County Fare: Musicians to support Help-A-Thon for Berkshire COVID-19 fund

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More than 30 artists connected to Berkshire County are joining forces to raise awareness about the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County during the Berkshire COVID-19 Fund Help-A-Thon.

The event, presented by Pittsfield Community Television and simulcast across Berkshire County, will air from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, and will re-air from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Participating artists include legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff, a Stockbridge native, and local musicians Randy Cormier, Matt Cusson, Jonathan Denmark, Mike Duffy, Jeff Hunt, Steve Sears, Bobby Sweet, and Jack Waldheim; comedian Kevin Bartini; local award-winning children's book author Ty Allan Jackson, and more.

The program will also include stories from some of the fund's grantees and local interfaith clergy offering prayers for those lost, struggling and serving our communities. State and local elected officials will be offering messages of support.

Established on March 19 through a coalition of philanthropic organizations, business partners and generous individuals, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County has awarded over $1.4 million in grants to nonprofits working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak.

The Help-A-Thon can be viewed on PCTV channel 1301; Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp. (NBCTC) in North Adams, Adams, Cheshire and Clarksburg, channel 1301; WilliNet, Williamstown Community TV, channel 1303; Dalton Community TV, channel 1301; Lanesborough Community Access, channel 191; and Community Television for the Southern Berkshires (CTSB) in Lee, Lenox, Stockbridge, Great Barrington, and Sheffield, channel 1301.

The event will also be available via WTBR-FM 89.7 Pittsfield Community Radio and WMNB-LP 107.1 FM, and online at PCTV and Berkshire United Way Facebook pages and PCTV Select, available on Roku and Apple TV devices and at pittsfieldtv.org.

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To learn more about the Help-a-Thon, visit berkshireunitedway.org/helpathon.

LIGHT IT UP

Pittsfield Public Schools invites city residents to "light up Pittsfield" with its high schools' colors to celebrate the Class of 2020 Senior Week, June 1-7. Residents can put up colored lights that are purple and white for Pittsfield High School seniors, green and gold for Taconic High School seniors, or a creative combination of any of these colors.

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"Light up your porch, deck, trees, sidewalks, driveways, windows, and anything else you can dream up ... to create a wonderland of school spirit and unified expression of strength for the Class of 2020," organizers say.

Photos of Senior Week light installations can best be shared on social media for all to see, using the hashtag #bravegenerals. Tags for the schools are @taconichighschool and @phsgenerals on Facebook; @taconichighschool and @pittsfieldhigh on Instagram; and @thsbraves and @phsgenerals on Twitter.

CIVITAN SALUTE

Members of the Civitan Club of the Berkshires wanted to thank frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, so they placed signs and balloons along one of the busiest intersections in the county.

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On May 16, volunteers, stood out by the group's "Adopt a Highway" area at the Allendale/Coltsville intersection on the corner of Route 8 across from Friendly's restaurant, acccording to Nancy Lamarre. They were joined by "Officer Friendly," a 15-foot inflatable mascot from the Pittsfield Police Department,

The Civitan Club is a local service organization that supported groups like the Special Olympics, Berkshire County Arc by raising money and volunteering for programs and events. The club also provides financial support for local organizations like the Pittsfield Little League, Moments House and George Crane Memorial Center, along with more than a dozen others.

EFFICIENCY HONORS

Kristen Behnke, assistant superintendent for business and finance for Pittsfield Public Schools, has earned the 2020 Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials President's Award. The honor goes to a member of the organization "who has contributed to the growth and improvement of the profession," who has "greatly improved school efficiency" and has made an "outstanding contribution to his or her school district, community, and/or MASBO."

Behnke has been with the district for nearly 12 years, serving in her current role since October 2012. She's previously earned a 2016 Friend of MASBO Award, and is the second person to win the President's Award for the district. Sally P.W. Douglas won the distinction in 2008.

Behnke will receive a plaque to commemorate the award, and $1,000 will be given to the district in her name, as made possible through association's partnership with the Boston-based printing products company, RISO. Behnke will be honored in person by both the association and the Pittsfield School Committee at a later date.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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