Nicole Antil, along with Gloria Escobar, has joined the board of directors at Community Health Programs in Great Barrington. Photo courtesy Community Health Programs

Business Briefs: New CHP board members; Berkshire United Way seeks volunteers; Age Friendly Berkshires launches new website; Local Farmer Awards; BCC announces new hires

Berkshire United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax help to people with individual and household incomes of less than $54,000 a year who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.

Community Health Programs names new board members

Gloria Escobar. Photo courtesy Community Health Programs

Great Barrington — Community Health Programs has named Nicole Antil and Gloria Escobar to its board of trustees.

Antil, a native of Morris County, New Jersey, is the owner of Antil Creative and chief creative officer for the nonprofit fundraising and management consulting firm Graham-Pelton Consulting. A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, she is also a 2017 graduate of the Berkshire Leadership Program. Antil previously worked as a marketing and proposal manager for Maxymillian Technologies in Pittsfield. She and her husband, Peter, live in Richmond with their sons.

Escobar, who came to the Berkshires from Colombia in 2000, is the community development coordinator for Greylock Federal Credit Union and a certified credit union financial counselor. She also works as a bookkeeper at the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire and serves on the board of Festival Latino of the Berkshires, where she also handles vendor coordination for the annual event. She is pursuing a degree in business administration at Berkshire Community College and has earned a certificate in accounting from Mildred Elley. She and her husband, Jose Huertas, live in Great Barrington with their three sons.


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Berkshire United Way seeks tax prep volunteers

Pittsfield — Berkshire United Way is seeking volunteers to support its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to be held at three South County locations this coming tax season: Berkshire South Regional Community Center and Community Health Programs in Great Barrington, and October Mountain Financial Advisors in Lee.

VITA offers free tax help to people with individual and household incomes of less than $54,000 a year who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Free specialized training is available for tax preparers and reviewers; additional roles, which don’t require tax certification, are also available. Interested parties should contact Julie Singley at (413) 442-6948 x32 or


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Age Friendly Berkshires launches new website

Pittsfield — Age Friendly Berkshires has officially launched its new website. The site, meant as the hub for “all things Age Friendly” in Berkshire County, was developed by the AFB partners to support the region’s five-year action plan, the aim of which is to “make the Berkshires a great place to grow up and a great place to grow old.” The website was funded by a challenge grant from AARP Massachusetts as part of its Livable Communities program.

The AFB website and action plan are the culminations of a two-year planning process informed by a series of public surveys, expert interviews and study groups held across the region during 2015 and 2016, during which more than 2,500 Berkshire County residents described their experiences with and barriers to aging comfortably in their homes or communities in eight areas of livability: housing, community and Health services, transportation, communication, respect and social inclusion, outdoor spaces and buildings, civic engagement and employment, and social participation. AFB’s action plan provides detailed steps for improving current services, programs and options for each area of livability. In some cases where no program currently exists to address a need or problem, solutions will be researched and adapted for local use.

Over the next three years, AFB will promote the plan’s recommendations throughout the region to encourage voluntary adoption and implementation by city and town governments, nonprofit organizations and businesses to work on improvements in the areas identified. Technical assistance and resources for those seeking to become more age-friendly will be available via the website.

The public is invited to download the Age Friendly Action Plan and to get involved in its adoption in their own communities by visiting the new website or by emailing AFB coordinator Peg McDonough at Those interested can also like Age Friendly Berkshires on Facebook to keep up with current announcements and age-friendly activities.


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Harold Grinspoon Foundation announces 2018 Local Farmer Awards

Agawam — In partnership with Big Y and a sponsorship team, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation has announced the fourth year of the Local Farmer Awards, which support local farmers in Western Massachusetts with funds for infrastructure improvements and farm equipment. Launched in 2015, the awards draw attention to the importance of local farmers to the region’s economy and health. Essential to the program’s success has been the ongoing advice and assistance from Berkshire Grown and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.

Awards of up to $2,500 will be given to each recipient farmer.  The 2017 awards were made to 49 of the 116 applicants. The application will be open from Monday, Jan. 1, through Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. For more information, contact Cari Carpenter at (413) 276-0831 or


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Berkshire Community College welcomes new hires

Antonia Buckley. Photo courtesy Berkshire Community College

Pittsfield — Berkshire Community College has announced new faculty and staff additions.

Pam Coley McCann joined BCC as an assistant professor of human services. Prior to joining BCC, McCann had a full-time private practice in Pittsfield and also worked for the Department of Mental Health as a clinical social worker. McCann received a master’s degree in social work at Springfield College. She lives in Pittsfield with her husband and dog.

Antonia Buckley is the Berkshire Immigrant Stories coordinator. Buckley previously worked as a freelance photographer, and was a co-founder of the Hoping Machine. Buckley received a master’s degree in photo design in Dortmund, Germany, and lives in Pittsfield with her husband and two cats.

Nicholas Kline. Photo courtesy Berkshire Community College

Lynn Pettit is an assistant professor of nursing. Pettit previously worked at Berkshire Medical Center as a clinical educator. She received her bachelor’s degree at Elms College in Chicopee and her master’s degree in nursing education at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. Pettit lives in Cheshire with her husband, three children, and dog and cat.

Nicholas Kline is an equipment operator. Prior to his current job, Kline worked for Bianco Landscaping and Property Maintenance. He received his associate degree in landscape contracting from the UMass Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture and a bachelor’s degree in natural resource conservation from UMass Amherst. Kline lives in Hinsdale with his fiancé.

Barb Kotelnicki. Photo courtesy Berkshire Community College

David Nicol is an assistant professor of nursing. Nicol previously worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner at Twin Valley Middle High School in Whitingham, Vermont, and as a health officer at Connecticut Yankee Boy Scouts. He received a master’s degree at the University of Hartford in Connecticut in science and nursing. He currently lives in Bennington, Vermont, with his wife and four rescued dogs.

Barb Kotelnicki is an assistant professor of education. Kotelnicki previously worked as a STEM program manager at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams and as an adjunct instructor for its education department. She was also an adjunct instructor at Towson University in Maryland, an elementary school teacher and a reading teacher. She received a bachelor’s degree at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree from Towson University. Kotelnicki currently lives in Dalton with her husband, three children and a dog.