The COOL Factor

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On Wednesday, July 5th, the Williamstown COOL (CO2 Lowering) Committee and Images Cinema are co-sponsoring a Community Conversation in connection with "An Inconvenient Truth," the global warming documentary starring Al Gore. The discussion will take place at Images from 6:05 - 7:00 p.m and will be hosted by Betsy Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change; Nancy Nylen, Associate Director of the Center for Ecological Technology (CET); and other members of the COOL Committee. "We are finding that many people who see the film are concerned and want to take immediate positive action," Nylen said. "We are also finding that they want to talk about what they've seen and heard-because it has such far-reaching implications at home and across the globe. The 'Community Conversation' is an opportunity to learn from each other about positive actions that we can take on the local level and beyond." On Wednesday, July 12 at 6:30 at the Milne Public Library, the COOL committee is sponsoring a workshop to help people save energy in their homes. The Town of Williamstown received a grant to purchase "Kill-a-watt" meters that individuals can check out of the library. Mike Tillou will lead the workshop, teaching people how to use the meters to learn how much their appliances and electronic devices are using energy-even when they're turned off-and what to do about it. CO2 emissions attributed to burning fossil fuels for electricity, transportation and other energy use are the major cause of climate change. Williamstown is a member of Cities for Climate Protection. The town has pledged to reduce its emissions by 10 percent by 2010. "An Inconvenient Truth" is playing at Images through Thursday, July 6th. For more information, contact Wendy Penner at wendypenner@hotmail.com or Sandra Thomas at sandra@imagescinema.org .
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Berkshire Health Group to See 8 Percent Rate Hike in FY23

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Berkshire Health Group Board of Directors on Monday voted to raise health insurance premiums by 8 percent for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 while offering a one-month "premium holiday" in FY23.
 
By a vote of 6-2 with one member abstaining, the board decided to raise rates for the 31 municipal entities served by the group. The 11 voting members of the group include the towns of Adams, Great Barrington, Lanesborough, Lenox and six regional school districts, Berkshire Hills, Central Berkshire, Hoosac Valley, Mount Greylock, Northern Berkshire Regional Vocational (McCann Tech) and Southern Berkshire; BHG also serves 20 smaller municipal entities who are affiliated with the joint purchasing group.
 
The board was advised by a representative from Gallagher Benefit Services that a rate hike was prudent to account for inflated health costs and a rise in claims after a fall-off in people accessing providers for non-emergency services during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The board's consultant recommended four possible courses of action: an 8 percent increase with no premium holiday, an 8 percent increase with a premium holiday, a 4 percent increase with the FY23 funding shortfall partially offset by the group's reserve or no premium increase with the increased FY23 costs entirely offset by reserves.
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