Sunday, May 19, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: OLLI University Day; ‘SKYLARK’ at Infinity Hall; Music in Common at Kimball Farms; bow drill workshop; November blood drives

The OLLI University Day speakers will include Sen. Adam Hinds; Ben Forman, research director at MassINC; Christine Rudd, director of Roca in Springfield; Berkshire County Sheriff Tom Bowler; and Kate Byrne of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative in Albany, New York. 

OLLI University Day to explore criminal justice reform

Great Barrington — The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College will present a day of learning and discussion around the issue of criminal justice reform Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. A variety of speakers will be featured including Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, who co-sponsored a criminal justice reform bills package that just passed the Massachusetts Senate; Ben Forman, research director at MassINC; Christine Rudd, director of Roca in Springfield; Berkshire County Sheriff Tom Bowler; and Kate Byrne of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative in Albany, New York.

Tickets include lunch, morning coffee and refreshments and are $45 for the general public, $35 for OLLI members, and free for students and staff of Berkshire Community College and Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Preregistration is required. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact OLLI at (413) 236-2190 or


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Amy Helm to present ‘SKYLARK’ at Infinity Hall

Amy Helm. Photo: Clark Gayton

Norfolk, Conn. — On Sunday, Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m., Amy Helm will present “SKYLARK” at Infinity Music Hall and Bistro. “SKYLARK,” an all-female line-up of musicians from Helm’s musical community of Woodstock, New York, and beyond, will feature both long-term musical partnerships and first-time collaborations from Helm, Nicki Bluhm, Cindy Cashdollar, Jennifer Condos, Emily Gimble, Shelley King, Allison Miller, Simi Stone, Carolyn Wonderland and Rachael Yamagata.

While 2015’s “Didn’t It Rain” was her first official album as a solo artist, Helm has been making music for most of her life. She’s won widespread praise as a singer, songwriter and live performer, first as a member of the celebrated alt-country collective Ollabelle and also for her extensive work with her father, musical icon Levon Helm.

Tickets are $60–$80. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Infinity Hall at (866) 666-6306.


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Music in Common to screen short films at Kimball Farms

Music in Common participants at a program at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y., at work on their music video. Photo courtesy Music in Common

Lenox — Kimball Farms Life Care will host a showing of two short films by Music in Common Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m.

Music in Common is a nonprofit organization that empowers diverse cultures and faiths to discover common ground through collaborative songwriting, multimedia and performance. The films to be shown are “From Madness to Music” and “Amplified: Young Voices Rising,” which highlight MiC’s work with young people to overcome hatred and prejudice through collaborative music-making. The screenings will be followed by a discussion with MiC founder and director Todd Mack.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome to offset the recent rescindment of a $159,000 federal grant. Refreshments will be served. For more information or to RSVP, contact (413) 637-7043.


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Flying Deer Nature Center to host workshop on bow drill-making

The detail of a bow drill. Photo courtesy Flying Deer Nature Center

New Lebanon, N.Y. — Flying Deer Nature Center will host “Path of Fire: A Bow Drill–Making Workshop” for teens and adults ages 13 and older Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Led by Flying Deer’s programs director Devin Franklin, participants will learn how to identify premium tree species for creating the four parts of a bow drill set: the bow, hand hold, spindle and fire board. Next, they will harvest a chunk of wood from the forest and shave it into the working parts of a bow drill using safe, effective carving techniques. There will also be time to practice the ancient art of friction fire–making, using the new bow drill to light a spark and then create a coal.

The cost of the workshop is $85. For more information or to register, contact Flying Deer Nature Center at (518) 794-6687.


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Red Cross to hold November blood drives in Berkshire County

Dedham — With the busy holiday season approaching, the American Red Cross encourages donors to give blood to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients over the coming winter. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, many regular donors delay giving due to holiday activities and travel, which often decreases the amount of donated blood available for patients. More donations are needed in the weeks leading up to the holidays to help keep an ample supply. Prospective donors may make appointments to give blood by downloading the free Red Cross blood donor app, visiting or calling 1 (800) RED CROSS. To help reduce wait times, donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the online RapidPass health history questionnaire.

Upcoming Berkshire county-area blood drive locations include St. Joseph’s Church in Pittsfield Monday, Nov. 6, and Monday, Nov. 20, from 1 to 6 p.m.; Lenox Memorial High School Thursday, Nov. 9, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the Dalton American Legion Thursday, Nov. 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; First Congregational Church of Lee Friday, Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Adams Community Center, 20 East St., Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; The Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough Wednesday, Nov. 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and the First Congregational Church of Williamstown Monday, Nov. 27, from 1 to 6 p.m.



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