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Rep. Gailanne Cariddi presents Williamstown author Ali Benjamin with a state book award.

Berkshires Beat: Williamstown Author Feted at State House Ceremony

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Good job: The 16th annual Massachusetts Book Awards Ceremony took place at the State House on Tuesday, Dec. 6.  Among the honored authors was Ali Benjamin of Williamstown, who received the top award in the Young Adult/Middle Reader division for the New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist "The Thing About Jellyfish."

The award states: "In a remarkable debut novel, Ali Benjamin seamlessly infuses realistic fiction with well-researched factual information to produce a masterful and honest look at how one young person deals with the feelings of grief and guilt that follow a tragedy." Rep. Gailanne Cariddi presented the award to Benjamin, who spoke movingly about being close to the New England Aquarium, so central to her story, and being at the State House, due to her pride in the commonwealth's literary history as well as social and academic progressiveness.

The Massachusetts Book Awards are administered by Massachusetts Center for the Book in partnership with commonwealth libraries. The panel of judges is drawn from the library community across the state.




Superstars: The city of Pittsfield was well represented by two local youth who participated in the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick New England Patriots Team Championship Competition on Sunday, Dec. 4, at Gillette Stadium.

The Pittsfield boys included Evan Roccabruna, who competed in the 6-7 year old age group, and Jaden Keefner, who competed in the 12-13 year old age group.

Evan placed fourth in his group, and Jaden placed second in his category.


Visit the Clark: The Clark Art Institute has added special holiday hours to provide greater access for visitors.  Although the Institute is closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, the Clark will be open daily from  Monday, Dec. 26, through Saturday, Dec. 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitors can view the Clark's permanent collection or explore the newly reopened Manton Research Center and its galleries. Cafe Seven will be open for lunch and snacks, and the Clark's Museum Store and bookstore will offer special post-holiday sales, including a book sale with all titles offered at a 30 percent discount. Special family-friendly activities will be offered from December 27-30, including art-making activities tied to its special exhibitions.

Helping hand: The Frank and Rosemary Iovieno Caring for Children Foundation (Caring for Children) has partnered with HospiceCare in the Berkshires' Pediatric Palliative Care program, ensuring that 37 deserving children with life-limiting medical conditions will receive gifts and financial support from sponsors near and far. Children in the HospiceCare in the Berkshires-run program range in age from nine months to 17 years afflicted with diagnoses that include cancer, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injury with cerebral palsy and congenital myotonic dystrophy.

Each child is sponsored by an individual or, in some cases, employees of companies elect to sponsor a number of children as a group. As part of the sponsorship, clothing and special requests are granted for all of the children in the household. Gift cards to national chain stores and movie theaters often are included.

Motor on up: For six years now, the annual Motorama event has drawn thousands of people and hundreds of participants to downtown North Adams to enjoy a day of nice summer weather and a celebration of all things motorized. The Motorama Committee is also committed to giving back to the community by donating the proceeds of each year to local charities.

Local nonprofits are now encouraged to apply for proceeds from this year's Motorama event; applications can be found online. Application can be downloaded online. All applications must be completed in full and received by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16.


Get in shape: The Dalton Community Recreation Association is accepting registration for the winter session of Fitness Boot Camp, which runs from Jan. 5-April 10.

The Fitness Boot Camp at the CRA is the longest running fitness boot camp in the Berkshires. Since its first session, hundreds of folks from around the area enlisted and participated. In its 15th year, instructors Rob Giuliani and Mike Whitehouse hold classes on Monday and Thursday mornings from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. and on Friday mornings from 5:45 to 6:15 a.m. Monday and Thursday classes emphasize strength and overall conditioning.

Activities are designed to build core strength and muscular and cardio endurance. Friday classes are 30 minutes of cardio. Men and women are welcome to join. Participants of all ages (16 and up) and capabilities are encouraged to join. Member cost is $175. Cost for non-members is $220. Register at the Dalton CRA, 400 Main St.

Library interns: The Library of Congress is seeking applicants for its 2017 Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program, a 10-week paid fellowship for undergraduate and graduate students.

The 2017 class of Junior Fellows will work full-time with library specialists and curators from May 30 through Aug. 4. Among other tasks, Junior Fellows inventory, describe, and explore collection holdings, and assist with digital-preservation outreach activities throughout the Library. The program aims to increase access to collections and awareness of the Library’s digital-preservation programs by making them better-known and available to Members of Congress, scholars, researchers, students, teachers and the general public. A stipend is provided to participants.

The 2017 Junior Fellows will be exposed to a broad spectrum of library work, including but not limited to: collection processing, digital preservation, educational outreach, access, standards-setting, copyright and information management.  Applications to the 2017 Junior Fellows Program will be accepted online only, keyword: Junior Fellows, from Monday, Dec. 12, until Friday, Jan. 27.

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Williams Men and Women Win NCAA Cross Country Regional

BRUNSWICK, Maine -- The Williams College men's and women's cross country teams each won team titles at the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships on Saturday.
Freshman Eva Borton led the the Williams women, placing eighth in 21 minutes, 39 seconds -- 20 seconds behind individual champion Izzi Gengaro of MIT.
The Williams women finished with 64 points, edging runner-up MIT by 20 points.
In the men's race, Williams placed five finishers in the top eight to run away with the team title. The Ephs finished with 24 points, well ahead of runner-up Colby (93 poitns).
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