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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Staff reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Berkshire County Kids' Place and Violence Prevention Center is preparing an awareness campaign of its own.

According to a report issued by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families in January, North Adams, Pittsfield, and Holyoke had the highest reporting rates of child abuse among Massachusetts cities in 2008. The center is reaching out to the public, inviting it to visit its Web site for upcoming events designed to promote awareness of, and prevent child abuse, including a "Race to Stop Child Abuse," on Saturday, April 3.

Berkshire County Kids' Place and Violence Prevention Center aims to provide a safe, caring, home-like atmosphere that coordinates the combined knowledge of law enforcement, social service, medical, prosecutorial and mental health agencies to ensure an effective response to childhood trauma. It provides services to victims of child abuse and their non-offending family members.

Services at the Kids' Place are free and available to victims of child abuse, children who witness domestic violence and non-offending family members. Hours are Monday through Thursday,  8:30 to 7, and Fridays, 8:30 to 5. For more information, call 413-499-2800.

Update, 4/1/10: The fifth Annual Blue Ribbon Race to Stop Child Abuse 5k, on Saturday, April 3,  will start and finish at Berkshire County Kids’ Place & Violence Prevention Center, Inc., on Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield. Check-in begins at 9 a.m. and the race will start at 10. The event is open to the public; anyone interested in participating  should call 413-499-2800.

Update, 4/5/10: Click here for race results.

Update, 4/6/10: On Friday, April 9, Step up for Prevention, a local event recognizing the importance of child abuse prevention efforts in Berkshire County, will take place at 10 a.m. on the steps of Pittsfield City Hall. One hundred twenty pairs of children’s shoes which will be placed on the stairs in front of City Hall to symbolize the average number of children who are confirmed as abused and/or neglected in Berkshire County each month.

There will be a short speaking program about the importance of prevention activities in Berkshire County. Speakers will include: Suzin Bartley, LICSW, executive director of the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund, Pittsfield's Mayor James Ruberto, Sen. Benjamin Downing, Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, District Attorney David Capeless, Anne Nemetz-Carlson, executive director of Child Care of the Berkshires, Kathrine Bierwas, executive director of Kids Place, Carolyn Mower Burns, executive director of Berkshire Families and Children, and parents who are active in the Healthy Families program.

For more information about the event, call 413-664-4821.   

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Main Street Stage Seeks Actors

Staff reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Main Street Stage has issued an open casting call for their spring/summer production of "The Baltimore Waltz," by Paula Vogel.

The Obie Award-winning play tells the story of the adventures of a brother and sister, one of whom has a fatal disease.

The play calls for three actors: one female age 25 to 35, and two males age 25 to 35. The production will begin rehearsals in April and the show will be performed in mid-June. 

Auditions will be held at 57 Main St. on Tuesday, March 30, and Wednesday, March 31, at 7 p.m. For more information, email info@mainstreetstage.org or call 413-663-3240.


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BCC Offering Scholarships

Staff reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Community College Foundation is accepting scholarship applications for students who will begin their studies at BCC in the fall. Current high school seniors, non-traditional students, and those currently attending BCC who have earned less than 12 credits are eligible to apply.

Eligible students must be admitted to a certificate or degree program at BCC. Scholarship awards are not transferable to another institution. Students must complete the application form, obtain a recommendation, and write a personal statement. The deadline for submitting the application package is Monday, April 12. Applications are available in high school guidance offices, www.berkshirecc.edu, or by contacting Ann Phillips at BCC at 413-236-2185 or aphillips@berkshirecc.edu.

The BCC Foundation is a non-profit corporation established to encourage and receive gifts in support of the mission of the college. The Foundation provides between 30 to 40 scholarships ranging from $250 to $1,600 to deserving incoming students to assist them in the pursuit of their academic goals. Scholarships are awarded for academic promise, community service, leadership, and specific fields of study. All students planning on attending BCC in the fall are encouraged to apply.

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Auditions Set for Youth Summer Theater

Staff reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Barrington Stage is seeking budding actors for its summer production of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Into the Woods," a play featuring familiar characters from children's fairy tales.

High school students age 13 to 19 are eligible for the 18 roles up for grabs, and must be able to act, sing and move well. Those auditioning should prepare two songs – one ballad and one up-tempo number. (Songs from the musical are welcome). There will be an accompanist on site, but those auditioning should bring sheet music in the appropriate key.

Auditions will take place at Barrington Stage's Mainstage, 30 Union St., on the following dates:
Saturday, March 20, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 21, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Callbacks: April 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The production begins rehearsals on June 23, and the play will run from July 14 through Aug. 8 at St. Joseph's Central High School, Pittsfield, and from Aug. 10-15 at Pete’s Motors, Great Barrington.

Performers must commit to the rehearsal and performance schedule, must sign a contract, and will be paid a weekly stipend.

For more information or to schedule an audition call 413-997-6100 or visit www.barringtonstageco.org.

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It's Spring When: They Start Stocking Trout

Staff Reports

Something fishy is about to happen. The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is dumping 540,000 "feisty" brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout in pounds and streams statewide.

"We'll be putting out 320,000 rainbow trout that will average 12 inches or longer, and about 78 percent of these rainbows will be 14 inches or larger," Chief Fish Culturist Ken Simmons wrote in the latest MassWildlife reprot. "They'll be distributed statewide throughout the stocking season by our five regional Wildlife District offices."

Stocking will begin as soon as ice, snow and mud conditions allow the trucks access to the waterways. Anglers are advised to contact their district office for updates on when stocking will begin in the area.

What's going into the water? About 47,000 brown trout averaging more a foot long will be stocked along with another 115,000 browns in the 9-to-11-inch range. Not surprisingly, the bigger fish will land in the larger water bodies, while most of the smaller fish will be releaseed in the streams and brooks.

Brook trout will be stocked in a similar fashion with approximately 11,500 fish measuring a foot or better, and more than 66,000 in the 6-to-11-inch class.

Simmons said he is particular excited about the quality of this year's crop of 2-year-old brook trout, which he puts down to a "combination of hard work by hatchery staff and good growing conditions at the hatcheries where they are produced." 

Some 6,000 tiger trout are set to be released as well, all topping the 14-inch mark. These handsome fish, a cross between a female brown trout and a male brook trout, have become popular with folks lucky enough to hook and land one, say Wildlife officials. 

To find out the status of trout stocking here or call the Western District office at 413-684-1646.

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