How To Guide 2022

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How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Wedding planners are invaluable resources who wear multiple hats as they help couples plan the wedding of their dreams. The average cost of a wedding today is enough to make a sizable

down payment on a home. According to The Knot's 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding in the United States cost $33,900 in 2019, though the price tag can vary widely from state to state. Canadians spend similarly, with Canadian Buzz stating a modest wedding will cost between $25,500 and $30,000 CAD, but more likely

around $42,400 CAD. Though love may not cost a thing, weddings certainly do. One of the best ways to maximize wedding budgets and ensure that all that money is well spent is to enlist the services of a wedding planner. Wedding planners wear many hats, which underscores how valuable they can be.

Sounding board

An experienced wedding planner can help couples keep their worries at bay. Countless decisions must be made when planning a wedding, and some couples may feel as if they need to micromanage their nuptials. A wedding planner can take tasks off of couples' plates and serve as a sounding board as couples try to make the best decisions.

Financial guru

Make your dream wedding a aChoose reality with or Spa aPool professional event planner

A wedding planner can help couples negotiate the best deals on good and services, and will know when a vendor's price is on target or inflated. That savvy saves couples money in the long run. Wedding planners also can advise on ways to save money and allocate funds so couples' biggest priorities get the financial attention they deserve.

Problem solver

Wedding planners step in to save the day when hiccups threaten to derail plans. A planner will know what to do should a gown become torn or if a vendor fails to respond to calls on the day of the wedding. Removing some stressors allows couples to relax and more fully immerse themselves in their weddings.

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Idea generator


Pulling together ideas from every corner requires a creative eye. Couples can rely on a professional wedding planner to help with brainstorming and putting different elements together. He or she likely has seen a vast array of celebrations and can make suggestions based on what's worked before.

Time saver

Wedding planners already have a bevy of industry contacts and can pull together wedding details in much less turnaround time than couples with no wedding planning experience.

Sponsored by: Only In My Dreams Events

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022


Enjoy the fun parts of planning your Wedding day and leave the rest to us. We will be sure to make your day beyond perfect. Call Today for a FREE Consultation


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Wedding Planning


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Find more time to read

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Reading promotes brain health and mental wellbeing. Various strategies can help you find more time to cuddle up with a good book. Avid readers know that a good book can be a great escape.


In addition to being a go-to hobby on rainy days and a great way to get away from the daily grind, reading can have a profound impact on mental health. A 2013 study published in the journal Brain Connectivity used MRI scans to measure the effects of reading on the brain. The scans showed that reading not only triggered brain connectivity while reading, but also continued to do so for days afterward. The following are some ways people can find more time to get away with a good book.

Take a book to the gym. Weightlifting and reading might not be a match made in heaven, but taking an e-reader along with you to the treadmill, ellipti-

cal or exercise bike can be great way to pass the time while breaking a sweat. Instead of firing up a streaming service during your cardiovascular workout, bring an e-reader and read a book. That can make your workout twice as beneficial because you’ll be working out your body and your brain at the same time.

print books, people with hectic schedules may need to give a little to get a little. Professionals with long commute times can turn their daily drives to and from the office into opportunities to listen to audiobooks. It might not be quite the same as reading a print book, but it’s still a great way to dive into a good story.

Hit the books before bed.

Turn the television off.

Many people find time to read right before going to bed each night. Reading before bed is a great time to get some reading in, and it also can benefit readers in a unique way. A 2009 study from researchers at the University of Sussex found that six minutes of reading before bed reduces stress by 68 percent.

Data collected from Nielsen in 2018 found that the average adult now spends nearly six hours per day watching television, videos on a smartphone or tablet and/or videos on devices connected to their televisions. Adults who want to find more time to read may need to just turn off their televisions and devices and spend more time reading than watching videos.

Listen to books while commuting. While it takes some getting used to, listening to audiobooks is another way to indulge in a good book. Though various studies have suggested audiobooks can lead to lower levels of reading comprehension than reading traditional

Read what you enjoy. It's tempting to pick books based on what others are reading or what you believe will make you seem more erudite. Choose subjects that appeal to you rather than ones you think you should

read. Books should spark your interest and curiosity, no matter the subject, and you're more likely to finish a book when you find it engaging.

Join a book club. A book club can open you up to a variety of titles. Book clubs tend to stick to deadlines and schedules, meaning you'll already be encouraged to read more to meet the minimum requirements of the club. Furthermore, an opportunity to discuss the book with others can motivate you to read the book in a timely fashion.

Set your own rules. When reading for pleasure, establish your own rules. Don't hesitate to stop reading a book if you find it's not as engaging as you'd initially hoped.

Sponsored by: The Bookloft

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

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How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022| The Berkshire Eagle |

Choose Choose aa pool Pool or spa Spa


If you enjoy pools or spas regularly, you know membership fees can add up and with frequent visits you might begin to ask this question: Why not add a professional spa or pool to your home? Why not? You can enjoy the relaxing benefits of water therapy any time you please — by yourself or with your family or guests — without sharing with strangers and the inconvenience of leaving your home. If you’re worried about the price, you probably shouldn’t be. Home spas have become quite affordable in recent years. As a result, they are also very popular. Installation of a home spa can also be a cinch, with a growing number of plug and play models and even portable ones that you can take with you on vacation.

The home-spa industry has worked hard to incorporate innovations, such as ozonators and aromatherapy fragrances. Spas often found in high-end hotels and resorts are now available for the average consumer. You may be able to purchase some of these models at your favorite big-box or homeimprovement center. You can also purchase a home spa with a media center, along with therapeutic and LED lighting. Watch your favorite DVD or TV program while relaxing in the tub. The best spas include hydrotherapy, which will help you heal and repair your body. Tubs with water jets will massage muscles, improve circulation, relax nerves and ease pain. The water suspends your tired muscles in weightlessness, allowing them to rest. People with chronic back problems often report relief. Custom spas are also available. You can have it built to meet your

specifications. Everyone has a different reason for installing a home spa, and manufacturers are happy to accommodate your requests. At-home swimming pools are another favorite for health-conscious people. These pools are not like your typical in-ground blue bathtub. Natural stone, manmade waterfalls and landscape detailing will make your pool into a private oasis. Before purchasing your pool, decide whether you would like an in-ground or above-ground pool. Above-ground pools are less expensive, but many people prefer the durability and overall look of an in-ground pool. Take time to think about your decision. After all, your pool is a major investment. It will be a part of your home for many years. Consider the landscaping around your pool. There are many possible finishes for the decking alone. You can also choose the materials, style and features. Some-

times the environment around a pool can seem as relaxing as stepping foot in the water. It’s a fact that most people build their dream pool over a number of years as it fits their budget. You don’t have to do everything at once. Just start with a high-quality installation and a vision of what you want the area to become. You can add more features later. With so many advances in home spas and swimming pools, combined with their affordability, it makes sense to install one on your property. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have your own private resort without the hassle of leaving home?

Sponsored by: Imperial Pools & Spas

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

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How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Becoming organized is a process, but once you get the hang of it, it can be easy to stay organized. Becoming more organized is a popular resolution each new year. However, like many resolutions, people's commitment to being more organized tends to wane as spring draws near. Being unorganized can adversely affect productivity, state of mind, motivation, and even happiness. Sixty-seven percent of people surveyed in an Alpha Phi Quarterly study believed they could save up to 30 minutes a day if they were more organized. And a Huffington Post survey determined worrying a home isn't clean enough or organized enough is the fifth most common stress trigger for Americans. Getting and staying organized requires commitment. Having some handy tips at the ready to facilitate the process can make things go more smoothly.

Organize and declutter your home

1. Determine what organization means to you. Being organized might mean one thing to you and something else entirely to someone else. Some may put form before function. Others may be interested in the aesthetics of a neat-looking space. Once you have a handle on what being organized entails to you, you can get to work.

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2. Start with what motivates you most.


Perhaps this is a room in the home that has become overrun with clutter. Or maybe it's getting finances organized so you can save for a dream vacation. When you accomplish your biggest goal, the seemingly smaller ones may seem less difficult.

