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BUSINESS BRIEFS Part One: New chefs, cuisine, hours at The Elm; Berkshire Art Center welcomes director and board members; Pittsfield Co-op hires Vice President; Shakespeare & Company awards Sandra Bourgeois; Second Chance Composting owner wins award; Berkshire Zero Waste Initiative at Berkshire Green Drinks; Stockbridge Road wildlife collision reduction; MassDOT ribbon cutting

With new culinary guidance, Berkshire food-lovers will have their taste buds piqued by a fresh menu with a new take on the flavorful seasonal ingredients New England has to offer.

Editor’s Note: We had so much business news this week that we decided to break Business Briefs into two parts.  This is the first part.

The Elm announces new Executive chef and sous chef with new Cuisine and fall hours

Great Barrington— The Elm, a New England restaurant and bar perched in the heart of Railroad Street in Great Barrington is pleased to announce new leadership in the kitchen with Executive Chef, Jerome Fressinier and Sous Chef, Ian King. With new culinary guidance, Berkshire food-lovers will have their taste buds piqued by a fresh menu with a new take on the flavorful seasonal ingredients New England has to offer.

Executive Chef, Jerome Fressinier. Image courtesy of The Elm.

The Elm’s kitchen is now helmed by Fressinier who was raised in Saintes, France next to Cognac and comes from a family of lifelong chefs and artists. He started his career as Saucier in large hotel kitchens in Arizona under the leadership of the Lausanne Hotellerie School. Under the classically-trained and acclaimed French Chef, Hubert Keller, he stepped up the ladder of refined techniques in Pebble Beach, CA. Following that, Jerome was the Chef Owner of Sugar Reef in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. Jerome also authored the book, “Cuisine Everlasting”, sponsored by Arizona State University’s Arizona Sustainability Campus. With an extensive resume, he has opened restaurants from Oxford, England to Marseilles, France, worked on new kitchen projects from Mads Refslund, Kyle Connaughton, Matthew Kenney to David Burke from San Francisco to New York City and throughout New England.

Sous Chef, Ian King. Image courtesy of The Elm.

Alongside Chef Fressinier is our talented new Sous Chef, Ian King who was the Sous Chef at Wm Farmer and Son in Hudson and most recently the Sous Chef at The Wheatleigh Hotel in Lenox.

“We are thrilled to have Chef Fressinier and Sous Chef King on board at The Elm to introduce new flavors to tempt locals and visitors of The Berkshires.” says The Elm Co-Owner, Adrian Misacango. “Our new menu is bringing the rich flavors of Savoia to Great Barrington,” adds Co-Owner, Jeffrey Neil, “with the creativity and mastery of Chef Fressinier, we can confidently deliver flavors reminiscent of Marseille, Provence, Liguria, and Piedmont to 20 Railroad Street.”

In addition to our new staff and menu, you can soon visit UVA Pizza e Vino for authentic Neapolitan Pizza, expected to be open by the end of the month at the former DOLA Pizzeria at the Alley at 20 Railroad Street.

Visit during their fall hours Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. For the most up-to-date menu, go to and follow on Facebook and Instagram at theelmgb.


Berkshire Art Center welcomes Community Engagement Director and announces new board

Stockbridge— Berkshire Art Center (formerly IS183 Art School) is pleased to welcome longtime faculty member, Kristin Grippo, as the new Community Engagement Director and announce the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors this fall, Milena Cerna, David Gilbert, and Cheryl Mirer.

Community Engagement Director, Kristin Grippo. Image courtesy of the Berkshire Art Center.

Having taught children for over twenty years, Grippo has been a faculty educator with Berkshire Art Center for nearly a decade. She has degrees in Elementary Education, Literacy, and Art History; and has pursued infinite creative endeavors from a young age, whether it be crafting Barbie clothes from tissues and tape or selling origami sculptures to fellow neighborhood kids. Grippo is a memoirist, poet, and performer who has been known to host local open-mics and appear in pop-up plays and story-telling events. Along with developing curriculum for Berkshire Art Center’s after school art programs across the county, Grippo will be overseeing the organization’s Teaching Institute program as well as managing its volunteers and artists-in-residence.

“I am thrilled to be able to focus my energy on this organization that I have been devoted to for so many years,” said Grippo. “I have new curricula in the works and am excited to strengthen Berkshire Art Center’s relationship with other local organizations and community members. Art for all!”

Board Member, Milena Cerna. Image courtesy of the Berkshire Art Center.

The first new incoming member to Berkshire Art Center’s Board of Directors is Milena Cerna. With over 30 years of experience as a senior executive in global finance, technology, and higher education markets, she has held senior leadership positions in marketing, financial management, and strategy development for a number of companies and universities. Cerna started her career at Colgate Palmolive as a member of a corporate strategy team responsible for new acquisitions in Asia and Latin America. Holding an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Columbia University, she currently serves as an elected member of the Great Barrington Finance Committee.

Board Member, David Gilbert. Image courtesy of the Berkshire Art Center.

