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In the PAWS Read-A-Thon, children find sponsors to pledge an amount to donate to Berkshire Humane Society for each minute the child reads during March, National Reading Month.

Berkshires Beat: Schools Sought for Humane Society PAWS Read-A-Thon

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PAWS Read-A-Thon

For the first time in the program's five-year history, Berkshire Humane Society will open its annual PAWS Read-A-Thon to all pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students in Berkshire County.  Materials to participate are available online and the deadline to apply is Feb. 10.

In the PAWS Read-A-Thon, children find sponsors to pledge an amount to donate to Berkshire Humane Society for each minute the child reads during March, National Reading Month. Prizes are awarded to top readers and schools in various categories. Each child enrolled in the read-a-thon will receive a Berkshire Humane Society goody bag.

In the past, Berkshire Humane Society worked with a handful of local schools for the Read-A-Thon, but this year, all students in Berkshire County are welcome to join. Home-schooled children, scouting and other civic groups and youth organizations, especially those engaged in service projects, are encouraged to participate. Schools that have participated in the past include Egremont, Williams, Allendale, Lanesborough and Lee elementary schools and Richmond Consolidated School.

March is National Reading Month in celebration of the birthday of Dr. Seuss on March 2. The PAWS Read-A-Thon encourages children to read and shows them they can make a difference. For more information, contact Lizzy Filkins at 413-447-7878, ext. 129.


Cancer Center donation

Paige Kwasniak, co-chair of the Cancer Center Community Crusaders (4Cs); Mary Morrissey, member of the 4Cs and the chair of the 4Cs Sponsorship Committee; Kevin Lynch, member of both the Eagles and the 4Cs; Bob Gorry, 4Cs co-chair; and Darlene Stratton, member of 4Cs and the 4Cs Sponsorship Committee.

The Cancer Center Community Crusaders (4Cs) received a donation from the Bennington Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary #1861. The group held a steak dinner to raise funds in memory of Lindy Lynch, who was a member of the Eagles with her husband Kevin, who cooked for the event. The donation was raised by Lindy’s fellow Eagles as a way to continue the invaluable contributions she made to the 4Cs during her lifetime.

In its nearly seven-year existence, the 4Cs have raised more than $300,000 in funds to provide financial and emotional support to members of the community and their families as they strive to obtain the best cancer care and treatment possible. All funds raised by the 4Cs stay in the communities of Bennington and Windham counties in Vermont and nearby New York and Massachusetts and benefit patients directly. Patients need not receive treatment at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center to be eligible for funds. For more information, call 802-379-5439.


'A Star Spangled 4th'

This year's Fourth of July parade in Pittsfield will have the theme of "A Star Spangled 4th," as determined at the annual meeting of the Parade Committee. Applications for all parade units - for example, fire departments, musical units, community groups and elected officials, etc. - will be mailed or emailed in early March to past participants. For anyone looking to participate for the first time in the parade or past participants, applications also may be obtained online or by calling 413-447-7763.

The committee welcomes ideas and suggestions for fundraising events, as well as volunteers. Meetings for volunteers will be held at the Polish Falcons on Belair Avenue on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. on the following dates: Feb. 19, March 18, April 15, May 6, 20 and 27, June 3 and 17, and July 1. Donations can be sent to the Pittsfield Parade Committee, PO Box 1738, Pittsfield MA 01202.


Planetarium schedule

Williams College astronomy students will host free shows for the public at the Milham Planetarium, located inside the Old Hopkins Observatory at Williams College, on Friday evenings at 8 p.m. beginning on Feb. 7 and running through May 8 with the exception of Spring Break on March 20, March 27 and April 3.

Audiences will be treated to shows from the high-precision Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3/B opto-mechanical planetarium projector, installed in April 2005. The Zeiss Skymaster is capable of demonstrating phenomena including: retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, the Southern Hemisphere's sky, comets, artificial satellites, and much more.

The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-38 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States. Shows will last about 50 minutes. For reservations (required), contact Michele Rech at 413-597-2188 or by email. Others will be admitted as space permits. Large groups should call for special appointments.


Health care education

Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center has opened applications for the 2020 MedQuest programs. This program is for southern Vermont high school students currently in grades 10, 11 and 12 who are interested in pursuing a career in health care.

Students will explore a variety of health care careers through job shadowing, workshops, and other activities. With the help of volunteer professionals in the hospital and medical community, students see health care in action and get an insider's look at rewarding health career opportunities. Students will also obtain CPR certification as part of the program and learn other basic clinic skills. Students experience campus life in the company of new friends and graduate-level health professions students that serve as staff.

Interested students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 must submit an application and one reference. Application information is available online. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 11, and this is a competitive application process.  The cost for the program is $750 and scholarships are available. Contact Southern VT AHEC at 802-885-2126 for more information.

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Downtown Pittsfield's Ambassadors Ready to Assist

Melvin Wright and Amarie Starr visit Lee Bank, one of the program sponsors, last year.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Friendly pairs of downtown ambassadors have been in Pittsfield since July 1, offering approachable sources of directions, information, and assistance for residents, visitors, business owners, and the general public during the summer.
This year, thanks to the sponsorship of the program by the City of Pittsfield, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Lee Bank, and Pittsfield Garden Tour, Downtown Pittsfield Inc.'s ambassadors will be on the streets at peak times for visitors, through Labor Day.
The Downtown Pittsfield Ambassador Program is a partnership between the business group and the Pittsfield Police Department. The program addresses increased visitor presence during the summer and helps to relieve the demand on police presence downtown. It is based on similar models implemented in other cities around the country. This year, the program will focus on downtown's response to COVID-19 by providing masks to people that do not have them, picking up trash, and helping guide foot traffic to places to eat and shop.
This summer, there will be four ambassadors: two returning are returning, Melvin Wright and Amarie Starr, and two are new, Alex Desrochers and Liam Tremlett.
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