BUSINESS BRIEFS: Tax credit opportunity; Visit of Commissioner Ag; BCC Faculty Awards; RWJF Award; Public Health Advisory

Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire announces tax credit opportunity

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. – The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire (CDCSB) announces a new round of funding for a statewide program that can help donors reduce their tax bill while helping build affordable housing and support small businesses. For over 30 years, CDCSB has been dedicated to building affordable low-to-moderate income housing, creating employment opportunities and promoting economic development in South Berkshire County.

Every year the Massachusetts Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) provides credit to individuals, businesses, foundations and non-profit organizations in exchange for donations to support CDCSB’s work in affordable housing and job creation.

How it works: Tax credits are available to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and foundations who donate $1,000 or more to the CDCSB. Donors are eligible to receive a 50% tax credit on their Massachusetts tax liability. Those who do not have to pay taxes in the State of Massachusetts will receive a refund of 50% of the amount of their original donation. Additionally, program participants may receive an additional federal tax benefit.

Community members who wish to receive CITC credit can learn more on the CDCSB website (https://cdcsb.org/donate/citc/) or contact Emmalyn Gaertner at 413-528-7788 or [email protected]

—SB

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Kate Pike, vegetable program manager, Holiday Brook Farm, Dalton, Mass.

Agriculture Commissioner to visit Berkshire Farms

BERKSHIRE COUNTY, Mass. — On Wednesday, July 20, Massachusetts Agriculture Commissioner John Lebeaux will visit three farms in the Berkshires.

The tour will visit three farms in the area: Vacation Creek Farm – a multigenerational family farm with a relaunched market gardening operation in Dalton; Robinson Farm in Becket, a livestock farm focused on raising beefalo and cattle for the direct sale of meat; and Woven Roots Farma diverse vegetable farm in Tyringham with an intensive focus on community engagement.

The farm tour starts at 9:30am from Holiday Brook Farm, 100 Holiday Cottage Rd, Dalton. The tour continues at 11.15am at Robinson Farm, 2299 Main St, Becket. Tour ends at Woven Roots Farm at 12:45 PM, located at 12 McCarty Rd, Tyringham, Mass.

Please wear footwear suitable for the farm and be prepared for the weather, which may include rain or bright, hot sunshine. Wearing a mask is optional outside; we ask that all guests be vaccinated.

—SB

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Berkshire Community College announces faculty awards

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —Berkshire Community College (BCC) announces that four of its faculty have won Courses of Distinction awards from Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO). The awards were created to recognize faculty whose course design and practices best exemplify the potential of online education to enhance teaching and learning.

The winners are:

Mode of delivery of the course, online: Tattiya Maruco, Introduction to interpersonal communication

Course Delivery Method, Hybrid/Mixed: Chris Laney, U.S. History to 1877

Innovative Features, Building a Community of Practice: Nell McCabe, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Literature (Specialized Course)

Innovative Features, Tech Whiz: Charles Park, Technical Writing

—SB

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Ilana Steinhauer

Ilana Steinhauer receives the RWJF award

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Sixth Annual RWJF Health Equity Award presented by ANCA awarded to Ilana Steinhauer

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics has announced that the sixth annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity presented by the ANCA has been awarded to Ilana Steinhauer, Executive Director of Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires , Great Barrington, MA.

Ilana Steinhauer is not only Executive Director of VIM Berkshires, but also Clinical Director and active Nurse Practitioner. Operating in a rural community with no public transportation, Ilana helped create a transportation program to get patients to and from their appointments, eliminating a major barrier to care. Ilana has also helped ensure the availability of resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by educating the community, helping identify quarantine locations for people living in congregate housing, and ensuring equitable access to vaccines. Over 95% of clinic patients have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Within VIM, Ilana ensures that equity is at the heart of the culture of the organization. She hired a Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion (DEAI) expert to work with staff, volunteers and board members and launched a multicultural action group representing all major constituents.

For more information on the award, visit: RWJF Award for Health Equity

—SB

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Public health advisory issued regarding xylazine found in local drug supply

BERKSHIRE COUNTY, Mass. – Berkshire District Attorney’s Office issues public health advisory on xylazine in local drug supply

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office is warning the community about the presence of xylazine in the drug supply.

The Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Stream (MADDS) from Brandeis University noted a large percentage of opioid samples testing positive for the presence of xylazine, particularly in western Massachusetts. MADDS found the drug in powdered and counterfeit painkillers. The Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab finds xylazine to be used frequently as a cutting agent.

Xylazine can cause excessive sedation, decreased consciousness, low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and reduced breathing. In combination with opioids, xylazine increases the risk of overdose, and excessive sedation for long periods can damage muscles, nerves, and kidneys.

The district attorney is asking everyone to learn the signs of an overdose and act immediately – call 911, administer naloxone, perform artificial respiration and stay with the person until help arrives . While Narcan will not reverse the effects of xylazine, Narcan will reverse the effects of the opioid present, so always administer Narcan.

The Good Samaritan Act protects those who report an overdose from arrest and prosecution for drug possession. Implementing harm reduction strategies across the county and treating people with compassion is an evidence-based solution to the opioid and overdose epidemic.

The Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Feed website provides health bulletins and alerts to help identify changes in drug supply. Berkshire Harm Reduction provides safer use supplies, advice, medical care, and more. For additional resources in Berkshire County, please see the Berkshire Overdose Addictions Prevention Collaborative website.

—SB

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