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Employees at Southwestern Vermont Health Care gathered on Friday, March 1, for a photo to celebrate Dress in Blue Day in honor of Colorectal Cancer Screening Awareness Month.

Berkshires Beat: SVMC Kicks Off Colorectal Cancer Screening Awareness Month

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Blue Day

Employees at Southwestern Vermont Health Care gathered on Friday, March 1, for a photo to celebrate Dress in Blue Day in honor of Colorectal Cancer Screening Awareness Month. Dress in Blue Day was first observed in 2009. It is a program of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, and it is meant to raise awareness of the disease.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. Americans of average risk and age 50 and older should be screened every 10 years. According to the American Cancer Society, if Americans followed screening recommendations, the colon cancer death rate could be cut in half.  

There are many types of tests for colorectal cancer. Screening colonoscopies both detect and prevent cancer. The team at Southwestern Vermont Health Care urges the members of the public to talk to their doctors about the best test for them.

 

Fund for Williamstown

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation is accepting letters of intent for Fund for Williamstown projects and applications for scholarships by Friday, March 15.

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. Apply online.

In addition, 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.

 

Mental illness course

National Alliance on Mental Illness's Family-to-Family is a class for families, partners and friends of individuals over 18 living with a mental illness. The free course is designed to facilitate a better understanding of mental illnesses, increase coping skills and empower participants to become advocates for their family members. The course is taught by trained family members who have lived with this experience, and will include current information about self-care, communication skills and making choices for recovery.

The program will begin Wednesday, March 13, at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield over 12 Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Advance registration is required by emailing your name, email address and phone number. For more information, call 413-443-1666.

 

Leadership Conference


Students from Southern Vermont College attended the Leadership Conference at MCLA: fom left, Sarah Baty, Gabriela Argueta-Ferrufino, Allyson McNamee, Nicole Shepard, Meg Maddalena and Kelsey Fisher.

Six students from Southern Vermont College attended the Annual Leadership Conference at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with the theme of "Leaders of the Roundtable." Keynote speaker Jamie Piperato addressed ways in which leaders cultivate resilience and learn to identify their resources. These tools are key in the development of student leaders as they grow, challenge themselves, and persevere.

Students attended several sessions including a capstone experience presentation on how leadership is a dual role in the community. MCLA has hosted this conference for the past 23 years for students to gain practical leadership skills that can be put to immediate use. Students will challenge each other to expand their thinking, investigate the diversity of leadership, and set high standards for leadership on their campus.

 

Rep. Mark office hours

Rep. Paul Mark has released an updated schedule for weekly office hours throughout the Second Berkshire District. Since 2011, Mark has maintained a fixed weekly office hour schedule at several town halls and community buildings in Franklin and Berkshire Counties. He hopes to increase accessibility to his legislative office and the State House for constituents who live in Western Massachusetts. Mark is in his fifth term in the legislature and currently serves as the chairperson of the House Committee on Redistricting. He represents the Second Berkshire District.



No appointment is necessary to attend. Either Mark or a member of his staff will be available at these office hours to assist anyone with constituent services or to listen to advocacy on state legislative matters. If you wish to make an appointment, contact the District Office at 413-464-5635.

Beginning in March, the office hour schedule will be as follows: Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Greenfield Community College, 270 Main St., Greenfield; Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dalton Town Hall, 462 Main St., Dalton; the third Tuesday of the month, additional office hours are held at the Dalton Senior Center located at 40 Field Street from 1 to 4 p.m.; the first and third Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Franklin Regional Council of Governments Offices (JWO Transit Center) located at 12 Olive St. in Greenfield; Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon, Charlemont Town Hall, 157 Main St.,(Mohawk Trail Highway) in Charlemont.; Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m., Northfield Town Hall, 69 Main St., Northfield; the third Thursday of the month, the office hours are instead held at the Dickinson Memorial Library, 115 Main St. in Northfield.

 

Bees Prendergast tickets

Hillcrest Educational Centers' is hosting its 18th annual Robert "Bees" Prendergast St. Patrick's Celebration on Wednesday, March 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club of Pittsfield. Tickets are $50 each and are for sale online. Proceeds will benefit the educational programs at Hillcrest Educational Centers. The reception features heavy hors d’oeuvres, buffet selections, door prizes, a silent auction, and Irish entertainment provided by The Brodie Mountain Boys.

In keeping with the event's Celtic traditions, Hillcrest will honor Robin McGraw as their "Irish Person of the Year." McGraw is the chair of Hospice Care in the Berkshires, Berkshire Education and Correction Services and The Play to Lead Foundation. In 2014, he became a Berkshire County Deputy Sheriff and member of the Opiate Task Force. In addition, he sits on the boards of Volunteers in Medicine, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Berkshire Healthcare Systems. He is also a member of the Emergency Services Committee of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Chair of the Visiting Committee for Head and Neck Cancer at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Additionally, Hillcrest will present the Judge John A. Barry Community Service Award to Michael MacDonald, whose current civic involvement includes the Windsor Finance Committee. In the past, he has been president of the Berkshire Theatre Group, where he negotiated and led the merger of the Colonial Theatre Association with the Berkshire Theatre Festival; vice president of the Board of Trustees for the Colonial Theatre Association; past president and board member of Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.; and president of Downtown Investment Company, Inc. More recently, as a member of the Community Turf Field Committee, MacDonald helped bring Berkshire County its first publicly available turf field at Berkshire Community College.

 

Pittsfield BagShare

Tyler Street Lab is bringing BagShare to Pittsfield. The BagShare Project uses volunteer labor to reuse and repurpose materials that would otherwise be burned or buried to create durable shopping bags that can be used in place of disposable bags.

Despite the Pittsfield City Council's failure to pass a thin-film plastic bag ban, residents can still make the switch to reusable shopping bags by volunteering with the BagShare Project. The BagShare Project is going to be setting up work space and having a training in April for volunteers at the newly opened Tyler Street Lab, 730 Tyler St., a community space run by residents. This is an entirely community run project working from donations of time and material.

Tyler Street Lab is accepting donations of grain/feed bags, sewing machines and grommet machines, and will be setting up collection bins around Pittsfield for collection of these materials. Anyone expressing an interest in volunteering their time, or wanting to participate in the workshops, or having materials or equipment, please contact  Kate Lauzon by email or phone at 413-841-5841.

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SVMC Welcomes New Doctor to SVMC General Surgery

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has welcomes Surgeon Dr. Gina Melissa Diaz to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Medical Group and SVMC General Surgery.

Dr. Diaz received her medical degree from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras Facultad de Ciencias Medicas, Honduras. She completed her residency in general surgery at Virginia Tech's Carilion Clinic. She is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

Dr. Diaz joins doctors Simon Drew, Graham Moore and Charles Salem. Through a team-based approach, they provide minimally invasive surgery using the latest evidence-based protocols.

SVMC General Surgery is located in suite 205 of the Medical Office Building at 140 Hospital Drive in Bennington. For more information or to make an appointment, call 802-447-5060.

 

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