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Pamela Sandler, founder of Pamela Sandler Architect in Stockbridge, completed a Goldman Sachs program.

Biz Briefs: Architect to Focus on Houses for Adults With Autism

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Growing to help: Pamela Sandler, founder of Pamela Sandler Architect in Stockbridge, Mass., completed the 11-week, 100-plus-hour Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, a national program created to help entrepreneurs develop jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services.

Sandler fine-tuned the firm's business growth plan which, along with her residential and commercial full-service architecture, extends the firm's reach by teaming with groups that develop appropriate housing for Autism Spectrum Disorder and special needs adults in the Northeast. Sandler said that within seven years, 500,000 ASD adults will require special needs housing.

Sandler, a mother of two ASD adults, understands professionally as well as personally the residential requirements for special needs adults. When designing full-time living spaces and communities there are considerations most firms would not naturally consider, such as creating visually calm living areas, sound proof rooms, spacious hallways as well as common areas that promote physical activity, she said. The design should include appropriate ventilation and use all-green, non-toxic products.


Green and lush path: Native American leader Winona LaDuke will speak in Great Barrington on Saturday, Nov. 4, for the 37th annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures. Tickets are on sale now through the Mahaiwe's box office: $40 tickets include the keynote address and panel discussion (1-5 p.m.); $150 tickets include the keynote and panel, plus an evening reception at Crissey Farm in Great Barrington with a dinner menu featuring indigenous ingredients. Tickets and event information are available online.
LaDuke has been a leading advocate and organizer for Native American groups working to recover their ancestral lands, natural resources, and cultures since the mid-1980s. She will deliver the keynote address at the 37th annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures, which will take place at the historic Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. Hosted by the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, the annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures is a tradition that began in 1981 with lectures by Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson. Last year's Lectures brought Berry and Jackson back to the Berkshires, where they spoke to a sold-out audience at the Mahaiwe.
The title of this year's E. F. Schumacher Lectures is inspired by the Anishinaabe people's Prophecy of the Seventh Fire, according to which there will come a time when we must choose between two paths, one green and lush, the other well worn but scorched. In a message to the Water Protectors during last year’s Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline Winona LaDuke invoked this prophecy and wrote, "We are not just fighting against something, but clearly and decidedly walking with open eyes and hearts down the path that is green."
LaDuke's address will be followed by a panel discussion led by Nwamaka Agbo, a member of the Schumacher Center's board of directors and the Innovation Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center in Oakland, Calif. Agbo will be joined by panelists Karissa Lewis and Gopal Dayaneni, both of whom are working to reclaim ownership of community resources and build stronger local economies and ecologies in the Bay Area of California.

Supporting adventure: Berkshire South Regional Community Center has been awarded $1,500 from Lee Bank and $1,500 from October Mountain Financial Advisors, in support of field trips for the Action Adventures Day Camp (AADC) summer program. An increase from last year's generous gift of $2,000 from Lee Bank, the combined support provides funding to help ensure that all children, regardless of ability to pay, benefit from the Center’s summer excursions.

This year's trips include the Berkshire Museum, Mass MoCa, Barrington Stage Company, Bidwell House Museum, Action Wildlife Foundation and swimming at Lake Mansfield. These trips coincide and complete the weekly camp themes.

Berkshire South's Action Adventures Day Camp, a licensed program by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health ensures that all students experience a fun-filled camp experience, integrating science, technology, engineering, arts and math along with crafts, projects, games, group activities, daily swimming, sports and outdoor experiences. Financial assistance is available and the program accepts students receiving state subsidy for childcare.


Making Connections: The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is launching a new magazine for the nonprofit sector. Called "Connections," the publication will have an initial circulation of 1,000 copies, available for purchase in local bookstores, select retail outlets and online via the NPC web site, as well as through subscriptions.

Launching in July, Connections will feature nonprofit profiles, feature articles on popular topics, regular columns from a variety of influencers such as local legislators and nonprofit leaders, photographs of nonprofit missions in action, and practical information.  The magazine will be supported largely by advertising. 

In the cards: The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank now is offering CardValet, a new card management and fraud mitigation tool for debit cardholders. Cardholders simply download the free app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, and then they can actively manage their debit cards.

Cardholders can set parameters for when, where and how their debit card is used, including turning "off" their debit card from their smartphone and then turning it back "on" when they want to use it. The on/off feature is only one of the safeguards available with CardValet. Using the GPS system in the smart phone, geographic use restrictions can be established. Other controls can restrict usage by merchant and spending limit. Real time alerts create another layer of fraud protection with notice that a transaction was attempted, declined, or both.

CardValet puts the control of debit cards right into the cardholders' hands. Link more than one account to keep track of all debit cards in one easy-to-use application.


Love is in the air: Local author Lucinda Race has released her newest book, "Love in the Looking Glass" from The Loudon Series. "Love in the Looking Glass" is a romantic suspense novel, featuring the love story of Ellie McKenna and Padraic Stone.

"Love in the Looking Glass" follows Ellie McKenna through the launch of her art gallery, The Looking Glass. Soon after opening night, Ellie is attacked and the most famous painting in her gallery is destroyed. Is someone trying to shatter Ellie's dream just as she begins to live it? Can the mysterious Padraic Stone be trusted to solve the crime and protect Ellie from further harm or is he somehow involved?

"Love in the Looking Glass" will be available in paperback or digital format at major online retailers or signed copies can be purchased at select romance book fairs, local craft fairs, The Bookloft in Great Barrington, Mass., and from the author's website.

Safe and secure: Sharon Blanchette, First Vice President BSA/AML Officer at Berkshire Bank, moderated the Cybersecurity Panel at the Association of Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialists Connecticut Chapter third annual conference on May 19. This year's ACAMS conference focused on the theme "Anti Money Laundering in a Changing World." Blanchette attended this event, moderating the Cybersecurity Panel for the audience and serving as a panelist on the Bank Secrecy Act Audit Panel.
Cybersecurity is an important and ever-growing topic of discussion in the financial industry, particularly as banks continuously adhere to the Bank Secrecy Act, Blanchette said. She can be reached at her office at 31 Court Street, Westfield, by phone at 413-564-6348 or by email at


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New Trustees Appointed at Norman Rockwell Museum

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Jill Hai and Louis Henry Mitchell have joined the Norman Rockwell Museum board of trustees.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome these two outstanding members as trustees of Norman Rockwell Museum," said board Chairman Robert T. Horvath. "Their diverse talents and networks will enhance the museum's mission as the leading museum of illustration art and help to reach new audiences, honoring the legacy of Norman Rockwell and American illustration art."

In addition to Horvath, officers elected for one-year terms to the museum's board of trustees include returning President Alice Carter, First Vice President Jamie Williamson, Treasurer John V. Frank and newly appointed Second Vice President, Peter C. Williams, and John Hyson, who succeeds Williams as clerk.
Brian Alberg, Robert Babcock, Peter Blum, Alexander Brown, Terry Burman, Alice A. Carter, Anthony M. Consigli, Walter and Mary Jo Engels, John V. Frank, William W. Hargreaves, and Peter C. Williams were re-elected to three-year terms.

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