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Sarah Sutro uses Japanese ink pens to create highly detailed works of ink on paper, left, and Dorothea Osborn works across media to produce works reflecting nature and human relationship to nature.

Biz Briefs: Tunnel City Coffee Hosts Art Show

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Coffee shop art

Tunnel City Coffee in Mass MoCA hosts artists Sarah Sutro and Dorothea Osborn for a winter show of ink drawings and large scale paintings through March. Sutro's black and white drawings express spirituality, humor, ideas and nature with ink patterns created with handmade and Japanese ink pens. Osborn's work reflects microscopic biologic fragments in macro-scale brush strokes. All work is available for in-store purchase.   

Sutro works in detail, giving a fluid sense of order to tiny ink points, like flocks of birds swinging in unison. "My current black and white ink drawings express patterns and energies of the human and natural worlds, a symbiotic relationship that is always in a tenuous balance," Sutro said. She was a finalist for MA artist foundation grants and participated in a residency at the American Academy in Rome, among others.

Osborn works across several media types – netting, tape, feathers and wood provide accent and backdrop to paintings, drawings and sculpture. Her works can be worlds apart from each other but constant in their employment of captivating color. "Experiences in and with nature are at the forefront of my artistic practice," she said. "Everything from color, mark-making, layers, form, are a reflection on nature and our current relationship to it… Through the duality of abstraction and representation, the work creates moments of intimacy and distance."


New bank website

Berkshire Bank has launched a new website, developed in collaboration with ZAG Interactive, aimed at improving the user experience by being more consumer-focused and easier to navigate. The new website is designed to help customers at every step – from relevant resources on specific project pages to a solution finder that connects common customer needs with related products and services. The site also conforms to current ADA guidelines, making visitor usability a priority. Along with a refreshed design, the fully mobile-friendly site provides a seamless experience for customers to access their banking needs anytime, anywhere.
Key benefits of the new site include: a fully mobile-friendly site that provides a seamless experience on a desktop, mobile device and tablet; improved user experience that is simple and easy to navigate, allowing customers to spend less time searching and more time learning about Berkshire Bank’s exciting products and services; and a new and improved look and feel offering a seamless experience interacting with the bank's "Life is exciting. Let us help" brand  
The new website embraces Berkshire Bank's colors and captures the bank's character through custom design elements. To create excitement and bring out the brand, the new website design uses relatable photography, iconography and subtle animation to position the bank as a leading financial institution committed to its local communities. The website was designed in coordination with ZAG Interactive, a full-service digital agency based in Glastonbury, Conn.


Lab reaccreditation

Members of the Laboratory team at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, a part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, gathered in celebration of their reaccreditation. Sitting, left to right, are Cherie Jacobs, Kim Lafontaine and Barb Faulkner. Standing, left to right, are Keith DeHaas, Tom Gallina, Erik Rhebb, Robin Lafountain, Karrie Taylor, Lisa Taber, Samantha Hartman, Terry Downey, Margaret Comar, Dr. Marianne Demarco, Pauline Violette, and Karen Bond.

Members of the Laboratory team at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, a part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, gathered in celebration of their recent reaccreditation. The lab has two accrediting agencies, the New York State Department of Health and College of American Pathologists). Both agencies reaccredited the lab in late 2018 and early 2019.

During the CAP accreditation process, which is designed to ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients, inspectors examine laboratory records and quality control procedures for the preceding two years. CAP inspectors also examine laboratory staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and record, and overall management.

The Lab and Pathology Departments of SVMC are located inside Southwestern Vermont Medical Center at 100 Hospital Drive in Bennington. The lab is open for patients to have blood drawn from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays. For information, call 802- 442-6361.


Equity Builder Program participation

The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank has been selected to participate in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston's Equity Builder Program, which assists local homebuyers with down-payment and closing costs as well as homebuyer counseling and rehabilitation assistance. The $3.6 million program provides grants to financial institutions to assist households at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Borrowers are eligible to receive up to $15,000 in assistance on a first come, first serve basis. Buyers must also complete a homebuyer counseling program.

The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank is eligible to receive up to $150,000 in 2019 through the Equity Builder Program depending on availability of funds. Since 2003, the Equity Builder Program has awarded more than $38.8 million in EBP funds assisting 3,512 income-eligible households to purchase a home. To learn more about applying for assistance, call 413-629-1610.


'Massachusetts Maple Month'

Gov. Charles Baker on Friday declared March as "Massachusetts Maple Month," continuing the commonwealth's support of maple producers and encouraging Massachusetts residents to purchase locally produced maple products. To kick off Maple Month, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux was joined by state Sen. Eric Lesser and agricultural officials at Ferrindino Maple in Hampden for a ceremonial sugar maple tree tapping.

Massachusetts is home to approximately 300 maple syrup producers, including many who are open to the public throughout the sugaring season. Last year more than 72,000 gallons of maple syrup was produced, and Massachusetts maple producers’ sales each year contribute more than $6 million to the commonwealth's economy. The maple industry employs more than 1,000 workers and Massachusetts sugar makers steward more than 15,000 acres of woodland.

