Bay State Games Cancels Winter Figure Skating Competition

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Bay State Games are skipping the figure skating competition again this winter and the status of the hockey games are uncertain. 
This would be the second year that competition in Northern Berkshire has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Winter Games were last held in 2020, just before the start of the pandemic. The Summer Games that year were canceled but were held successfully this past summer, as were some of the winter sports — but not in North Berkshire.  
Williams College has hosted the annual figure skating competition for 35 years. The competitions are normally held in January, February or March. 
The decision to cancel is based on current limitations on use of Williams College facilities by outside groups during the 2021-22 school year related to the pandemic, according to Bay State Games officials. 
"It is with great disappointment that we announce we will be unable to host the Bay State Games figure skating competition in Williamstown for the second year in a row," said Bay State Games Executive Director Kevin Cummings. "While hundreds of participants from across New England have always enjoyed travelling to the Northern Berkshires, the pandemic continues to impact our ability to bring this competition back to the region."
While figure skating will not take place this winter in the Berkshires, Bay State Games has confirmed a competition for summer 2022. 
The event will take place June 18-19 at Nashoba Valley Olympia Rink in Boxborough in partnership with the Colonial Figure Skating club. This event will be a part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Bay State Summer Games and will include USFS, ISI, and Basic Skills events. Registration is expected to open mid-April 2022. Details will be posted on the website as soon as they are confirmed.
The continuation of the annual Bay State Games Masters Ice Hockey competition in the Berkshires is currently uncertain. 
"The Masters Ice Hockey tournament has been held at the North Adams Vietnam Veterans Rink for 35 years," said Cummings. "Unfortunately, we have been informed that there are no appropriate dates at the facility available this year. We continue to investigate the possibility of holding this event in 2022."
Information regarding the status and location of the tournament will be posted on the Bay State Games website as soon as it is determined. 
Bay State Games remains hopeful that the effects of the COVID pandemic will diminish moving forward and that Bay State Games events can return to Williamstown and Northern Berkshire County for 2023 events and beyond.

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Berkshire Health Group to See 8 Percent Rate Hike in FY23

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Berkshire Health Group Board of Directors on Monday voted to raise health insurance premiums by 8 percent for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 while offering a one-month "premium holiday" in FY23.
By a vote of 6-2 with one member abstaining, the board decided to raise rates for the 31 municipal entities served by the group. The 11 voting members of the group include the towns of Adams, Great Barrington, Lanesborough, Lenox and six regional school districts, Berkshire Hills, Central Berkshire, Hoosac Valley, Mount Greylock, Northern Berkshire Regional Vocational (McCann Tech) and Southern Berkshire; BHG also serves 20 smaller municipal entities who are affiliated with the joint purchasing group.
The board was advised by a representative from Gallagher Benefit Services that a rate hike was prudent to account for inflated health costs and a rise in claims after a fall-off in people accessing providers for non-emergency services during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board's consultant recommended four possible courses of action: an 8 percent increase with no premium holiday, an 8 percent increase with a premium holiday, a 4 percent increase with the FY23 funding shortfall partially offset by the group's reserve or no premium increase with the increased FY23 costs entirely offset by reserves.
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