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Zach Morris's photo 'Tropical Pittsfield' won first prize in the Downtown Pittsfield Inc. photo contest.

Berkshires Beat: Winners of the Pittsfield Photo Challenge Announced

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The winners are ...

This past fall, Downtown Pittsfield Inc. held a photo challenge to find the photo that best captures why downtown Pittsfield is the "Heart of the Berkshires." Entrants were encouraged to capture photos that showcased the beauty and personality of downtown Pittsfield, keeping in mind the theme "Heart of the Berkshires."

The first-place winner, as determined by a panel of local judges, is Zach Morris of Pittsfield. His photo, titled "Tropical Pittsfield," has won him a prize package donated by local downtown businesses, and his photo will be featured in Pittsfield's 2019 Downtown Guide and a Downtown Pittsfield Inc. social marketing campaign.

The second-place winner, Christy Butler of Cheshire, will also take home a prize package donated by local downtown businesses. His winning photo was of the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company performing at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Zone during the July 2018 Third Thursday. Alan W. Metzger’s photo of Park Square in the spring takes third place. Honorable mentions are photos by Shaun Muldowney and Maria Brodeur.

All 39 photos that were entered into the contest will be exhibited at Downtown Pittsfield Inc., 33 Dunham Mall, in May 2019 at a reception during the May 3rd First Fridays Artswalk from 5 to 8 pm. The May 3rd Artswalk will be a part of the Massachusetts-wide ArtWeek.


Lunch will go on

The Berkshire Food Project received a donation of $5,000 from National Grid to cover the expenses of continuing to provide meals during an upcoming kitchen renovation. From Jan. 14-18, the Berkshire Food Project kitchen will be closed for a week while work is done to replace the hood and ventilation system and make other improvements, but food by local businesses from North Adams, Adams and Williamstown will continue to be served.

The kitchen project is being funded by a local anonymous donor, with supplemental expenses being covered by Berkshire Food Project board members, First Congregational Church members, the recent North Adams Motorama and others in the community.


Cheerleader fundraisers

The Wahconah Regional High School cheerleaders are holding several fundraisers to help them travel to Florida to compete at the National High School Cheerleading Championship in February.

On Saturday, Jan. 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., supporters can bring their returnable cans and bottles to Kelly's Package Store on Main Street in Dalton Transfer Station on Bridle Road. Cans and bottles can be dropped off at Kelly's before Jan. 12, as well, and residents can arrange a pickup by sending an email or calling Beckie at 413-446-8050.

On Saturday, Jan. 19, the cheerleaders will host their second annual Crock Pot Cook Off from 4 to 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church at 514 Main St. in Dalton. The event will feature a chance for guests to sample different chilis, stews, soups and chowders and then vote on their favorite. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for kids under 12.

Then, on Saturday, Jan. 26, a spaghetti dinner will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at St. Agnes Academy on Carson Avenue in Dalton. Tickets are $10, with kids under 5 free.


Human services comment period

The city of Pittsfield, through its Human Services Advisory Council, is requesting public comment on the human service needs in Pittsfield. The Human Service Advisory Council is an 11-member advisory committee that provides funding recommendations to the mayor on how the city should allocate its human services funding. One of the considerations that the council uses to make those recommendations is to consider the input of Pittsfield residents and others.

Public comments will be accepted now through Jan. 31. Comments may be submitted several ways: email; phone at 413-499-9358; teletype at 413-499-9340; or by mail to Justine Dodds, Pittsfield Department of Community Development, 70 Allen St., Pittsfield, MA 01201.


Drama class

Sally Sugarman, a long-time professor at Bennington College, is joining with the Oldcastle Theatre Company to present a class titled "The American Family Drama" for eight weekly sessions from Tuesday,Jan. 8, through Feb. 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Oldcastle Theatre, 331 Main St.,  Bennington, Vt. Sugarman taught a similar class with other faculty members of Bennington College. The idea of the new class came about during a discussion with Oldcastle's Producing Artistic Director, Eric Peterson. Sugarman and Peterson were talking about the breath and diversity of great American plays centered on the family. Several of the plays discussed during that conversation are included in the upcoming course.

The drama of the American family has played out on the stages of American theaters for years. Every major American playwright has written at least one play about the American family. The changes in the family are reflected in these dramas. The times in which a play is written as well as when it is performed offer insights into what changes and what stays the same. Reading and discussing plays with others not only increases one's enjoyment of particular plays, but deepens the play going experience by offering fresh perspectives on how to view all family dramas, on stage and off.  The cost of the class is $140 for the eight sessions; to sign up call Oldcastle Theatre Company at 802-447-0564.


'Wheels for Woodcock'

Berkshire Family & Individual Resources has kicked off its annual campaign. This year's campaign, titled "Wheels for Woodcock," will focus on utilizing all donations received for the purchase of a new van for their residence on Woodcock Road in Williamstown. Earlier this year, BFAIR invested the previous campaign's donations in the Woodcock Road property and it has become the home for four men living with cognitive disabilities.

While many expenses related to supporting those in BFAIR’s residential program are paid for through state and federal contracts and insurance, the expenses related to purchasing a van is not.

