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Lady Liberty welcomes residents and guests to West Stockbridge's anniversary celebration.
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West Stockbridge Marks 250th Anniversary of Founding

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Officials including state Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and state Sen. Paul Mark address the gathering in Saturday. 

WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The town marked 250 years as a tight-knit community on Saturday with food, music, history lessons, and many smiles.

In 1774, the General Court in Boston passed an act to establish the Town of West Stockbridge after five years of effort and its first town meeting was held on July 4 of that year. State and local officials gathered in front of Town Hall on Saturday to kick off a day of bicenquinquagenary celebrations hosted by the West Stockbridge Historical Society.

State Sen. Paul Mark noted that the town is older than the Senate and read a citation from Gov. Maura Healey.

"Congratulations, you were founded in a very tumultuous time that then led to the birth of our country, which is approaching its 250th anniversary, and only months from the first shots of the Revolutionary War, which was of course right here in Massachusetts," he said.

"So you're a trendsetter. You're a trailblazer."

Lifelong resident Gene Dellea and state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli were honored during the event.  Pignatelli reflected on his early memories of Town Hall, which is undergoing a multiphase restoration.

"Restoring our history I think is so important for all of our communities," he said. "There's a lot of books of old buildings in Berkshire County that are sadly just black and white photos because the buildings have been torn down, fell down, burned down, or whatever."

The day began with a procession down Main Street followed by a barbecue, scavenger hunt, antique vehicle showcase, bake sale, and history talks.

"In anticipation of the 250th celebration on Saturday, I would like to express my excitement and appreciation for the upcoming events in West Stockbridge on July 6. This milestone is a testament to our town's rich history and vibrant community spirit," Select Board Chair Andrew Potter wrote to iBerkshires before the celebration.

"I commend the citizen-organized celebration and extend my gratitude to the West Stockbridge Historical Society, particularly its President Bob Salerno, whose dynamism has been instrumental in bringing this event to fruition."

As the town gathers, Potter asked that residents reflect on West Stockbridge's history, honor the contributions of those who came before us, and look forward to a future built on the strong foundation they have laid.

"West Stockbridge's journey began in 1766, with its official incorporation following in 1774. Originally known as Queensborough and part of the disputed border between Massachusetts and New York, our town has become the unique and historic place we cherish today," he wrote.

"From its origins as five separate villages — West Center, West Stockbridge, Freedleyville, Rockdale, and Williamsville — to becoming the largest due to the railroad's influence, our town has a storied past. The ironworks in Williamsville, founded by Colonel Elijah Williams, and the remnants of its furnace smokestack, remind us of our industrious heritage."

The town began as an industrial community and shifted to a vacation destination in the 20th century, known for its natural amenities, inns and guest houses, and summer camps. Following World War 2, it attracted artists, musicians, writers, and craftspeople.

Today its residents range economically and socially and it is known to have a small-town, friendly character.

Tags: anniversary,   bicenquinquagenary,   

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Fairview Hospital Receives Awards for Stroke Care

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Fairview Hospital has been twice recognized for its stroke care by the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 
Berkshire Health Systems said Fairview was honored for "Achieving Door to CT Less Than or Equal to 25 Minutes From Arrival for at Least 85 percent of Stroke Patients" and "Dysphagia Screening Greater Than or Equal to 90 percent."
The Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program is a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded quality improvement collaborative administered by DPH that supports Primary Stroke Service hospitals.
The door-to-CT measure demonstrates the percentage of stroke patients receiving a computed tomography, or CT, scan in less than or equal to 25 minutes from the time of arrival at the emergency department. For the award, the measure includes all eligible stroke patients who arrived at the hospital by emergency medical services and within 4.5 hours of "Last Known Well" (the date and time when a patient was last known to be without signs and symptoms of the current stroke or at their baseline). Hospitals are encouraged to include EMS agencies in quality improvement activities aimed at improving this measure.
The dysphagia award recognizes hospitals that completed dysphagia screening on at least 90 percent of stroke patients from January 2023 to December 2023. The dysphagia screening measure captures the percentage of stroke patients who undergo screening for dysphagia with an evidence-based bedside testing protocol approved by the hospital before being given any food, fluids, or medication by mouth.
"Fairview Hospital provides outstanding care for the south Berkshire community," said Dr. James Lederer, Berkshire Health Systems chief medical officer/chief quality officer. "The staff at Fairview is committed to providing quality stroke care, recognized by these prestigious awards from the DPH Coverdell Stroke Program."
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the commonwealth and a leading cause of adult disability. Immediate assessment and treatment are critical to help improve outcomes.
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