3. Declutter your mind. Think of a busy mind as a computer that has that turning hourglass or spinning color wheel icon when it's stuck on a process. Every application stalls because the computer cannot do everything at once. The same thing can happen in the brain. Sit down

and make a to-do list of what's on your mind. Then start prioritizing tasks. This will do wonders to clear your head.

look after the children or step away from social media so you can focus on the task at hand. Interruptions only slow you down.

4. Create deadlines for yourself.

6. Think before you acquire.

An open-ended timeline to get things done may promote procrastination. Deadlines may provide motivation.

Once you are organized you may have challenges fitting new items into the mix. If you're getting ready to purchase something new, carefully consider its usefulnesss and

5. Avoid distractions. Try to remove as many distractions as possible. When working on a chore, hire a babysitter to

determine in advance where it will go, and whether or not you have the space.

7. Be accountable to another. Having help getting organized can mean delegating certain tasks or enlisting someone to check in with you to see if you're on target. Embrace this system of checks and balances.

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Don’t Just Get Things Tidied Up–Keep Them That Way





Pittsfield, MA • (413) 464-5800 •

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Many people have difficulties getting things organized. You can get help cutting the clutter by calling on Fresh Start for professional home organizing in Pittsfield and Lenox, Massachusetts. We’ll work with you to find a solution to your chronic clutter problems. Our team is sensitive to those dealing with anxiety or depression, conditions which often contribute to chronic clutter.

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022



How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022| The Berkshire Eagle | 10

Choose a kitchen remodeling company

Choosing the people who will remodel your kitchen is an important decision. Finding someone who will stay within a budget and complete the job in a timely manner will go a long way toward giving you satisfaction with the end result. A tired, outdated kitchen can make cooking and gathering an unpleasant chore instead of a fun, friends-and-family filled way to enjoy the experience. Everyone benefits from a modern, updated kitchen. But many homeowners delay remodeling because the process can seem so daunting. Don’t be put off by the task. Contacting kitchen remodeling companies in your community to

get a rough idea about cost and scope of the project you have in mind is a good place to start. Your local home improvement store might have information for licensed contractors in the area. Once you have compiled a list of professionals, ask them for quotes. They will likely have to visit your home to look at the room. Estimates should be based on the total work that needs to be done. If you find someone who hesitates to give you a quote in writing, cross them off your list and look for someone who is more forthcoming. Sometimes, remodeling requires work from a sub-contractor. It is difficult to know at the beginning whether sub-contractors will be necessary. Chances are, if you receive similar information from several different professionals, you can trust the advice. Another aspect of any estimate

will be time. Ask each contractor about the time it will take to complete the project. All professionals should be able to finish the project in roughly the same amount of time. If there are any contractors that vary greatly from the average time frame, you should ask them why they differ so greatly. After narrowing down your list, check each individual’s or company’s references to ensure their reputation. Speak directly to anyone who has hired them for previous work. Inquire about the quality and dependability of the workers. If anyone is unable to provide you with references or contact information, you might want to reconsider using them. Once you have decided on a licensed contractor or kitchen remodeling company, ask to view the contract. This document should specify any task involved

in the project, including its cost and time for completion. Before signing, request proof of the individual or company’s licensure. Be sure that they have current accident insurance coverage. If they do not, you might be liable for any accidents that occur on your property. When sub-contractors are used, they should be under the umbrella of the head contracting company. If not, separate written contracts may be necessary. Review each subcontractor just as you would the head contractor: check references, licensure and insurance coverage.

Sponsored by: Morrison’s Home Improvement

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022


OUR 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY! From Steve Morrison’s beginnings going Door to Door, to his Showroom on North Street in Pittsfield, to Today’s Showroom in the Beautifully Restored 1870’s House in Lenox, The Morrison’s have been doing business at Home in The Berkshires since 1992.

Offering a full array of Interior and Exterior Remodeling Services, it has been a Privilege to Serve Berkshire County Homeowners for these 30 Years. Our Commitment to the Quality of our Work is Rewarded by Being Voted “Best of The Berkshires” Best Contractor, 6 Years in a Row and Now Earning the FirstEver “SG Shoppers Choice Award” for Best Contractor.

Steve Morrison, pictured with daughters and co-owners Stephany & Ashley and mascot Lenox.

Our commitment to the community includes our yearly contributions to the FoodBank of Western Mass, donations to Habitat for Humanities ReStore, working with the Lenox Chamber of Commerce for numerous events, and helping supply the Taconic High School Carpentry Program with material, as well as many other Local Charities.



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Visit Our Showroom in The Heart of The Berkshires! 25 PITTSFIELD ROAD, (ROUTE 7) LENOX, MA • (413) 442-3001




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Choose the right window company

you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.” - John Ruskin How many times have we picked up a ‘bargain’ at a store, online, or from a third party only to get it home and find out that the ‘bargain’ we just bought was a complete waste of money. Now imagine that ‘bargain’ was the windows in your home. Oftentimes, window companies will lure you in with promises of incredibly low prices that seem too good to be true, and they often are. Keep in mind that the national company advertising $300 windows charges an average of twice that amount in the home. Your best bet is to find a window company with fair pricing, not just low prices. Good replacement windows should be a once in a lifetime investment, not an every 5-7 years purchase. Before you agree to an inhome consultation, check the warranty on the windows online. Chances are pretty good that the better windows will have a lifetime warranty and won’t pro-rate their coverage.

Install is King! “Anybody can do bad work, but not everybody does good work.” - Paul Simon

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Sponsored by: Thermo Expert


Homeowners choose to replace their home’s windows for a variety of reasons: • Lower energy bills • Increase comfort and reduce drafts • Remove windows that are broken, inoperable, or just plain stuck • Beautify your home and improve its appearance • Reduce the amount of maintenance required

No matter what your reason, before you run out to that Big Box home store or pick up the phone to the Giant Window Company that advertises non-stop on your television – here are three crucial points to help guide your search for the right window company.

The price is right – or is it? “There are two mistakes one can make when purchasing an item, one is to pay too much, but the other is to pay too little. It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money that’s all. When you pay too little,

Nowhere is this adage as true as in the window installation business. Imagine spending countless hours on research, reaching an educated decision on the right windows for your home and signing a contract for what seems like a fair price. Then when the day finally comes to install your windows the crew that shows up is poorly trained, sloppy, or just plain lazy. Important details are missed, corners are cut, and the windows look nowhere as nice as they did in the brochure. Poor installation techniques very quickly negate the advantages of quality windows, and many times will completely invalidate the warranty. How can you keep this from happening to you? There are a few simple questions to ask that will help you separate the quality craftsmen from Moe, Larry, and Curly. • How long has your company been in the window business, and how many windows have you installed? You don’t want a company using your home for on the job training. • Are the installers employees of the company, or do you use sub-contractors? Farming out the work to the sub-contractor de jour almost guarantees less than desired results. • What training and certification

do your installers have? Factory trained installers with industry certification are usually your best bet.

Reputation is usually earned – for better or worse! “You can’t buy a good reputation; it must be earned.” - Harvey Mackay You’ve seen all the ads from companies claiming to be the world’s most trusted contractor, or touting their hundreds of satisfied customers. They seem convincing enough – but you know people who have had a bad experience. Obviously all companies will cherry-pick the feedback from previous customers, choosing the ones that present them in the best light. What they won’t tell you is how many complaints they had to sift through to pull out the few compliments they received. Here are a few tips on how to find the truth about a company’s reputation. Check their listing on Angie’s list. Read the actual reviews to find ones most similar to the work you are looking for. Be sure to check their rating on windows specifically rather than the overall rating. Why choose a company that build up their overall rating with excellent roofing and siding reviews, but gets lackluster reports on their window work? Look at their BBB listing, not just their rating. Most reputable window companies will link their website directly to their BBB profile. There you can see the total number of complaints, even if the BBB considers them resolved. Remember that many companies may work extra hard to resolve a BBB complaint, but do little to fix the underlying problem that caused it. Next, a trip to the local small claims court may tip you off to a contractor’s true reputation. Ask the clerk about them – sometimes an eye roll from them will tell you more than Angie’s List or the BBB ever could. After all, who wants to have to sue their window contractor to get an issue resolved? Finally, check with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Contactor Guarantee Fund. In some cases, the AG will reimburse homeowners up to $10,000 for unsatisfactory work done by a contractor. Obviously you’ll want to avoid any window companies that have had claims against them. Follow these three tips and you’re sure to find a fair, honest, and accommodating window contractor for your next project.