Supporting the Wheels for Woodcock 2018 Annual Campaign can be done via credit card or check donation; visit the website for easy online donation format. Alternatively, checks payable to BFAIR may be mailed or hand-delivered to their main administrative office at 771 South Church Street, North Adams, MA 01247. All donations made to BFAIR are tax-deductible.


Adult Basic Education

The Northern Berkshire Adult Basic Education Program at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts offers free classes, including preparation for the new GED exam, English for Speakers of Other Languages, and basic skills, beginning Jan. 7 and 14. New Programs include Career Readiness, Bridge to College, academic and readiness skills needed to transition to college available, and Employability Skills-PCA Fundamentals. For more information or to enroll, call Northern Berkshire ABE Program at 413-662-5310 or 413-662-5330 or visit the website.


Steps to Success

A new free program for eligible North Adams residents enrolled in the NBABE Program to support High School Equivalency completion including a voucher to cover testing fees, one to one career coaching and support for next steps to college, training, and employment. This program is supported by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts DHCD with funds made available by the city of North Adams.

For more information or to enroll call Northern Berkshire ABE Program at 413-662-5310 or 413-662-5330 or visit our website and complete the interest form.


Grants available

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has announced the first round of deadlines for competitive grants in 2019. Regional nonprofits, students, individuals and schools are invited to apply for funding during the winter grants cycle by applying online.

For nonprofits, Harvard Business School’s Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations (PMNO) program is designed for senior nonprofit leaders who are committed to implementing effective performance measurement and management in their organizations. The program is valued at $4,750 and runs May 28-31 on the Harvard Business School campus in Boston, Mass. Applications are due Feb. 1. The Crane Family Fund supports Berkshire County environmental organizations that propose innovative projects. Grants range from $1,000 to $2,000. Applications are due Feb. 15. The Green Pastures Fund supports nonprofit organizations or public entities that encourage or preserve small, community-based agricultural ventures. Grants range from $1,000 to $3,000. Applications are due March 1.

Also for nonprofits, Harvard Business School's Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management (SPNM) program is an intensive one-week course for nonprofit CEOs, presidents or executive directors who are responsible for shaping the direction, mission policies and major programs of their organizations. The program is valued at $6,500 and runs July 14-20 on the Harvard Business School campus in Boston, Mass. Applications are due March 1. The James and Robert Hardman Fund for North Adams provides grants for nonprofit groups, community organizations or public agencies that support the residents of North Adams and the neighboring communities of Florida and Clarksburg, Mass., and Stamford, Vt. Grants range from $500 to $3,000. Applications are due March 1. The Fund for Williamstown supports projects and services that will improve the quality of life for Williamstown residents. Grants range from $500 to $2,500. Letters of intent describing projects and their purpose are due March 15. Full grant applications are due April 15.

For students, Berkshire Taconic administers more than 35 individual scholarship funds for students in Berkshire County who plan to attend an accredited college, university, trade school or graduate program. Scholarships generally range from $1,000 to $10,000 and support a variety of academic interests, including engineering, history, nursing and more. Some offer annual grants to students throughout the course of their undergraduate careers. Applications are due March 15, unless otherwise noted. To see a full list of Berkshire County scholarships, visit the website.

For students and individuals, the Alice and Richard Henriquez Memorial Fund and Youth World Awareness Program provides grants to students ages 14 to 22 for international travel and service. Grants range from $500 to $1,500 for individual applicants; larger grants may be considered for groups. Applications are due Feb. 1. The Moonlight Mile Scholarship Fund supports women who are seeking matching funds to support travel or equipment needs for study or athletic competition, professional training, or support for alternative healing. Applicants should be at least 18 years old and live in Massachusetts or New York. Grants range from $500 to $1,200. Applications are due March 15.  And the Simple Gifts Fund awards grants to young people ages 13 to 19 for participation in cultural or creative summer programs. Grants range from $200 to $800. Applications are due March 15.

For schools, education enrichment funds support projects that will enhance the educational experience of students and teachers in Berkshire County school districts: The Lee Fund for Educational Enrichment for Lee Public Schools, due Jan. 6; The Lenox Education Enrichment Foundation for Lenox Public Schools, due Jan. 15; The Lanesborough Initiative for Excellence for the Lanesborough School District, due Jan. 20; The Eagle Fund and Janet's Fund for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, due March 1; and the Richmond Educational Enrichment Fund for Richmond Consolidated School, due March 1

Also, the James C. Kapteyn Endowment Fund honors excellence in teaching with a $10,000 prize for study or travel. The successful candidate’s school will also receive a $2,000 grant. Nominations from school principals or chief administrators are due Feb. 9. Nominees must complete their applications by March 30. Contact Berkshire Taconic by email to nominate an educator.

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Pittsfield Nationals Hold Off Holden, Secure Sectional Title

By Stephen Sports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Monday’s sectional final in the Little League 8- to 10-year-old tournament had a little of everything: big offensive rallies, sterling defense, gutsy pitching and drama.
A little more drama than anyone expected going to the bottom of the sixth and a whole lot more drama than the hometown fans wanted to see.
But, in the end, the Pittsfield Little League National Division All-Stars held on for a 10-9 win and a berth in the state tournament.
The Nats, playing as designated visitors on their Myron Gray Field, took a 10-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but Holden rallied to draw within one and had runners at second and third when Brenden Socie struck out the second man he faced to end the game.
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