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Hilltop Orchards is back making cider doughnuts after a fire damaged the orchard's store at Christmas.

Hilltop Orchards Reopens Store Damaged in Christmas Fire

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RICHMOND, Mass. — Hilltop Orchards has reopened this weekend after a Christmas morning fire caused smoke and fire damage the its store.
 
David Martell, farm manager and master wine/cider maker, said the orchard faced uncertainty after the fire. 
 
However, he said, with hard work, dedicated deep cleaning, and a retail inspection by the Massachusetts Department of Health, store is once more offering freshly made cider doughnuts and other products such as wines and Johnny Mash/JMASH Ciders.
 
"The Christmas day fire was tough but we know it could have been much worse," Martell said in a statement announcing the reopening. "We feel fortunate for so much: that our dog, Benjamin, barked and woke us up, that the Richmond Fire department and others responded quickly and put the fire out in 10 minutes, that no one was hurt, and that our staff and community have been so supportive."
 
Hilltop's farm building suffered damage because of a tractor's malfunctioning engine block heater. The farm building, production room, and retail space suffered heavy smoke damage.
 
Staff, and the Vittori family, owners of Hilltop Orchards, said they are grateful to Richmond, Lenox and other local fire departments for their quick response that resulted in limited damage.
 
Hilltop Orchards is once again open seven days a week, 9 to 5 p.m.
 

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BCC Holds 'Stay Active and Independent for Life' Classes

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College's Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program recently led a four-month program called Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL). 
 
The free program, designed for senior citizens interested in increasing mobility, was held twice a week from Jan 10 through May 4. 
 
"Research indicates that falls suffered by persons over age 65 can often be reduced or eliminated by participation in community programs that focus on identifying risk factors, learning how falls can be prevented and conducting strengthening, balance and aerobic exercise," said PTA Program Coordinator Michele Darroch, who initiated the program at BCC with the help of PTA Lab and Office Assistant Anthony Monteleone. 
 
SAIL, a national program that partners with educational institutions, community centers and health care facilities, is a strength, balance and fitness program for adults 65 and older. The curriculum of activities in the SAIL program can help improve strength and balance, if done regularly. Certified SAIL instructors complete assessments before, during and after the sessions.  
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