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• In business since 1984, Family owned and operated • Superior workmanship, fully licensed and insured • Highest energy efficiency... All windows Energy Star rated or better • Many interior and exterior color and wood grain options • 100% lifetime window warranty, Fully transferable • Simple and Fast Financing


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Choose an Assisted Living Center

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Getting older presents many challenges to all of us, particularly the elderly. Health care often becomes a primary focus for seniors and their families, sometimes to the degree that families and friends can no provide. In those cases, an assisted living facility can majorly improve quality of life.


It is at this juncture that many begin to consider assisted living care centers. Because many also double as full-time medical facilities or employ full-time nurses and other care providers, these centers of a peace of mind to families and friends. In the past, long-term care could only be handled by a nursing home. Living in a hospital setting for an extended time was not a pleasant environment. In addition to on-site medical care, many assisted living centers can appear more like upscale apartments, offering dining, travel, activities and personal freedoms.

But not all assisted living centers are alike. The decision to place a relative into such an environment warrants close scrutiny and research.

Gardens and landscaping The landscaping of an assisted living center can give you a good indication about the quality of the facility. A wellmaintained lawn and garden is a positive sign. If the prospective resident enjoys spending time in nature, look for a facility that has parklike areas. Some centers have community-style gardens and walkways for residents. Just being able to experience nature as it grows and changes with the seasons can be uplifting and soothing. An assisted living center with a manicured lawn and garden can make a huge difference in the quality of life for a loved one.

Amenities Accommodations at these centers can range from luxurious, detached cottages to cozy condominiums. It all depends on what you are looking for, what you can afford, and what is available.

As you visit the facilities, try to personalize each space. Imagine how your loved one’s belongings might fit into the area and where decorations will be placed. Does the atmosphere bring about a feeling of peace and tranquility? How are the rooms decorated? Are they tasteful and soothing, or do they remind you of a hospital setting? Look at the home amenities and consider how you would feel about living there. Would you want your loved one living there? Is the facility within your budget?

Recreation and activities Game and meeting areas can help the resident make new friends and keep them from feeling alone and lonely. Leaving the confines of their units is an important part of improving quality of life. Make sure the center offers activities and space to occupy your loved one’s time. Quality facilities will have activities that match his or her hobbies. If your family member enjoys crafts, then look for a center with a designated craft area or classes for your loved one to enjoy.

Personal care Ask your loved one’s personal physician how much care is required to function safely. The doctor may even be able to guide you toward an appropriate facility. Be sure to seek advice on what qualifications and certifications you need to look for in the center’s staff. The center’s employees should be well-qualified to handle medical needs. If you monitor medical care, you can avoid paying for extensive services that your loved one may not need. Understanding the care the person requires will help you find a center that is a good fit. Choosing an assisted living facility is about finding the right combination of medical services and amenities. With research and thought, you will find the perfect place to bring comfort and care to your loved one.

Sponsored by: The Landing at Laurel Lake

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Individualized care closer than you think. Our full spectrum of health care services at one convenient location allows residents and patients access to all levels of health care services from assisted living to inpatient skilled nursing and rehabilitation.

Offering a Full Spectrum Continuum of Health Care Services • Inpatient Skilled Nursing • Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy • Long-term Care • Assisted Living • Memory Care • Respite Program

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620 Laurel Street Lee, MA 01238 P 413.243.2010 F 413.243.4288

600 Laurel Street Lee, MA 01238 P 413.243.4747 F 413.243.460

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For More Information or to Schedule a Tour, Please Call one of our Health Care Centers.


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Keeping your pet properly groomed is part of the care you commit to when taking on your furry friend for life. Grooming keeps its coat shiny and healthy and free of unpleasant smells and potential health issues. If your pet is in need of a haircut and a good bath, you may want to check out a local pet grooming service. Here’s how to pick the best one for your pet.

Get Referrals

Family and friends should be your first stop. They might know

of a good pet groomer in your area. Referrals are a large part of any business. Most groomers make an extra effort to make sure their customers are satisfied. If you are coming to a groomer via a recommendation, tell the person. The groomer will be happy to know that their business has a great reputation. It is likely they will go the extra mile to make sure you are pleased with their services. Groomers are most often found in large pet stores, veterinary offices and stand-alone storefronts. You can find them through your local newspaper, Yellow Pages or online. Make a list of groomers that are conveniently located near your home or business. You will drop your pet off and picking them up later in the day.

Visit and Ask Questions

Visit groomers on your list and inspect their shops. Check for cleanliness and professionalism. The service area should smell fresh and clean. The pet waiting room should also be free from debris and chemicals. Observe how the groomer and staff interact with animals and customers. Nothing can be more difficult than a slick, wiggly pet. But a groomer should be gentle. He should never yell or jerk a pet around. Inquire about their services. Do they groom both cats and dogs? Is there a separate waiting area for the two types of pets? Can you choose the shampoo? Are nail clippings and anal gland

expressions part of the package, or do these services cost extra? Checking about these things ahead of time will spare you the shock and disappointment when you bring your pet home. Some groomers do not perform these services. It’s important to know what you can expect. Also, be sure to ask about medical services. What happens if your pet has an emergency while they are at the groomer? Does the groomer have a relationship with the local veterinarian? Another option is a mobile pet groomer. These professionals have a vehicle with everything they need to groom your pet in front of your house. If traveling is inconvenient, mobile pet groomers might be an option for you.

Bringing Your Pet

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Choose a pet groomer


Prior to scheduling an appointment, bring your pet to their office. Observe the relationship between your pet and the groomer. Are they comfortable with each other? Tell your groomer if your dog is sensitive to having his or her nails trimmed or ears cleaned. Some dogs are terrified of the hair dryer. Mentioning it to your groomer help the situation be more successful and less stressful. Choose which services you need before your arrival. Sometimes, groomers who work on commission might try to up sale you. Never let them talk you into services you do not need or want. If you are unhappy with the way your pet looks when you pick it up, speak to the groomer right away. It might be due to miscommunication or your pet’s behavior. Most groomers will be sure to fix the problem to your satisfaction immediately. Remember, you can always change your groomer. If you are uncomfortable or your pet seems stressed, look for a new pet groomer. It is important that you and your pet are satisfied with the groomer’s results.

Sponsored by: Animal Inn

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

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Come visit us!


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Wander into any kitchen anywhere and the elements that first grab your eye are cabinets and countertops. Cabinets are second only to quality countertops when it comes to the focal point of your kitchen. And here’s some good news: You can spruce up your dated cabinets on a budget if you need to with a simple sand and stain job. But if you’re looking at replacing your cabinets altogether, don’t skimp on cost. Many experts recommend spending up to 20 percent of your home’s value on any remodeling project. For a home valued at $100,000, for instance, homeowners might spend up to $20,000 on updating the kitchen. Of that money, about 40 percent should be spent on cabinets alone. Why spend so much money on cabinets? Because they are the focal point of your kitchen. They must be attractive and useful. If you’re planning on selling, high-quality cabinets will appeal to a wide selection of buyers. If you plan on staying put, they will bring you years of function and use.

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Custom-Built Cabinets


Custom-built cabinets are an excellent choice because they allow you to choose any style you want. You’re only limited by imagination. Specify the color, hinges, pulls rollers and even have special finish applied to the cabinets. It is essential to work with a professional. Ask your friends and family if they know experienced cabinetmakers. Tradesmen in your area will likely know cabinetmakers. If you are using a contractor, solicit him or her for recommendations. Visit two or three custom builders in your area and discuss your preferences. Ask to see their work. Be sure to outline your budget and specifications. A professional will give you a reasonable timeframe. You may need to live for an extended period of time without a kitchen, and that can be difficult.

