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Whiplash Weather in Store for the Berkshires

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Mother Nature is making sure there's a snowy background for Friday night's tree lightings in North Adams and Pittsfield. The National Weather Service is predicting a few inches and up to 5 inches in the higher elevations, with steady snowfall until 10 p.m. 
 
Motorists should beware of slippery roads and low visibility, especially Friday night.
 
A number of school districts have canceled after-school programs for Friday: Hoosac Valley Regional; Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter; Mount Greylock Regional School District; Drury High; and Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union (early dismissal, too).
 
But wait, this is the Berkshires so you know the weather will change on the dime — and that will happen at the beginning of next week. 
 
Another storm system forming in the Midwest will be pushing warmer air into the Northeast, according to Accuweather, with temperatures jumping back up into the 40s and 50s. The 2 feet of snow we got will start melting and ... yep, a big slushy mess, icy conditions and possible flooding. 
 
"Within the existing snow on the ground, there is between 1 and 5 inches of water as of Thursday, Dec. 5," says Accuweather's  senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
 
Oh, of course, there's rain in the forecast as well. A couple inches of it. And then — wait for it — a frigid blast on Wednesday will make sure all that slushy stuff turns to icy stuff!
 
One thing's for sure, weather is never dull in the Berkshires. 

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Guest Column: Statement on Sentencing in Steele-Knudslien Murder

Guest Column
As the region's longest-serving LGBTQ organization, Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition has closely followed the case of the murder of Christa Steele-Knudslien, the North Adams resident and founder of the Miss Trans New England Pageant. 
 
Today [Thursday], her murderer has been sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after serving 25 years. In the two years since we lost Christa, the community has rallied around her memory and inspiration. In North Adams, a grassroots task force was founded in reaction to her death and those of other residents killed by their partners. This led to the Berkshire County Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force, a coalition of community agencies such as Elizabeth Freeman Center, law enforcement, and the court system, currently working to end domestic violence in Berkshire County for good. 
 
On the brighter side, over the past two years the Berkshire Pride Festival has grown to be a major event, celebrating and uplifting the trans community that Christa cared about so much. An annual award for local LGBTQ leaders has been established in her name and with her spirit. Clothing swaps have happened where Berkshire residents shared the joy and beauty of being trans, the same goal Christa had in mind when founding her pageant. Rainbow Seniors and the Berkshire Trans Group expanded their meetings, providing support and connection from Williamstown to Great Barrington.
 
Politically, a local contingent spent hours organizing and fighting to pass the state ballot measure last year that made Massachusetts the first state to successfully defend an attack on a trans rights bill, setting a strong precedent for human rights across the nation. And we mourned, as a community, at each Trans Day of Remembrance, a national event that struck home when we read Christa's name amongst those murdered.
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