of Carnage runs through Oct. 8 in the Elayne P. Bernstein, now with an added performance on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m.  The play won a Tony Award for Best Play and an Olivier Award for Best Comedy, and now this award-winning New York hit has received rave reviews in the Berkshires. Tickets are available online.

Tree's company: Do you have a tree that would be perfect to donate and serve as Pittsfield's official holiday tree at Park Square? If so, the Pittsfield Department of Community Development Recreation Program would like to hear from you. Criteria used to select the city's official holiday tree includes: minimum height of approximately 30 feet; superior shape; ease of access to the tree for cutting; adequate room to safely fall the tree; and ease of transporting the tree.

Screening and selection of trees will take place the week of Oct. 30.  Cutting and installation of the tree at Park Square will be scheduled shortly after the selection. Interested parties should contact Becky Manship, Pittsfield’s Recreation Activities Coordinator, no later than Oct. 27 at 413-499-9370 or via email.

Culture shock: The Lenox Cultural Council has set an Oct. 16 deadline for organizations, schools, and individuals to apply for grants that support cultural activities in the community. Application forms and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available online at

These grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in the Lenox area -- including exhibits, festivals, field trips, short-term artist residencies, or performances in schools, workshops, and lectures. Last year the Council funded theater and dance performances, musical concerts, nature walks, and similar types of cultural events.

Winter's coming: Berkshire County Arc is holding a clothing drive and will be accepting gently used coats, scarves, hats and mittens - as well as winter clothing items that have been knitted or crocheted - from now through Oct. 9. All donations will be distributed to various organizations in the community.

Drop-off locations are as follows: Berkshire County Arc’s Community Apartments, 189 First Street, Pittsfield; 70 Sampson Parkway, Pittsfield (one of the agency’s residential facilities); and Berkshire County Arc’s Main Office, 395 South Street, Pittsfield. For more information, contact Rhodora at 413-499-4241, ext. 255.

Making connections: Pittsfield Community Connection , a program of Berkshire Children and Families, has moved its office to 480 West St. The main phone number is now 413-448-8281 and information online can be found by visiting the website

PCC seeks to reduce youth violence and gang activity in the city through targeted activities for young people between the ages of 10-24.  Staff work to help young people envision and work towards a better future by building positive relationships, developing new skills, and connecting to opportunities. Traditional supports such as mental health services, access to health care, education and job training are provided. Equally powerful is the use of community mentors to inspire a sense of belonging and hope through meaningful relationships.

Mentoring connects young people with community members to widen their circle of support. An informational session will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. at 480 West St.  Mentoring empowers young people by connecting them with caring adults who help them believe in their abilities and overcome difficult life challenges.  A light dinner will be served. Contact Kevin Ashline at 413-448-8281, ext. 263, or by email for more information.

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