Choose kitchen cabinets Take a look at special finishes. Some people adore the antique or distressed look. Other people prefer to have the cabinets match other colors in the kitchen. Your custom cabinet builder should apply the finish himself. Check the quality of the materials the builder is using. Hinges, heavy duty slides and ¾-inch solid wood should have a lifetime guarantee. You may need to change the cabinets once you have ordered them. Ask about the consequences

Sponsored by: Revelare Kitchens

should this situation arise. There may be an additional fee to make a change after a period of time. Get everything in writing. Most cabinetmakers are honest and hardworking people, but a contract should stipulate what is expected of both parties. Do not sign anything until you understand the contract and have read it completely.

Pre-Built Cabinets

When you are on a tight budget, consider pre-built cabinets. You can still receive quality for a little less cost. First, look for pieces made with real wood. Particle board is not as durable. The cabinets must also feature solid construction.

There should be warranties on the hardware, slides and other components. Choose a company that has a long track record. You should be able to find them if the need arises. Quality companies will also allow you to order special sizes. They will be slightly more expensive, but you will appreciate the results. Regardless of the choices you make, always choose to purchase cabinets from a company that has been in business for a long time. They should be good at what they do. Look at their previous work and get in touch with previous customers. Once you do this legwork, there is no doubt you will be happy with the results.

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Choose a garden center


Gardeners used to rely on yearly seed catalogs to pick what they planned to put in their flowerbeds and vegetable gardens in the spring. Nowadays, gardeners can buy supplies year-round online or at conveniently located garden centers. Here’s what you should look for when selecting a new garden supply store.

Do the Research Research will help you determine which garden center is best for you. Look at the center’s catalog or website. Not only should it be filled with quality products, it should also have information to help you become more successful. Staff advice should be easy to understand and apply. Remember, they are not only retailers but also experts in their field.

Quality garden centers offer hands-on training and other classes on various gardening topics. Expertise can also be defined by media presence. The specialists at the garden center you are considering should be on the short list that the media uses. Your friends and neighbors may have referrals. Does someone in your social network love gardening? If so, then ask who they use. While some garden centers stock a wide variety of brands and products, most have a few products they specialize in.

Visit the Garden Centers Once you have researched garden centers, visit two or three locations before making a final decision. Talk to a sales person. Think of a problem you experienced in the past and ask them for a solution. The sales people should be knowledgeable about remedies. Note his or her demeanor and attitude. Find out how long they have been

in business and more about the owner. Good centers are usually in the same place, operated by the same people for a very long time. Take a look at the plants. Do they look healthy? Are they well-maintained? Is there a decent variety? Typically, plants grown in green houses are better quality. After all, they are produced to be grown in your area. Plants grown locally usually have fewer diseases. A plant may not appear diseased until you take it home. Inquire about how the plants are produced. “Open pollinated” designates a seed or plant will reproduce itself purely if a seed is properly saved from the fruit of the plant. An organic seed or plant has been produced without artificial or chemical pesticides. Genetically modified plants are created by laboratory technology that manipulates the plant’s genes. For example, instead of mixing two different kinds of corn to create one that is more resistant to diseases, they may combine genes from corn

and a totally unrelated tomato plant. These modifications do not happen naturally in the breeding process. Many people may be cautious about using genetically altered seeds and plants, but there are advantages to them. On commercial farms, this type of plant has plenty of assets over organic plants. In a backyard garden, however, genetically modified plants are usually not necessary. When shopping at a garden center, understand the types of plants they offer. There should be a labeling system in place. If not, ask the staff for more information. Commercial crops are more likely to have genetic modification. Once you’ve done your research and know what you want, head on over to your local garden center and get started improving your garden.

Sponsored by: Ward’s Nursery

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How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

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1 Year Warranty on Trees and Shrubs. Ask staff for details or find it at

Open Daily: 8am-5pm Closed Easter Sunday 4/17

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Apple, Peach, Pear, Cherry, Plum, Apricot


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Choose a Local Distillery

Perhaps no industry has been touched by the craft and artisan movement more than the liquor business. Today’s consumers simply don’t want to settle for the massproduced flavors of the past. They’re increasingly looking for locally produced spirits that have a special quality with distinct flavors from regional ingredients. Craft distilleries are following in the footsteps of craft breweries which have exploded onto the scene in recent years. The result is small-batch gins, vodkas and bourbon and rye whiskeys which provide a one-of-a-kind taste that you just can’t get from a massproduced brands.

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A Local Connection


Wouldn’t it be neat to drink liquor produced by a local distiller in your own community? That hometown connection can make a big difference. Look for a distiller who has deep local roots and a love for distilling, someone who is passionate about craftsmanship and supporting regional agriculture. Knowledge of the distilling process from start to finish, including the exact sources of all ingredients, sets the best distillers apart. A distillery that takes great pride in the sourcing of raw materials also looks to avoid ingredients with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Non-GMO, food-quality grain is the best starting point for any spirit.

coming back, you’ll find much more variety and interesting selections at a craft distillery than you can get elsewhere. Because of the select ingredients and distilling process, you will experience a whole new world of taste that mass-produced liquors can’t match. Be sure to look for a producer that takes obvious pride in their craft and shares a passion for distilling with their customers.

The Atmosphere One of the great pleasures of locally distilled spirits is enjoying them with friends. Seek out a nearby distillery that makes you feel comfortable and offers a full experience. Many distilleries have tasting rooms where you can sample spirits and buy bottles to take home and enjoy. Some serve snacks and offer other bar tools, mixers and cocktail-themed items for purchase. The best distilleries offer customers an education along with their drinks. The stills can be a big part of both the atmosphere and the learning experience. Ask the distiller to explain why they selected the stills they use to craft their spirits, why they chose the grains they use and how aging affects taste. From local customs to family history, the stories behind each unique distilling process can be fun to hear. Seek out a distillery that offers tours and has regular hours where you can stop by for a visit, see their production facility and learn about the process from the makers themselves.

The Craftsmanship Passion is so important in the liquor production process. Many locally owned distilleries produce in small batches with great attention to detail. Because of the need to keep customers

Sponsored by: Berkshire Mountain Distillers

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022


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How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022| The Berkshire Eagle | 24

In-home care has become a popular option for people requiring ongoing care in recent years. It allows family members who need personal care and assistance with activities of daily living to manage their lives while remaining in familiar surroundings. This can work wonders for their quality of life. Depending on the severity of their conditions, seniors and others with incapacitating ailments can live at home with assistance. This kind of care is often the perfect compromise. Many in-home care companies also offer services ranging from housekeeping and laundry to food prep. When searching for a home care provider make sure you choose one that selects their caregivers using multiple reference checks, skills testing, license or certificate credentialing and criminal background checks. The homecare agency should also have a registered nurse on staff to help match the seniors needs with qualified caregivers and if needed write up a personalized care plan. A strong reputation and long history in the community can be important factors when choosing a home health care agency. A personal recommendation from a friend, family member or health care professional is a good place to start. Also, find out if on call staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Aroundthe-clock availability may help you avoid unnecessary hospital visits and improves access to care in an emergency. After speaking to several inhome care providers, you can compare the range of services they offer. Typically, they will fall into three categories:

Homemaking Homemakers provide assistance with non-personal care tasks that help seniors stay safely in the home. This type of assistance includes light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation and grocery shopping.

Choose In-Home Care

Personal Care Caregivers can help with daily grooming, mobility, and any special diet requirements. Always inquire about the qualifications of any in-home care providers you are considering. All workers should have the proper training, degrees, and certifications. If you are unclear about the exact level of care your loved one will require, ask your physician.

Companionship Seniors often need companionship. An in-home caregiver will provide a friendly face and good

conversation as well as general care. It might be a matter of reading aloud to your loved one, discussing the daily news or playing a game of cards. Quality in-home care providers understand that patients also need mental stimulation and human contact to stay well. Before signing a contract, understand the services that will be provided. You want to make sure you are getting what you need without paying for services that are not necessary. Everyone should be comfortable with the staff and caregivers who work for the company. In-home caregivers will quickly become

part of your life as members of the household. The best in-home care provider is about finding the right combination of services. Once you have the right company, companionship, comfort and cost savings make in-home care such a fantastic choice.

Sponsored by:

Molari HealthCare

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Since1983MOLARIHealthCare has enjoyed providing our neighbors in Berkshire County with trusted, quality homecare. Working as your partner, our staff will create a flexible care plan to fit your needs. With MOLARI you are assured that you and your care is our number one priority. MOLARI is committed to providing the best possible solution for your home healthcare needs.

