Member Press Releases

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Founder’s Property on the Market with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty

Chester, Mass. – July 18 – William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty announced today the company has listed a 19th-century compound formerly owned by the founder of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. The estate is listed for $685,000 and is represented by Great Barrington/Lenox agent Stephanie McNair.

Grand Lodge

Ted Shawn lived on the property in the 1930s during which he founded what would become the country’s oldest internationally celebrated summer dance festival in Becket, but the seeds of Jacob’s Pillow are found here in Chester. The property, nestled on a hilltop overlooking 73 acres, provides opportunity for swimming, tennis and hiking.

According to McNair, this was the original dance property, and dancers from all over the world stayed here. It then became a retreat for families from New York City staying in the area for the summer. Before Shawn owned the property, it served as a camp for the YMCA in the late 1800s.

The entirety of the property has since been restored including the four-bedroom main residence, two-bedroom house, seven-bedroom Grand Lodge, swimming pool and barn, once used as the camp’s mess hall.

“This is an incredible slice of Berkshire history,” said McNair. “The future owner will enjoy a rare beauty, rich with memories ingrained into the Berkshires foothills.”

For more information on the property, located at 14 Johnson Hill Road, please visit the firm’s website here.

About William Pitt-Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty

Founded in 1949, William Pitt-Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty manages a $4 billion portfolio with more than 1,000 sales associates in 27 brokerages spanning Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Westchester County, New York. William Pitt-Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty is one of the largest Sotheby’s International Realty(R) affiliates globally and the 37th-largest real estate company by sales volume in the United States. For more information, visit the website at williampitt.com.

Sotheby’s International Realty’s worldwide network includes 990 offices throughout 72 countries and territories on six continents.

Bidwell House Museum Summer Garden Party

The Bidwell House Museum in Monterey, MA, is holding its annual summer garden party on Saturday, August 3, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the magnificent gardens on the grounds of the Museum.  This year the Museum is excited to be honoring a true gem in our midst, renowned Samuel Knight Professor of History at Yale University and award winning author, John Demos.  All proceeds from this event will benefit the Bidwell House Museum.

Guests at the party will enjoy a magical night with music by Eric Martin and Karen Axelrod and  delectable hors d’oeuvres by distinguished chef Peter Platt of Old Inn on the Green. As part of the festivities this year guests will be able to take mini-tours of the Museum’s ground floor with some of our long term docents and interns.  Everyone will also receive a guest pass to come back for a tour after the celebration.  Also this year will be a fun silent auction full of experiences you won’t want to miss!

The Bidwell House Museum, located on Art School Road, Monterey, tells the story of the early settlement of the Berkshires, from the English settlers and the Native Americans, to the mid-1800s. The property was the original home of the Reverend Adonijah Bidwell, first pastor of Township No. 1 (now Monterey and Tyringham), from 1750 to 1784. The Bidwell House first opened to the public in 1990 and today the house and its surrounding 192 acres serves as a premier example of early American home life.   The Museum has an extensive collection of period furnishings and decorative arts, as well as gardens, fields, stone walls and forested trails.

The Summer Garden party is the major fundraising event of the year for the museum, supporting the historic 1700s homestead, educational programs, and the grounds which are open to the community year-round.

Tickets to the Summer Gala start at $125 per person and may be reserved by contacting the museum office at 413-528-6888. Or feel free to visit the museum website at www.bidwellhousemuseum.org.  

Berkshire Food Co-op Welcomes New General Manager

Great Barrington, MA – After conducting an 8-month-long, nationwide search for a new General Manager, the Board of Directors of Berkshire Food Co-op is pleased to welcome Troy Bond to helm the newly expanded cooperative grocery store.

Troy Bond

“We are thrilled to welcome Troy to the Berkshires to lead our Co-op as we grow into our new store. He brings not only an extensive background successfully managing natural foods stores, but also superior communication skills and a history of community building.” – Erica Spizz, President of the Board of Directors

Troy Bond started his career in natural foods by opening The Market in his hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1998. The Market was the first retailer in the area dedicated to selling natural foods after the Cotton Top Co-op closed in the 1970’s.

His interest in natural foods springs from a desire to provide healthy foods to support optimum well-being. Prior to opening The Market, Troy was certified to teach Integral Yoga, and served as the Stress Management Specialist with the Ornish Program, an experimental program to reverse heart disease at Mercy Hospital and the Iowa Heart Center in Des Moines.

