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Bowl for Kids' Sake

Staff reports

Helping out a good cause is worth wearing goofy shoes.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berkshire County has announced its annual “Bowl for Kids Sake” Bowl-A-Thon events, which will take place during the coming weeks.

Those interested in participating need to create a team of five or six people, then raise pledges. According to BBBS, every dollar raised stays in Berkshire County to support local children.

All bowlers will receive a free gift, and top individual fundraisers will receive prizes.

Dates for the bowl-a-thon are as follows:

Saturday, March 13, at Ken's Bowl,  Pittsfield, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 20, at Cove Lanes, Great Barrington, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 27, at Mt. Greylock Bowl, North Adams, from 4 to 8 p.m.

For more information and registration material, contact Raymond Ross at 413-443-9471 or bbbs@rnetworx.com, or Sarah at 413-663-7588 or bbbs@nbccoalition.org

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Bruins' Beauty Sleep Ending

Staff Reports

Mass Wildlife says it's time to take down those bird feeders in Western Mass. With the snow melting and longer day length, bears will soon be leaving their winter dens and feeders should be removed by mid-March at the latest.

"There is little in the way of natural foods and bears learn to seek out high-energy human foods such as bird seed," says Laura Hajduk, DFW Bear Project Leader. "This may lead to conflicts that pose hazards to both bears and people."

According to Mass Wildlife:

Massachusetts is home to approximately 3,000 resident bears, with the majority living west of the Connecticut River. Although many bears keep to their dens during the winter, some can be sporadically active and can seek out human related food sources. If you notice bear activity in the area earlier than mid-March, be proactive and remove bird feeders and other potential food sources promptly.

Bears have excellent long-term memories and remember which foods are available at different seasons, as well as where these foods can be found. Even if a feeder is inaccessible to bears, they will be attracted by the scent of seed and suet. Once they learn the location of these foods, bears will return. Bears are typically shy and fearful of people, but deliberate feeding or indirect availability of human food, coupled with a lack of harassment can cause bears to become accustomed to people. If bears lose their fear of people and develop a taste for human foodstuffs, bears can become bolder and may cause damage that ultimately results in harm to people or to the demise of the animal.

Don't leave out trash or pet foods either and keep sheds and barns locked. During the summer, don't put meat or sweet items in the compost piles — bears can sniff them out.

Hajduk said taking these actions also reduces problems with other common wildlife species such as coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. More black bear information can be found at www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/wildlife/living/living_with_bears.htm.


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Looking for Volunteers?

Staff reports

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — If your organization is seeking volunteers for a service project, April 17 could be your lucky day. The Lehman Council for Community Engagement at Williams College is planning a "Spring into Service" day for Saturday, April 17, when dozens of Williams students will be volunteering on a variety of service projects in the Northern Berkshires.

Additionally, funding may be available to help pay for supplies for your service project.

If your organization is interested in receiving volunteers on "Spring into Service" day, contact William Lee at 646-662-3267 or wl1@williams.edu.

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North Adams Ambulance Getting High-Tech Monitors

Staff Reports

The Lifepak 15 has Bluetooth technology.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Ambulance Service will be adding the latest state-of-the-art equipment to its life-saving arsenal thanks to a $126,500 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.

Manager John Meaney Jr. said the service will use the award to replace its decade-old Lifepak equipment — used as both cardiac monitors and automated external defibrillators — with new Lifepak 15 units with Bluetooth technology.

"This equipment will allow us to transmit EKGs into emergency rooms capable of receiving this information," said Meaney. While North Adams Regional Hospital is still working on that technology, larger hospitals are already putting it into use, he said. "When local hospital are able to connect to these, we'll be ready."

The new monitors will also be able to monitor blood pressure and carbon monoxide, which will come in handy when treating firefighters at fire scenes.

The units cost about $25,000 each. The service will replace the four current Lifepak 12s and purchase a fifth one
to replace an AED in the fifth ambulance of its expanded fleet.

Meaney estimated the Lifepaks are used on 80 percent of the service's calls. The 12-lead units (referring to its monitoring system) are also required as part of the service's paramedica capability.

The Assistance to Firefighters grant, authorized through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is one of several awarded to emergency services and fire companies in the Berkshires; some 57 grants totaling more than $5 million were awarded in Massachusetts. Emergency medical technician Amalio Jusino wrote the grant in his role as a principal of Emergency Response Consulting.

This is the second time that the service has received this grant. It was awarded some $73,000 in 2006 for protective clothing and training, the first time the grants had been used for emergency medical services.

Meaney said they were informed of the latest grant by U.S. Sen. John Kerry's office last week.

"These will be definitely beneficial for our patients and we'll be able to do a lot more information at the scene," said Meaney.


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Disability Pride Art Show Seeks Submissions

Staff reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The 13th annual Disability Pride Day Art Show is fast approaching, but there is still time for Berkshire-area artists with disabilities to submit their work.

The show will be held at the Berkshire Mall on Saturday, March 6 from 10 to 3. (FYI, Berkshire Mall rules do not allow for the sale of items on the premises).

Entries must be received at AdLib, Inc., 215 North St., no later than Monday, March 1. All entries must have the artist’s name, address and phone number securely attached to the back of each item. All items will be returned to AdLib, Inc., for pick up no later than March 8, unless arrangements are made to pick up work at the end of the event. For more information, contact Cathy Carchedi at AdLib, 413-442-7047.

The art show is part of Disability Pride Day, the goal of which is to increase community awareness of the accomplishments of people with disabilities, and educate the community about the variety of services and opportunities available to them in Berkshire County. Participants include human service agencies, Berkshire Medical Center Health Van, and Lion’s Club Eye Mobile. Berkshire Bank is the major sponsor of the event.

For more information or to reserve a booth, call 413-442-1652 ext. 12 or 413-499-4241 ext. 230.

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