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The Qaran is the subject of one class offered by OLLI this spring in Pittsfield.

Berkshires Beat: Berkshire OLLI Set to Kick Off Spring Semester

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Lifelong learning

OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, offers almost two dozen varied courses this spring throughout the Berkshires. With no tests, no grades, and no prerequisites, OLLI classes are designed for those who enjoy learning, meeting interesting new people and exploring the Berkshire and beyond. To register for classes, call 413-236-2190 or go online. OLLI courses are designed especially by and for people 50 years and older, but everyone is invited to join and attend.

Weekly classes are held in Pittsfield, Lenox, Great Barrington and Williamstown this semester. Highlights include:

* The Fight to Vote: Kit Dobelle, former White House Chief of Staff to First Lady Roslyn Carter, leads a class on the history of voting rights in the United States Thursday mornings in Pittsfield, beginning April 12.

* Shakespeare's Unruly Plays: Author Richard Matturro leads a class on Shakespeare's "basket of unclassifiables" including The Tempest, Cymbeline and more, beginning April 12 in Pittsfield.

* Healthcare Today: Trends, Challenges and New Ideas: Each week, a different healthcare expert will discuss some of the biggest issues in healthcare today, from the opioid epidemic to single payer healthcare and more. The course is held Friday afternoons in Lenox beginning April 13.

* Reading the Qaran: Begins April 12 at BCC in Pittsfield. Background will be provided, with an emphasis on the characteristics of Arabic compared with Hebrew, explaining important names and words known to us from the news.

* Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Marvels, Magic and the Perils of Chivalry: Explore this medieval masterpiece Tuesdays in Great Barrington beginning April 17.

* International Folkdancing: Instructor Drew Herzig will lead students in group folk dances from Eastern Europe Wednesday mornings beginning April 18 at the Berkshire Community College gym.

* Fantasticator: The Short Stories of Jorge Luis Borges: Williams College literature professor Gene Bell-Villada leads this class at Williams College beginning Wednesday, April 18.


Blinded with science

Housatonic River Walk in downtown Great Barrington is hosting its second River Walk "March for Science" on Saturday, April 14. Young people are being sought to present an original speech, poem or song of 400 words or less on "Why is Science Important in Your Life?" to be considered for performance at the April 14 event. People of all ages are invited to participate in the River Walk March for Science to voice their support for science and research. This event is part of a global movement, with hundreds of marches taking place around the world.  

All activities will begin at River Walk’s W.E.B. Du Bois River Park at Church and River Streets in downtown Great Barrington. Sign making for the march will  begin at 1 p.m. An art station will be available with supplies to help people create signs and banners that celebrate our connection to the natural sciences. At 2 p.m., all marchers will gather and proceed along Main Street to River Walk's Main Street entrance upstream, then return to our starting point by following the River Walk trail along the Housatonic River.

For more information about the River Walk March for Science and how young people can be presenters, visit the website. This event is provided with the help of Great Barrington Land Conservancy Community Partners, Berkshire Coop and Jane Iredale and with support from Community Development Corp of Southern Berkshires.


Get speedy

In honor of National Library Week, the Berkshire Athenaeum invites community members to participate in its inaugural "speed repping" event from 2 to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 13. Much like speed-dating, speed-repping, which is a free event, provides participants with three minutes to sit down with their representatives in a one-on-one setting and ask them questions about who they are or what they do, voice concerns, or offer suggestions. The lineup includes Mayor Linda Tyer, state Sen. Adam Hinds, state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, City Council President Peter Marchetti, the city's Director of Administrative Services Roberta McCulloch-Dews, and School Committee member Dennis Powell.
Those who would like to participate should arrive at 1 p.m. and sign up to speak with the representative of their choice. Appointments will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants are welcome and encouraged to schedule appointments with more than one representative. The program is sponsored by the Berkshire Athenaeum and Junior League of Berkshire County.


Celebrating Trio

The Southern Vermont College community recently celebrated 40 years with the TRIO program. The college’s Center for Teaching and Learning houses TRIO, a federally funded program designed to provide enhanced support to targeted individuals — the first in their families to go to college, from low-income households, and/or having a documented disability — as they progress toward college graduation.

Founded in 1974 but with roots extending to 1926, Southern Vermont College is a small, liberal arts college located on a 400-acre campus overlooking the Green Mountains. Through its career-focused, liberal arts curriculum, SVC transforms students into engaged citizens with a broad perspective of an ever-changing society. Classroom learning is combined with real-life, real-world experiences in the study of business, humanities, nursing and health services, natural sciences and math, and the social sciences.


Learn CPR

Hancock Volunteer Fire Department and SJG Emergency Response Training & Consulting have joined forces to offer reduced price community CPR (Adult, Child, Infant), automated external defibrillator (AED), and anti-choking training to the public on Friday, April 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department, 3276 Hancock Road.

