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BC Arc Chairman Joseph Woitkoski, right, a present a recognition award a recent annual meeting with Executive Director Kenneth Singer.

Longtime Berkshire County Arc Board Chair Stepping Down

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Joseph Woitkoski

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Joseph Woitkoski, board chair of Berkshire County Arc, has stepped down from his position after 36 years of service. 

As board member and chair since 1984, he has helped lead agency growth from a few employees and a small budget into an organization with 800 employees, 43 group homes, numerous other offerings to the disability community, and a $36 million dollar budget.

"The number of changes and accomplishments BC Arc has experienced is mind-boggling," Woitkoski said. "I am so proud to have been part of this caring and successful group for all these years."

He credited the staff of BC Arc, along with its leadership, for the success and growth of the organization. 

"I never intended to stay involved this long, but after you see the love and respect the staff have for the people they serve, it's impossible to leave," he said. "And while it has been hard for me to resign, it's time for me to step down, allow for new leadership, and enjoy my retirement."

BC Arc provides a range of programs from employment to residential homes to day programs for people with disabilities. While many of the board members become engaged with BC Arc because of a personal connection with the disabilities community, Woitkoski fell into it as a community member. 

"I had a friend invite me to a board meeting, and I haven't left since. The entire board cherishes this agency like I do," he said.

He recalled joining the board in 1984.

"The fiscal situation was grave, no one knew we existed, and we knew new leadership would be crucial," he said. He served on a search committee to appoint a new executive director. "After a long and arduous search, we appointed Ken Singer, and he's brought the agency to its current state, a reputable and fiscally sound state even in these incredible times. 

"I've enjoyed every minute of my time on the board. It's a wonderful organization."

"Joe brought immeasurable value to the Agency, BC Arc would not have reached this point without his leadership," Singer said. "We are all thankful for his dedication."

Outside of BC Arc, Woitkoski worked in the financial services field for 49 years, employed by investment firms and banks in the region. He is a graduate of Assumption College, Worcester, and holds a graduate degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. He is a lifelong resident of Berkshire County, has been married for 49 years, and has three grown children.

BC Arc will soon announce the new board chair.


Tags: BC Arc,   retirement,   

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The Berkshire Museum Will Reopen Saturday, Aug. 1

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After being closed for more than four months, the Berkshire Museum will once again welcome visitors through its doors in downtown Pittsfield. 

The museum, which will open in phases, plans to open exclusively to its members for two weeks during its first phase beginning Saturday, Aug. 1, before inviting the whole community in phase 2 starting Monday, Aug. 17. The reopening of the Berkshire Museum comes as part of Phase 3 of the state's four-phase Reopening Massachusetts plan, which began Monday, July 6, as announced on July 2.

The museum intends to meet or exceed all state-mandated health and safety guidelines through each reopening phase. Beginning Aug. 1, guests will be welcomed back to the museum with a series of new health and safety protocols in place, including new and improved cleaning procedures, time-based advance ticketing that reserves each exhibition for one "family unit" - a group that has been quarantining together - at a time, mandatory face coverings, social distancing between visitors and staff, and more.

"Throughout the pandemic, the Berkshire Museum has prioritized the health and safety of our guests and staff," said Jeff Rodgers, executive director. "This remains our primary concern, especially as we watch states across the nation suffer rising rates of infection. To ensure that we are acting responsibly, we're taking a phased approach to reopening that will allow us to adjust to changing conditions."

From Aug. 115, the Aquarium will open for Berkshire Museum members with timed reservations. Members can enjoy private, 45-minute, self-led explorations of the Aquarium on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The museum will close from 1 to 2 p.m. daily for cleaning.

The same operating hours will continue during phase 2 from Aug. 17-31, with timed reservations available to the public. In this phase visits will expand to include both the Aquarium and a last chance to see the Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons for all visitors.

Timed tickets must be reserved in advance at berkshiremuseum.org or by calling 413-443-7171, ext. 360. Berkshire Museum members, children under 18, and EBT cardholders always visit free. During phase 2, adult regular admission will be $5. Reservations can be made starting July 23 for dates between Aug. 1 and 31.

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