Berkshire County News

Local Blood Drive for Carter LaCasse

By Brooke A. Tripicco (Grade 10)


Many illnesses and conditions require blood transfusions as part of treatment, including but not limited to anemia, cancer, infections, and diseases of the kidney or liver. Blood transfusions can be imperative to a person’s well being, which is why donating blood is one of the best charitable acts you can do with minimal effort, especially in times like these. According to the Red Cross, we are facing a global blood shortage, so it is crucial that as many people as possible donate blood.

One story of a boy who has been needing blood transfusions hits particularly close to home for PHS students and staff. Carter LaCasse, the son of math teacher Ms Czerno, has been diagnosed with Leukemia. As part of his treatment plan, he requires frequent blood transfusions, but the blood shortage has affected his ability to get them. Because of this, Strong Little Souls in collaboration with Berkshire Medical Center BloodMobile, Zucchini's restaurant, and DCF have set up a blood drive in Carter’s honor. Here are the dates and times:

Monday, January 3rd from 8:30AM-4:30PM at Zucchini’s

(1331 North Street, Pittsfield, MA)

Thursday, January 6th from 8:30AM-3PM at DCF

(73 Eagle Street, Pittsfield, MA)

In Massachusetts, you must be 17 years old to donate blood, or 16 with parental consent. You must be in good health, and weigh between 110lbs and 350lbs. For more information about eligibility regarding specific health conditions, visit this link.

If you are eligible and are available to attend one of these blood drives, please consider donating. You will be doing an incredibly important thing that could be potentially life changing for someone, including Carter. To sign up, contact (413)447-2597 extension 2 or If you cannot donate blood, please share these flyers online, or send them to family/friends who can donate.

How to Get Vaccinated in Berkshire County

By Brooke A. Tripicco (Grade 9)


We’ve all been waiting so long to be eligible for a Covid vaccine, and now that some of us are it’s hard to know how to proceed. Information is never a constant, and is ever hard to come by. So I’m here to provide that information and links on how to get vaccinated for those who are 16+.

There are many different strategies and websites that can be used for booking a vaccine appointment, but first I’d like to direct you towards this Berkshire Eagle article. It is a compilation of frequently asked questions about getting vaccinated in the Berkshires, and it could be very helpful if you share any of these questions.

Next, a number of walk-in clinics are happening this week. These are vaccine clinics that you do not have to book an appointment for. All of the clinics are distributing the Pfizer vaccine, meaning anyone over the age of 16 can get the shot. The clinics are taking place on Wednesday, May 5 from 4-7PM at WEB DuBois Middle School, Thursday, May 6 from 12-5PM at the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish Center, and Thursday, May 6 from 4-7PM at the BCC Field House. Simply show up to one of these locations at the listed time, and you will be able to easily get vaccinated.

However, if you cannot make it to one of the walk-in clinics, there are still plenty more ways of booking an appointment. This website can provide you with more information on getting vaccinated in the Berkshires if you do not want to have to go too far away from home to get your shot. That website will also direct you to here. With this website you can search for appointments and locations, filtering by age, date, and which shot (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen) you’d like to get. Once you find a date and location that works for you, you can click on the blue button that reads “Sign Up for a Covid-19 Vaccination”. Select your desired time and let the website guide you from there.

Another option is to use this website to look for available appointments all across Massachusetts. If you find a location that works for you, click the “details” button to the right to find out more information about those appointments, and it will guide you through booking yours. You can also use this corresponding website to sign up for notifications for when new appointments become available.

One final way to get your vaccine is to go to the website for a specific location. For instance, both CVS and Walgreens have been holding vaccine clinics, so you can check their websites for available appointments if you’d like to go to one of those locations.

I hope this information has been helpful to you. I know it can feel overwhelming, but it’s all for the best. If each of us do our best to get our vaccines, life can soon return to some semblance of normal. But remember that you still have to follow Covid protocols even once you’re vaccinated. Stay safe, stay healthy, and get vaccinated!

Looking For Things to Do This Summer 2021?

By: Gwendolyn Scorpa (Grade 11)


In terms of activities, this year has been famous for a lack of them. From quarantine, to shots, and finally, a gradually dropping case number, the home stretch is within grasp, but what is there to do in the awkward transition? For those itching to get outside, this summer in the Berkshires boredom survival guide may just be your saving grace.


Go get those hours in for college, or just have fun doing good! Ask around or use the internet to find volunteer positions that fit you best! Some places you can volunteer:

Berkshire United Way


Berkshire Horse Works

Berkshire Humane Society


We live in a plentiful area for the arts; several accessible theatre companies have announced their 2021 seasons, for example, Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Theatre Group and Shakespeare and Company. Get your tickets to see musicals, plays, cabarets, and concerts between all three companies! Support local theatre!

Barrington Stage Company’s 2021 Season

Berkshire Theatre Group’s 2021 Season

Shakespeare and Company’s 2021 Season

Then there’s always the classic… Tanglewood! With performances all summer long, Tanglewood offers a fun place to hang out, and even job opportunities.

Tanglewood’s website


Found on the @berkshirepride Instagram page, go there for more information:


“Bring your flags, bring your signs, and wear your rainbows.”