After selling The Market, Troy went on to work for Whole Foods Market as a Store Team Leader and was named as an All*Star in 2004 after turning around an under-performing location and doubling sales. His career continued as a consultant for natural foods and specialty food service start-ups, a category manager, and a new store opening director. Recently he served on the executive team of the Independent Natural Foods Retailers Association (INFRA) as the Director of Member Relations overseeing the retail operations of 250 retail members with 360 storefronts, and then as the Store Manager for an INFRA store in Florida.

“Considering how much we’ve been able to accomplish during this transitional phase, we think we’ll be able to achieve great things working with Troy. We’re looking forward to building an even more successful business with him that will become a powerfully positive force in our local economy.” – Ted Moy, Store Manager

Troy is moving to the Great Barrington area from Florida, with his two children, Donovan and Siena, both in high school. In his spare time, Troy enjoys writing fiction, cycling and making pizza from scratch.  

About Berkshire Food Co-op

Berkshire Food Co-op is a cooperatively-owned grocery store that specializes in sustainably and responsibly created food and products for body and home. The Co-op is the center of a flourishing community that cultivates generosity, cooperation and care for our environment.  Anyone can be an Owner and everyone is welcome to shop! Learn more at www.berkshire.coop.

With Feet and Miles Measured, Downtown Improvement Project is ‘Substantially Complete’

Great Barrington, Mass.   July 11, 2019 – Two-thirds of a mile of downtown streets fixed and paved. Drainage improved. Nearly a mile of sidewalks repaired and improved. New trees and decorative street lighting installed. Improved handicapped access, an improved public parking lot. Fresh line painting.

Now, after a $2.1 million state investment and four months of steady construction, the town’s downtown reconstruction project is now “substantially complete,” according to Town Planner Chris Rembold. The infrastructure project dovetailed with substantial private development investment in the downtown area, especially in the Bridge Street area, which is also nearing completion.

“Some of these streets and sidewalks had not been improved in over 40 years,” Town Manager Mark Pruhenski said. “There are still a few small items on the punch list, but we’re happy we could finish in time for the busy summer season. Local merchants, residents and property owners have been patient and cooperative.”

The work on Railroad, Elm, Bridge, Church, and School Streets was funded by a combination of state funding from Mass Works, Housing Choice and Smart Growth grants. DPW Superintendent Sean Vandeusen and Rembold oversaw the project.

“We’re grateful for funding from these agencies for their contributions to economic development and infrastructure in small towns around the state,” said Pruhenski, “and we couldn’t have done it without the leadership of Sean and Chris.”

Great Barrington Selectboard Chair Stephen Bannon added, “We’re thrilled and proud about this project. Along with the Main Street improvements completed in 2016, our investments downtown ensure our infrastructure will support economic development for generations to come.”

Crews replaced and widened 800 feet of sidewalk on Railroad Street, one of the region’s busiest pedestrian areas. And 170 feet of brand-new sidewalk was installed on Church Street near Iredale Mineral Cosmetics headquarters and around the corner to the planned new hotel site on Bridge Street, at the former Searles Middle School.

The town project supports at least $110 million in recent and planned investment in downtown mixed-use developments, including more than over 100 housing units and 160,000 square feet of commercial space.  

State Rep. William J. “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, said, “Kudos to Great Barrington for another great project. Mass Works is all about using relatively small amounts of grant funding to support and stimulate new jobs and new housing units in walkable locations. Downtown Great Barrington is a special place and now it’s even better.”

Betsy Andrus, Executive Director of the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, said, “We thank the state and the town for investing to support business in the core of Southern Berkshire.”

The project was coordinated with the $15 million Powerhouse Square project on Bridge Street, where the Berkshire Co-Op Market relocated in June with its new 14,000-square-foot store. Powerhouse Square will add retail stores and more than 20 apartments on the upper floors, and, as part of its permit, Powerhouse developer Benchmark Development installed the public sidewalk along its portion of Bridge Street. Benchmark will also improve the baseball field at Memorial Field.

The town’s road construction was also coordinated with Fiber Connect of the Berkshires’ installation of high-speed broadband internet in the downtown area.

In recent years, downtown has seen substantial private investment: Iredale Cosmetics’ $12 million preservation and renovation of the former Bryant School; the $11 million preservation and renovation of Saint James Place; the $6.5 million renovation and expansion of 47 Railroad St., and a $2.5 million renovation of the Berkshire Block at 321 Main St. A $25 million hotel is planned for the former Searles School, and a $45 million affordable housing development is planned for 100 Bridge Street including 45 units of new affordable housing. Upcoming work includes repaving of the Triplex Cinema parking lot. Next year the town will improve roads and sidewalks onBridge Street and Bentley Avenue, to support the housing development at 100 Bridge St.

