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The annual event features new and gently used clothing and accessories in a variety of sizes, including casual and formal tops, dresses, sweaters, blazers, coats, slacks, and jeans collected from some of the most fashionable closets in the Berkshires - all at amazing prices.

Biz Briefs: BerkChique Fashion Fundraiser Returns to West Stockbridge

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BerkChique's eighth year

The Berkshires' premier annual pop-up clothing sale and fundraiser, BerkChique, returns for its eighth consecutive year from Friday, May 17, through Sunday, May 19, at the West Stockbridge Historical Society, located at 9 Main St., West Stockbridge. Since its inception in 2012, BerkChique has donated more than $180,000 to support local nonprofits. This year the sale is being presented by and in support of WAM Theatre and its programs, with additional donations going to the Berkshire Humane Society, Community Access to the Arts, and IS183 Art School of the Berkshires.

The annual event features new and gently used clothing and accessories in a variety of sizes, including casual and formal tops, dresses, sweaters, blazers, coats, slacks, and jeans collected from some of the most fashionable closets in the Berkshires -– all at amazing prices. In addition, 2019 event Chairwoman Vicki Bonnington will again be bringing many hard-to-find and one-of-a-kind designer pieces that you will not see anywhere else.

The sale kicks off on Friday, May 17, with a First Dibs Shopping Party. Those holding $100 VIP tickets get "first dibs" at the racks from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., $25 ticket holders can join in the fun. The Friday First Dibs Shopping Party features hors d'oeuvres compliments of The Red Lion Inn and goodie bags with treats from Blue Q, Iredale Cosmetics and more. All tickets may be purchased online at BerkChique2018.eventbrite.com or at the door.

The weekend event will continue with free admission for all shoppers on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 2p.m. At the close of the sale, unsold items will be donated to the Berkshire Humane Society's Catwalk Boutique, Shakespeare & Company, The Soldier On Women's Program, Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires, and Suit YourSelf – a program of Goodwill Berkshires that provides free workplace attire to promote and support residents of Berkshire County and the surrounding area who are entering the workforce.

 

Goodwill grand opening

Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont will hold a grand opening of its new store at 228 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, on Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. A ribbon-cutting will be held at 10 a.m., with remarks by President and CEO David Twiggs. The public is invited to attend the event, which is free of charge and includes light refreshments and giveaways donated by area businesses.

The giveaways include gift certificates for goods, meals, and services from A Virtual Cubicle, Aegean Breeze, Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Bike & Board, The Bookloft, Catherine’s Chocolates, Donaji Mexican Restaurant, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Farm Country Soup, Four Brothers Pizza Inn, Great Barrington Pizza House, Happy Nails & Spa, Marjon Hair Design, The Marketplace Kitchen Table, Mavis Discount Tire, Michelle’s Salon + Spa, The Red Lion Inn, Rio Café, Seven Salon Spa, Seward’s Tires, Sundari Hair Studios, Wash & Wag Pet Grooming and Windy Hill Farm, among others. They will be given out at the top of every hour, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The new location is five times the size of Goodwill's current store on Stockbridge Road and will provide an enhanced shopping experience with full-sized shopping carts and additional types of merchandise, including furniture. The new store will provide a better experience for donors as well, with a larger, well-lit parking lot that is more donation drop-off friendly.

In addition to expanded retail space, Goodwill is extending store hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. The store expansion in Great Barrington will also provide an opportunity for the nonprofit to host RISE UP, a retail training program created by the National Retail Federation, later this year.

 

Paid medical leave workshop

1Berkshire, in coordination with Ben Steffans of Steffans Legal, will be holding three educational workshops for employers in the Berkshires to inform them about the urgent steps they must take to comply with the 2019 Paid Family Medical Leave requirements in Massachusetts. These workshops, happening in Pittsfield, North Adams and Stockbridge, will provide important information and an opportunity to ask questions about the immediate changes occurring as of July 1, 2019, and the steps that need to be taken by employers prior to that date in order to remain in compliance.