While March has earned the distinction of Maple Month, tapping in Massachusetts can start as early as late January and continue through April. For the best sugaring, nights must be below freezing and days must be above freezing. Everything from the weather, soil, and genetics of the tree can affect maple syrup flavor. "Year after year, maple producers in our commonwealth positively contribute to our state's economy through employment and sales," said State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), chairman for the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "Declaring March as 'Massachusetts Maple Month' is a wonderful way to honor maple producers in our Commonwealth, and I thank the Baker-Polito Administration for supporting the maple industry and providing an opportunity for Massachusetts to express our gratitude to maple farmers."

The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association will hold its 5th annual Maple Weekend on March 16-17 and will feature open house events at sugarhouses throughout central and western Massachusetts.


Career and Internship Fair

Southern Vermont College will host its annual Spring Career and Internship Fair on Thursday, March 7, from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Everett Mansion’s Burgdorff Gallery. The fair will be an opportunity for those seeking employment, career information, internship possibilities, and more. This free event is open to the general public, students from other area colleges, and current students and alumni from Southern Vermont College.

Representatives from the following local and regional industries, law enforcement offices, state agencies, health sites, and nonprofit organizations will be available: Albany County Sheriff's Office; Bennington Rescue Squad; Berkshire Family and Individual Resources; Brattleboro Retreat; Nationwide; Scribe America; Seedlings After School Program; Sunrise Family Resource Center; Vermont Country Store; Vermont Department of Labor; and Warren, Washington and Albany ARC.

Employers interested in participating or for more information, please contact Southern Vermont College Director of Career Development and Internships Betsy Dunham at 802-447-4631 or send an e-mail.


Boot camp for nonprofits

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is holding a one-day "Nonprofit Boot Camp" on Thursday, March 14, for new, young and small nonprofits in need of a tune-up. The event takes place at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and covers the basics of nonprofit management including governance, fundraising, and best practices. Lead presenter Susan Nicholl addresses topics through a combination of facilitator-led instruction and interactive discussion. Local experts also lead sessions on topics such as legal and insurance best practices.

Aimed at directors, board members, and volunteer leaders who want to build a solid foundation or address gaps, this day-long session presents an opportunity for staff and board to attend together. Attendees will leave with a binder containing templates, sample descriptions, articles, and other resources to guide them in the coming months. Attending organizations will also have a free hour of phone consultation with Nicholl, good anytime in 2019, to help their organization past any hurdles.

Nicholl has served as a management consultant for the Institute for Nonprofit Development in Central Massachusetts and was instrumental in launching and establishing the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network as its first and sole staff member. She has served as the past chair of the MetroWest Nonprofit Network and as a former editor of She has worked professionally with boards of directors at more than three dozen organizations, providing consultation focused on re-energizing and growing small organizations, as principal of The Governance Group.

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires helps nonprofits connect, learn and grow.  Boot Camp attendance is $125 for the primary participant and $75 for each additional participant from a nonprofit organization. For more information or to register, go online.


Panel discussion on hiring

Berkshire Money Management, in partnership with the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, will host a panel discussion at the BMM offices in the Berkshires in Dalton on Thursday, April 11, at 4 p.m. Berkshire Money Management CEO Allen Harris will be joined by AIM HR Solutions Vice President of Business Development Beth Yohai, Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing CEO Shawn Kinney and Canyon Ranch General Manager Mindi Morin to discuss the challenges of hiring and keeping valuable employees in a tough marketplace. The panel will be moderated by longtime Berkshire media host John Krol and will be aired on Facebook Live on the "John Krol Show."
"Finding the right talent is harder than ever. Given the tight labor market, talent acquisition and retention remains a top priority for HR departments," Yohai said. "According to the 2018-2019 AIM HR Practices Report, 42 percent of respondents are recruiting for more positions than the prior year." This event is free and open to business owners, industry leaders, decision makers, and the media. Registration is required online. Doors to the newly renovated offices at the Model Farm at 161 Main St., Dalton, will open at 3:30 p.m., and the hourlong panel will begin at 4 p.m. Attendees are invited to stay and network after the panel.

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North Adams Lifts Boil Water Notice

Crews spent long hours digging, filling and chasing down gates, leavened with a little levity.
Update on Saturday Sept. 26, 1 p.m.: The state Department of Environmental Protection has lifted the boil water order issued Friday for residents affected by the water main break on River Street.
It is no longer necessary to use boiled water or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and preparing food. The City of North Adams apologizes for any inconvenience and thanks you for your patience.
The areas specifically identified as potentially affected were:
River Street, Yale Street, Upper Meadow Street, Williams Street, North Street, Cady Street, Pitt Street, Chesbro Avenue, Chase Avenue, North Holden Street, Dover Street, Miner Street, Wal-Mart, and McCann Technical School.
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