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United for Libraries will designate The Berkshire Athenaeum, 1 Wendell Ave., a Literary Landmark in honor of Herman Melville's 200th birthday on Aug. 1.

Berkshires Beat: Pittsfield Library Given 'Literary Landmark' Status in Honor of Melville

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'Literary Landmark'

United for Libraries will designate The Berkshire Athenaeum, 1 Wendell Ave., a Literary Landmark  in honor of Herman Melville's 200th birthday on Aug. 1. The Literary Landmark program was spearheaded by Rocco Staino, director of the Empire State Center for the Book.

The dedication ceremony will take place as part of The Berkshire County Historical Society's third annual Moby-Dick Marathon, a four-day event at Herman Melville's Arrowhead, 780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield, in the historic red barn where he often met with Nathanial Hawthorne.

The event will begin at noon on Aug. 1 at The Berkshire Athenaeum in downtown Pittsfield, with tours of the Melville Room, where Melville scholars from around the world come to research. A Literary Landmark plaque will be unveiled at 1 p.m. sponsored by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

The historical society will conduct tours of Arrowhead from 2 to 4 p.m., with musical performances by Woody Printz. Here is where Melville wrote "Moby-Dick, or The Whale" (1851), "Pierre, or The Ambiguities" (1852), "Israel Potter: His Fifty Years in Exile" (1855), "The Piazza Tales" (1856) and, "The Confidence Man" (1857), and where he began his work "On Battle Pieces And Aspects Of War," "Clarel, A Poem And Pilgrimage In The Holy Land" and other works.

A birthday party hosted by the historical society at The Country Club of Pittsfield will begin at 4:30 p.m., featuring a cash bar and hors d'oeuvres, a special program with Tina Packer, founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company at 5:30, and a prosecco toast and birthday cake at 6:30. This is a ticketed event that benefits the Berkshire County Historical Society at Herman Melville's Arrowhead.

The Literary Landmark program is administered by United for Libraries. More than 150 Literary Landmarks across the United States have been dedicated since the program began in 1986. Any library or group may apply for a Literary Landmark through United for Libraries.


Cancer treatment

Dr. Matthew Vernon reviews images of a patient’s brain. The purple areas at the center show the location of the hippocampi, areas of the brain that control short-term memory and whose function is impaired during and after traditional radiation treatment of brain cancer. New technology allows the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center to spare these areas and improve quality of life through the reduction of memory-related side effects.

Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, is now offering a new treatment for those with metastatic cancer: hippocampal sparing radiation. The new option decreases side effects for patients whose cancer has spread to their brains.

Typically, patients would undergo radiation to their entire brain, which slows cancer growth and alleviates symptoms of metastatic brain cancer. But radiation to the hippocampi, the portions of the brain responsible for memory, causes patients to have problems with thinking and formation of short-term memory. The new capability at the Cancer Center allows physicians to spare the hippocampi and avoid these side effects.

"Emerging clinical studies are showing that we can safely spare these areas from treatment, as long as there is no detectable tumor too nearby," said Dr. Matthew Vernon, the Cancer Center's radiation oncologist. "We still achieve very high tumor control, and we spare the patients the negative cognitive changes to a much greater extent. The linear accelerator needed to provide this advanced treatment is state of the art, and we are so happy to have both the technology and the expertise right here for local patients."

SVRCC is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, a distinction granted to only the top 25 percent of cancer centers nationwide. Care is enhanced through an affiliation with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock, home of one of only three National Cancer Institute-Designated comprehensive cancer centers in New England. The partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, along with SVMC’s investments, provides patients with access to advanced specialty services, including genetic counseling, clinical trials, sophisticated imaging and treatment technologies, and Telemedicine. For more information, call 802-447-1836 or visit the website.


Walk A Mile

The ninth annual Berkshire County "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence" takes to the street during Pittsfield’s Third Thursday event, Sept. 19, rain or shine in downtown Pittsfield, Mass. Join hundreds of your neighbors from throughout Berkshire County as we walk united to stop sexual, domestic and dating violence. Walkers may register online or the night of the march. Pledge forms are available online or by calling Elizabeth Freeman Center at 413-499-2425.