Services offered by MOLARI • Laundry Services • Assistance with Transportation • Shopping and Errands • Respite Care

166 East Street • Pittsfield, MA 01201 413-499-4562 or 1-800-649-4562 Visit us on the web:

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• Assistance with Personal Care • Medication Reminders • Meal Preparation • Light Housekeeping • Companionship


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Choose a Solar Energy Company

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Solar energy is our No. 1 source of renewable energy, so it’s no surprise that, as a country, we turn toward solar power to increase efficient energy, save money and, not least, protect our environment for the future.


contractor that doesn’t typically incorporate solar elements into their projects. If the company is familiar with construction methods that will increase the structure’s overall efficiency, too, that’s even better.

As a result, more companies are offering to install solar panels. If you’re looking into solar power, it is important to pick the product and installer that will result in the best long-term benefits for your situation. Here are some things to consider when choosing a solar company.

Reputation In a fast-growing industry like solar energy, it’s especially important to know the reputation of the company you’re dealing with. New companies may be showing up in the marketplace, but that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily offer the best service or be around long enough to support their product line years from now. Look for stability in your solar

installer. You’ll want to find a company that has developed a great reputation over a number of years with a long track record of satisfied customers from projects similar in scope to yours.

The System There are a wide range of solar panel systems on the market, and the technology itself is going to be a big part of your decision. Your solar system can be tied to the existing electrical grid or completely off the grid, for example, which will require different equipment and setups. No matter what system you decide on, the key thing you’ll be looking for is efficiency, and that means understanding both the energy generated and the cost of doing so. Some solar systems generate power more efficiently than others, depending on their design and the type of materials they’re made from. And price efficiency can matter, too, because you don’t want to find yourself spending a whole lot more money for just a tiny increase in power. Likewise,

Financing Options

if a slightly bigger investment can yield a large boost in energy generated, it can make sense to spend the extra money. Look closely at the math, and pick the system that gives you the best return for your money. Many solar systems will pay for themselves over a number of years, so choosing one to be installed by a well-regarded company can be a wise financial move.

Other Services Homeowners or commercial users will often want more than just solar panels installed. If you think that’s a possibility, you can look for a company that offers a range of services, such as radiant heat systems and solar thermal systems. And if you’re doing new construction that will have solar components, look for a solar company that can also serve as your general contractor. The bigger the project, the more important it is to have the solar systems integrated into the design and construction from start to finish, not added on as an afterthought by a

Finally, a good solar company will present you with a wide range of options to help you pay for the upgrades. They should be familiar with all types of government incentive programs and willing to help walk you through the process of getting them. Federal programs are available to consumers who install solar panels on their homes, and additional state and local incentives are sometimes available. Make sure you thoroughly understand all these programs, though, because their requirements can be complex and important to follow exactly. In addition to the help from government programs, there are three ways buyers typically purchase their systems: Paying cash: The simplest and most direct way of paying for your system, cash buyers may be eligible for a 30 percent tax credit from the federal government along with other rebates that can reduce the installation cost up to 50 percent in total. Loans: Both home equity loans and unsecured solar loans may be available to help you purchase a solar system. Some solar companies offer loans for up to 20 years, while home equity loans may have the benefit of letting you deduct the interest from your income taxes. Leases: You may also be able to lease your solar system with no down payment or upfront costs. A solar lease will let you make affordable monthly payments to pay for your system, perhaps even including a performance guarantee and scheduled maintenance services included in the monthly cost.

Sponsored by: Valley Solar

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How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

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PWRcell stores energy from solar panels*


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Sometimes a liquor store is just a convenient stop. But a good liquor store can offer much more than that.

Choose a Liquor Store

Whether you’re stocking your bar for party or looking for the perfect ingredients for a custom cocktail, a quality liquor store can offer you advice and assistance. In essence, a great liquor store can be your secret guide to creating a festive occasion with quality spirits. Here’s what to look for in a liquor store:

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Wide Variety Look for a store that matches your personal preferences. Some shops carry local beer selections from nearby microbreweries. Others stock wines and high-end imported rum or scotch. The best stores will have a mixture of popular products, along with some new, rare or exotic offerings. The liquor shop should have a variety of price points. From the most expensive to the lower-price selections, all could have an important place in a well-stocked liquor cabinet. Mixed drinks or baked recipes, for example, don’t always have to include the very best brands because the flavor will be diluted with other ingredients. If you are planning to drink the liquor by itself, however, it is much better to look for a quality brand — even if it is more expensive.

Expert Advice

If you entertain frequently, 28 your liquor purchases may

be significant. The bigger investment you make, the more important it is to get expert advice. The best liquor stores will guide you into finding the right product for a specific use or occasion. You should be able to describe the event, along with the flavors or tastes you prefer. Listen to their advice. Good, personalized service may be worth traveling a longer distance. In addition, if you use the same store frequently, they will get to know your preferences and needs. Your experiences will keep improving with each visit.

Overall Experience

Sponsored by: George’s Liquors

Convenience is always a factor, but it isn’t the only thing to consider. Ideally, the shop should be clean, organized and in a safe neighborhood. The best liquor stores take pride in having a tidy appearance, vast selection and sophisticated staff. When you find those things in a liquor store, you can enjoy the taste of sweet success. Finally, consider the overall shopping experience. You’ll want to find a store that’s convenient — typically either close to your home or near your route home from work — but that’s just the start. A properly managed store will take pride in its appearance, selection and employees. Look for a business that stands out from the crowd. If you can find all those things in one store, your enjoyment and relaxation will be even sweeter.

• Bourbons • Vodka • Craft Brews • Scotches

• Hard & Rare to Find Whiskeys • Wide Variety of Wines, Seltzers and Ready to Drink

• Best Customer Service • Clean & Organized • Helpful & Knowlegable Staff

Stop in today to shop and save

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How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

19 Elm St., Pittsfield, MA 01201 (413) 448-8989


How-To Guide The Berkshire Eagle |

Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Choose the Right Insulation for Your Home

Homeowners considering upgrading their insulation or amending existing insulation should do their homework on the type of insulation that will be most effective for their homes.

When thinking about renovating their homes, homeowners may imagine changing wall colors, expanding room sizes or upgrading appliances and fixtures. However, unless people take inventory of the less glamourous components of the home, such as structure, plumbing, heating and cooling, and insulation, other improvements may be for naught. A home insulation project certainly doesn’t offer the wow factor of a kitchen remodel, but insulation serves a vital func30 tion in the house that helps

keep people comfortable and reduces energy consumption. Insulation is typically placed in areas where air escapes, such as between the stud cavities inside the walls and in the attic, and serves to slow and reduce heat transfer. The U.S. Department of Energy says between 50 and 70 percent of the energy used in homes is for heating and cooling. By improving home insulation, homeowners can make their homes more comfortable, consistent and efficient. In fact, the ENERGY STAR program overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says homeowners stand to save an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling costs by adding proper insulation. To do so, homeowners can take a crash course in home in-

sulation and find the products that fit their needs.

Blanket batts and rolls Blanket batts and rolls typically are constructed with fiberglass, so proper safety gear, such as a mask and gloves, is needed when handling them. Installing this type of insulation is relatively easy since the materials are designed to fit the standard width between studs, rafters and floor joists.

Loose fill Loose fill is usually made of fiberglass or cellulose (recycled paper fiber). It is blown or sprayed into place with pneumatic equipment, according to The Home Depot. Loose fill can be ideal for hard-to-reach areas in attics or

Sponsored by: East Coast Refinishing

inside wall cavities. It’s good for adding insulation to irregularly shaped areas. Since it requires special equipment, this is a job best left to professionals.

Sprayed foam Sprayed foam is just as the name implies, a foam made from polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, cementitious, or other materials that are applied by a spray container. DIYers who need only small applications can use canned products . Large quantities are pressure-sprayed by professionals.

Foam board/rigid foam panels Ideal for unfinished walls, such as basement or foundation walls, floors and ceilings, these are boards of polyurethane or polystyrene. Foam boards tend to reduce energy consumption more effectively than other types of insulation.

