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News Briefs: Downing’s holiday card contest; Commission on the Status of Women; Simon’s Rock’s community service day

The Commission, composed of nine members from throughout Berkshire County, exists to provide a positive and effective voice for women and girls within the region.

Downing launches second annual holiday card contest

2014 Downing holiday card
State Senator Ben Downing’s 2014 holiday card designed by Lizzie Paglier.

Pittsfield — Each December State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) mails approximately 3,500 holiday greeting cards to friends, family, supporters, and colleagues across Massachusetts. As he prepares for this annual tradition, he is bringing back the holiday greeting card contest which he began in 2014 and asking local students to design his card for him.

Last year’s card featured original art by Lizzie Paglier, a Lanesborough resident who was in eighth grade at Mount Greylock Regional School. Prior to the contest, Downing chose an image that related to his Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Senate District for his card.

Students in grades 3-8 who live in the Senator’s district are encouraged to participate in this year’s contest.  Entry forms can be printed online or picked up in Downing’s District Office at 7 North Street, Suite 307. All submissions must be returned to the District Office by 4 p.m. on Thursday, November 5. They can be dropped off Monday through Friday during business hours, sent via U.S. mail, or scanned and emailed to

The winning design will be chosen by Senator Downing. His printed holiday card will credit the student artist by listing their name, age, grade, school and hometown. All contest participants will be invited to attend the Senator’s annual Toys for Tots Holiday Open House on December 1 in his Pittsfield office, during which the contest winner will be announced. For more information on the Senator’s contest, call (413) 442-4008.


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Commission on the Status of Women seeks to fill vacancies

Boston — Applications are now being accepted to fill vacancies on the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women (BCCSW).

The Commission, composed of nine members from throughout Berkshire County, exists to provide a positive and effective voice for women and girls within the region. Commissioners are drawn from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, age, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic backgrounds from throughout Berkshire County.

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW), which is the BCCSW’s appointing authority, is now accepting applications for this position. The MCSW welcomes all interested and qualified women to apply. Applications and further information may be requested by contacting the MCSW office at (617) 626-6520 or


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Fourth annual Day of Community Service at Simon’s Rock

Great Barrington — On Saturday, September 26, Bard College at Simon’s Rock will hold its fourth annual Rock the Community: A Day of Service in Honor of Emily Fisher. The event was established to celebrate the leadership of Emily Fisher, former Chair of the Board of Overseers, for her commitment to both the college and the community more broadly.

More than 150 students, faculty, and staff will volunteer approximately 400 hours of service to community projects. Volunteers will fan out to sites from Great Barrington to Sheffield to pitch in. Simon’s Rock students have a long history of volunteering at a variety of sites in the Berkshires. Rock the Community also helps introduce new students to the area they will be calling home for the next few years, create a closer tie between the community and the College, and greater awareness of the service initiatives the College supports.

Rock the Community will serve the following sites:

12 p.m. – 2 p.m., Adopt-A-Highway; 12 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Appalachian Trail Conservancy; 1 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Riverwalk with Greenagers; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Drury Preserve; 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Railroad Street Youth Project; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., on-campus letter-writing to service men and women; 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., musical performance at Fairview Commons.



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