Our BerkshireTimes Magazine, Celebrate Summer 2019

Page 1

Celebrate Summer 2019, vol 53


Our BerkshireTimes


Local Events | Art & Culture | Home & Garden | Vibrant Living

Cover Art by Astrid Sheckels / www.astridsheckels.com

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Celebrate Summer 2019

Our BerkshireTimes™ PUBLISHERS Kathy I. Regan publisher@ourberkshiretimes.com Kevin J. Regan kevin@ourberkshiretimes.com _______________ EDITORIAL Kathy I. Regan editor@ourberkshiretimes.com Proofreader Rodelinde Albrecht rodelinde@gmail.com _______________ DESIGN Magazine Design/Layout Kathy I. Regan Brianna I. Regan _______________ TO ADVERTISE CONTACT Account Representatives Kevin J. Regan kevin@ourberkshiretimes.com Debra Johnson mickschix2@aol.com Nina Anderson safe@bcn.net _______________ Our BerkshireTimes is a division of Visionary Group Unlimited P.O. Box 133, Housatonic, MA 01236 Phone: (413) 274-1122 advertise@ourberkshiretimes.com COVER ILLUSTRATION

Mr. Bear’s Moonlight Feast, 2019

by Astrid Sheckels www.astridsheckels.com Astrid Sheckels is a Western Massachusetts painter and book illustrator who works primarily in watercolor and oils. She has been painting landscapes, still life, commissioned portraits, and illustrating children’s picture books professionally since 2006. People, animals, places, lighting, and color all inspire her – plus a good dose of imagination! Come visit her charming world at www.astridsheckels.com. Email: astrid@astridsheckels.com.

Contents 4











animal talk DR. BRIAN WESSELS



this & that AND ODDS AND ENDS


education & workshops ENCOURAGING CAPABILITY




featured advertisers THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!


ON THE COVER - Mr. Bear’s Moonlight Feast With nostalgic charm, Astrid Sheckels brings the enchantment of twilight to life in this 8” x 9.5” watercolor and gouache illustration, “Mr. Bear’s Moonlight Feast.” To learn more about Astrid – a native of western Massachusetts – and her illustrations, books, and upcoming exhibits, see page 6 of this issue and visit www.astridsheckels.com. Our BerkshireTimes magazine has been proudly created without Wi-Fi since it was first published in 2009. This publication is printed with soy ink on Forest Stewardship Council® certified paper. Most of our editorial content is contributed by our community members. All content in Our BerkshireTimes™ is accepted in good faith. We do not necessarily advocate and cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by our authors, illustrators, and advertisers. We reserve the right to refuse advertising for any reason. For printing errors of the publisher’s responsibility, liability is limited to the cost of the ad space in which it first appeared. Unless otherwise noted, we use a Creative Commons License in place of a standard copyright.



By Sayer Ji, Founder, GreenMedInfo.com / condensed and reprinted with permission

arly in June, 2019, in one devastating algorithmic stroke, Google removed many of the top natural health and health freedom websites from their organic search results – some losing as much as 99 percent of their traffic. In fact, the term “organic” should no longer be used to describe Google’s referral traffic, as a jaw-dropping undercover investigation by Project Veritas (ProjectVeritas.com) reveals: Google surreptitiously manipulates its search results and autosuggestions to conform to a very specific set of sociopolitical and economic agendas intended to manipulate elections and promote private interests. We live in amazing times, albeit intense, filled with incredible darkness and light. But thanks to the power of the Internet, we have a level of freedom of information never enjoyed before by any previous generation on Earth – and that information is the very life’s blood of democratic ideals, and the necessary ingredient for informed consent and health freedom, our primary advocacies. But what happens when the gate-keepers of the content that flows through this incredible invention, like Facebook and Pinterest, censor and shadow ban certain of its users or content, or their ability to send you messages via email service provider platforms like Mailchimp, as we’ve recently experienced on GreenMedInfo.com? Where do we go for information then? Why not skip the social media filtering and email platform censorship and go back to using Google, you might ask. Aren’t they the very archetype and modern-day oracle of fairness, having become synonymous with looking for and finding objective answers? After all, wouldn’t you expect that if you typed in turmeric research on Google, GreenMedInfo.com would come up on the first page, given we have the world’s largest, open access resource on the topic which curates over 2,700 peer-reviewed studies relevant to over 800 diseases, on the topic? Whereas a few years ago, our search traffic was growing, today it’s as if we don’t exist on the Internet any longer (unless you specifically search for us by name). Instead, today, you find first page Google results on turmeric like: “Turmeric May Not Be a Miracle Spice After All” from Time.com, or “Turmeric: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning” from WebMD.com, which overlook much of the research we have gathered, and makes turmeric sound like it’s just another drug that you have to be very careful to take. Apparently, this is entirely by design! On June 3, 2019, in fact, Google rolled out its latest core algorithm change, which obliterated the organic search results for the majority of the top sites in the natural health and health freedom advocating sector of the Internet. Sites like DrAxe.com, KellyBroganMD.com, and NaturalNews.com saw most of their traffic removed overnight. Mercola.com, perhaps the most heavily hit of all, broke the story in its two-part report: “Google Buries Mercola in Their Latest Search Engine Update, Part 1 and 2.” Mercola.com has been a source of whistle-blowing information about Big Pharma and Big 4