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Becomes Berkshire Waldorf School

Great Barrington, Mass. — July 15, 2019 — Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School Board of Directors and Council of Teachers announced today that the school’s official name will become Berkshire Waldorf School as of September 1.

“Since the school’s founding in 1971, dedicated teachers, trustees, administrators, staff and families have worked faithfully to nurture and grow this school,” commented Board President Chris Lee.  “The school’s new name marks the next step in the growth process, reflecting what the school has become: a thriving Waldorf school providing families from all over the Berkshire region with an effective alternative education.”

As many families continue to relocate to the Berkshires from across the globe, and commute from three states (NY, CT, MA) to take advantage of the school’s experiential, individually-paced and immersive learning opportunities for their children, the geographic diversity of the school’s student body reflects this sea-change. Clearly the reach of Berkshire Waldorf School is well beyond the Great Barrington, MA, campus. 

The new name reflects this strong identity, a Waldorf school in the heart of the Berkshires. It also places the school squarely within the larger Waldorf educational movement, the fastest-growing independent school movement worldwide. And it allows prospective families looking for a vibrant and progressive school community located at the crossroads of nature and culture to find the school with ease.

Berkshire Waldorf School’s new director, Dr. Sue Das, whose administration coincides with the school name change, is optimistic about the growth and transformation of the school. Equipped with extensive practical and pedagogical training in teacher education and literacy that spans over three decades and across multiple continents, Dr. Das is eager to begin the school year with a vision of “building bridges.” In her own words, “The time is ripe for Berkshire Waldorf School to add some bold colors on the canvas—new meaningful initiatives which are child-centric and allow every student to flourish at their own pace, in order to become valuable and thoughtful contributors to the world. This is what sets us apart, and we are more than ever committed to writing a 21st century Waldorf narrative.” 

Berkshire Waldorf School is an independent coeducational day school, one of over one thousand Waldorf Schools worldwide, fully accredited by the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE), the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN). Serving students from early childhood through 8th grade, the school’s curriculum integrates rigorous academics with arts, music, movement, outdoor learning and three-season intramural sports. Now accepting applications for fall, Berkshire Waldorf School offers year-round admissions and generous scholarships based on need.

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Agricultural Commissioner will visit Berkshire Farms

For people working in the marble halls of the Massachusetts State House, the Berkshires sometimes seems like the Wild West – no air conditioning, no mass transit, and plenty of folks who will defend their way of life ’til the last breath.

On Tuesday, July 16, several Massachusetts government dignitaries and their staffers will head west for a day of farm visits in the Berkshires. Expected attendees include the Secretary of the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Kathleen Theoharides, Agricultural Commissioner John Lebeaux, Representative John Barrett, Alfred Enchill (from Senator Adam Hinds’s office), as well as staffers from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

“Farm visits like these are crucial to helping our state government get a clear understanding of the challenges facing farmers in the Berkshires,” says Margaret Moulton, Executive Director of Berkshire Grown. The nonprofit organizes an annual visit with the Commissioner every summer. “We are so pleased that the Commissioner has invited the Secretary of Energy and Environment this year. The agricultural landscape is a huge part of the environmental picture in the Berkshires.”

The Secretary and the Commissioner will tour three farms in the region. The day will begin at Broadlawn Farm in Adams, a family-run dairy farm owned and run by the Ziemba family for over 75 years. The fire destroyed a barn, a bull, and most of the winter feed in a disastrous fire last fall. During the one hour visit, the Commissioner will talk with them about their struggle to rebuild the dairy farm, and get a first-hand look at the life of a Berkshire dairy farmer.

Next on the schedule is Caretaker Farm, a diversified CSA farm tucked into a valley south of Williamstown. It’s CSA pick-up day so visitors will see the community members in action at the farm.

What makes Caretaker Farm unusual is the innovative transfer of ownership. Developed with the assistance of Equity Trust Inc., ownership is shared by four different parties: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased an APR, the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation purchased all of the land, both the farmstead land and the land subject to the APR, the original farmers Sam and Elizabeth Smith retained ownership of one of the two houses on the farm and hold a 99-year ground lease to the land beneath and immediately around that house, and Don Zasada and Bridget Spann purchased the main farmhouse and all of the barns and other agricultural improvements, and hold a 99-year ground lease to the rest of the land. In its detailed structure, this arrangement insures that the farm will remain affordable to future generations of farmers in perpetuity and protects the community’s investment in the farm.

