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Sunshine, Warm Temps Finally Arrive in the Berkshires

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After a rainy spring, this weekend might finally feel like summer in the Berkshires.
 
By the way, the feeling that it was raining all the time was not in your head: The National Weather Service out of Albany, N.Y., reports that "the last time Albany had three days or more of dry weather without a minimally a trace of precipitation was March 24-27." And preliminary data for Pittsfield shows that there was measurable rainfall nearly every day of the month of May.
 
But that's in the past.
 
The Weather Channel — which has ironically changed its logo to say "The Water Channel" because of all the rain and flooding in the South and Midwest — predicts Friday, Saturday and Sunday all will be sunny with highs around 80. Everyone else seems to agree that this weekend is going to be beautiful.
 
So this would be a good weekend to catch up on mowing the lawn or finally planting the garden. Or catch a baseball game; the North Adams SteepleCats are home Friday night at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. and the Pittsfield Suns are home Friday at 6:30 p.m. The region's farmers markets are all open now on Saturday mornings (North Adams, Williamstown, Pittsfield and Great Barrington).
 
And there are some fun outdoor events scheduled for this weekend, including the First Fridays ArtsWalk on Friday night in PIttsfield, the Rhubarb Festival in Lenox and Matthew Noble Day in Sheffield on Saturday, and the Old Mill Trail celebration in Hinsdale on Sunday. Check out our calendar of events page for all the details.
 
Get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather — and don't forget the suncreen!

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Be Alert for Opportunities When Preparing for College Costs

Now that summer is winding down, it will soon be "back-to-school" time. When children are young, your logistics for the new academic year may involve little more than a trip to buy school supplies.

But if you would like to send your kids (or grandkids) to college someday, you need to plan far ahead to meet the financial demands. And, as part of your planning, you also need to be on the lookout for all opportunities to help pay those sizable college bills.

Specifically, you will need to be ready to take action in these areas:

Financial aid:
You should start thinking about financial aid at least a year before your child heads off to college. For example, you can begin submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on Oct. 1, 2019, for the 2020-21 academic year. And if the past is any guide, you will always need to remember that Oct. 1 date for the next school year. The FAFSA helps colleges and the U.S. Department of Education evaluate your financial need and determine how much financial support your child requires. And since a lot of financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, it's a good idea to submit your forms as soon as possible once the application period opens.

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