Great Barrington Public Theater Names Board Chair

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Great Barrington Public Theater (GBPT) announced that longtime supporter and board member Susie Weekes Roeder has been named board chair.

She brings multi-talented experience as a nonprofit board member, with special emphasis on development, and has a record of achievement as a key, action-oriented team player, said a press release.

"Susie has been with Great Barrington Public Theater since our inception. Not only is she one of our greatest champions, she is also incredibly beloved by the Great Barrington community," GB Public founder Deann Simmons Halper explained. "I can think of no one better to lead the board and the company on to our next phase of growth.

The first invited member of the GBPT board, Roeder led the initial fundraising campaigns, doubled the company's annual appeal numbers and took part in the concept and planning of the company's upcoming  June 7 benefit An Evening with Great Barrington Public Theater that will introduce the 2024 season, and support and promote the work of Berkshire Voices, GBPT's playwriting collaborative.

Weekes Roeder is familiar and respected throughout the Berkshires. In her dozen years on the board of Construct, the leading nonprofit provider of affordable housing and supportive services to residents in fifteen towns across the southern Berkshires, Roeder solidified a professional donor database, and was instrumental in multiple creative fundraising events that raised visibility and made direct connections and impact on Berkshire communities.

Prior to moving to the Berkshires from Washington DC more the twenty years ago, she worked with funding sources to raise 18 million dollars capital for the Lab School.

Following graduation from Suffolk University with a Master's Degree in Media in Philanthropy, Roeder traveled to South Africa, the Dominican Republic, China, and throughout the United States with film crews capturing the stories of clients served by various organizations, producing video for organizations such as USAID; Helen Keller International; The Giving Back Catalog; Berkana; Blue Rider Stables; Sinocizo and Construct. She later founded the Indwe Learning Center in South Africa, a Montessori School for children who lost parents to AIDS.

The event will also tribute the visionary contributions of Sally and Fred Harris, the driving force behind the success of St. James Place, and Michael Brady, award winning playwright and founder of Berkshire Voices writers' collaborative.


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Presumed Drowning of Minor Being Investigated

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Authorities are investigating the presumed drowning of a 14-year-old at Benedict Pond on Wednesday afternoon. 
According to Great Barrington Police, first responders received a 911 call shortly before 2 p.m. of a teen who was unaccounted for in the pond's beach area. 
The youth was found unresponsive in the water prior to emergency personnel arriving. Several people assisted in removing the victim from the water and CPR was immediately started. The victim was transported to Fairview Hospital, but lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.  
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office is actively investigating the death of the minor. The victim's name has not been released and the office said more information would be provided in coming days pending the preliminary investigation results.
The State Police Detective Unit assigned to the DA's Office is overseeing the investigation.
Responders included local Police and Fire Departments, as well as Monterey Police and Fire, New Marlborough Ambulance and Southern Berkshire Ambulance Squad.
Benedict Pond is located within Beartown State Forest with access in Great Barrington and Monterey.
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