4 Industrial Drive Pittsfield Ma 10201 P: 413-445-7878 F: 413-445-6266 • ECRSS Weld & Fab Shop offers steel fabrication and welding by ECRSS WELDING on anything from simple to major repairs on light to heavy equipment, truck beds, truck racks, trailers, etc. We have the capability to fabricate architecturally exposed steel, structural steel, industrial and ornamental hand railings, fire escapes, access platforms, residential entrance gates, trellises, garden arbors, pergolas, etc. We also have experience in the armor protection field and cater to the art community with small to large sculptures and other works of art. Our main focus is on custom fabrication to meet our customer’s needs.

• ECRSS fabricates to the AISC structural fabrication codes.Collectively our Weld & Fab staff have over 70 years of experience in almost all aspects of steel fabrication and welding repairs on carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. We offer mobile welding if needed and installation is available on any small or large projects.

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022


• ECRSS works closely with engineers for all design-build projects along with a pool of draftsman that use the most current software to produce detailed shop drawings for production. Our staff can custom design steel items by field measuring and working closely with our clients and general contractors to provide a quality product.

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4 Industrial Dr | Pittsfield | 413) 445-7878 |


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

There’s never been an easier time to find delicious, healthy food options. Large fresh, healthy food stores such as Whole Foods and Fresh Market are located in almost every city of any size and cater to a growing population focused on the obvious benefits. Even your regular grocer is likely offering a wide variety of healthy foods. Unfortunately, many Americans enjoy the convenience of fast food and instant meals and forget that these processed foods have little or no nutritional value. Worse, these foods often leave them craving unhealthy snacks. Home-cooked meals are good for your body and pocketbook. They are cheaper, more satisfying to your taste buds and better for your health. Whether you are preparing vegetables, roasts or an appetizing main course, find a local grocer who stocks only the best products.

Choose Healthy Foods

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Depending on where the food has been grown, produce may be refrigerated and stored for long period before it arrives at a store. This delay can impact the texture and taste. That's why it is always best to purchase fruits and vegetables that are harvested before they ripen. Look for foods that are naturally in season, such as apples in the fall or tomatoes in the summer. When buying other items, such as meat, find a store that offers the quickest path from the farm to your dinner table. Beef, poultry and seafood are best when they are fresh.

Local It is best to purchase food grown near your home. Buying locally sourced food will help your city's economy; it is also better for the environment. Food shipped across the country generates carbon emissions. You will

pay more for the food because fuel and other costs must be included in the price. It also means that produce must be picked before it has properly ripened. Grocery stores that stock locally-grown food are proud of this fact. They are actively supporting their communities.

Natural Organic foods are a popular commodity. People want foods that are grown without harsh chemicals and pesticides. Studies have found that organic foods are a good choice for health-conscious consumers. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides dull the flavor of produce.

Organic foods simply taste better. Some people think that organic foods are more expensive, but smart shoppers know that you can find organic foods that are affordable and convenient. People who want to find healthier options for meat should find grocers who sell beef and other fare without unnatural hormones.

Expert Advice Look for trustworthy information. There is no shortage of advice, but information is only as reliable as its source.

The finest grocery stores have registered nutritionists and other experts on staff. These professionals will help you make wise eating choices. You can also find reliable diet advice and the most up-to-date tips. You may also ask produce managers for their personal recommendations. Quality stores will gladly extend a hand to help you find the best deals. For many shoppers, service with a smile is more important than anything they can find on the shelves.

Sponsored by: Wild Oats Market

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

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How-To Guide The Berkshire Eagle |

Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Choose a Barber

Perhaps no other element of our physical appearance warrants more care and expense than our hair. For many men, a simple “business cut” or a generic trim that keeps hair short and easy to manage is enough.

Still, choosing the wrong barber can mean the difference between a bad hair day and a bad hair month. A great haircut is a great selfconfidence booster. It also does wonders for your attitude. With a combination of self-confidence and a great attitude, the world seems at your fingertips. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t skimp on haircuts. And please don’t try doing it yourself. Spend the time and the money to 34 get the cut you deserve.

First, you’ll need to find yourself a skilled barber. These craftsmen are trained and experienced in providing cuts that achieve the look you seek and keep your hair in great shape. Here’s some tips on choosing the right barber.

Your style Some men prefer to keep up with hair trends that might only be achieved by expensive stylists. Others may want a simple close crop, buzz or basic trim. Men who prefer a complicated style straight out of men’s fashion magazines should find a salon. If the style only looks complex, it might be easily reproduced by your local barber. Make sure you have a picture of your preferred cut. It is always better to show a style rather than describe it.

Local shops Once you have decided on the haircut you want, look within

your community for a barber who can meet your requirements. The internet, local newspaper or phone book might provide you with valuable information. Also, consider asking your friends and family for names of barbers in the area. Ask a friend with a style you admire for the name of his barber. You might not want to copy his hairstyle exactly; but something similar may suit you.

Checking out the shop After you compile a list, contact each shop and ask about prices and services. Some barbers open very early or stay open well into the evening to accommodate business people. Choose a barber whose services are within your budget and scheduling capabilities. The best barber shops are clean and well-maintained, so take a look around. Remember, though, if you visit during peak times, hair may not be swept up as

quickly as it is during other times. Barbers usually do try to sweep away cut hair after each client. Rapport is another consideration. Many men view a trip to the barber as a social event. You want to have a good time in the shop.

Try and choose When you have located a shop that meets your pricing, scheduling and styling requirements, if there are multiple barbers in a shop, try them all first. And if you are unhappy with a cut, call the owner and give him the chance to make it right . Once you find the right shop, there’s a good chance you’ll be returning for cuts for years to come.

Sponsored by: Rocco’s North End Barbershop

• Book appointments easily through Booksy, or scan the QR code • Clean is always in style • Open 7 days a week • Owner/Master Barber Tony Riello

1175 North St Pittsfield Ma 01201 Phone number is 413-441-8135


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• Fresh, clean cape for every customer • Plexiglass divided work stations • Stainless steel counters and tiled walls • Credit cards accepted

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A shop built for your safety and convienience


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

If you have a sizable lawn to care for, investing a lawn tractor can save you substantial time in keeping your lawn trim and looking great. Besides just mowing, lawn tractors can bag grass and leaves and spread seed, mulch, and the chemicals you need to keep your lawn healthy. And if you pick a quality model and keep it properly maintained, a good mower will last you for years to come.

The Right Fit

Lawn tractors come in a variety of capabilities and price points which can range from $1,000 for a simple, basic model to $10,000 or more for a fully-featured, commercial-grade tractor. In between, you will find a vast mixture of features and quality. Select the right model by asking yourself how you will use the lawn tractor. Lawn size is an important factor to consider. For a bigger lawn, you may need a wider mowing deck. Do you have any other planned uses for your tractor such as hauling garden supplies of plowing the drive? High-end lawn tractors are more

like pieces of farm equipment than traditional ride-on mowers. You can purchase accessories for them, such as baggers, trailers, powerful tillers and snowblowers. You are not only buying a lawn mower. These tractors are platforms that can be used for all kinds of jobs. So check on the accessories that come with each model, even if you don’t plan on purchasing them yet. You may appreciate the choices in the future.

Speed and Manueverability

Most people want to finish the job in the least amount of time. While it is true that large mow-

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Choose a lawn tractor


ing decks will cover more ground with each pass, there are other things to consider as well. The transmission and speed is also a factor. How easy is it for you to change gears and turn in different directions? The zero-turn mower is another popular option. These vehicles can turn quickly and precisely to cut lawns of all sizes and shapes. While they have been used for years by commercial lawn crews, only recently have these mowers become affordable for the average homeowner. Zero-turn mowers are particularly useful when mowing close to homes, playground equipment and other tight areas.


The longevity of your lawn tractor is also an important consideration. The brand’s reputation should weigh heavily when you are making a decision. Research consumer reviews and talk to your friends and family members about the best brands of lawn products. Also, visiting a retail store and talking to knowledgeable salespeople will also help you. There are plenty of low-end, affordable riding mowers out there, but few have a reputation for durability. It is economical in the long run to choose a well-built model from a reputable manufacturer. Inspect the construction of each lawn mower careful to verify that it will meet your needs. While you probably don’t need the extreme engineering and high price of a commercial-grade model, you ought to buy the best model you can afford and follow the maintenance directions closely. It will help you get the most usage for your money. Finding a good dealer is an essential part of the process. When you locate an experienced local retailer with a long track record of happy customers, you will be well on your way to selecting the right lawn tractor for you.