With numerous changes to the Paid Family Medical Leave program in Massachusetts, all employers are now required to disseminate and collect information and documentation to and from their employees, as well as develop internal practices to comply with the financial contributory aspects of the program. 1Berkshire sees this as an urgent matter, and one that impacts every single business in the region, as such, we look forward to hosting these sessions to provide our business community with valuable information and opportunities to be proactive.

The session in Pittsfield will be held on Monday, May 20, at 9 a.m. in the City Council Chambers in City Hall (70 Allen St.). This session will also be broadcast and recorded by Pittsfield Community Television (PCTV) and distributed to other regional public access television channels to maximize the reach of this important information. The session in North Adams will be held on Tuesday, May 21, at 8:30 a.m. at The Green (85 Main St.) and the session in Stockbridge will be held on Thursday, May 23, at 9 a.m. at The Red Lion Inn (30 Main St.).

These sessions are free and open to any business owner or representative of a business who coordinates human resources, accounting, or finances, as these departments will best benefit from the information being presented. Additional information will also be distributed, including a link to the session recording, through 1Berkshire social media and electronic communications.

 

529 Day Celebration

Research shows that children with college savings accounts are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate than children without accounts.Southwestern Vermont Medical Center will participate in a statewide initiative to encourage college savings. It's called 529 Day, after the 529 college savings plan, and it happens on May 29. The program is a partnership between Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. which administers Vermont’s 529 college savings plan.

Babies born at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center on May 29 will receive $100 deposits into Vermont 529 college savings accounts opened by the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. Plus, one lucky Vermonter — baby or not — will be chosen to receive $529 in a college savings account in an online month-long drawing. For more information and to enter, visit vsac.org or vheip.org between May 1 and May 31. 

 

Big Y Express bag elimination

As part of Big Y Foods's recent announcement to phase out of single use plastic bags at their checkouts, their Big Y Express Gas and Convenience locations will be the first division in the 80 store company to eliminate these bags as of April 22. The Big Y Express in Lee, Mass., was the only gas and convenience location without these bags as part of that town’s ordinance. Now, the other eight locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut will join in this pursuit.

Single use plastic bags create an inordinate amount of waste. According to the EPA, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States each year. If not disposed properly, this plastic can end up in waterways and forests where it can harm fish, marine animals, birds and other wildlife.

Big Y has been complying with single use plastic bag bans in five of its local communities in Massachusetts (Amherst, Great Barrington, Lee, Northampton and South Hadley) since 2014. The company also issued a pledge in January to eliminate all single use plastic bags at their checkouts in 2020. The elimination of these bags at their Express locations is the first phase of the implementation for this pledge.

Big Y recognizes its responsibility to cut down on unnecessary plastic waste that contributes to litter, harms the environment and can endanger wildlife. Currently, Big Y uses 100 million plastic bags and 3.5 million paper bags at their checkouts each year. They collect single use plastic bags from customers at each store and sends them to recycling plants for use in decking. Other sustainability efforts include almost daily donations to the five food banks within Big Y’s marketing area including meat, fruits and vegetables, and bakery items. Their locations also participate in paper and cardboard recycling programs and composting. In addition, they have championed other energy saving initiatives such as the use of solar arrays, LED lighting, and even electric car charging stations to help protect the environment and conserve natural resources.

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Pittsfield Superintendent Seeking New Opportunities

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Superintendent of Schools Jason "Jake" McCandless is actively seeking new opportunities and may leave the Pittsfield Public Schools. 
 
After McCandless' evaluation by the School Committee on Wednesday, he confirmed that he is a finalist for the superintendent's position of the Silver Lake Regional School District in Kingston, just north of Plymouth.
 
"It simply feels in my gut like it is a good time to make a change," McCandless said.
 
McCandless came to Pittsfield in 2013 after being in Lee for 11 years, eight of those as superintendent and three as principal. He came to Lee after three years as an assistant principal in Virginia. 
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