Business Briefs for Aug. 22


Pittsfield: Bank hires team to expand services

Berkshire Bank has hired an experienced small business team to expand its small business banking services in New York's Capital District. The team consists of Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas, vice president, business banking team leader; Tracey Costanza, vice president, business banking officer; Eric Navarra, vice president, business banking officer; Gregory Novitsky, vice president, business banking officer; and Michael Stefanik, vice president, business banking officer.

The team's market footprint includes the counties of Albany; Schenectady; Rensselaer; Saratoga; Columbia; Greene; Fulton; and Montgomery in New York. The new group, formerly with First Niagara Financial Group, will be based out of Berkshire's regional headquarters at 41 State St. in Albany, N.Y. It will be responsible for managing and developing Berkshire's small business accounts and lending portfolio in the Capital District New York region, working closely with the New York Business Development Corp. (NYBDC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Pittsfield: Hillcrest gets grant for ASD program

Hillcrest Educational Centers Inc. has received a $5,000 grant from the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank to purchase iPads and speech and language applications for its Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Residential Program.

The items will help ASD children learn and communicate with teachers, staff, family members, peers and conventional students and to reduce the self-injurious behaviors exhibited due to frustration. These programs put learning at children's fingertips in an easier way than conventional computers and turning iPads into communication devices that can be kept with students at all times helps excite students to learn.

Berkshires: USDA program to help farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has formed the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to provide assistance for losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year. Farmers who did not have access to crop insurance and are in primary or adjacent counties that received a Secretarial disaster designation because of frost or freeze in 2012 are eligible for NAP assistance. Losses due to weather damage or other adverse natural occurrences may also quality for program assistance. Applications must be submitted to FSA county offices by Sept. 22. Information: (413) 443-1776 ext. 100;


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