The march will begin at 6 p.m. at the corner of North Street and Columbus Avenue. Registration is free, but walkers are encouraged to raise funds through pledges as individuals or as teams to support life-saving services for survivors of violence and prevention education for youth. Walkers who raise $55 or more will receive a 2019 Walk a Mile commemorative T-shirt. Proceeds from the event will benefit EFC, the domestic violence/rape crisis organization in Berkshire County. For more information, call 413-499-2425.


Records destroyed

In accordance with state regulations, all temporary cumulative school records for students who have graduated from Hoosac Valley High School Class of 2012 will be destroyed after Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Any students interested in retrieving their records may pick them up in the school's main office from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or contact the Guidance Dept. at 413-743-5200, ext. 5006. High school official transcripts are maintained for 60 years following graduation.


School change

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School will become the Berkshire Waldorf School as of Sept. 1. "Since the school’s founding in 1971, dedicated teachers, trustees, administrators, staff and families have worked faithfully to nurture and grow this school," board President Chris Lee said. "The school's new name marks the next step in the growth process, reflecting what the school has become: a thriving Waldorf school providing families from all over the Berkshire region with an effective alternative education."

As many families continue to relocate to the Berkshires from across the globe, and commute from three states (New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts) to take advantage of the school's experiential, individually paced and immersive learning opportunities for their children, the geographic diversity of the school's student body reflects this sea-change. Clearly the reach of Berkshire Waldorf School is well beyond the Great Barrington, Mass., campus.

The new name reflects this strong identity, a Waldorf school in the heart of the Berkshires. It also places the school squarely within the larger Waldorf educational movement, the fastest-growing independent school movement worldwide. And it allows prospective families looking for a vibrant and progressive school community located at the crossroads of nature and culture to find the school with ease.

Berkshire Waldorf School's new director, Dr. Sue Das, whose administration coincides with the school name change, is optimistic about the growth and transformation of the school. Equipped with extensive practical and pedagogical training in teacher education and literacy that spans over three decades and across multiple continents, Dr. Das is eager to begin the school year with a vision of "building bridges."

Berkshire Waldorf School is an independent coeducational day school, one of more than 1,000 Waldorf Schools worldwide, fully accredited by the Association of Independent Schools of New England, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. Serving students from early childhood through eighth grade, the school's curriculum integrates rigorous academics with arts, music, movement, outdoor learning and three-season intramural sports. Now accepting applications for fall, Berkshire Waldorf School offers year-round admissions and generous scholarships based on need.


Local dancers

Fourteen grade-school dancers from around Western Massachusetts will have the opportunity to perform alongside acclaimed ballet dancers from around the country in Albany Berkshire Ballet's new production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in performances at Northampton's Academy of Music (Aug 31) and Pittsfield's Colonial Theatre (Sept. 7).

From the Cantarella School of Dance in Pittsfield, student performers include Mary Haight, Lindzie Johndro, Sage Moran, Lauren Strassell, Charlotte McKenna, Julia Powell, Evelynn Powell and Ella Ives. From the West Side Dance Studio in West Springfield, students selected include Aida Nagle, Grace Connors, Moira Shannon, Addison Corbett, Emalie Mendes and Nia Johnson.

As throughout its half century history of professional ballet productions, ABB is committed to creating opportunities for youth to develop as dancers not only through its affiliated schools and outreach, but through direct participation on stage performing alongside renowned professional dancers.


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Pittsfield City Council to Discuss Homeless Solutions

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday sent a group of petitions regarding the city's homeless population to the subcommittee on Public Health and Safety.
The three petitions ask officials to consider measures to safeguard the homeless and begin a conversation about homelessness within the city limits.
"I am glad we are having this discussion, and I look forward to hearing it," Councilor at Large Peter White said. "This has been an issue here for a long time and having people live in the park is not a long terms solution."
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