The last stop on the Berkshire farm tour will be at Red Shirt Farm in Lanesborough. Jim Schultz is a farmer, an educator, an entrepreneur, and inventor. A visit to his farm is like a trip through Charlie’s chocolate factory, with innovative solutions to the many challenges for a small-scale organic farmer in the Northeast – all in the interests of growing delicious food. For example, Shultz’s “climate battery greenhouse” collects and stores humid, warm air in the summer, and cycles it back to the indoor growing space in the cold winter months. Jim will give a tour around the farm, sharing and demonstrating some of his innovative “farm hacks.”

Berkshire Farm Tour Schedule, Tuesday, July 16:

10:00 – 11:00 am – Broadlawn Farm, 46 Walling Road, Adams, 01220

11:45 – 1:15 pm – Caretaker Farm, 1210 Hancock Rd., Williamstown, 01267

1:30 – 2:30 pm – Red Shirt Farm 60 Williamstown Rd, Lanesborough, 01237

About Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown supports and promotes local agriculture as a vital part of the Berkshire community, economy, and landscape; its mission is to “Keep farmers farming!” Through events, workshops, promotions, advocacy, and education highlighting locally grown and produced food, Berkshire Grown helps to create a thriving local food economy. For more information, go to berkshiregrown.org or call 413.528.0041.

BFAIR Purchases Redemption Center in North Adams

North Adams, MAJuly 9 – Berkshire Family and Individual Resources, Inc. (BFAIR), purchased the Bottle and Can Redemption Center at 1000 Massachusetts Avenue in North Adams, MA.  The Center was acquired from David Moresi of Moresi & Associates.  “BFAIR has a great relationship with Mr. Moresi.  We have been working together for several years managing the customer service portion of the business, and when the Redemption Center became available for sale, he approached BFAIR.  We are grateful for this opportunity to continue to provide employment for individuals with disabilities while also playing an important role in north Berkshire” said Rich Weisenflue, CEO.

Redemption Center

According to Theresa Gelinas, Senior VP Day Services, “the employees acquire customer services skills with the support of BFAIR’s Employment program staff, assisting the general public redeeming cans and bottles, as well as playing a positive role in our community with respect to the environment by reducing waste and promoting reuse of containers.  Our Redemption Center also serves as a great steppingstone for people with disabilities acquiring work skills moving on to competitive employment.”

If you would like to redeem or donate the proceeds from recycling your bottles and/or cans to BFAIR, please drop them off to the Redemption Center at 1000 Massachusetts Avenue.  Contact Becky McAllister, Director of Employment Services at bmcallister@bfair.org or 413.664.9382 for more information about the Redemption Center.

About BFAIR

Since 1994, BFAIR providing adult family care (AFC), residential, in-home clinical services, employment and day services for adults and children with developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury, autism and homecare services for older adults. 

BCC Invites Public Comment During Its College-Wide Accreditation

Pittsfield, Mass. – July 9 – Berkshire Community College (BCC) will undergo a comprehensive evaluation visit between October 20 – 23, 2019, by a team representing the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education is one of seven accrediting commissions in the United States that provide institutional accreditation on a regional basis. Accreditation is voluntary and applies to the institution as a whole. The Commission, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, accredits approximately 240 institutions in the six-state New England region.

BCC has been accredited by the Commission since 1964 and was last reviewed in 2009. Its accreditation by the New England Association encompasses the entire institution.

For the past year and a half, BCC has been engaged in a process of self-study, addressing the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation. An evaluation team will visit the institution to gather evidence that the self-study is thorough and accurate. The team will recommend to the Commission a continuing status for the institution. Following a review process, the Commission itself will take the final action.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the institution to:

Public Comment on Berkshire Community College
Commission on Institutions of Higher Education New England Association of Schools and Colleges
3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100
Burlington, MA 01803-4514

E-mail: cibe@neasc.org.

Public Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution. The Commission cannot settle disputes between individuals and institutions, whether those involve faculty, students, administrators, or members of other groups. Comments will not be treated as confidential and must include the name, address, and telephone number of the person providing the comments.

Public Comments must be received by Wednesday, October 23. The Commission cannot guarantee that comments received after that date will be considered.

About Berkshire Community College

Berkshire Community College (BCC) is a public, fully accredited, community college offering associate degree and certificate programs, as well as various other educational opportunities, primarily to the residents of Berkshire County and surrounding areas. Visit BCC online at www.berkshirecc.edu.

Effective Handling of Your Health Information Program Offered at Fairview Hospital

Great Barrington, Mass – July 1 – Fairview Hospital will offer a free community health education as part of its Summer Health Literacy Program on the topic of “Your Health File: Organization Information to Help You Take Charge,” on Tuesday, July 16, at 4:30 p.m. in the Ground Floor Conference Room, Fairview Hospital at 29 Lewis Avenue, Great Barrington.

