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The Chowder Cook-off winners have been announced.

Berkshires Beat: Grazie, Mingo's Take Top Honors in Chowder Cook-off

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The winners are

Hundreds of hungry WinterFest fans swarmed downtown to try samples of the nine fierce competitors at this year's annual Chowder Cook-off (find more photos here). Hundreds of ballots were cast for "People's Choice" favorites and write-ins for the "Only in North Adams" most unique chowder award. Voters were asked to rank their top three favorite, though many just picked one. Competitors were awarded three points for every first-place mark, two points for each second-place mark, and one point for every third-place mark.

In first place with 467 points was Grazie; a close second, Boston Seafood Restaurant snapped up second place with 460 points; and the Hub came in third place with 206 total points. Judges' Choice winners were close, but Mingo's was the favorite, with a chowder the judges described as savory. The Hub came in second, followed by Grazie in third. Freight Yard Pub and Gramercy Bistro tied for fourth.

This year's "Only in North Adams" people's choice award went to Ramuntos, which narrowly took the title from last year's winner, Gramercy Bistro. It was a tight race between Ramuntos with a Manhattan clam chowder over a cheesy bread knot, North Adams Commons' coconut-based broth, and Gramercy's curried chowder with sweet potato.

This year's judges were City Councilor Becky Cohen, City Councilor Marie Harpin and Mayor Tom Bernard. The 2018 competitors were Berkshire Food Project, Boston Sea Foods, Freight Yard Pub, Gramercy Bistro, Grazie, The Hub, Mingos, MCLA, North Adams Commons and Ramuntos. Individual scores are available upon request.


Just keep swimming

Berkshire South Regional Community Center will hold its eighth annual Swim-A-Thon fundraiser on Saturday, March 3, starting at 8 a.m. This year's goal is to raise $15,000. Last year participants raised more than $13,000. All funds raised are used to support adaptive needs programming and equipment at the center.

Berkshire South’s adaptive needs programming strives to address the needs of all members, providing specially trained employees that offer classes and individualized training accessible to all and for all abilities. Berkshire South’s adaptive needs initiatives range from free swim lessons and scholarships for membership to class modifications and specialized equipment to serve members with varying levels of ability.

George Wallace will be the official Swim-A-Thon ambassador this year. Wallace, a center member since childhood and a member of the adaptive needs community, hopes to encourage others both to participate in swimming and to sponsor those they know that are swimming.

Swim-A-Thon participants can register through March 1; sign up to swim as an individual or as a relay team. Participants collect donations based on either the number of pool lengths that they swim or flat contributions. Swimmers have up to two hours to swim up to 200 pool lengths, but they are able to instead choose to swim any shorter length or time frame as they are able. Swim-A-Thon is open to swimmers of all ages and abilities. Pick up a registration packet at the Berkshire South Front Desk, located at 15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington, or register or donate to a participant online.


All heart

Employees at Southwestern Vermont Health Care gathered on Friday, Feb. 2, for a photo to celebrate National Wear Red Day. The American Heart Association’s observance and its Go Red for Women campaign raise awareness of heart health issues, especially in women.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is a comprehensive, preeminent health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC’s providers are members of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians, a multi-specialty medical group operated in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock.


STEM grant

Drury High School has received a grant to offer high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Project Lead The Way. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers through pathways in computer science, engineering and biomedical science. More than 10,500 schools across the country offer PLTW programs to millions of students.

Drury High School is just one of 73 schools across the state to receive the grant, which is supported by the Administration of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, the One8 Foundation, and Mass STEM Hub.

Drury High School will use grant funds to launch its PLTW Gateway program at grades seven and eight. Funds from the grant will also support teacher professional development and the purchase of materials and equipment that will be used in the hands-on, activity-, project- and problem-based courses.  All students in grades seven and eight will participate in PLTW units as part of their core science program.


In the beginning

The beginning of the Protestant Reformation is traditionally dated to October 31, 1517, the day on which Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg. In a four-session mini-course, All Saints Episcopal Church of the Berkshires will explore three of the most important figures of the Protestant Reformation, the movements associated with them, and their possible continuing significance for us today and tomorrow. All sessions will begin at 7 and conclude by 8:30 p.m. and are free. Reserve a spot by calling 413-664-9656 or by sending an email.

Classes are as follows: Feb. 26, Martin Luther and Lutheranism; March 5, John Calvin and the Reformed Church; March 12, Elizabeth I (not Henry VIII?!) and the English Reformation; and March 19, Does It Continue to Matter 500 Years Later?

Courses will be taught by Joseph Molleur, who received his bachelor's degree in religious studies from Grinnell College, his master's degree in historical theology from Episcopal Divinity School, and his PhD in systematic and comparative theology from Boston College.  Following a two-year assignment as a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Boston College, he taught religion for 15 years at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, until his retirement as professor emeritus in 2016. He is a member of All Saints Berkshires Episcopal Church, and volunteers regularly at the Council on Aging and the Catholic Charity Center in Adams.

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