Sponsored by: Meadow Farm Equipment

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022





For more information contact...

Meadow Farm Equipment

1160 Pleasant St. Lee, MA • 413-243-0777 •

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A great looking lawn can be a lot of hard work. With a robotic lawn mower, the grass gets mowed automatically – around the clock without your supervision. Cuttings are small enough that you won’t need to rake, and the clippings add fertilization back to the soil. A Husqvarna Automower® is able to maintain small to large lawns in any weather, with rough terrain and slopes up to 35%. It can mow around obstacles and knows when it needs to be charged. With the convenient control panel, or your smartphone, the Automower® allows you to set it and forget it. This is effortless lawn mowing at its best.


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022| The Berkshire Eagle |

Maintain tires for vehicle safety Vehicle owners should keep tire inspection and maintenance in mind as part of their overall car care plan.

Maintaining tires is an important component of safe driving. Tires are some of the hardest working parts on a car or truck and are subjected to wear and tear every time rubber meets the road. Tires affect many components of driving, including handling, braking and the comfort of the ride. Maintaining tires makes driving safe not only for drivers and their passengers, but also for fellow motorists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that, 38 in 2017, 738 fatalities occurred

because of tire-related crashes. Many of those crashes were no doubt preventable, and that only highlights the importance of maintaining tires and monitoring their performance. Poor tire maintenance can lead to premature wear and potentially result in a blowout. The automotive group AAA notes it is important to visually inspect tires as often as possible. Drivers should look for overall tread wear. Pay special attention to tread wear on one edge of the tires, which could indicate poor alignment. Erratic tread wear may mean tires are out of balance. Drivers also should pay attention to how their cars drive and sounds. Unusual vibration or thumping noises suggest issues with the tires. A car that pulls in one direction also may be experiencing tire problems. Vehicle owners should be aware of the routine mainte-

nance steps that can keep them safe and improve the life expectancy of tires.

Tire pressure The NHTSA says only 19 percent of consumers properly check and inflate their tires. Keeping tires properly inflated is one of the most important steps to maintaining them. Tires lose around 1 psi per month, and underinflated or overinflated tires can contribute to unusual wear, blowouts and even excessive fuel consumption.

Rotation Check the owner’s manual or recommendations from the tire manufacturer, but know that most mechanics advise having tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Rotation helps distribute wear more evenly on tires.

Balancing AAA says balancing also helps minimize uneven wear and tear. Balanced tires are achieved by using small weights attached to the wheels to limit vibration of the tire and wheels as they turn. New tires should be balanced, and tires also should be balanced after one or more is removed to repair a puncture.

Alignment Vehicles have wheel alignment measurements that pertain to manufacturers’ specifications. Alignment that falls outside of the range can impact handling, fuel economy and tread wear. A drift or pull suggests alignment problems and should be addressed.

Sponsored by: Pittsfield Tire

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022



Pittsfield’s Only Locally-Owned Tire Center 203 West Street, Pittsfield, MA | 413-445-4501

EXPERT AUTO REPAIR & TIRE SERVICE Enjoy auto service from ASE-Certified Technicians who can handle all your car repair needs. Visit Pittsfield Tire & Auto Service today. We’re conveniently located in Pittsfield, MA.



per tire or Purchase of set of 4 tires


• Disc Brake Service • Oil, Lube, and Filter • Shocks and Struts • Transmission Maintenance • Computerized Engine Analysis • Massachusetts State Inspections

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any auto service with a minimum purchase of $50


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• Heating • Air Conditioning / Cooling Maintenance • Batteries • Belts and Hose Inspection • Wheel Alignment • Wheel and Spin Balancing • Tire Rotation


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Choose the Right Landscaper

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Your landscape is the true “welcome mat” to your home. It escalates curb appeal, improves the look and appeal of your home and provokes pride in your property. But a well-manicured lawn and landscape are often difficult to achieve on your own, so enlisting the aid of a professional landscaper can make the project and upkeep much more practical. Consider the following tips if you’re looking to hire a landscaper.

Types of Landscapes

Different landscape styles require landscapers to have different skill sets. Determine which landscape appeals to you before you begin your search for a quality professional. A formal garden uses many geometrical shapes in its design. Plants provide a focal point, making the yard appear balanced. To achieve this design, a landscaper will need to carefully prune hedges. An informal landscape looks like organized chaos. Plants appear to be placed randomly. Landscapers who 40 use this design should be skilled at

scapers may charge less in order to get your business.

working with planters and urns. The English garden landscape uses the house as its focal point. All aspects of the yard will flow together. Professionals who use this design should be skilled at working with climbing vines, critical to this style. Oriental designs use rocks, mosses and evergreens. Calmness and quiet minimalism tend to be the effect of this style. To create a woodland design, the landscape must have great knowledge of native plants and making them look their best.

Determining what you need will help you decide which services you require from a landscaping company. Most professionals offer the following: weekly or monthly lawn and garden maintenance, weed control, tree pruning and shaping, garden installations, inspection and maintenance of irrigation systems and possibly even the construction of retaining walls or other structures.

Set Your Budget

Get Referrals

Cost is always a concern when hiring a home improvement specialist. Set a budget and stick to it. Understand what you can afford and are willing to spend annually on your landscaping. It will help you prioritize your list so you can at least get your necessities. You might need to make sacrifices. If you need a new landscaping wall, you might have to delay getting a sprinkler system. On the other hand, if irrigation is a must, then you might need to cut back on how often your lawn is mowed each month. Even if your budget is tight, don’t get discouraged. Some land-

Prioritize Your Needs

Neighbors are sometimes the best way to get referrals. If you like what you see in their yard, ask them for their landscaper’s name. Discuss the pros and cons of the service as well. You can even watch the company perform work. It will give you an idea about their employees and work habits even before contacting them. You could also do an online search for landscaping companies. Be sure to read reviews from prior customers. Keep in mind, though, not all bad reviews are necessarily true. Some past clients may harbor a grudge and could inflate the problem. Good reviews also need

to be taken into consideration. Some companies have people post good reviews even if the person has never used their service. Also check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for more information. If any complaints have been lodged against the company, the BBB will inform you.

Consider Availability

Availability is another factor when looking for a landscaper. One of the first questions to ask is how often the company will be available for maintenance. If you want to be home while the landscaper is working, make sure you can coordinate your schedule. Also consider community regulations. For example, if your town has noise regulations, ask each landscape company what they will do to adhere to them. Once you find a landscaper that meets your needs, you can sit back and enjoy your bountiful reward.

Sponsored by: Whitney’s Farm Market

Design Services


e work to meet your landscaping needs and we offer a one year plant guarantee on all plant material that we install. We have a fully stocked nursery, we can walk with you and hand select that best plants for your landscape. We offer the following services, if you are looking for something that is not listed please contact us!

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Landscaping &

Tree Installation (container and balled & burlaped) | Shrub Installation Landscape Design | Evergreen / Privacy Hedge Flowering Shrub Installation Perennial Garden Installation | Mulching | Stump Grinding Heavy Brush Mowing | Sod & Lawn Installation Patios/Walkways | Retaining Wall lnstallation Pond & Water Features Stone Full Selection of Landscape Supplies including mulch, decorative stone, compost, & topsoil - Delivery Available -

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1775 S. State Rd. - Rt. 8 • Cheshire, MA 01225 Phone: (413) 442-4749 • Whitneys Farm


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Shop Our Garden Center


How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Your lawn makes a statement about you and your home. But upkeep is challenging in today’s busy world. By the time the weekend comes around, taking on the hard work of lawn maintenance can lose its appeal quickly.

