Politics has an unusually long reach


The senatorial race in the state of Missouri has reached Berkhire County.

One member of The Eagle newsroom staff was home one night last week and, while fixing dinner, received a phone call. When the caller I.D. revealed it was "Akin for Senate," the staffer was intrigued, especially since Rep. Todd Akin is the man who angered people with his explanation that "legitimate rape" victims rarely get pregnant.

At the other end of the phone was former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate and current syndicated radio talk show host Mike Huckabee. Huckabee's prerecorded pitch was to encourge a contribution for the campaign of Republican Senate candidate Akin in his battle against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Why an out-of-state Republican Senate candidate would reach out to the most reliably Democratic-voting section of Massachusetts is a mystery.

Berkshires on a budget: In a lavishly illustrated three pages splashed across Sunday's travel section, The Boston Globe offered a gift-wrapped shoutout to Berkshire County's fall foliage tourism push. Packaged as "Berkshires on a Budget," it followed four different writers who roamed the region to prove that even after summer's prime time, "there's still plenty to do in the hilly hinterlands of western Massachusetts."

The authors proposed "combining mountain hiking with museum hopping, bike riding, kayak paddling, outlet shopping and fun dining. Pick a retro cheap sleep, add a passel of pretty leaves, and you've got yourself a wallet-friendly weekend."

On the list for lodging deals was the re-imagined Briarcliff Motel in Great Barrington and the "comfy and homey, if not terribly chic" Berkshire Hills Motel in Williamstown.

Recommended affordable eats included the Berkshire Co-op in Great Barrington, Guido's, Baba Louie's Pizza, Coyote Flaco in Williamstown, the Lion's Den in Stockbridge and the Miss Adams Diner.

For bigger spenders, the newspaper touted shopping districts such as Railroad Street in Great Barrington, Main Street in Stockbridge and Lenox's Church Street and, for thrillseekers, it also featured the Catamount Aerial Adventure Park in South Egremont, the largest of its kind in New England.

All this fits in with one of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau's top priorities - luring more Boston-area folks to the Berkshires, said CEO Lauri Klefos. The effort extends to billboards on Cape Cod pointing out our far-western county as the state's happiest hunting ground for leaf peeping.

Catholic school officials to be honored: The Catholic Schools Office of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield will celebrate three Pittsfield honorees tonight as part of this year's Catholic Schools Advancement Dinner. The event is scheduled for Wednesday at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee. The dinner helps raise funds for tuition assistance at all Catholic schools.

William Jones, president of Berkshire Healthcare Systems and chairman of the Catholic Schools of Pittsfield board, will be honored with Sister Mary Reap IHM, president of the College of Our Lady of the Elms. Additionally, Crescent Creamery of Pittsfield and Western New England University will be honored as recipients of the 2012 Catholic Schools Distinguished Community Leader Award.

The Catholic Schools Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed upon Claire Cote, the former principal of four elementary schools in the diocese, and to four lifetime high school educators in the diocese, including Lillian Quinn of St. Joseph Central High School in Pittsfield.


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