Pittsfield Co-op CEO Named Quinn Award Recipient

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Conrad Bernier
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce has named Conrad Bernier as this year's Esther Quinn Memorial Award Winner.

Bernier is the president and chief executive officer of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank. The award was established in 1999 to honor the memory of Esther Quinn, former Chamber volunteer and advocate for volunteer efforts.

Candidates are judged on the basis of volunteer efforts rather than any measure of success in the field in which they normally are employed or the accomplishments or successes by an individual's membership in one organization. The award is given to a person who lives or works in Berkshire County and who shows enthusiasm, empathy and effort in making the Berkshires a better place to live and work.

Bernier was recognized for his commitment to community development, inserting his own excitement and drive into any project he works on.

"It is a very appropriate recognition for someone who has served his community as unassuming and effortlessly as Conrad has over the years," said Mick Callahan, 2003 award recipient and chairman of the Chamber's Esther Quinn Award Committee.

Bernier was selected for having devoted time, energy and resources to a variety of causes in Berkshire County, as well as the quality of his volunteer work. He has, said the Chamber announcement, "stepped up to the plate and gave his heart, his time and his talent to local civic organizations."

In addition to the Chamber, he has volunteered with Berkshire Place, Boy Scouts of America, Rotary Club, Country Club of Pittsfield, the Berkshire Museum, Downtown Inc. and Arrowhead, along with the bank's Partnership with Allendale Elementary School. He served in varying capacities for each of these local organizations.

This month, he will retire after 14 1/2 years with Pittsfield Cooperative.

"Conrad's empathy and concern for others has had a positive impact on the employees of the bank stirring them to action. He has also encouraged and supported each employee's desire to volunteer for civic organizations and allows them the time needed to volunteer their talents and services recognizing the importance of self-giving through his own experiences,” said Cindy Armstrong and Jay Anderson, bank employees who nominated Bernier. "The support from Conrad comes in various forms: monetary contributions, industry and personal advice; and actual involvement."

The Quinn Award has been presented annually since 1999.  The first recipient was William Wilson, former president and CEO of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau. Past award recipients include David Klausmeyer in 2000; Louann Harvey in 2002, Ellen Ruberto in 2006 and last year's winner Jerry Burke.

The award will be presented at the Chamber's annual meeting on Friday, Dec. 11, 7:30 a.m., at the Crowne Plaza. Tickets are $25 each and are still available. To register: 413-499-4000, info@berkshirechamber.com or www.berkshirechamber.com.
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Supplemental Bill Has $1M for Rural Schools, $200K for Barton's Crossing

BOSTON — The Legislature's recently passed $541 million closeout supplemental budget for fiscal 2019 includes another $1 million rural school aid, for in fiscal 2020, for a total of $3.5 million in rural school aid this fiscal year. 
"I'm happy to see this bill make those investments in public education, regional school transportation, public transportation, among many other areas " said state Sen. Adam Hinds, who has been a strong proponent of increasing aid to the schools in his largely rural district. "It is my hope that, in providing this additional investment, we can expand this program and make meaningful investments in more school districts."
The Rural School Aid grant program helps school districts with low population densities and lower-than-average incomes address fiscal challenges and take steps to improve efficiency. Administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Rural School Aid is a source of funding separate from Chapter 70 education aid and is intended to supplement the FY20 operating budgets of eligible school districts.
In order to qualify for Rural School Aid, DESE must determine that a school district meets two requirements:
  1. The "rural factor " based student density per square mile of a school district; and
  2. Ability to pay, or the average per capital income of a school district.
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