Participants will receive an official course completion card valid for two years from the American Heart Association. The classes are open to any community member interested in learning this valuable and life-saving skill. The price of the class is $40 per person. No prerequisite training, text books or testing required.  For more information or to register for the event, send an email.


Clean up Stockbridge

The Laurel Hill Association in Stockbridge will sponsor a town wide Earth Day roadside cleanup from Monday, April 16, through Sunday, April 22. Volunteers are needed to help pick up the winter's accumulation of trash in their own neighborhood.

For more information about getting gloves and plastic bags, bag pickup, and attending the planned thank-you session, contact Marie Raftery by email or by phone at 413-298-4910 or visit the Laurel Hill Association website.


Adams dog licenses

Dog licenses for the present year are now for sale at Adams Town Hall. The cost of a non-spayed female dog or a non-neutered male dog is $20. The price for a spayed female dog or neutered male dog is $10.

All puppies age 3 months and older must be licensed, and all dogs over the age of 6 months must have an active rabies vaccination in effect in order to obtain a license. No licenses can be issued without proof that the dog has received a rabies shot.  In addition, if the animal is newly spayed or neutered, a statement from the veterinarian must be presented to receive the lower priced license. Dog licenses are due each April 1 and must be purchased annually. Licenses not purchased by June 15 are subject to a $10 late fee in addition to the cost of the license.

Dog owners are reminded of several other town by-laws concerning their animals. Section 14-3 of the by-laws requires "dog owners, keepers and persons otherwise in charge to physically restrain their dogs by leash when they are not on the owners property." Section 14-5 requires a dog's owner to remove any feces left by the animal.


Sprouting a crowd

More than 200 moviegoers attended the 11th annual Berkshire County Arc Sprout Film Festival at Berkshire Community College's Robert Boland Theatre in Pittsfield. The event was hosted by Berkshire County Arc's Down Syndrome Family Group, which comprises more than 30 families throughout Berkshire County, working to advocate for and educate the public about Down Syndrome and people with disabilities. The festival featured 13 films about individuals with various disabilities, their lives and personal achievements.

The festival opened with the film "Drumming Is Like Thunder," a showcase for Duncan's showmanship and determination to defy the bullying behavior and his dream to perform in major cities around the globe. A perfect segway into Autism Awareness Month in April, "Ben's Filming the Movie" was a short documentary about Benjamin Howard, a 14-year-old boy who loves acting and movies. This film was one of three shown during the festival, featuring individuals on the spectrum.

The festival ended with special guest, Jason Halkias. Jason was featured in one of 13 films shown at the festival, a self-titled documentary "Jason." He drove 15 hours to attend the showing in Pittsfield from Iowa. The audience was entertained after the show with a special karaoke performance by Jason of Lyndsay Buckingham's "Holiday Road."

A reception catered by Berkshire Community College followed the Film Festival, featuring an exhibit from the new BCArc Brain Injury Program, Nu-Opps, called "Unmasking Brain Injury," where each mask told a story of an individual’s journey through their injury. All proceeds from the event support children, adults and families of Berkshire County residents with and impacted by Down syndrome.


A fantastic world

In conjunction with its exhibit "Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi," Norman Rockwell Museum will present Building Fantastical Worlds, a week of drop-in art workshops being held from Monday, April 16, through Friday, April 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. Participants can design three-dimensional fantasy characters and environments, build fairy house, and explore the fantastical art of Tony DiTerlizzi, currently on view. A range of creative materials — from clay to collage — will help visitors bring new worlds to life. The programs are free for museum members, children 18 and under, or included with regular museum admission.

In addition, Norman Rockwell Museum will present "Roll a Monster: A Create-a-Creature Drawing Experience" on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Through a series of drawing activities, museum educator and illustrator Patrick O'Donnell will teach visitors how to create their own fantastical creations, inspired by the roll of a dice. A game and feature table will randomly determine the traits of the "monsters" to be created by participants. Recommended by children ages 8 to 13, the workshop is free for museum members, children 18 and under, or included with regular museum admission.


CLEP test

Berkshire Community College will be offering the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams at the following dates and times: April 13 at 1 p.m.; April 21 at noon and 2 p.m.; May 1 at 9 a.m.; and May 11 at 1 p.m. CLEP exams are standardized, nationally normed tests that allow students to earn college credits for knowledge gained through independent study, employment, or research. While passing most exams earn students three credits, there are also exams that offer up to nine credits.

The total cost to take an exam is $110; $85 is payable to CLEP when a student begins the registration process online. The remaining $25 is paid on the day the test is taken. As an open CLEP testing site, BCC serves not only current students, but test takers from the wider community and they offer students the opportunity to take any of the 33 CLEP exams at our center.

To schedule an exam once you have your ticket number from the CLEP website, as well as for further information including which exams Berkshire Community College awards credits to our students, call 413-443-8426 or send an email.

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