Choose a Lawn Care Service

But if you’re willing to trade a little money for summer leisure time, you could get expert help keeping your lawn in top condition. Here are a few things to keep in mind when enlisting the help of a professional lawn service:

Decide What You Want

What is it that you need? Simple grass cutting? Planting and flower bed care? Pest control? Understanding the different duties that each company offers is key. Sometimes a lawn care professional will offer quotes for mowing but will not have the option to maintain any shrubs or small trees. Make sure you know what you need and what you’ll be getting.

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Philosophy and Methods


Some chemicals are eco-friendly and others are not, so if environmental issues are a central concern, find a company to keep your yard green with “green” practices. A good way of testing a company is to see their methods of preparation. If they test your soil before recommending a fertilization plan, they’re serious and methodical about their work. Another deciding factor could be consultation fees. Requesting a free estimate of service costs will benefit you in the long run. Beware of organizations that offer annual pricing without seeing the size of your yard.


The people you interact with every day can help you make the best use of your money by recommending proficient lawn care services. People who live near you will also be acquainted with the services provided by various professionals in your area. They can recommend a service based on what you need.


The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is here for consumer benefit. Luckily, you have the opportunity to check the record of any local business with your local BBB in order to assure yourself that your lawn will be treated with care. The best lawn care companies will have a clean record with the BBB.

Method of Payment

There are a variety of ways to compensate your lawn care provider. Some companies will utilize a verbal agreement that can be canceled by either party at any time while others will require a yearly contract. Understanding what will happen if there is an early cancellation or change in terms halfway through

your contract is important. Accomplishing these steps will save you from a headache down the line.

Annual Fees or Pay Per Treatment?

Most lawn care providers will offer two methods of payment. The cost-effective option will vary depending on the size and needs of your lawn. For the majority of providers, an annual contract will save you money in the long run. But compare the prices between one-time treatments and long-term agreements to know for sure.

Are They Flexible?

Last on our list is flexibility. If an organization cannot make adjustments to their routine based

on your needs, do they deserve your business? If you want to exterminate the bulk of your weeds, will the company skip the pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide and utilize postemergent removal treatment? The journey to finding a reliable lawn care provider should not be hard. Thankfully, there are many extraordinary businesses right around the corner if you shop carefully.

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Want to repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes from your property?

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022



How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Choose a Real Estate Agent

genuinely concerned about your needs? Or are they focused on their commission? Do they know the current housing market? Can they negotiate a contract? It is important that you feel comfortable with the agent. You must trust that this person can behave ethically and help you secure a good deal.

Communication and Planning

Your agent should be an effective communicator. If you are selling your home, your agent should develop an effective marketing plan, explain it to you, and respond to any questions or concerns you have. The marketing plan will probably involve placing advertisements and conducting open houses to invite the public for home viewings. If you are purchasing a home, the agent should listen to your guidelines and price ranges. Above all, your real estate agent needs to provide updates on progress. Do not work with someone who does not return phone calls or emails.

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More Resources

Finding a reliable, reputable real estate agent is essential when you are considering buying or selling a home. These professionals can guide you through complicated negotiations and contracts to secure you the best deal you can get. They’ll also be able to inform you of the precise steps you need to take just before buying or selling.

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t make any property decision under the advisement of an agent you don’t trust. So, do your homework and pick an agent you can have faith will get the job done 44 right.

Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor

A real estate agent may or may not be a realtor, but every realtor is required to be a licensed real estate agent. To become a realtor, a real estate agent has to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This allows him or her to attend industry meetings, get NAR newsletters, and access software and educational tools. Realtors adhere to a strict code of ethics and have solid knowledge of the real estate business. These professionals have been trained well, which means they will provide you with the best service.

Where to Start Looking

Recommendations are one of the best ways to find a qualified real estate agent or realtor. Ask

people in your social network for referrals. Sometimes agents are good at helping clients purchase homes, but not as skilled at selling them. Keep that in mind when searching for the right professional. You might also contact local brokers or search the NAR directory online. Always work with credible, responsible agents. Otherwise you are wasting your time.

Comfort Level

At the initial consultation with a prospective real estate professional, focus on your comfort level while interacting with them. Do you get the feeling they are

To get a better idea about the process of buying and selling a home, conduct some research on your own. Real estate magazines contain good information and can be a great way to start your research. There are also a lot of good resources on the Internet, such as, which is associated with NAR and which contains free, useful information. You may find housing statistics, market forecasts and tips, but nothing beats the power of networking. You need to find people with similar interests who will help you in your endeavor. Upon successfully buying or selling your home, keep your real estate agent’s contact information on hand. You may want to refer other people to him or her. You may also need their services again someday.

Sponsored by: Laiken Rapisarda, Home Sweet Home Real Estate

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

For the Right Price, Would you Consider Selling your Home? “She knew just what to do to get us top dollar for our house and attract the right buyers. Laiken wasn’t just an amazing Realtor, but a genuinely good person who always had a smile on her face.”

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“Laura was a wealth of knowledge through our very first home buying experience. We hit a few bumps in the road that was uncontrollable on the buyer end of things. Laura was always there for us to get to the solution, and keep me calm. She was very personable, and there the minute I called or texted. We highly recommend Laura.” - Mikayla, Peru




413.441.8917 Jen is knowledgeable, professional and personable. She was our greatest resource throughout our purchase process. We trusted her implicitly. I highly recommend Jen and Home Sweet Home! - Dalton Homeowner



When you Work with a Great Realtor, you get Great Results! Call Home Sweet Home Real Estate for a Free Home Evaluation!

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“I wholeheartedly believe there is no way that I would’ve been able to sell my house, by myself, as quickly as Darcy did. She had 15 showings on the first day.”



How-To Guide Wednesday, March 30, 2022|

Trimming overgrown trees or taking out trees that are dead or diseased can be hazardous work. Unless you’re very skilled with a chainsaw and have equally experienced help, tree work should be left to the professionals. The right tree services company can do it safely and effectively. You’ll save time and avoid property damage by enlisting the help of a professional tree service. Follow these tips to find a qualified, professional tree service in your area:

Ask friends, family and neighbors You may know someone who has used a tree service in the past. They can tell you who does the best work. Also, check newspaper, phone and Internet listings.

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Contact at least three tree services


Inform them of the situation and request a site inspection. It gives you the opportunity to ask about issues and get a feel for the experience and expertise of each company. Take notes so you can compare your results afterward. Find out how long each company has been in business, their experiences, references and whether they are licensed and insured. Check with the Better Business Bureau for outstanding complaints. Even reliable companies may have a few problems. It is how they resolve the issue that counts.

Request estimates These figures can vary widely. Some companies are better equipped for certain jobs, so they can offer more competitive pricing. Other companies are slow or may be trying to “fill-in” appointment slots with smaller jobs just to keep their crews busy. Don’t choose a company strictly by cost. Tree work is dangerous. Proper equipment, well-trained employees and insurance create high operating costs. It is worth paying

more for peace of mind and excellent service.

Choose a Tree Service

Look at a copy of their insurance policy Coverage should include personal liability, property damage coverage, workers’ compensation and damaged vehicles or home coverage.

Inspect their previous work Each tree service company has a work style. Look at their portfolio to verify that it suits your needs. Photos of past work might also be on their website.

Get a detailed written estimate Review a full, written estimate of any work to be performed before signing a contract. Responsible companies will provide detailed descriptions, along with the time and cost for your records. This estimate should also offer information about cleanup expectations. Are logs to be cut up or left for firewood? Will the company haul everything away or leave it for you to manage? Will leaves and twigs be raked up or run through a chipper? If they are removing an entire tree, what will happen to the stump?

Verify the workers wear property safety gear They should be wearing helmets at all times. In addition, they should use face shields or protective glasses and steel-toe boots. The person who climbs the tree should have arborist climbing ropes, specialized safety and climbing gear, the proper saddle, helmet and safety glasses. If you find they aren’t wearing safety gear, contact the company to discuss the matter.

Sponsored by: Stafford Tree Service

How-To Guide | Wednesday, March 30, 2022

TREE SERVICE References Upon Request Free Estimates • Fully Insured



Full service tree company specializing in large take-downs. We are fully equipped to handle any project. We offer safe and professional tree work at an affordable price.


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• Tree Removal • Vistas & Land Clearing • Brush Clearing • Excavator Services • Cabling • Pruning • Stump Grinding