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In the last six years, 100 Cats for Christmas has exceeded its goal of spaying and neutering 100 cats.

Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Humane Society Offering '100 Cats for Christmas' Program

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100 Cats for Christmas

For the sixth year, Berkshire Humane Society has received a grant from the Massachusetts Animal Coalition’s license plate program, which will support BHS’s 100 Cats for Christmas initiative during the month of December. 100 Cats for Christmas is the shelter’s largest and most successful low-cost spay/neuter effort for kittens and cats in the Berkshires and surrounding area. Without the support of MAC’s license plate program, this invaluable service would not be possible.

In the last six years, 100 Cats for Christmas has exceeded its goal of spaying and neutering 100 cats. To participate, qualifying residents of Berkshire County must visit one of three locations in person to complete a registration form and pay a non-refundable $25 fee, which covers the surgery and a rabies vaccination. Visit the main shelter at 214 Barker Road, Purradise in Great Barrington, or Bark ‘n’ Cat in North Adams. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. Call 413-447-7878, ext. 124, for qualification requirements and additional information.

Appointments will be scheduled during the month of December. All cats and kittens will be dropped off at predesignated locations to be announced. BHS staff and volunteers will transport the felines to participating veterinarians, and will return them for owner pick-up in the afternoon. All cats must be in secure carriers with proper identification including the owner’s and cat’s name. This year’s participating veterinarians include: Allen Heights Veterinary Hospital, Greylock Animal Hospital, North County Veterinary Hospital, Bilmar Veterinary Services, Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital, South Street Veterinary Services, and Valley Veterinary Services.


NAMI gift bags

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Berkshire County invites members of the community to participate in the annual holiday collection of gift bags to patients receiving mental health services at Berkshire Medical Center. NAMI Berkshire County is collecting items for 40 gift bags. 

Examples of items to be donated include crossword puzzles, Sodoku, word search games, warm hats, gloves, socks, sweet treats (such as chocolate), playing cards and healthy, individually-wrapped snacks. Donated items can be dropped off at the NAMI Berkshire County office, which is located at 333 East St., Room 417 in Pittsfield, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The deadline to donate or drop off items is Dec. 11.

Monetary donations are graciously accepted as well, and checks should be made payable to NAMI Berkshire County. For information, call 413-443-1666 or send an email.


Peacemaker nominations

The MLK Jr. Day of Service Committee is seeking nominations for the 2019 Peacemaker Award. The Peacemaker Award is given annually to an individual or group in Northern Berkshire. The award, which originated as part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, is made to persons who have contributed substantially to peace in our region. In general, the Peacemaker Award recognizes persons who have a history of working with people and/or neighborhoods and communities to provide for greater tolerance, understanding, and caring. 

While the award may be made to a person or group well known in the region, those making nominations are particularly urged to consider those who have worked hard and have made contributions without much recognition. Past Peacemakers include Don Quinn Kelley, Mark Rondeau, Mark Lincourt, Pastor Dave Anderson, Al & Cindi McLain, PopCares and Dick Alcombright.

The MLK Jr. Day of Service Committee is also seeking new members interested in helping to plan the January 2019 event. To join the committee, call Liz Boland at 413-663-7588, ext. 19. To nominate a Peacemaker, pick up a form at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition office at 61 Main Street, Suite 218, North Adams, or nominate online. Nominations must be received by Dec. 3.


Holiday Wish Program

Hillcrest Educational Centers' 2018 Holiday Wish Program is now underway. The Holiday Wish Program provides gifts for the 150 special-needs children in their care, many of whom are unable to spend the holidays with their families.

There are two ways to participate. Individuals, community groups or businesses can request the desired number of wish cards with instructions on shopping for the children by contacting Tim Gallagher by email or 413-499-7924, ext. 133. Or, to mail a donation to Tim Gallagher, Hillcrest Educational Centers, 788 South Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201. As a guide, $150 sponsors one child’s wish list, $25 will buy a gift, $10 will fill a child’s stocking.


LEEF time

The Lenox Education Enrichment Foundation is currently accepting grant applications from teachers, parents, students, nonprofits and Berkshires resident with projects that inspire creative thinking, build confidence and promote teamwork in Lenox Public School students. High school students may apply independently; middle and elementary school students may apply with an adult co-applicant. 

Launched in 2003, LEEF is an endowed fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. Since then, the initiative has awarded nearly $75,000 in grants for projects, funding an average of six to seven new programs per year. These opportunities include class field trips, visiting speakers, artists-in-residence, extracurricular activities and more.

The application deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 15. To learn more and apply for a grant, visit the website. LEEF’s mission is to enrich the education of students in the Lenox Public Schools by underwriting projects that support the curriculum, encourage creativity and innovation, and enhance the school and community partnership.

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Environment Secretary Visits Pittsfield

Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of energy and environmental affairs, visits the site of culvert project in Pittsfield being funded through the state's climate readiness program.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides was in Pittsfield on Friday to review a state-funded culvert site and meet with local officials to discuss the state's climate readiness program. 
She joined Mayor Linda Tyer at the Churchill Street culvert, a site which recently received grant funding through the state's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The city was awarded an $814,524 state grant in June for the Churchill Brook and West Street Culvert Replacement Project.
Through the MVP program, which begun in 2017, municipalities identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, develop adaptation actions, and prioritize next steps. The initiative which initially started as a $500,000 capital grant program has now increased to $12 million. Pittsfield is among the 71 percent of communities across the commonwealth now enrolled in the MVP program.
"The governor and the lieutenant governor have made resilient infrastructure a priority all across the state and I think it's really important to know that we have a really vested interest in Western Massachusetts communities as well as all across the state, not forgetting the Berkshires or Pioneer Valley," said Theoharides in a statement. "Our MVP program is really focused on these types of partnership investments and looking to design infrastructure for the challenges we're seeing today and moving forward as climate change increases."
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