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As part of the World Education Alliance program, five Mt. Everett students traveled to India in the fall, joining a group of 29 students from around the world.

Berkshires Beat: Mt. Everett Students Join Dance Exchange Program in India

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International experience

As part of the World Education Alliance program, five Mt. Everett students traveled to India in the fall, joining a group of 29 students from around the world. At the start of this academic year, the Keswick Public School in Madurai hosted Dance Mela, a workshop and dance performance that brought together international youth to learn Indian dance and experience Indian culture.  

Produced by Chris Graham, station manager of CTSB, a short video detailing the performance and workshop is now available online on the Southern Berkshire Regional School District (SBRSD) website or on Vimeo. A documentary sharing the full story of the Mt. Everett student experience in India is in progress and will be released later in 2019.

In late September, participants were immersed in local Indian culture, spending a week with students from Confucius Hal Secondary School in Hong Kong, Keswick Public School, two other local Madurai district schools and German students who had been volunteering at the Madurai YMCA. In addition to the participants learning classical and Bollywood-style dance, Keswick students taught traditional crafts, language, games and other cultural traditions unique to India. Students bonded immediately, as they spent most of each day in workshops.

"As a teacher, it was satisfying to watch the students' interactions as they helped each other learn the complicated steps. They all bonded over their love of food of course, and in the architectural and natural wonders of India," said Stephanie Graham, director of the Global Education Program and instructor of Fine Arts at Mt. Everett. "We visited four Indian states, seeing a spectrum of landscape and local culture. Our host partner school Principals Maureen and Suresh Jayaraj created a multi-day program that promoted collaboration and bonding experiences with full days of fun and learning."

Each student group brought with them a performance representing the culture of their home country. Mt. Everett students performed a dance inspired by the movie "The Greatest Showman," which they rehearsed for several weeks at the start of the school year. Their story was about perseverance, strength and staying true to oneself in the face of exploitation and humiliation.


Museum delay

The Berkshire Museum will be open to visitors on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 15 and 16, with a planned closing cancelled because the federal government shutdown has delayed the arrival of the exhibit "Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion."

The two-day closing had been needed to install the exhibit, traveling to the Berkshire Museum from the George H.W. Bush Library in College Station, Texas. The Bush Library, however, is closed because of the federal government shutdown and exhibit coordinators have been unable to get into the facility to remove the exhibit and bring it to Massachusetts. The museum is in contact with representatives of the Library Board and is working to resolve the situation.

The exhibit was scheduled to be on view at the Berkshire Museum from Jan. 26 through May 5. It includes 40, full-size, true-to-design working models of Leonardo da Vinci's Renaissance inventions and the 500-year-old drawings used to construct them. Each mechanism was meticulously built by a group of scientists and skilled artisans in collaboration with the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence, Italy, and the artist's instructions were carried out using the tools, techniques and materials that were available during his era.


MLK Day of Service

The Martin Luther King Day Committee welcomes everyone to join them on Monday, Jan. 21, as the Northern Berkshire community celebrates the life, principles, and ideals of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by participating in a "Day of Service."
The celebration begins at 8:30 .a.m at MCLA's Venable Gym (located at the MCLA Quad) with coffee and pastries. Participants will choose from more than 10 sites to provide service to the community, including: Louison House, YMCA, weatherization for homes, food collection sites, and projects onsite at the MCLA Venable Gym. There will be projects suitable for all ages and abilities.

Participants will return to the MCLA Venable Gym at 12:30 p.m. to share a free luncheon and community celebration, enjoy local entertainment and hear uplifting words in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. The annual Peacemaker Award will be presented during the lunchtime celebration to Kenna Waterman for her tireless work to support recovery from opioid addiction by funding and running Josh Bressette Commit to Save a Life, which has provided financial and peer support to over 400 people in North Berkshire seeking recovery.    

This event is free and everyone in the community is encouraged to volunteer and celebrate our Northern Berkshire community. Volunteers can register in advance online to ensure your preference for service project. Groups who want to volunteer together should register and sign-up with their choice of service project with the name of the group and names of all group members.


Last chance for exhibit

One hundred years ago, Putnam Memorial Hospital, now Southwestern Vermont Health Care, opened its doors in Bennington, Vt. While the facility, practices, and technology have changed dramatically throughout the century, the commitment to delivering exceptional healthcare to the community has remained constant.  

In honor of its centennial year and in partnership with Southern Vermont College's Laumeister Art Center, SVHC will present artifacts, stories, and images from its 100-year history in the exhibit titled "A Century of Caring," which will remain open to the public during the center's hours, 10 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, through Sunday, Feb. 24. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, veterans, and AAA members, and free for children and students. The Center is located at 44 Gypsy Lane in Bennington.

