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Jiminy Peak Group Buys NH Resort

Staff Reports

HANCOCK, Mass. — Jiminy Peak's owners are extending their lofty Berkshire Hills holdings into the White Mountains with the purchase of Cranmore Mountain Resort.

In a statement on Wednesday, Jiminy principals Brian Fairbank, Joseph O'Donnell and Tyler Fairbank, said they purchased the assets of the 72-year-old North Conway, N.H., resort from California resort group Booth Creek Resorts.

The deal includes the assumption of debt, for a total price tag of $8.8 million and an expansion loan from CNL Lifestyle Properties for $7 million.

"Cranmore is a popular family ski area, with a great history and has tremendous potential for the near future," said Brian Fairbank, chief executive officer of Jiminy Peak Ski Resort, in the statement. "With our team's experience in the resort industry, the investment and support from CNL Lifestyle Properties, and the continued leadership of Cranmore General Manager Ben Wilcox and his outstanding management team, Cranmore will be able to fulfill its unrealized potential."

Jiminy Peak entered a partnership with CNL last year, in which the real estate investment group bought the mountain for $27 million and leased it back to the Jiminy group for 40 years.

Jiminy Peak, Booth Creek and CNL Lifestyle Properties have been in discussions for a year regarding the potential sale and amenity expansion. The three companies all have experience working with one another at resorts in New England and across the country.

The Fairbanks and O'Donnell purchased the assets and will make major upgrades and improvements at Cranmore with CNL, which also has a relationship with Booth Creek, providing capital for the acquisition and planned improvements.

Booth Creek will continue to operate the Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe Resorts located in Lake Tahoe, Calif., under long-term lease arrangements with CNL Lifestyle. Booth Creek retains its ownership and management of Waterville Valley Ski area in New Hampshire as well.

"Our team is pleased to make this investment," said Byron Carlock, president and CEO of CNL Lifestyle Properties. "Brian, Joseph and Tyler are talented resort managers, and we believe that with their experience and vision and our capital, Cranmore will be able to become a better resort, a more vibrant business and continue to provide great experiences for New England skiers."

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New Dog Training Center Open in North Adams

Patrick Ronan

Melissa Wilkinson poses outside of her new business, Dog Gone Good Dog Training, located at 195 Ashland St. in North Adams.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — There's a new place for dog training in the Berkshires.

Melissa Wilkinson, the animal control officer in North Adams, opened Dog Gone Good Dog Training at 195 Ashland St. last month, offering classes ranging from puppy kindergarten to advanced obedience training. The 29-year-old Williamstown native has had aspirations to run her own dog-training facility since she was a teenager, and she's finally doing it.

"The benefits you can get from a training class is the relationship you end up having with your dog," Wilkinson said on Monday. "They may not walk away being the smartest dog on the block, but what is the relationship you're going to end up having? What motivates them, excites them? What do they dislike doing? I try to help people figure that out, so they can have a good relationship with their dog."

Wilkinson said her training methods vary by each dog's age and obedience level. She has four different classes: puppy kindergarten, basic obedience, advanced obedience and socialization sessions. The puppy course focuses on things like crate training, potty training, nipping, and jumping. In the basic classes, Wilkinson will work on the dog's control, teaching commands such as 'sit' and 'stay.'

Advanced obedience will reaffirm the basic commands, but under heavier distractions and distance learning. The obedience training lasts six weeks and the cost is $85 per dog. Each class is limited to six dogs.

The socialization classes are tentatively scheduled for every other Saturday, and they consist of two hours of play time with other dogs. The limit is 10 dogs per class. Owners have the option of staying and participating in the session, or dropping their dogs off. The price is $10 per social class, but there are discounts for frequent visitors.

Wilkinson said social classes can be very beneficial to the dog and owner.

"I'll helps the [owners] understand what's play behavior and what's leaning toward aggression," she said. "It's healthy for people to know what's OK and what's not OK for dog play."

Wilkinson, who has experience as a veterinarian technician and who has taught puppy classes at Greylock Animal Hospital for the last six years, also offers private lessons and behavior consultations, which can be held either at the training center or at the dog owner's home.

She is planning on having seminars at the center, where outside training will provide strength and agility lessons.

"I read dogs really well, and I read people very well," she said. "I will go all the way from positive-reinforcement training, which is happy-go-lucky, 'cookie, cookie, cookie,' to rough-love training, which is nothing in life is free. Whatever the dog needs and whatever the person is willing to do, we'll find somewhere along the scale and make it work."

Since she held her first class on May 25, Wilkinson has had several clients from outside of North Adams, including Pittsfield,  and Pownal and Stamford, Vt. She has a rotating schedule of classes that caters both to her availability and the availability of her clients. Wilkinson takes appointments by phone, and she posts schedule announcements on the Dog Gone Good Dog Training Facebook page.

To reach Wilkinson, call 413-663-4559.

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Join Berkshire Creative, Cultural Pittsfield to Explore Co-Working

Staff reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It turns out the term "co-working" might not mean what you think.

Berkshire Creative sent us an email announcing an upcoming Co-Working Community Discussion, which it's holding in partnership with Cultural Pittsfield this Thursday, May 27, at the Lichenstein Center for the Arts. In this case, co-working means sharing a workspace with someone who does not work for the same organization as you. According to Berkshire Creative, examples of co-workers include work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Such individuals might seek a shared workspace with someone else.

The event runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Scott Tillitt of BEAHIVE in Beacon, N.Y., will speak about the BEAHIVE co-working space and set the stage for an open, group discussion on co-working in the Berkshires.

It's an interesting idea... imagine an artist, computer programmer, inventor and gossip columnist working in one room.

In any case, if you're interested in learning more, contact Helena Fruscio, director of Berkshire Creative at info@berkshirecreative.org or 413-822-8324 or Megan Whilden, director of Cultural Development, Pittsfield at mwhilden@pittsfieldch.com or 413-499-9348.

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Morningside Initiative Hosting Neighborhood Business Group

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Morningside Initiative is hosting a meeting of the Tyler Street Business Group on Tuesday, May 11, at 7:30 a.m. at the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority office, 81 Kellogg St. 

The purpose of the meeting is to give support to the business community on Tyler Street and Dalton Avenue, and to give them a voice in shaping the future of their community by helping promote its positive attributes, while increasing quality of life.

The Pittsfield Police Department and city councilors will be in attendance to answer questions. This meeting is open to anyone who runs a business on Tyler Street and Dalton Avenue. The Morningside Initiative's mission is to preserve and restore the integrity of the neighborhood and empower residents. 

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SBA to Hold Recovery Expo

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The U.S. Small Business Administration will hold a Business Recovery Expo on Thursday, May 6, on the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts campus.

The event will include a panel discussion with SBA Massachusetts District Director Robert H. Nelson, Mayor Richard J. Alcombright, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce President Michael Supranowicz, and Andre M. Porter, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The panel will be followed by an exposition; there will be two free workshops on business financing and SBA programs after the expo.

The expo runs from 8:30 to noon on the second floor of Murdock Hall. Seating is limited; RSVP to to P. Edgardo Tarrats, SBA branch manager, at 413-785-0484 or p.edgardo.tarrats@sba.gov

For more information on the SBA's economic recovery initiatives, visit  www.sba.gov/recovery/information/index.html

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