BUSINESS BRIEFS: Bruun Appointed to CHP Board; Vice President of 18 Degree Youth Development; church music director; Rabkin Prize winner; Food Systems Research Center; New Director of Human Resources; Big Y Bag program; support for Ukraine; BWPCC scholarships; Berkshire United Way funds programs

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Great Barrington — Community Health Programs has appointed Erik Bruun of Great Barrington to its Board of Directors. Brian Drake was elected chairman of the board during the annual reorganization of the board. Celia Clancy was elected vice-president. Allyson Homes remains secretary to the board. Chuck Leach will continue as Board Treasurer.

Community Health Programs, Inc. is a healthcare network based in the Berkshires of Western Mass. serving approximately 30,000 regional residents with comprehensive medical and dental services at multiple practice locations.

—SB

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Pittfield — Bryan House joined 18 Degrees, Family Services for Western Mass. as Vice President of Youth Development. In this role, House will lead Pittsfield Community Connection and North Adams; West Main Connection, two service sites that provide young people with pathways to safer, healthier and more successful lives. House will also oversee other programs within 18 Degrees that provide opportunities for young people to reach their full potential.

Bryan House

18 degrees promotes the well-being and strengths of children, youth, adults and families. They offer education, parenting skills and support, prevention and intervention, advocacy and life skills through a range of programs for youth, adults and families.

—SB

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Salisbury, Conn. — Salisbury Congregational Church, UCC welcomes David Baranowski as Music Director. He succeeds Dr. Samuel Lord Kalcheim, who served as the interim Music Director for two years and is leaving to focus on his passions for composition and teaching. In addition to guiding church music programs, directing the choir and providing music in worship services, David will continue the tradition of offering “Meeting House Music and Meditations” on the first Friday of each month. from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Baranowski has had a long and prestigious career in the music industry. For the past eighteen years he has toured internationally with rock icon Ritchie Blackmore as keyboardist and vocalist. David lives in Danbury with his wife Jennifer and their son Vincent.

—SB

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Peter the Official

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY — Peter L’Official, associate professor of literature and director of the American Studies program at Bard College, won a $50,000 Rabkin Prize for his work in visual arts journalism. L’Official is one of eight visual arts journalists to receive a Rabkin Prize from the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation.

Peter L’Official (he/him) is a writer, art critic, and professor of literature and American studies from the Bronx, NY. He is Associate Professor of Literature and Director of the American Studies Program at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, where he teaches courses in African American literature and culture, 20th and 21st century American literature, and how the visual arts intersect with literature, place and architecture. He is also the coordinator of the “Rethinking Place: Bard-on-Mahicantuck” project, a grant supported by the Mellon Foundation’s “Humanities for All Times” initiative. The Official is the author of Urban Legends: The South Bronx in Representation and in Ruinpublished by Harvard University Press in 2020, as well as numerous articles published in publications such as The New Yorker.

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Burlington, Vermont – The University of Vermont announces the appointment of Polly Ericksen, Ph.D., as the inaugural director of the Food Systems Research Center, a collaborative partnership between UVM and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service . An internationally recognized expert in agricultural development and sustainability, Ericksen will oversee operations and provide critical leadership as the center develops as a hub for local and regional food systems research in the North East.

Ericksen holds a Ph.D. in soil science, a master’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Swarthmore College. She brings to the research center extensive leadership and management skills, as well as expertise in the impacts of climate change on agriculture, natural resource management, disease and social equity. Ericksen has been recognized as an early pioneer in the field of food systems research and is a founding researcher using interdisciplinary approaches to solve complex food systems problems in the context of global environmental change.

—SB

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Sophie Bletsos

Great Barrington — Sophia Bletsos has been appointed to the position of Director of Human Resources for five cities in South County. Bletsos’ position, funded by a state grant for the first year, is split between Great Barrington, Sheffield, New Marlborough, Monterey and West Stockbridge. She will be primarily based at Great Barrington Town Hall. In her shared position, Bletsos will be responsible for establishing and refining best practices in all aspects of human resource management across the five cities.

Bletsos earned two degrees from Springfield College: a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management, with minors in art and environmental studies.

—SB

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Big Y reusable bag

Pittfield – The Berkshire County Historical Society has been selected by the local Big Y store management as a nonprofit Big Y Community Bag recipient for the month of August.

The Big Y Community Bag Program is designed to give back to the local community with every reusable bag purchased. Every $2.50 reusable Big Y Community Bag sold donates $1 to a local nonprofit in the store it was purchased from. This program offers shoppers a way to give back as part of the regular weekly routine. For more information on the Big Y Community Bag program, please visit bigy.bags4mycause.com.

The Berkshire County Historical Society is a non-profit society dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. Additionally, the Berkshire County Historical Society is committed to preserving and interpreting Arrowhead, the home of author Herman Melville, designated a National Historic Landmark. The Berkshire County Historical Society offers tours of Arrowhead and programs devoted to the history of Western Massachusetts and the life and writings of Herman Melville. For more information on tours, go to berkshirehistory.org.

—SB

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Enfield, Conn. – Polish pottery importer Janelle Imports and its Manufaktura USA boutiques announced today that, along with its loyal customers, more than $40,000 has been donated so far to a relief account that helps Ukrainian refugees. Since March, Manufaktura USA has pledged 10% of its online and in-store sales to support Ukrainians who have fled their precious country, while offering customers the option to donate at checkout. The leaders of the city of Bolesławiec, Poland, created the fund for Manufaktura USA to easily transfer money directly to the account. The funds provide emergency assistance to Ukrainian refugees in need of food, shelter, clothing, medicine and personal hygiene items. Bolesławiec is the birthplace of the president and founder of Janelle Imports, Elle Łoś-Englander. For more information about the company’s humanitarian efforts, visit manufakturausa.com/pages/humanitarian-assistance.

—SB

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Maisie Dufour

Ludlow – The Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation (BWPCC) has selected two students from the class of 2022 at Mount Greylock Regional High School to receive $1,000 scholarships. The scholarships are awarded to eligible seniors who plan to pursue a two- or four-year college or trade school program. This year’s scholarship recipients are Maisie Dufour and Rosario Larios Sontay.

Rosario Larios Sontay

Dufour plans to study communications at Michigan State University. While studying at Mount Greylock, she served as Secretary of the National Honor Society and received the Smith College Book Award. She has also been a member of the Yearbook club, the Youth Environmental Squad and the Register, Educate and Vote club.

Larios Sontay will attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the fall and major in business. In high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society and played on the football, basketball, and tennis teams. She has also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and the Berkshire Human Society.

—SB

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Pittfield – Berkshire United Way announces renewal funding of $1,029,500 for 40 programs at 24 community partner organizations. This funding will be for a period of one year, from July 1 of this year to June 30, 2023, and will continue to stabilize BUW’s three main areas of community impact: early childhood development, positive youth development and economic prosperity. Learn more about the 40 programs. This aid helps fund programs like Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity’s Community Navigation Program, which is designed to help marginalized residents access resources that will help them remain economically resilient.

A new round of funding applications will be announced in early 2023, but to help increase investment in quality, impactful programs, consider contributing to BUW’s fundraising campaign. Donate at www.berkshireunitedway.org/donate.

—SB

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