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Denise Demong
Sonia Pilcer, who will be reading at The Mount Saturday, March 14, from 2 to 4, as part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.

Bits & Bytes: ‘Women of a Certain Age’ at The Mount; DCAMM workshop; senior tax credits; Berkshire transportation guide

By Friday, Mar 13, 2015 News
Sonia Pilcer reads from ‘Last Hotel,’ at the Mount

Lenox — If you want to hear Sonia Pilcer read from her newly published novel, THE LAST HOTEL, currently in its 21st installment on The Edge, check out ‘Women Writers of a Certain Age on the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers web site. Pilcer will be joined by fella writers: Norah Walsh, Enid Futterman, and Debby Mayer on Saturday, May 14, 2-4, at the Mount –- in its fourth year at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. $20 includes a free signed copy of THE LAST HOTEL.

— D.S.

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Workshop for local contractors: What it takes to bid on public jobs

Great Barrington—A workshop geared towards helping local contractors become certified by the Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAMM) will be held March 18 from 1pm to 3pm at the Fire Station on 37 State Road. This program will cover the DCAMM Certification Application requirements and the process for becoming certified as a Prime Contractor & Filed Sub-bidder for those interested in bidding on M.G.L. Chapter 149 and 149A vertical building construction work in the Commonwealth. DCAMM presenter will be Public Information Manager, Suzette Waters.

To register, click here.

The topic of DCAMM certification came up last fall when some community members proposed using the local workforce to renovate Monument Mountain Regional High School. Voters said no to the renovation, but work will eventually have to be done to upgrade the deteriorating school. Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin asked the state to hold a workshop closer to home, and they agreed. “We want our local workforce to be able to get in the loop and know what they need to become part of it,” she said.

— H.B.

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Tax credit for senior citizens from Mass DOR

Great Barrington — This dispatch from Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin: Seniors may be eligible for up to $1,050 in what the Massachusetts Department of Revenue terms a “Senior Circuit Breaker Credit.”

To qualify, you must be 65 years of age or older (by December 31, 2014), and own or rent in Massachusetts as a principal residence. And your assessed real estate valuation must not exceed $691,000.

Total income must not exceed $56,000 for single filings; $84,000 couples filing jointly; and $70,000 for heads of household.

To claim the Circuit Breaker Credit, you must file a Massachusetts state income tax return, even if you typically don’t file a return — and — include Schedule CB, the Circuit Breaker Credit form. You can file your tax return for RREE online through the Department of Revenue’s WebFile for Income, and be guided by a question and answer format. Or, you may download forms to be filled out.

If you need help, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) helps low income and middle income people fill out tax returns for free. Call them at 1-800-906-9887. There are other options including AARP’s Tax-Aide program and you can reach them at 1-888-227-7669. For other options check the seniors webpage below.

For more information, click here.

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Berkshires without barriers — a new transportation guide


Pittsfield — The Berkshire Regional Transportation Coordinating Council (RCC) was formed as a result of a statewide initiative to improve community, social service and para-transit transportation. The Berkshire RCC has met monthly for more than a year to help improve access, coordination and availability of transportation services used by residents with disabilities, those with low income or limited English proficiency, seniors and visitors to the Berkshires.

Partnered with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, one of Berkshire RCC’s initial projects was to create a Berkshire County Transportation Guide as a reference for all residents and visitors.

The Guide is intended to help everyone get around in Berkshire County and to encourage efficient use of available resources.

The Berkshire RCC’s goal is to make this resource available to everyone in Berkshire County, and to overcome challenges and barriers to mobility across the county. A copy of the transportation guide can be found by clicking here.

For more information please contact Anuja Koirala, Senior Transportation Planner, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission at akoirala@berkshireplanning.org or Erica Girgenti, Berkshire Regional Transportation Coordinating Council Chair at egirgenti@town.adams.ma.us or 413-743-8333.


— D.S.

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