The Shop at Old Austerlitz on the grounds of the Austerlitz Historical Society in Austerlitz, N.Y. Photo: Jeffrey Harris

Business Briefs: The Shop at Old Austerlitz; citizenship gift for LitNet; creative economy mixer; Greylock appoints board members; Lanesborough becomes ‘age friendly’

The Literacy Network of South Berkshire has announced the receipt of a $50,000 gift from the Matthew and Hannah Keator Family Foundation to enhance LitNet’s citizenship program.

Austerlitz Historical Society opens shop

Austerlitz, N.Y. — The Austerlitz Historical Society has announced the opening of a new shop on its grounds. Curated by designer Jeffrey Harris, the shop features a range of gifts and home decor pieces that have been selected from antique auctions and artists across the region. Assembled in an antique building, the Shop at Old Austerlitz displays the talents of Harris not only in the procurement its contents, but also in the design of its interior displays.

“The Austerlitz Historical Society was looking to raise the profile of their mission in the area and raise funds to support the Society,” said Harris. “We came up with the idea to open a shop that will showcase the historic buildings and grounds and raise awareness of what we are doing here to preserve the history of this small but extraordinary town.”

All proceeds from the shop directly benefit the Austerlitz Historical Society.


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LitNet receives $50,000 for citizenship program

Lee — The Literacy Network of South Berkshire has announced the receipt of a $50,000 gift from the Matthew and Hannah Keator Family Foundation to enhance LitNet’s citizenship program and expand its reach. LitNet’s president, Lucy Prashker, stated: “We are enormously grateful to Matthew and Hannah Keator for their generous and deep commitment to helping our students clear the financial hurdles that lie along their path to U.S. citizenship. This gift will greatly enhance our citizenship assistance program, allowing many more of our students to achieve this profound, life-changing goal.”

In the coming months, LitNet will be expanding its existing citizenship training and support program including providing enhanced access to information and study materials by improving online resources, offering specialized tutor training, and growing collaborations with other local agencies that serve the immigrant population. The cornerstone of this project will be the creation of a scholarship program to defray the cost of the application process, which typically runs more than $700. The gift from the foundation will help more LitNet students pass the examination and enter fully into the Berkshire community as American citizens.


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Art Omi to host creative economy mixer

The Charles B. Benenson Center at Art Omi. Photo courtesy FT Architecture

Ghent, N.Y. — Art Omi’s Benenson Center will be the site of the Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy mixer Wednesday, Aug. 1, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The creative economy is defined as the enterprises and people involved in the origination, production and distribution of goods and services in which artistic and cultural content give the product or service value in the marketplace. The August mixer will include live music by Lily and Horn Horse, a curated tour of the Fields Sculpture Park, food, and cider from Sundog Cider in Chatham.

The mixer is free and open to anyone who would like to attend. Registration is requested. For more information, contact


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Greylock Federal Credit Union appoints directors to board

Krystle A. Gallo. Photo courtesy Greylock Federal Credit Union

Pittsfield — Greylock Federal Credit Union has announced the selection of Krystle A. Gallo and John L. Bissell as the newest members of its volunteer board of directors.

Gallo has worked for General Dynamics Mission Systems since 2012 where she holds the position of integrated product team lead and also serves on the Mission Systems Leadership Council as an advisor. She is currently earning an MBA at the UMass Amherst. She holds a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in Indiana and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Union College in Schenectady, New York. Gallo is a 2014 graduate of the Berkshire Leadership Program and serves as BLP’s steering committee chair. She volunteers for Berkshire United Way and serves on the board of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority. In 2016, she was a Berkshire County “40 Under Forty” awardee and was also honored with a Gamma Phi Beta Foundation Individual Shining Star Award for alumnae. She enjoys serving as a Zumba instructor and resides in Pittsfield.

John L. Bissell. Photo courtesy Greylock Federal Credit Union

Bissell was named Greylock’s president and CEO in 2015. He joined Greylock in 2003 as vice president of marketing and human resources, was promoted to senior vice president in 2007 and named executive vice president in 2010. A native of Berkshire County, Bissell earned his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 1989, graduated from the New England School for Financial Studies program at Babson College in 2011, and is currently earning his MBA from UMass Amherst. Bissell’s volunteer service includes chairing the Berkshire United Way board of directors and co-founding the Pittsfield Promise literacy initiative. He chairs the 1Berkshireboard of directors and is a member of the audit committee serves on the board of Berkshire Health Systems. In 2015 he was named by Berkshire Magazine as one of “25 Most Dedicated, Most Creative, Most Influential” people in the county.  He received an award from the NAACP – Berkshire County Branch in 2017, the Esther Quinn Award in Recognition of Exemplary Community Service from the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce in 2014, the Nancy Kaufman Service Award from Berkshire Children and Families in 2013, and the Robert K. Agar Volunteerism Award from Berkshire United Way in 2012. Bissell resides in Pittsfield.


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Lanesborough resolves to become ‘age friendly’

Lanesborough — Age Friendly Berkshires has announced that it has received an Age-Friendly Municipal Resolution submitted by the town of Lanesborough and dated July 9, 2018.

Adopting an age-friendly community strategy initially came as a result as the wish of the town’s Council on Aging to create an intergenerational park that’s welcoming for seniors as well as for younger children and families, Ideas for the park include walking paths, planting trees for shaded areas for exercise with nearby benches for rest, open play spaces for kids, and gathering spots for family picnics and community groups.

Lanesborough’s resolution goes further and identifies several other areas in which age-friendly improvements might be made for public health and wellness, providing for safer streets, creating affordable and accessible housing and community buildings, and providing for a vibrant workforce.

Lanesborough is the sixth community in Berkshire County to take the step of signing a municipal resolution. The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams and the towns of Adams, Cheshire and Sheffield have also joined the Age Friendly movement, with projects underway. The organization hopes that, in the coming months, other communities will make a similar commitment to be “age-friendly in all things.”