Bits & Bytes: Higher ed. commissioner to give BCC commencement address; landscape design competition; BHS ‘baby shower;’ PCTV to celebrate George Morrell

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By Friday, Apr 7 Life In the Berkshires
An artist's rendering of Berkshire Botanical Garden's recently remodeled Center House. BBG is holding a competition for the design of a new entry garden for the building.

Commissioner of Higher Education to deliver BCC’s commencement address

Carlos Santiago. Photo: Kevin Harkins

Carlos Santiago. Photo: Kevin Harkins

Lenox — Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago will serve as the keynote speaker at Berkshire Community College’s 57th commencement exercises on Friday, June 2, at 4:30 p.m. at Tanglewood. The event is free and open to the public.

Santiago was appointed to his position by Gov. Charlie Baker in July 2015. Working with the Board of Higher Education, he is responsible for providing overall direction to public higher education in Massachusetts and helping shape state-level policies that maximize the benefits of higher education to the commonwealth and its citizens. Santiago joined the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in April 2013 as the senior deputy commissioner for academic affairs.

Santiago’s past academic appointments include that of chancellor of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and provost and chief operating officer at the University at Albany-SUNY. He was a professor of economics at UWM and SUNY-Albany and holds a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University. He is the author or co-author of six books and has published dozens of articles and book reviews, of which many focus on economic development and the changing socioeconomic status of Latinos in the United States. In 1996 and 2011, Santiago was named one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States by HispanicBusiness magazine.


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Berkshire Botanical Garden launches landscape design competition

Stockbridge — Berkshire Botanical Garden has announced the launch of a landscape design competition to select a designer or design team to help create a new entry garden for its recently restored and expanded Center House.

The call for design proposals is open to landscape design students currently enrolled in accredited landscape architecture programs in the United States and Canada. Honorariums will be awarded to the winning designer and two runners up selected by a five-member jury made up of independent designers, horticulturalists and landscape architects.

The deadline to submit proposals is Friday, May 19, at 5 p.m., but registration must be completed by Monday, April 17, at 5 p.m.


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BHS to hold baby shower for kittens

Pittsfield — Berkshire Humane Society is hosting its third annual baby shower, a supply drive collecting donations of needed items for kitten and mother cat care, during the month of April.

Kitten season typically begins in May and winds down in October. In addition to the drive, BHS trains foster volunteers to care for litters from their own homes, greatly expanding the number of animals the shelter can accommodate. BHS also works with other organizations to reduce unwanted cat populations in Berkshire County. Collected supplies will be shared with Animal DREAMS to assist its work with feral cats.

Supplies requested include bleach, paper towels, dryer sheets, kitchen trash bags, non-pine floor cleaner, digital food scales, heating pads, cat toys, fleece blankets, small stuffed animals, non-clumping cat litter, baby wipes and wand toys.

Supplies can be dropped off in BHS’ lobby. For more information, call (413) 447-7878.


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Pittsfield Community Television to celebrate George Morrell

George Morrell sings on his final television program, recorded in May 2016.

George Morrell sings on his final television program, recorded in May 2016.

Pittsfield — Pittsfield Community Television will honor the life and career of local performer George Morrell on Saturday, April 8, with a marathon of television programs both classic and modern.  The marathon will air on Access Pittsfield, PCTV’s public access channel that can be seen on Spectrum Cable channels 16 and 19-3. The first half of the event will run from 6 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m., and will resume at 5:30 p.m. after a short break for regular programming.

Morrell, who was known by those who loved his music as “the Bing of the Berkshires” and “the Singing Mailman,” first appeared on television during the mid-1950s on Berkshire County’s WMGT.  He continued to sing his way through every era of television, appearing on Time Warner Cable’s channel 2 and Curtis Productions, and finally becoming a part of the programming at PCTV.

Morrell recorded his last original program for PCTV in May 2016. Filmed at his home, it featured longtime performing partner John “Johnny” Ostellino, and will be aired for the first time as a part of the marathon.


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