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Highlighting its nationally recognized achievements in patient safety and quality, Fairview Hospital was named a top rural hospital, one of 18 rural hospitals recognized nationwide.

Berkshires Beat: Fairview Earns National Recognition as a Top Rural Hospital

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Head of the class

Highlighting its nationally recognized achievements in patient safety and quality, Fairview Hospital was named a top rural hospital, one of 18 rural hospitals recognized nationwide, by The Leapfrog Group. This is Fairview's fifth year of being named a top rural hospital in America.  

The Leapfrog Top Hospital award is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive honors American hospitals can receive. The top hospital designation is awarded by The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital watchdog organization.  

Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates, maternity care, and the hospital's capacity to prevent medication errors. The rigorous standards are defined in each year's Top Hospital Methodology. To qualify for the top hospitals distinction, hospitals must submit a Leapfrog Hospital Survey. The selection of top hospitals 2017 is based on surveys from nearly 1,900 hospitals. The full list of institutions honored as 2017 top hospitals can be seen at online.


Frozen advice

With record low temperatures expected to continue in the days ahead, Pittsfield residents should take precautions to prevent frozen pipes, the city's Water Superintendent Brian Stack is advising.

Stack said residents should let cold water (only) trickle through available faucets within the residence. While this may be of some concern for residents who have metered water, the damage that can result from frozen pipes incurs a greater cost and inconvenience. For more information, call the city's Department of Public Services at 413-499-9330.


Bishop visit

The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher will preach and preside at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 67 East Street, Pittsfield, on Sunday, Jan. 7, at 10 a.m. Bishop Fisher visits all of the 50-plus congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts once every two years.

The bishop will be greeted by the Rev. Cricket Cooper, rector of St. Stephen’s. Pastor Tim Weisman and the people of Zion Lutheran Church will join this celebration. St. Stephen's and Zion Lutheran have been sharing worship for nearly a year and are building what Cooper calls "a strong friendship." Zion Lutheran was temporarily displaced due to renovations and recently moved back in to their sanctuary. The experience of life shared was transformative for both communities.

An Epiphany Pageant will take place marking the journey of the three magi to the manger in Bethlehem. Following the liturgy, the bishop will visit with members at the coffee hour.


Learn the legislature

State Sen. Adam G. Hinds is seeking local nominees to participate in the 80th Citizens' Legislative Seminar. The CLS will be held Tuesday, March 27, and Wednesday, March 28, at the State House in Boston.

The CLS is a semi-annual educational seminar sponsored by the Massachusetts Senate, geared toward adults of all ages who are interested in learning more about state government and the legislative process. Established in 1976 through a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, the two-day seminar features presentations by senators and staff on aspects of the day-to-day experience of legislators in the commonwealth. Topics will include the history and process of the legislature, the parliamentary role of the clerk of the senate and the future of the legislature. Participants will learn about the legislative process and gain an understanding of how bills are introduced, debated and passed.

Each Senator is able to nominate and sponsor one constituent and an alternate to attend the CLS. Interested residents who live in Hinds’ Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District are asked to email their resume to his chief of staff, Bethann Steiner, by noon on Friday, Jan. 5. In order to be nominated you must be able to attend both days of the seminar. Those attending are responsible for arranging their own travel and lodging plans. 


Enrollment open

Enrollment is beginning at the Northern Berkshire Adult Basic Education Program for mid-January start of classes. GED and pre-college skills, English for speakers of other languages and basic skills classes are offered.

New programs include career pathways, career readiness, bridge to college, academic and readiness skills needed to transition to college, and distance ;earning; online GED preparation is available for enrolled students.  A new program offers an introduction to the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) entry level health care position. All classes, books and materials are free and are held in North Adams, Adams and Williamstown. For more information or to enroll call 413-662-5330 or e-mail.


It's electric

The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Department of Computer Science is offering a new concentration in electrical engineering. According to Dr. Mike Dalton, chair of MCLA's Computer Science Department, the college is dedicated to supporting the needs of the commonwealth and the country, including programs in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. Students in the electrical engineering program will help to fill the STEM pipeline in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, and beyond.

