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Colleen Taylor, co-owner of the restaurants Freight Yard Pub and The Trail House, spearheaded this initiative.

Biz Briefs: North Adams Restaurants to 'Go Green' for the Month of April

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'Go Green Month'

During the month of April, restaurants throughout North Adams will be making quick and easy changes to reduce their environmental impact. The goal of "Go Green Month" is to reduce waste and practice behavior changes that are more environmentally friendly, with hopes that these changes will have a lasting impact on both the restaurants and the city.

Restaurants will be making small changes in order to be more environmentally friendly, including: water at tables served by request only; no straws; no balloons; encouraging customers to bring their own coffee cup/mug; refilling water bottles; and using environmentally friendly bags for take-out.

Colleen Taylor, co-owner of the restaurants Freight Yard Pub and The Trail House, spearheaded this initiative. "I have a passion for the environment and environmentally friendly practices. I have wanted to implement these changes in my own restaurants, but knew it would have a bigger impact if other North Adams restaurants joined in," she said.

The sponsors of Go Green Month include Mass in Motion at nbCC/Be Well Berkshires, Freight Yard Pub, the City of North Adams, the North Adams Chamber of Commerce, Crane & Co. and MCLA.


Contractor relocation

Jack Miller Contractors has moved its office headquarters to 77 Water St., the building formerly owned and occupied by Alton & Westall Real Estate. With a streetfront presence in Williamstown's downtown district, Jack Miller Contractors new space houses eight employees to handle management of the business. An additional 12 of the company's employees continue to work in the field.

This relocation immediately follows the company’s new mobile-friendly website redesign as well as Jack Miller Contractors' recent induction into award-winning Remodeling magazine's Big50. Showcasing companies of various sizes that have taken the lead in raising industry standards, the Remodeling Big50 inducts 50 remodeling companies that have set exceptionally high standards for professionalism and integrity through exemplary business practices, craftsmanship and impact in their community or the industry at large.

Demonstrating the company's commitment to continuing education and technical skill growth, recent trainings and conferences attended by company employees include Passive House Institute US Builder Training, Efficiency Vermont's "Better Buildings by Design" Conference, Building Science Corporation "Building Science Symposium," PassivHaus Certified Builder Training, Journal of Light Construction's "JLC Live" Tradeshow and Conference, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) "Building Energy" Conference and "Bottom Lines" Peer Network, and Remodeler's Advantage Roundtables Owner’s and Production Manager Peer Networks.


GFCU annual meeting

Greylock Federal Credit Union held its 84th annual meeting on March 26 at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield. More than 120 community members attended the event, which called to order by Board Chair Stan Walczyk, a retired long-time Dalton pharmacist and member of the board since 2011.

One of the primary agenda items was an election to fill six openings on the board of directors. All nominated candidates were current board members seeking re-election. There were no new nominations offered for consideration. The successful candidates were: Stan Walczyk, current chair and retired pharmacist; Anthony Rinaldi Jr, executive vice president at Fairview Hospital; Ty Allan Jackson, founder of Big Head Books and co-founder of Read or Else; Krystle Gallo, project leader for General Dynamics Mission Systems; Colleen White Holmes, president and chief executive officer for Berkshire Children and Families; and John Bissell, president and chief executive officer for Greylock Federal Credit Union.

The meeting included a presentation on the state of the credit union by Chief Financial Officer Michael Stoddard, who reported that Greylock has surpassed the $1 billion mark on total loans outstanding, representing a year over year increase of 8 percent, Greylock's best since 2009. The highlight of the afternoon was a presentation by President and CEO John Bissell spotlighting the success of a number of Greylock members and introducing Greylock’s newest initiative, the Community Empowerment Center on Kellogg Street, which includes a space devoted to financial wellness. Visitors to the Center will be able to work with our coaches and get the advice they need to succeed.


Williams Inn project update

Work on the final stage of the new Williams Inn project in Williamstown will begin April 1, with the removal of the former American Legion Building, the development of a public green space in its surrounding area, and a streetscaping of Spring and Latham Streets where the two roads intersect. The project is expected to be substantially complete in early June 2019, weather permitting.

The street work will require diversion of vehicle traffic. Drivers will be able to continue down Spring Street as far as Walden Street and enter the public parking lot. Latham Street will have two-way traffic between Water Street and the parking lot of the Williams College field house. The roadway between the public lot and field house lot will be closed to non-construction traffic.

The work will include repaving portions of both streets, building the driveway to the new inn, constructing new sidewalks, and, at the intersection, laying patterns of paving stones to better control vehicle and pedestrian traffic. This is projected to be eight weeks of work, so it should be done in early June, assuming no major weather delays. Throughout the time, all businesses in the area will be accessible, and there will be temporary signs and sidewalks.

Also in April, the former Legion building will be removed and a start will be made on developing just to the east of it a new public space, with paths and benches. The new Williams Inn includes 64 guest rooms, a large event space, small meeting rooms, and a restaurant/bar.

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Be Creative When Withdrawing from Retirement Accounts

Submitted by Edward Jones

Like many people, you may spend decades putting money into your IRA and your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan. But eventually you will want to take this money out – if you must start withdrawing some of it. How can you make the best use of these funds?

To begin with, here's some background: When you turn 70 1/2, you need to start withdrawals – called required minimum distributions, or RMDs – from your traditional IRA and your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 457(b) or 403(b). (A Roth IRA is not subject to these rules; you can essentially keep your account intact for as long as you like.) You can take more than the RMD, but if you don't take at least the minimum (which is based on your account balance and your life expectancy), you will generally be taxed at 50% of the amount you should have taken – so don't forget these withdrawals.

Here, then, is the question: What should you do with the RMDs? If you need the entire amount to help support your lifestyle, there's no issue – you take the money and use it. But what if you don't need it all? Keeping in mind that the withdrawals are generally fully taxable at your personal income tax rate, are there some particularly smart ways in which you can use the money to help your family or, possibly, a charitable organization?

Here are a few suggestions:

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