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The community sold chances to win this quilt and all proceeds went to the BCCH.

Berkshires Beat: Senior Living Community Collects Items For Neighbors in Need

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Helping hands: Brookdale Fillmore Pond, a senior living community, launched a partnership with the Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless (BCCH), to provide assistance to those in need in the Bennington, Vt., area. The Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless currently provides resources for more than 400 people a year, but continues to need assistance. The associates, residents and their families at Brookdale Fillmore Pond collected items based on the needs of the BCCH.

Needed items that were collected include gently used seasonal clothing, including coats and socks; children's books; and personal hygiene items, specifically small bottles of shampoo, lotion, mouthwash and toothpaste. In addition to collecting items, a resident's daughter, Bethany Morelli, donated a beautiful handmade quilt. The community sold chances to win this quilt and all proceeds went to the BCCH. For more information, about the donations contact Christopher Oldham, executive director of BCCH, at 802-753-7205 or

Cooking up goodness: Two groups of Williams College students who will work collaboratively to address food insecurity issues in northern Berkshire County have won a $5,000 grant from the Campus Kitchens Project. Williams Recovery of All Perishable Surplus (WRAPS) and Moo-Mami, a student cooking group, will continue a long-term project with Dining Services to gather, prepare and distribute free, healthy meals to area housing communities and organizations.

For several years, WRAPS and Dining Services have partnered on this project, and the funds from Campus Kitchen Project will enable the groups to purchase supplies needed for the packaging and transportation of meals. Last year, WRAPS delivered 1,409 meals. Currently, WRAPS uses existing Dining Services kitchen space during off-hours to repackage and prepare balanced and nourishing meals that are delivered to the Mohawk Forest Apartments and Louison House in North Adams. Under the Campus Kitchens Project, WRAPS and Moo-Mami leaders will combine forces and talents to organize weekly shift operations to recover food, prepare meals, deliver meals, and do programming and outreach.

The Campus Kitchens Project, the leading national nonprofit empowering students to fight hunger and food waste, works with high school and college students nationwide on efforts to combat food waste and hunger by collecting surplus food from community gardens, restaurants, and grocery stores and transforming it into healthy meals.


Go red: Employees from a dozen departments at Southwestern Vermont Health Care gathered on Friday, Feb. 3, for a photo to celebrate National Wear Red Day.

The American Heart Association's observance and its Go Red for Women campaign raise awareness of heart health issues, especially in women.

Input sought: The Pittsfield Department of Community Development is sponsoring two public input sessions in February as part of the preparation toward the 2018 Annual Action Plan.  The purpose of the public input sessions is to obtain public comments and suggestions on how the city’s federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds should be used to improve the quality of life in the community.  Information gathered from these public input sessions will be used during the preparation of the city's Annual Action Plan.

The first public input session will be held 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, at Morningside Community School, Community Room, located at 100 Burbank St.  The second public input session will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, at Conte Community School, Community Room, located at 200 West Union St. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that the city prepare this plan each year. Funded projects included in the plan are required to benefit under-resourced community members, eliminate slums and blight, or address an urgent need.

Those attending the public input sessions will be given the opportunity to speak on a variety of community issues such as: housing rehabilitation; public facilities; job opportunities; demolition of vacant buildings; sidewalk reconstruction; and park improvements.

NAMI course: The National Alliance on Mental Illness Berkshire County is offering Family-to-Family, a free course for family caregivers of individuals over 18 with serious mental illnesses. The course provides information and skills to help all family members cope and move toward recovery. The teachers are NAMI-trained family members who have lived the journey and relate personally to those seeking knowledge and comfort. Their training and the shared experience of class members create a supportive, uplifting learning experience. The course is entirely private.

Twelve class sessions explore and highlight the latest knowledge and experience about diagnosis & biology of psychiatric illness; medications; family problem solving, handling conflict, crisis & relapse; advocacy and more. The course is free and pre-registration is required. The course takes place over 12 consecutive Thursdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. beginning Feb. 9 at Berkshire Community College. Contact Marilyn at 413-743-5126 or with any questions or to pre-register.

River meeting: The Hoosic River Watershed Association held its 31st annual meeting at Community Hall in the First Congregational Church in Williamstown on Monday, Jan. 23.  Mark Merrell of Hoosick Falls and Nick Howe of Williamstown were appointed as new board directors and Andy Kawczak of North Adams, Thom Gentle of North Bennington, and Lauren Stevens and Tom Hyde of Williamstown were re-appointed to three-year terms.  Elected officers were Andy Kawczak as president, Thom Gentle as vice president, Harold Brotzman as treasurer and Wendy Hopkins as secretary.

Jose Constantine, Williams College geoscientist, spoke of his research into the historical Mississippi River, in hopes of applying the same techniques to learn about the Hoosic River before European settlement altered its course.  Executive Director Steve McMahon also presented a brief talk on the accomplishments of the Watershed Association in 2016 and projects planned for this year.

The Hoosic River Watershed Association is dedicated to the restoration, conservation and enjoyment of the Hoosic River and its watershed through education, research and advocacy.

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SVHC Welcomes New Legal Counsel

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) announced Jason Morrissey, attorney, as its legal counsel. 
In addition to acting as counsel to SVHC, Morrissey will continue operating his private law practice in Bennington. The late Tom Jacobs had served as SVHC's general counsel until his death in 2020.
"We are so grateful for Tom Jacobs' long and dedicated service to SVHC," said Thomas A. Dee, FACHE, SVHC's president and CEO. "We are fortunate to have someone of Jason's caliber to step in and fulfill this very important role within our organization."
Morrissey received his bachelor's in finance from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and his juris doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. He has owned his own law practice in Bennington since 2008. He started practicing law in Bennington in 2004 as an associate attorney at Cummings, Dailey & Cohen, LLP, where he later became a partner. Prior to moving to Bennington, Morrissey worked as a senior account manager and in other roles for steel companies in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
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