Celebrate Summer 2019 | www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

Tech collusion for decades, so it is no surprise why Google would take this action against his platform, and similar ones. In fact, signs of the coming purge came back in 2016 when GlaxoSmithKline signed a $715 million dollar contract to partner with Google, and with increasing partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies in 2019 like Sanofi. Google’s parent company Alphabet is heavily invested in a vaccine company, Vaccitech, founded by scientists at Oxford University. Google, it appears, has become a pay-to-play operation, and contains a specific sociopolitical and economic agenda that is built directly into its search algorithms. Amazingly, on the same day of Mercola’s report, June 24th, an investigative reporter by the name of James O’ Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, released an undercover video of a top Google executive and a whistleblower from within Google, revealing how the company is manipulating search results to unduly influence elections, and how they are applying an Orwellian-type narrative to the autosuggestions, search results, and Google News aggregator feed used by billions daily. This is a must watch video, and was almost immediately removed by YouTube (owned by Google), [and later by Vimeo]. A back up the video was preserved on the Project Veritas website. The timing of this video could not be worse for Google. As reported by the Wall Street Journal on June 24, 2019, the Justice Department is preparing an anti-trust case against Google. Additionally, on June 19, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced Senate Bill 1914, “A bill to amend the Communications Decency Act to encourage providers of interactive computer services to provide content moderation that is politically neutral,” which would strip Big Tech companies of the immunity they presently enjoy from lawsuits for exactly the type of political manipulation Project Veritas’ video above exposed. Until Google is held accountable for their actions, and there is industry reform, it will be difficult to get around their full spectrum dominance (Gmail, Google, YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Documents, etc.) unless we find better, privacy-secured, platforms. And there are quite a few you may not have heard about, including the Internet browser alternatives to Google Chrome such as Brave Browser and Opera, search engines like Startpage.com and DuckDuckGo.com (unfortunately Ecosia.com uses the same Google keywords), and email programs like ProtonMail.com. You can also use the communications app Signal, which provides a level of encryption that may be the best out there. This newsletter [GreenMedInfo.com] is one of the only lifelines people will have to receive our content in the future. And we highly encourage you to share it with others. They can sign up here [www.tinyurl.com/yxjss482]. You can also read my Founder’s Statement about Recent Censorship Events [www.tinyurl.com/ yypww8up], to get a greater sense for the context of what is happening to us and similar projects like ours. continued on page 15

Celebrate Summer! Explore the Berkshires AND BEYOND - FUN THINGS TO DO Painting Color Workshop When: Saturday, Aug 31, 2019, 10-12pm Where: Frelinghuysen Morris Home and Studio, 92 Hawthorne Street, Lenox, MA Cost: Free with admission Artist and director Kinney Frelinghuysen will host a color workshop Saturday, August 31, with materials supplied. This workshop uses Color-aid papers and creative templates so participants can learn how artists choose color. (413) 637-0166, www.frelinghuysen.org

24th Annual Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival When: Saturday, Aug 31, 2019, and Sunday, Sept 1, 2019, 10am-5pm Where: Camelot Village, 66 Colgate Heights, Bennington, VT Cost: $2 to $18 Join garlic-lovers from throughout the country as they come to enjoy the quintessential Vermont festival, now in its 24th year! More than 200 vendors, food truck area, beer and wine garden, live bands, kids’ activities, and more delicious samples than you can imagine. Come try anything from pickled garlic bulbs to garlic ice cream! Consistently rated a Top 10 Fall Event by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, and one of the world’s Top 10 Garlicfests by Reuters. See more information and purchase early bird tickets online at www.lovegarlic.com.

Greenwoods Puppet Festival When: Friday, Sept 13, through Sunday, Sept 15, 2019 Where: Norfolk Library, 9 Greenwoods Road, East Norfolk, CT Cost: Free, but reservations are necessary to get into the show Under the harvest moon, join us for a magical weekend. Friday evening, the first staging of the adult show Puppet Crimes with Jana Zeller will kick off the festival. Saturday morning, Sarah Nolan’s The Fairy Tailor

will enchant you all! Midday, Sarah will offer a puppet workshop. Later, Bonnie Duncan will delight little ones with Lollipops For Breakfast. Moth, with his puppeteer Doran Hamm, will tease us with his improv show. Sunday will be filled with wonder with Madison Cripps and his posse of marionettes and Milo, the Magnificent with Alex and Olmsted. Don’t miss Mark Alexander’s impressive flying bird puppet! www.norfolklibrary.org. Please call the library at (860) 542-5075 for reservations.

