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Berkshire Theatre Group's early summer season includes “contact,” a Tony Award-winning dance musical; “What the Constitution Means to Me,” a co-production with WAM Theatre; “Photograph 51,”; and the world premiere of “The Smile of Her,” by Christine Lahti. Tickets go on sale Dec. 2.

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Rhode Island has become the latest state to allow recreational marijuana sales. Customers started lining up to buy recreational marijuana in the state early Thursday morning, a little more than six months after Gov. Dan McKee signed legislation permitting such sales to people 21 and older. Five stores are currently allowed to sell recreational cannabis products, but the state could eventually have dozens more. They are in Central Falls, Providence, Pawtucket, Portsmouth and Warwick. All five stores had already been selling medical marijuana. The co-owner of Mother Earth Wellness in Pawtucket said the store opened earlier than normal on Thursday and business has been brisk.

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A 21-year-old Vermont man is facing federal charges that he purchased a handgun that was found less than 24-hours later at the scene of a shootout in Springfield, Massachusetts, that resulted in the deaths of two men. Prosecutors say that Cameron Yee, of South Burlington, was arrested Tuesday. He appeared in court Wednesday where he pleaded not guilty. Court documents say Yee was paid $2,000 by a man he knew as “Jay" to buy a .40 caliber handgun and that Yee knew Jay was involved in a dispute with another man. Prosecutors did not specifically say if the man who was killed was Jay. Yee's attorney declined comment.

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New York congressman Hakeem Jeffries has been elected House Democratic leader and will become in the new year the first Black American to lead a major political party in Congress. Democrats met Wednesday behind closed doors for the internal party elections as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team step aside. House Democrats are ushering in a new generation of leaders. The 52-year-old Jeffries has vowed to “get things done,” even after Republicans won control of the chamber and relegate Democrats to the minority party in January. The trio led by Jeffries includes 59-year-old Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts as the Democratic whip and 43-year-old Rep. Pete Aguilar of California as caucus chairman.

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Federal authorities have arrested a Massachusetts police officer they allege used a baton to strike a man in custody and then failed to mention the incident in two reports. Federal prosecutors in Boston said Wednesday that following an FBI investigation, Fall River Officer Nicholas Hoar was indicted on charges of deprivation of rights and making false reports. His federal public defender in an email declined to comment. Authorities say Hoar was on duty on Dec. 21, 2020, when he struck a man who had been arrested in the forehead with a baton, injuring him.

The 86th annual John S. Watson Fund, a holiday fund serving South Berkshire families in need, has received initial donations totaling $2,615 toward this year's fundraising goal of $40,000.

"In the Shadow of the Hills," on view at the Bennington Museum through Dec. 31, is both an exhibition and museum fundraiser featuring the work of 27 regional artists. The exhibition is most intriguing when the artists use their own experiences and imaginations to interpret current and historic events.

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