This retrospective exhibit offers a glimpse of the evolution of care alongside a history of the hospital. It showcases the advancements in care practices that have elevated a humble hospital on the hill to an award-winning healthcare system operating in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock and serving 75,000 residents in the surrounding communities of Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts. The exhibit opened at the Bennington Museum last Feb. 1 and at the Manchester Community Library on May 14. It traveled to HAYC3 in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., this past summer and to Historic Memorial Hall in Wilmington this past fall. The Laumeister Art Center is the last opportunity to see the exhibit on display.


Beginning beekeeping

The Bennington County Beekeepers Club will again offer a free (donations welcomed) beginner course for new beekeepers. Participants will learn about the life of honey bees, the skills and equipment needed to care for them, and the many challenges they face.

Classes will meet at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington, Vt., in the Crispe Room on Jan. 24 and 31 and Feb. 7, 14 and 28 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. To sign up or for more information, call Jeanne Davis 802-823-7955 or send an email.


Adams town census

The 2019 annual town census is underway in Adams.  The census is mandated by the Massachusetts General Law and it is important to have the correct residential count to apply for state aid, as well as grants. This year census forms have been mailed to all residents. Residents are asked to review the form, make any necessary changes, sign and return it to the Town Clerk’s Office in the envelope provided, even if there are no changes.  There will also be a drop off box in Town Hall.  Households with dependent children who are not listed on the census form should add their children and complete the information that pertains to each child.  Information regarding the children is not public record and is used only by the schools for enrollment purposes.

Residents cannot register to vote or change party enrollment on the annual town census.  Any resident who is not registered to vote may register by mailing a voter registration form or visiting the town clerk's office. Failure to respond may result in removal from the active voters list. Anyone who does not receive their census form or wishes to provide the information on the phone should call the town clerk's office at 413-743-8300, ext. 176, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 


Citizens Legislature

State Sen. Adam G. Hinds is seeking applicants to participate in the 82nd Citizens' Legislative Seminar, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, March 19-20, at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D- Ashland) is the host of CLS, a semi-annual educational seminar geared toward adults of all ages 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, Boston, the two-day seminar features engaging presentations by state 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 state budget, the parliamentary role of the clerk of the Senate and the future of the Legislature. The seminar will walk participants through the legislative process including how bills are introduced, debated, and passed.

The CLS culminates with a simulated legislative hearing and Senate session where participants are invited to use what they have learned and participate as "Senators" in the Senate Chamber in order to have a first-hand experience of the legislative process.

Interested residents who live in Senator Hinds’ Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District are asked to email their resume to his chief of staff, Bethann Steiner, by noon on Thursday, Jan. 17. Those attending are responsible for arranging their own travel and lodging plans and must be able to attend both days.

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Big Y Appoints Sheffield Woman as New Marketing Leader

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Big Y Foods has appointed Sarah Steven of Sheffield as senior director of marketing. 

In this new capacity, Steven will oversee all aspects of marketing across the company’s brands of Big Y World Class Markets, Big Y Express Gas and Convenience, Fresh Acres specialty market and Table & Vine wines and spirits. As such, she will lead the marketing team to further develop the brand's digital initiatives, including programming to support the launch of e-commerce. Her work on the brand will ensure that Big Y continues to grow its customer base within existing markets as it expands to new regions in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

"I am excited to dig in with the talented team at Big Y, to bring new concepts and ideas to the table, and to enrich the beloved Big Y brand with initiatives that will ensure its position as a leader in the competitive supermarket industry," Steven said.

Like her predecessor, John Schnepp who has retired, she reports to Guy McFarlane, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Throughout Steven's marketing career, she has worked to support and develop global brands distributed through a variety of channels – supermarkets, department stores, boutiques and spas, as well as online through e-commerce. She started her career with Pepperidge Farm as an assistant marketing manager in 1998 working on their flagship Goldfish brand. She later moved to Godiva Chocolatier, where she led the global re-launch of core product lines and was promoted to the position of business director, marketing, partnering with in-house stakeholders to drive promotions, develop advertising campaigns and media strategy. 

In 2008, Steven joined Iredale Mineral Cosmetics in 2010 as director, brand advocacy to focus on building brand awareness and brand equity for the growing company. She was promoted to vice president of marketing in 2012 and expanded her team to support growth initiatives and distribution expansion opportunities, as well as innovative digital-first initiatives including a Loyalty Program, eLearning curriculum, innovative social media and digital advertising strategies.

Steven holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from Duke University-Fuqua School of Business in Durham, N.C. She has received industry awards for her leadership such as the Campbell Soup Company CEO Extraordinary Performance, Godiva Chocolatier Proud Performance Awards as well as Godiva North America’s President’s Award. 

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