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Coretta Scott King, left, watches President Ronald Reagan sign the bill creating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

Holiday Hours: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated Monday, Jan. 16. It is a federal holiday to commemorate the birthday of the civil rights activist born Jan. 15, 1929. It is observed on the third Monday in January.

King, a Baptist minister, led the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s by espousing nonviolent protest. His best-known address, the "I Have a Dream" speech, was given in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to a crowd of 250,000 who participated in the March on Washington. The 1964 Nobel Prize winner was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

While the reverend was born in Atlanta, he has ties to Massachusetts. He earned his doctorate from Boston University and met and married his wife, Coretta Scott, in Boston. The state's U.S. Sen. Edward Brooke sponsored the first bill to declare a holiday in his honor in the 1970s. MLK Day was first observed as a federal holiday in 1986 but a number of states, particularly in the South and West, did not add it to their list of state holidays until some years later.

While federal and state offices are closed, only about a third of businesses give their employees the time off.

Northern Berkshire Community Coalition will hold its annual Day of Service on Monday and present the annual Peacemaker Award in MCLA's Venable Hall gym. 

Berkshire Community College will start off its annual Day of Service event with a keynote speaker and breakfast at United Methodist Church. This event is co-sponsored by the Berkshire Branch of the NAACP.

This is the first time in several years that both events are being held live. Find out more about the events and how to participate here. 

Closed:
Federal, state and local offices; no mail delivery.
Banks
Stock markets


Public colleges and schools, most private schools
Public libraries
Some offices and businesses
BRTA is not running

Open:
Most retail outlets, groceries
Restaurants and bars
Convenience stores


Tags: holiday hours,   

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Guest Column: Quit Smoking for Valentine's Day

By Joyce BrewerGuest Column

If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, on this Valentine's Day consider taking the first step toward quitting smoking, vaping or using other tobacco. 1-800-QUIT-NOW has a special incentive for you — pregnant Massachusetts residents can receive up to $65 on a Mastercard gift card when they participate in its free coaching services.

In the program for pregnant people, you can receive up to nine coaching calls with the same quit coach as well as text messages, email support and materials. When you quit, your body becomes safer and healthier for your developing baby's brain and lungs, and what a gift that is. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit mass.gov/quitting for support.

The Massachusetts Quitline for tobacco/nicotine at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) is available for free coaching 24 hours each day, seven days a week (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) to support you through quitting. No lectures. No judgments. Just support. You can connect with the Quitline online, too, at mass.gov/quitting.

Pregnant or not, when you talk with a quit coach, they help you develop a quit plan that works for you, identify triggers, plan out your day without nicotine and manage withdrawals. 1-800-QUIT-NOW has a dedicated Spanish line (1-855-DÉJELO-YA) and interpreter services available for 200 other languages so language doesn't need to be a barrier to getting support.

Take the first step toward a nicotine-free life this Valentine's Day and call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for help quitting for good. No lectures. No judgments. Just support.

To help you on your quit journey during pregnancy and for more information, the Tobacco-Free Community Partnership Program at Berkshire Area Health Education Center is holding a communitywide baby shower (Berkshire Babypalooza) on April 15 at Greylock Works in North Adams from 11 to 2. This event is free to the public.

Local agencies and vendors will be on hand to answer questions about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, baby safety and family planning. Gift bags will be given to the first 250 families. Please join us for fun, games, and raffles. Win door prizes by visiting information booths and attending educational sessions. For more information about this or smoking cessation programs, contact Joyce Brewer at jbrewer@berkshireahec.org.

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