In addition to Cerna, David Gilbert also joins Berkshire Art Center’s board as a new member. With a belief that art transforms and renews lives and nourishes communities, he is honored and excited to be part of Berkshire Art Center in its mission to bring art where “people who love art, regardless of age or ability, can gather to experience creative expression.” As an interior designer and avid art collector, Gilbert has a Juris Doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law as well as a BS in psychology and a BFA from the New York School of Interior Design.

Board Member, Cheryl Mirer. Image courtesy of the Berkshire Art Center.

The third new board member is Cheryl Mirer, who is a painter, printmaker, and mixed media artist. Mirer earned a Bachelor of Art and Art History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Master of Science Arts Administration at Boston University. As an Enrollment Counselor at Berkshire Community College, she is passionate about the Berkshire community and wishes to make a difference in people’s lives through art.

Berkshire Art Center’s Board of Directors meets quarterly to further the organization’s goal of growing and sustaining artists in Berkshire County. For more information on Berkshire Art Center’s programming, work exchange opportunities and initiatives or to make a donation visit


Pittsfield Co-op hires Maffuccio as a Vice President

Pittsfield— Pittsfield Cooperative Bank (The Co-op) recently hired Joseph Maffuccio II as Vice President, Branch Administration.

Pittsfield Cooperative Bank Vice President, Branch Administration, Joseph Maffuccio II.

Maffuccio joins the Co-op after an accomplished 16-year career with Greylock Federal Credit Union. While at Greylock, he held several retail, market and business development supervisory and manager positions, most recently as Vice President, Market Manager.

“We are delighted to welcome Joe to our team,” said J. Jay Anderson, president and CEO of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank. “His strong leadership skills, retail knowledge and regional contacts will certainly make him an asset to the bank.”

Maffuccio received his Bachelors of Science from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), in North Adams, Massachusetts. He is the past president of Tyler Street Business Group and currently coaches Pittsfield youth sports. He lives in Pittsfield with his wife Karen and children Ava and Gavin.


Shakespeare & Company has awarded the 2023 Philip Heller Award for Distinguished Service to Sandra Bourgeois of Richmond.

Lenox— Shakespeare & Company has awarded the 2023 Philip Heller Award for Distinguished Service to Sandra Bourgeois of Richmond.

2023 Philip Heller Award for Distinguished Service recipient, Sandra Bourgeois.

The Philip Heller Award for Distinguished Service recognizes members of the community for extraordinary service to the Company.  Bourgeois, a member of Shakespeare & Company’s Board of Trustees and past president of its Volunteer Company, is the sixth and latest recipient of the award, established in 2019 by Anita Heller of Lenox in memory of her late husband Philip Heller. Heller, a real estate attorney in the Town of Lenox, represented Shakespeare & Company pro bono for 40 years until his passing in 2018.

Bourgeois has volunteered with the Company since 2011, when she and her partner, Sarah Lytle, joined the gardening team. Bourgeois became the first Secretary for the Volunteer Company in 2013, then Vice President, then President – a position she held until 2019. As President, Bourgeois initiated the Company’s Oral History Archive Project (OHAP), which preserves and highlights countless documents, images, and recordings from the Company’s 46-year history, in a readily usable system.

In 2015, Bourgeois helped create Shakespeare & Company’s original “Talking Bench,” located at the outdoor Roman Garden Theatre. She raised funds, chose the Berkshire Ash slab to make the bench, and organized Company actors, including Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, to record readings accessible from the bench via a QR code. In 2017, she became a member of the Company’s Board of Trustees, representing the Volunteer Company. She continues to contribute her time and expertise to the gardening team, the Development department’s planned giving initiatives, the Property Committee, and the annual Tag Sale fundraiser, which raised $4,211 this year – a record intake.

Henry Baker, current President of the Volunteer Company, praised Bourgeois’ commitment to Shakespeare & Company, particularly through a diverse set of projects completed over many years. “In the last 12 years, Sandy has shown incredible leadership among the volunteers and dedication to Shakespeare & Company,” he said. “I can’t think of a more fitting recipient for the 2023 Heller Award.”

For more information or to make a gift to the Philip Heller Fund, call Kristen Moriarty at (413) 637-1199 ext. 105, or email


John Pitroff, founder and owner of Second Chance Composting, wins 2023 MassRecycle Individual Award

Adams— John Pitroff, founder and owner of Second Chance Composting, was awarded the 2023 Massachusetts MassRecycle Individual Award. 

The MassRecycle Individual Award is presented to an individual who deserves special recognition for contributing to recycling, reuse, and/or waste reduction in Massachusetts through leadership, sharing knowledge with others, or other avenues. The 28th annual award also recognizes outstanding achievements in and contributions towards recycling, reuse, and waste reduction in Massachusetts. The award will be presented at MassRecycle’s convention on September 27th at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

John Pitroff, founder and owner of Second Chance Composting.

