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Individuals from Berkshire County Arcís Brain Injury Program participated in the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts' Walk & Roll in September.

Berkshires Beat: Berkshire County Arc Participates in BIAMA's Walk & Roll

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Walk & Roll: Twenty-seven individuals from Berkshire County Arc's Brain Injury Program participated in the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts' Walk & Roll in September. The team, which was named "BCArc Renegades," participated. Two Berkshire County Arc supervisors served as the co-captains of the team: Amber Steele and Kara Rogers. Supporters cheered along the team as they made their way down the two-mile route. Afterward, participants enjoyed lunch by the lake.

Berkshire County Arc opened its first residential program for individuals with developmental disabilities in 1971, and, in 2002, the agency opened its first residential program for individuals with brain injuries. In total, the 12 Brain Injury programs serve 49 individuals within the agency's 38 residential programs creating environments for residents to live as independently as possible and incorporating training in a variety of areas, including communication, domestic skills, money management and community participation.

In August, Berkshire County Arc opened East Housatonic, in Dalton, Mass. – its 12th residence serving individuals with brain injuries. The residence provides a home to four individuals who have had brain injuries with a supportive alternative to nursing home placement, which is often common for brain injury survivors.  


Rug raffle: The Stephentown Historical Society is conducting a raffle for a hand-hooked rug created by the late  Barbara T. Peterson, an expert at the craft and a nationally known teacher of the art.  Peterson, a Stephentown resident, began teaching hooking in 1977. She taught at Pearl K. McGown National Guild Workshops for 26 years and taught classes in the New York Capital area and in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, as well as week-long workshops throughout the Northeast. Many of her rugs have been on display in National Guild Exhibits around the United States.  A comprehensive exhibit of the her art and that of her students was presented by the Stephentown Historical Society in 2004.  Peterson died in the autumn of 2016.

Peterson’s family has donated one of her rugs to benefit the society. This rug is a floral design, "Mary," by Jane McGown Flynn. It is 24 by 36 inches and is worked in hand-dyed wool in shades of wood rose and greens on a soft colonial blue background.  The roses and other flowers exhibit the fine shading effects that Peterson achieved by careful gradation of her hand-dyed wools.  

The Historical Society’s raffle provides everyone a chance to own this special fiber art creation.  The drawing will be held at the Dec. 3 Historical Society meeting.  Chances are $5  each and may be purchased at the Stephentown Heritage Center, 4 Staples Road, P.O. Box 11,  Stephentown, N.Y., which is open Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m., or by calling 518-733-6070 or by email.

Parking ban: The all-night parking ban in the town of Lenox will take effect on Wednesday, Nov. 1. All vehicles parked on any town streets in Lenox or Lenox Dale between 1 and 6 a.m. will be ticketed. In case of snowfall, the vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.

Hurricane help: Shakespeare & Company held a special benefit performance of "God of Carnage" on Oct. 5 to give back to those impacted by the recent hurricanes. The Berkshire community came out in support, and together raised more than $4,775 for victims of the recent devastation. The proceeds were donated to the One America Appeal to support those effected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Shakespeare & Company patrons and supporters joined efforts to help their fellow citizens in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean as they recover and rebuild.

The One America Appeal was 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. It was then expanded to include areas most affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Voter registration: The Nov. 7 special election for First Berkshire Representative District will be held in the gymnasium of the Williamstown Elementary School in Williamstown. Polling hours will be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The deadline for voter registration, for those not already registered to vote, is Wednesday, Oct. 18. The Town Clerk's office will remain open until 8 p.m. on that day.  Mail-in voter registration forms must be postmarked no later than Oct. 18.


Give it a try: The Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires will be hosting a free trial membership week Oct. 16-20 for youth in grades three through 12. During the club's operating hours, 2:30 to 8 p.m., the club will be open to both members and non-members to come in and try out the programming.

Programs that will be showcased include but are not limited to: Power Hour (homework help); Passport to Manhood; SMART Girls; Triple Play; Teen Center; Game Room; Small Gym; Big Gym; STEM; UBU Theater; and Rock On. For more information on the programs, visit the website or call 413-448-8258.


Building community: Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, an affiliate of Habitat International that serves the communities of Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, North Adams, Stamford (Vt.) and Williamstown, has received a donation of $1,795 from the Adams Free Library Summer Reading Program. Most years, children participating in the program earn prizes for themselves. But this year, library director Holli Jayko wanted their reading to benefit others. Because this year's theme was "Build a Better World," Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity was designated as the beneficiary.

The library’s Board of Trustees budgeted $1,500 for the program, with participants earning $1 for each picture book, $5 for each chapter book, and $10 for each book over 350 pages. There was no limit on the amount of money each child could earn, and they could read any book they wanted from the library. But the kids, all 107 of them who signed up, surprised everyone by reading 1,000 books and earning $1,795. The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve the full amount.

The check will be presented to Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Adams Free Public Library. Library staff, including Jayko, members of the Adams Free Library Board of Trustees and members the NBHfH Board, will be present.

Basket raffle: The North Adams Farmers Market is raffling off a Thanksgiving basket to raise funds for the market's SNAPx2 Program. SNAPx2 doubles Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars at the market. The raffle basket contains local goods from market vendors, including a turkey, vegetables, baked goods, honey, soap, coffee, linens, and jam. Contributing vendors will include Square Roots Farm, Clarksburg Bread Co., Many Forks Farm, Tunnel City Coffee, Chenail's Farm Stand, Jaeschke's Fruit & Flowers Center, North Yeast Bakery, Natalya's Ethnic Cuisine, Caroline's Scottish Shortbread, Mogen's Cutting Boards, Gray Raven Farm, and Morin Gardens.

The SNAPx2 program has expanded steadily in recent years, growing 20 percent to 30 percent annually. Market Manager Sara Potvin speaks with SNAP customers each week. "One of the things I hear from [SNAP customers] most often is their desire to eat more fresh, local produce," she said. "The SNAP doubling program gives customers with SNAP benefits the opportunity to purchase fresh, local produce, meat, eggs, bread and more, for themselves and their families, that they might not otherwise be able to afford."

Raffle tickets for the Thanksgiving basket are $10 and are available on Saturdays at the farmers market manager station through Nov. 4. Tickets are available at local businesses in North Adams, including Eagle Street Artisans. The winner will be announced Nov. 6, and the basket will be available for pick-up the week of Thanksgiving.

Weather or not: This Nov. 4, a few hundred Williams College, MCLA and Bennington College students will participate in the 10th annual Winter Blitz day of weatherization. In their day of service, these volunteers will travel across northern Berkshire County to weatherize homes for the upcoming winter.   The volunteers will go out in teams of five or six students to provide free basic comfort measures such as installing storm windows, door sweeps and energy efficient light bulbs. All materials are paid for by the Williams College Zilkha Center and each group will be led by a trained team leader.

Weatherizing these homes will save money for the residents. Weatherization can save homeowners 25 percent to 40 percent on their heating and cooling bills and is also a great way to bridge connections between students and the community and contribute to our global mission of reducing energy consumption.

Homeowners who are seeking to lower their energy costs and who cannot weatherize themselves are encouraged to participate. Sign up online, call 413-217-4717 and leave a voicemail, or send an email before Oct. 23.

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