Sunday June 24, 2012

Kids who qualify for free breakfasts and lunches during the school year needn’t do without when classes are over -- at least in Pittsfield.

Starting Monday and continuing through Aug. 24, the Pittsfield School Department will sponsor a free summer meals program.

Breakfasts will be served at 8:30 a.m. and lunches from 12 to 12:30 weekdays at the following sites in the city:

n Dower Square at the corner of Wahconah Street and Pecks Road (lunch only);

n First United Methodist Church at the corner of Fenn Street and Renne Avenue (lunch only, noon to 1 p.m.);

n Morningside Community School, 100 Burbank St. (breakfast and lunch);

n Conte Community School, 200 West Union St. (breakfast and lunch).

For more information, call the Food Service Department of Pittsfield Public Schools (413) 448-9608 or visit www.pittsfield.net and click on "Lunch Menus" under "Family & Community."

n

Here’s a fun way to find out how the buying power of a dollar has changed over the years.

I’ve used it in writing stories where I have to calculate what a project constructed at a certain cost years ago, would cost if built today.

On your computer, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site www.bls.gov/data /inflation_calculator.htm. On it you’ll find the CPI Inflation Calculator that goes back to 1913.


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Plug in a figure -- such as the $90,000 it cost to build The Shed at Tanglewood in 1938 and hit calculate to see what that amount would be in today’s dollars -- about $1.47 million.

The CPI inflation calculator uses the average Con sumer Price Index for a
given calendar year. It represents changes in prices of all goods and services purchased for consumption by urban households.

Playing around with the calculator can have its down side. For example, plug in the salary you got on your first job and the year in which you got it. Then calculate what those dollars would buy today.

If you have been working for many years and not earning in that top 1 percent, you may be in for a surprise.

To reach Charles Bonenti:
(413) 496-6211;
cbonenti@berkshireeagle.com