“I am honored to be recognized in this way,” Pitroff said.  “When we started our business in early 2022, we believed that composting was something that people cared about locally.  We felt fortunate that we were the ones to be able to provide this service to the community.  It wasn’t long before the idea became greater than us, and it has been a pleasure to see it grow into its own palpable entity.  I can’t thank all of our partners, customers, and community members enough.”

Pitroff has completed compost operator certification programs in Vermont and Massachusetts and is the alternate commissioner for the Town of Adams Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District.

You can learn more about Second Chance Composting by visiting


Berkshire Green Drinks presents ‘Beyond Recycling’ with Andrew Ferrara from Berkshire Zero Waste Initiative

Berkshire— On Tuesday, September 12th at 6 p.m., Berkshire Green Drinks presents ‘Beyond Recycling’ with Andrew Ferrara from Berkshire Zero Waste Initiative (BZWI) to learn about current projects and groups working to reduce waste in Berkshire County that go beyond just recycling.

Andrew Ferrara is the program manager of the BZWI, a project of BEAT. He is a graduate of the Environmental Studies program at MCLA and a lifelong Berkshire County resident. When not thinking, talking, and breathing trash, he can be found gardening or hiking with friends, likely picking up litter along the way.

Get an inside look into the many recycling programs BZWI offers to the community, including conventionally not-recyclable items like toothbrushes and bread tags. Learn why special recycling programs are not the answer to our waste crisis and how BZWI plans to move beyond recycling as a solution by assisting individuals like you. Come away from this talk with some simple swaps for items in your daily life that you can replace for less wasteful substitutes, as well as some guiding principles that will help you identify even more impactful ways to take action.

The free, virtual event is on Tuesday, September 12th at 6 p.m. on Zoom. Pre-registration is required. Register at 2023-Berks-Green-Drinks.

Image courtesy of Berkshire Green Drinks.

Berkshire Green Drinks is an informal gathering that takes place once a month. A guest speaker talks for about 30 minutes followed by a discussion and Q&A. These events are free and open to anyone with any environmental interest. For more information regarding Berkshire Green Drinks, contact Chelsey Simmons at or 413-464-9402.


Healey-Driscoll administration requests federal funding for $3.5 million of Stockbridge Road improvements to reduce wildlife collisions 

Stockbridge— The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced it has submitted a federal grant application for an infrastructure improvement project to reduce vehicle collisions with wildlife on a section of Route 7 that travels over Kampoosa Brook in Stockbridge. The project costs $3.5 million in total and involves a request for $2.8 million in federal money made available by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, combined with $629,700 of state funds.

The funding will go towards replacing an undersized and clog-prone drainage system with larger infrastructure that will reduce the risk of clogging and potential for failure, allow for the safe under-road passage of wildlife including spotted turtles and North American river otters, and improve hydrology to benefit 19 state-listed rare species.

Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca. Official portrait, 2023.

Replacing the Kampoosa Brook drainage infrastructure will reduce risks and improve the long-term climate resiliency of Route 7,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca. “These improvements are part of MassDOT’s work statewide to enhance roadway reliability while prioritizing the long-term sustainability of our state’s ecosystems.”

The grant application is part of the US Department of Transportation’s Wildlife Crossings Program, and the project is contingent on the agency’s decision of grant awardees in the coming months. If federal funding is approved, the design process could start in early 2024 with construction beginning as soon as summer of 2026.


MassDOT hosts ribbon cutting of $5.6 million Williamstown shared use path 

Williamstown— Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca, Undersecretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt, Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver and other local and state officials hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony in Williamstown on Thursday, September 7th. This Path marks a $5.6 million investment in multimodal transportation, funded by the MassDOT Capital Investment Plan.

“Projects like these are important to not only the local communities through which they run but to the entire Commonwealth,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca. “I hope the Berkshires community will continue to enjoy this path for many years to come.”

Undersecretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt. Image courtesy of MassDOT.

“We are pleased to be able to officially open the Williamstown Mohican Recreational Shared Use Path to the public,” said Undersecretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt. “As we continue to plan for the future, multimodal transportation infrastructure is a vital part of supporting our goals of safe, reliable, and equitable transportation.”

This path was built along land owned by the town, Williams College, and others. Its 2.4 mile route follows the southern bank of the Hoosic River. This is the first section of bicycle and pedestrian trail in Berkshire County that is not built on a former railroad alignment. Because of this, the project presented some unique design challenges: it is located within the 100-year flood-plain, the eastern section is located on FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Protected Property with construction restrictions, and there were endangered species that had to be carefully relocated.

The project was funded by the MassDOT Capital Investment Plan (CIP). The CIP is designed to pay for long-term improvements to the Commonwealth’s transportation system. This is part of a larger initiative towards increasing multimodal transportation with roughly $36 million invested in bicycle and pedestrian trail projects under active design in Berkshire County.

“MassDOT invested $5.6 million into this project because shared paths transform communities,” said State Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “I want to recognize our district staff, our contractor, J.H. Maximillian, the town of Williamstown, Williams College, and other key stakeholders for their commitment to this investment.”


The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.

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The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.