As the next generation of laptops, iPads, network devices, televisions – and much more – are designed, "the job opportunities are limitless," Dalton said. The new program will include coverage of Electrical Circuit Design, Advanced Circuit Design, Electronic Fabrication, Control Systems, Communications, and Computer Organization. Electrical engineers design the hardware that turns science fiction into reality.  In addition, they create – literally – every piece of technology that we depend upon; from smart phones to super computers, from toaster ovens to DVD players, from robots to space shuttles.
For more information about MCLA’s computer science programs, go online.


Feeling friendly

Age Friendly Berkshires has officially launched its new website. The site, meant as the hub for "all things age-friendly" in Berkshire County, was developed by the Age Friendly Berkshires partners to support the region's five-year Action Plan, whose aim is to "make the Berkshires a great place to grow up and a great place to grow old." The website was funded by a challenge grant from AARP-Massachusetts as part of their Livable Communities program.

Formed in late 2014, the Age Friendly Berkshires partnership is a collaboration by local nonprofit organizations, businesses, municipal governments, political leaders and citizen-volunteers, who have developed an action plan that aims to help all Berkshire municipalities become more "livable" and for residents to remain healthy, connected and engaged across their lifetimes at home or in their home towns. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission acts as the backbone organization for the collaborative, including staffing for activities, technical assistance and outreach. AFB is largely funded by a grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation.

The AFB Website and Action Plan is the culmination of a two-year planning process, informed by a series of public surveys, expert interviews and study groups held across the region during 2015 and 2016.  Altogether, more than 2,500 Berkshire county residents described their experience with and barriers to, aging comfortably in their current homes or communities in eight areas of livability: Housing, Community & Health Services, Transportation, Communication, Respect & Social Inclusion, Outdoor Spaces & Buildings, Civic Engagement & Employment and Social Participation.

The AFB Action Plan provides detailed Action Steps for improving current services, programs and options for each area of livability. In some cases, where no program currently exists to address a need or problem, new and innovative solutions will be researched and adapted for use locally.


Learn Spanish

Enrollment is open for new winter beginner and intermediate level Spanish classes. A meaningful methodology will help students develop useful language skills and support them in any travel plans, workplace, or day-to day lives. Email or call 413-597-8915 for information on class times and fees.


Stand and be counted

The Williamstown 2018 Annual Street Listing (annual census) will be mailed to all Williamstown residents this week. The census is requirement of the Massachusetts General Law and it is important that all residents return them to the Town Clerk's office promptly.  Failure to respond to the census will result in removal from the active voting list and may result in removal from the voter registration rolls.

Residents should not use the census form for the purpose of voter registration. Any resident who is not registered to vote may register by going to the town clerk's office or by mailing a voter registration form to the town clerk's office.

Parents of college students or member of the military who are registered voters in Williamstown should be aware that by deleting those children from their census form will remove them from the active voters list.  Also, households that have dependent children in them, but that are not listed on your census form should add their children to the form and complete the information that pertains to each child.  Information regarding the children is not a public record and is used only by the schools for enrollment purposes

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Freeman Center's 'Rise For Safety and Justice' Walks Aim to Represent All

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Elizabeth Freeman Center's annual fundraiser to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence has undergone a couple of changes to be more inclusive and fit the needs of the pandemic.

The former "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event is now "Rise Together For Safety and Justice," a series of smaller fundraising walks throughout Berkshire County to stand against gender-based violence.

The event's original symbol was a red shoe and featured men walking a mile in perceivably feminine footwear down North Street at the year's last Third Thursday event  In 2019, the event drew hundreds of supporters and raised at least $75,000 in its ninth year.

Some in the LGBTQ-plus community saw this theme as being harmful and collaborated with the center to create an event that is representative of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic preventing large gatherings, the event was transformed into a series of six smaller walks across the county between Sept. 19 and Sept. 29.

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