The program presenter, Deborah Phillips, MS, LDN, IFNCP, has a background as certified health education specialist and is also the coordinator of the Southern Berkshire Rural Health Network.

 Based on the fundamental principle of the individual’s increasingly vital role in their own health and well-being, the program is designed to strengthen knowledge, understanding and application of handling health information in an organized and effective way.  Participants will leave with an understanding of what information is useful to have to make decisions, how to find that information, and options for storing the information.

Deb Phillips will share different forms and tools that are easily available.  Fairview Hospital’s Community Health Worker, Jamal Miles, will be available following the program to help people access their BHS Patient Portal account, an important tool to access recent health information.

There is no charge for the program, but pre-registration is requested due to seating limitations. Please call Fairview’s Community Relations Office at 413.854.9609 to register.

Hevreh of Southern Berkshire Announces The Third Annual Berkshires’ Jewish Festival of Books

The Berkshires’ third annual Jewish Festival of Books will take place at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire in Great Barrington, Massachusetts from Thursday, July 18th through Sunday, July 21st.

Co-presented by Hevreh and Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, in partnership with the Jewish Book Council, and with the generous support of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Devonshire Estates Independent Retirement Living in Lenox, the festival will feature free and fee-based author talks, teachings and readings by nationally and internationally acclaimed writers in genres ranging from adult fiction to children’s literature to cookbooks.

The opening night author on Thursday, July 18th at 7 p.m. is Barry Joseph, presenting Seltzertopia: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary Drink, the definitive biography of seltzer.  Attendees will not only be treated to Joseph’s presentation, but also to a real siphon bottle seltzer, milk and Fox’s U-Bet egg cream reception and book signing afterwards.

This Egg Cream Eggstravaganza will be the culmination of a two month egg cream special at The Great Barrington Bagel Company & Deli in Great Barrington, MA from Memorial Day weekend through July 21st, sponsored by Great Barrington Bagel, Brooklyn Seltzer Boys and Concepts of Art, a Judaica shop in Lenox, Mass, which will be offering artistic seltzer themed prints at Barrington Bagel and at the Barry Joseph event.  A portion of all egg cream and poster proceeds goes to benefit the book festival.

On Friday, July 19th, following the 5:45 p.m. Shabbat evening service, Angela Himsel will discuss her memoir A River Could Be A Tree, which traces her journey from one of eleven children, growing up in rural Indiana as part of an apocalyptic, doomsday Christian sect led by a white supremacist to a Modern Orthodox Jewish woman living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  The Jewish Women’s Archive is sponsoring this event.

On Saturday, July 20th at noon, following Shabbat morning services at 10 a.m, best-selling novelist Tova Mirvis discusses her memoir, The Book of Separation, tracing her journey away from her Modern Orthodox upbringing, as she leaves both a marriage and the religious community of which she was a part, and struggles to find her footing in an unfamiliar secular world.  The Jewish Women’s Archive is sponsoring this event.  

On Saturday, July 20th, during Shabbat morning services, Tova Mirvis and Angela Himsel will be in conversation with each other, moderated by Judith Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Jewish Women’s Archive.  Among other topics, they will recount their two journeys to and from Modern Orthodoxy, and explore the power and complexity of community, family, tradition and finding one’s own path and meaning.  The Jewish Women’s Archive is sponsoring this event.

On Saturday, July 20th at 4 p.m., Rabbi Leah Rachel Berkowitz will read from her children’s book, The World Needs Beautiful Things, a Biblically inspired exploration of creativity and the arts.Children and their adults will go on a found object nature walk in Hevreh’s backyard followed by creative crafting, a hands-on Havdalah and some sweet Shabbat treats.  

The festival ends on Sunday, July 21st at 10 a.m., with Chef Rossi presenting her raucous memoir The Raging Skillet,recounting her revolution against Orthodoxy and the microwave, and evolution into one of the most sought after caterers in New York City. Thisevent will include lunch featuring some of the recipes from the book.  All of the other festival events will also offer refreshments.  All festival books will be available for

advance purchase at Hevreh, and the authors will be happy to sign them at the festival.

For more information, or to make reservations, visit hevreh.org/books or call Hevreh at 413-528-6378.

Hevreh is a center for Jewish Life, Learning, and Community in the southern Berkshires. The Hebrew word “Hevreh” means friendship – a word that states its purpose – to be a community of friends in a Jewish context.