Goat Yoga at Hancock Shaker Village from June 5 to August 14, $25 per person, 9:30 to 11am

New York State Fair, Syracuse New York, Friday August 20 to Monday September 6th


How annoying is it when you're out with your friends and none of them can agree or decide on what they want to eat? Here's a list of widely loved local places:

Ayelada hours: 12pm-9pm everyday

Crust hours: 11am-8pm everyday

Hot Harry's hours: 9am-9pm everyday

Teddy's Pizza hours: 11am-8pm

Highland hours: 4pm-9:30pm Tuesday-Saturday, 4pm-8pm Sunday

Patrick's Pub hours: 11:30am-1:30pm Tuesday-Saturday, open for takeout and delivery only, 4pm-8pm dine in Tuesday-Saturday, closed on Monday and Sunday

Hot Dog Ranch hours: 11am-9pm

Whatever you decide to do, whether it be online, or in the real world, remember what we went through in these long two years of isolation and continue to be safe while having fun.

What's Open in Berkshire County?

By: Liam Chalfonte (Grade 11)


As we begin to see the light at the end of a very long tunnel, parts of our normal lives are starting to creep back in. As we enter spring, we now have the opportunity to visit a number of places around our community that we’ve had to avoid for so long. Here’s a list of what’s open in our area right now:

There are a number of restaurants open in the PHS area. Ayelada, the frozen yogurt shop just down the street from PHS, is open from 12-9 daily for take out orders. Down the road, Otto’s Kitchen is open Wednesday to Monday from 8-2. Local pizza shop Teddys is open from 11-8 as well. On North Street, Hot Harry’s is open for Dine-in and take out from 8am-9pm Monday through Saturday and 11am-8pm on Sunday.

As for things to do this upcoming summer, a number of places are opening up, albeit with some restrictions. The Berkshire Museum is open by reservation Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10-5 and Sunday 12-5. In the North of the County, Mass Moca and the Clark are both open by advance reservation; Mass Moca Thursdays through Mondays from 10-5, the Clark Tuesdays through Sundays from 10-5. The Clark’s walking trails are also always open to the public, one of the numerous beautiful walks in our area. As well, local performances will be happening this summer, with Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Theater Group, and Tanglewood all announcing their seasons recently. Each of them will be having smaller seasons than usual but will still have a number of shows.

When you do go out in public, always remember to wear a mask and keep six feet of distance between you and people around you. The more diligent we are, the quicker we’ll be able to open back up fully.

Ben Downing:

This past year, in the midst of the pandemic, our country has been in political turmoil. Through the chaos, one can hear the voices of America's next-generation fighting for change. This year 175 of us will be moving into adulthood and one of its biggest steps is voting. For us, our first voting opportunity will be in September, the primaries, and we will be filling in the bubble on who Massachusetts' next governor will be. On February 8, Ben Downing of Pittsfield officially declared his gubernatorial candidacy (i.e. he is running for governor). How cool is it that a local Pittsfield native is running for governor? So the day following I reached out to Ben on Twitter and asked for an on-call interview for this piece and he was more than happy to be a part of our PHS Newspaper.

Ben explained that his campaign focused on economic change, racial justice, reducing the growing wage/wealth gaps, reducing levels of unemployment, and changes concerning climate control like more solar and renewable energy. He stated that these issues weren’t being addressed with the sense of urgency that they should be. “I’ve spent my life in communities that have had to fight harder than they should to get fair representation and equitable access to resources.” Ben then transitioned to talk about climate change, and how that will give lots of jobs to those entering

the workforce and that it won’t just affect us economically but environmentally as well. He wants to build the future that we want, and that he wants as well, so that we all can benefit from that future.

On issues pertaining to education, Ben acknowledges that the “Student Opportunity Act,” which addresses education for those of low income, needs to be sped up. It has not been moving into place fast enough, through if we can improve K-12 education, achieve universal pre-K, and cut down the costs of public education, especially public colleges and universities. Ben defends that when we are amidst the college process we shouldn't be worried about the cost but should be worried about what university is the best for us. If public K-12 is essentially free then public universities should be, too. As a father himself he knows that giving back to the next generations is crucial, and he wants to remove obstacles so that we, they, can thrive. He mentioned that his sense of empathy and urgency amplified with the loss of his brother and father, and those senses are critical to getting Massachusetts on track to prosperity.

Lastly, we chatted about the elephant in the room, Covid-19; though the primaries are far into the future he touched on what he would be doing if in the governor’s office right now. Ben recognizes the terrible process of vaccination and how getting it on its feet was very messy, it should’ve been way easier. He also highlighted how the predominantly colored communities need to have better access to vaccination, we are dealing with a flare of systemic racism in the health system and it needs to be rooted out so that this process can reach everybody. He talked about when he was a boy, his father used to say all the time, “you should be lucky where you are,” and how the middle class is thriving and with that, it should focus on giving back so others can receive the opportunity of thriving as well. “There is always an excuse to not change something or put it off, but not anymore.”

Now is the time for a change and with all the protesting and all the things we fight for, we know that to be true. Now is the time we step into the adult world and exercise our right to vote, and vote for change.

Piece By: Emma Kostyun (Grade 12)