Wheeler & Taylor human resources manager Tom Blauvelt, Great Barrington Fire Department Chief Charles Burger, and Wheeler & Taylor President J. Scott Rote with some of the equipment donated to the Southern Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee by Wheeler & Taylor to help protect poll workers during the spring election season in the South County area. Photo courtesy Wheeler & Taylor

Business Briefs: Wheeler & Taylor donates PPE; bias in business workshop; Curriculum in Motion Institute; recognition for Noble Horizons

The workshop is the first in a three-part training series to help businesses cultivate and steward inclusive retail, restaurant and workplace environments for customers and employees in order to create a culture of belonging.

Wheeler & Taylor donates face masks, shields to protect poll workers

Great Barrington — Many of the towns in the Southern Berkshire region have held or will hold town elections soon, and several town administrators asked Great Barrington Fire Department Chief Charles Burger, who is also the director of the Southern Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee, for help in obtaining personal protective equipment for poll workers.

Burger unexpectedly received a call from Wheeler & Taylor President Scott Rote, who wanted to donate 2,000 surgical masks the insurance agency had purchased. Rote had procured foam, elastic strapping material, and 200 sheets of polycarbonate plastic, and the staff of Wheeler & Taylor went to work constructing face shields.

“It was quite a pleasant surprise when Scott called,” Burger said. “The donation came at a perfect time. It would have been a very difficult need to fill otherwise.”

The face shields will be used by poll workers. Face masks will be provided to poll workers and voters. Burger will allocate the equipment to the 12 towns in southern Berkshire County.

“It’s crucial to protect poll workers, who are often retirees volunteering their time, and we’re glad to help,” Rote said. “And I can’t say enough about our wonderful employees who gave their time to put together the face shields with their own hands using the materials we provided.”

Said Burger: “We’re seeing great community support from businesses and organizations that helps us get through this. The best in people is coming out.” The face shields will be cleaned and repurposed after they are used for the elections, Burger said.


*     *     *

Downtown Pittsfield Inc. to offer bias training workshop

Gwendolyn VanSant of BRIDGE. Photo: Julie McCarthy

Pittsfield — Downtown Pittsfield Inc. has announced an online “Navigating Bias to Create a Welcoming Berkshire Business” training workshop in conjunction with BRIDGE, NAACP Berkshire County Branch, Berkshire Bank, Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation and the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. The training will take place Wednesday, May 13, at 2 p.m. via Zoom.

The workshop is the first in a three-part training series to help businesses cultivate and steward inclusive retail, restaurant and workplace environments for customers and employees in order to create a culture of belonging. Time will be included for special consideration toward the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and concurrently diverse patrons. The session will include a panel discussion with Gwendolyn VanSant of BRIDGE; Gary Levante of Berkshire Bank; Shirley Edgerton of NAACP Berkshire County Branch, R.O.P.E. and Pittsfield Public Schools; John Lewis of Team R3set and the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts; Pete Mirante of Greylock Federal Credit Union; and Dennis Powell of NAACP Berkshire County Branch.

The series is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Participants do not need to attend all three sessions. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, or contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501 or info@downtownpittsfieldinc.com.


*     *     *

Jacob’s Pillow launches Curriculum in Motion Institute

Celeste Miller. Photo courtesy celestemiller.com

Becket — Jacob’s Pillow has launched the Curriculum in Motion Institute, a highly specialized professional development experience for choreographers that centers on, examines and explores how dance-makers are essential artistic, civic and community partners in a COVID-19 world and beyond. Developed through the framework of the nationally recognized Curriculum in Motion approach, this yearlong virtual training program is led by Curriculum in Motion co-founder and institute director Celeste Miller with founding artists Kimberli Boyd and Michael Richter. The institute is designed to grow the national network of choreographers and dance-makers that utilize the Curriculum in Motion approach in their work and to directly support the varied regional applications of Jacob’s Pillow’s Curriculum in Motion programming.

Curriculum in Motion uses body-based practices to work with pedagogy, philosophy and methodology of its core principles. The approach embraces dance as an accessible, complex system of physical, mental, emotional, creative and spiritual knowledge rooted in body-based intelligence; it directly supports the work of dance-makers in K-12 classrooms; museum and after-school programs; collaborations with community partners in medicine; business and civic planning; and re-visioning dance programs in colleges and universities; and more.

After over 25 years of application in Berkshire County schools and the development of the Medicine in Motion program, co-founder Miller began working with Pillow leadership and Curriculum in Motion founding artists to envision ways to more thoroughly disseminate the work. Planning for the institute began two years ago, launched by the convening of founding artists in 2018.

The yearlong, virtual, five-module process is designed for self-identifying choreographers and dance-makers. Applications for entry into the program are due by Monday, June 8, and accepted on a rolling basis thereafter. Applicants will receive notification for status by Friday, June 26.


*     *     *

Noble Horizons receives CMS five-star rating

Salisbury, Conn. — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently awarded Noble Horizons its five-star rating for the second consecutive quarter. The score makes Noble Horizons one of the highest rated senior communities in the region and one of only a few to be awarded five stars in the eastern New York, western Massachusetts and or western Connecticut regions.

CMS utilizes three standards of care when calculating its star ratings: staffing, quality of care, and data collected from health inspections. Noble Horizons excelled in all three categories, most importantly in how much time its registered nurses dedicate to each resident on a daily basis. Said Noble Horizons administrator William Pond, “To have all of our efforts recognized by the federal government is a major accomplishment for everyone here, but most of all it serves as a benefit for our residents as a result of our staff’s dedication and expertise.”