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Officer Derby will speak at 89 South once a month to discuss current issues that are prevalent in Pittsfield.

89 South in Pittsfield Offers Community Events

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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In August, the organization partnered with the Berkshire Museum to provide an educational experience on a variety of topics using a Mobile Museum Unit (MOMU)
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Residences at 89 South is offering community programming for all ages. 
"We invite some people from the local community outside of our walls so that we can kind of include and provide education to our local community," Social Services Director Patti Janchuk said. 
Since 1888, the Residences at 89 South, a senior living community that is open to the public, has been a local non-profit dedicated to healthcare and business professionals from the community. So to them, it is important to give back to the community, Janchuk said.
The organization has a variety of programs aimed at expanding participants' experiences. Programs include educational, community-based, physical, and artistic experiences. Some of these programs include painting workshops, readings, community-based conversations, and more. 
The programs through Residences at 89 South have provided community members free, new opportunities, frequent participant Don Betit said. 
In August, the organization partnered with the Berkshire Museum to provide an educational experience on a variety of topics using a Mobile Museum Unit (MOMU). Local experts come into The Residence at 89 to discuss the theme of the unit. They are on their fourth unit since launching. 
Currently, the unit is currency themed, and on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 3 p.m. the public is welcome to visit The Residences at 89 South for a discussion on the history of currency with exhibits. 
The Lifestyle Series also offers residents and community members an opportunity to stay informed in a more connected sense they can not get from watching the news in isolation. 
"They have questions. 'Why are the people at the corner standing there, why do we have homeless people, why are we allowing this or that?' They don't realize that there are laws and certain laws that restrict us, the police, from really enforcing the law,"  Safety Officer Darren Derby said following his conversation about a safety segment for the Lifestyle series. 
"And I know, they get frustrated watching the news and hearing about it. I think it's important for them to know on a closer level, rather than on a bigger scale watching the news, what is happening right here and the place that they call home."
Many members who participated in the conversation admitted that they were somewhat oblivious to what goes on day to day in the city. So having the opportunity to speak to an officer helped them not only stay informed but also helped prevent them from becoming victims, Derby said. 
"I moved to California with my mom, and I worked with a whole bunch of sailors who were just great. They said to be aware of your surroundings. You don't have to be paranoid and look all over the place. Just be aware. And we forget that.  Like [Derby] said, a woman leaves their purses in a cart, and goes off and looks for groceries. And that's not being aware," 89 South participant MaryAnn Minella said. 
Officer Derby will speak at 89 South once a month to discuss current issues that are prevalent in Pittsfield. 
"I think this is a great pilot, to what could be something that we do in every place where the elderly are living," Derby said. 

More information on 89 South click here.

Tags: senior programs,   

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Vote on Taconic High's Vocational Status Set for January

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

The enrollment numbers at Taconic have been rising. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A possible vote to begin Taconic High's transition to an all-vocational institution is in the near future.

On Monday, district administrators revealed that they plan to put this on the School Committee's agenda in January. If the panel is in favor, Taconic will only accept Career Technical Education (CTE) students in the fall of 2023 and, by the fall of 2027, will be all vocational.

The proposal is fueled by a growing demand for vocational education at Taconic that is outnumbering non-CTE students. This is a situation that the school hoped to have after unveiling the new $120 million facility in 2018.

"Where we're at right now is that we are growing out of our capacity to serve all of our secondary students who want CTE and effectively program for those who don't," Principal Matthew Bishop said.

"As our CTE population gets bigger and bigger and bigger, we're running out of physical space and as our non-CTE program gets smaller, it's more and more difficult to give them the wide range of classes and electives they need to have an effective program."

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