40th Lenox Apple Squeeze When: Saturday, Sept 21, 10am-7pm and Sunday, Sept 22, 10am-5pm Where: Main Street, Lenox, MA Cost: Free entry. $5 parking at Tanglewood Main Gate with free shuttle to Main Street Discover more than 150 food, craft, and informational vendors with live music and entertainment over two days for the 40th Lenox Apple Squeeze. This is the town’s biggest event of the year celebrating the fall harvest of apples; there is something for everyone. Loved by all, it is the not-to-bemissed street festival of the Berkshires! Come and get your squeeze on! Please visit us at www.lenox.org/lenoxapplesqueeze for more event information and a daily schedule of performances. Contact (413) 637-3646, info@lenox.org.

Explore Southern Italy When: Departures in fall 2019 and in spring and fall of 2020. Where: Southern Italy on the Amalfi Coast Cost: Call for details Explore southern Italy on an Amalfi coast adventure. Travel with Davide Manzo, the owner/chef of Trattoria Rustica restaurant in Pittsfield, MA, back to his Italian roots. Experience the historic oceanfront cities of Naples and Sorrento. Go fishing from the small village harbor of Cettara. Rest on the beach of Erchie. Take a cooking class in Positano. Enjoy one-of-a-kind culinary experiences, people, and places. Departures in fall 2019, and also in the spring and fall of 2020. For specific dates and details contact Roberto at (508) 308-9332, info@trattoria-rustica.com. www.trattoria-rustica.com www.OurBerkshireTimes.com | Celebrate Summer 2019


Astrid Sheckels


“Enchanted Story Time” (4.5”x5.75”), with its generous dose of Scandinavian whimsy, is one of the watercolor and gouache illustrations available in Astrid’s Etsy shop.


y art is an outcropping of who I am. I am a Christian and my art reflects my world view. If you see any life, vitality, light, order, or beauty in my work, it is but a reflection of God, the Great Creator. ~ Astrid Sheckels

Astrid Sheckels cannot remember a time when she was not telling or illustrating stories, especially ones involving imaginary animals. A native of western Massachusetts and growing up in an artistic family, Astrid spent her childhood playing outside, using her imagination, and drawing. She studied fine art at Greenfield Community College and now works as a full-time professional artist. Astrid’s debut picture book as an author/ illustrator is the award-winning Nic and Nellie (Islandport Press). As an illustrator, her other award-winning titles include The Scallop Christmas (Islandport Press) and The Fish House Door (Islandport Press). She has illustrated the picture book Hope Somewhere in America (Twin Lights Publishers) and the two chapter books, Black Cloud and Tennessee Rose, in the Horse Diaries series (Random House). In June 2016, Astrid signed a multi-book contract with Bangarang Books for her original picture book series Hector Fox and 6

“Farmhouse in February,” a watercolor (12.75”x16.5”). In addition to her imaginative and whimsical paintings Astrid enjoys painting landscapes, still lifes, and portraits.

An illustration from the children’s picture book “Hector Fox and the Raven’s Revenge” (written and illustrated by Astrid Sheckels, soon to be published by Bangarang Books).

Friends. The first book, Hector Fox and the Giant Quest, will be followed by three more books, Hector Fox and the Raven’s Revenge, Hector Fox and the Daring Flight and Hector Fox and the Map of Mystery. The series also includes an enhanced storytelling app for each of the books. Astrid is a member of the Western Mass Illustrators Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She has won a number of art awards, including the prestigious Lupine Honor Award (2009) and the Moonbeam Award for best picture book for all ages (2010, 2013). Besides illustration, she also paints commissioned portraits, landscapes in oil on canvas, and watercolor. Astrid now lives and maintains her studio in the rolling hills of Greenfield, Massachusetts. Astrid has spent much time in her mother’s homeland of Denmark and her Scandinavian roots are evident in her fine art and illustrations. She describes her style as “a mix of classic realism and whimsy.”

Celebrate Summer 2019 | www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

To see more of Astrid’s work and to find out about her books and exhibits, visit www.astridsheckels.com. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram. To purchase original art, cards, paper dolls, and more visit her Etsy store (also available through her website).

art, culture & entertainment


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Summer Fun Adrift THE JOY OF PONTOON BOATS By Michael Romano


hen I would go to bed at night as a young boy, I would sometimes imagine that my mattress was a houseboat or a raft drifting down a river taking me on a grand adventure as I drifted off to sleep.

I have always been partial to the water. Fishing, boating, and swimming are a part of who I am. I have owned canoes, kayaks, and rowboats, but there is something about the size and comfort of those motorized docks called pontoon boats that I love. Perhaps my current affection for them has something to do with the houseboat and raft fantasies left over from my youth. Or maybe it’s the fact that they are covered with a Bimini-style canvas canopy and have comfortable sofa-like chairs. It could be because there is room to walk around and visit with friends and family on them while listening to music on an awesome sound system. In reality it’s probably all of the above – pontoon boats are a terrific way to enjoy the water and the great outdoors. I’ve lived in the Berkshires for many years now, but I was born and raised in Litchfield County, CT, and fished the surrounding area as a young man. As soon as I got my drivers permit I was off looking for new places to fish. My wandering took me to the northwestern part of the state and to my very first pontoon boat rental from O’Hara’s Landing on Twin Lakes . . . and it was a beauty. O’Hara’s is a family-owned and run business for more than 50 years and they know what they’re doing. They have a nice, well-kept fleet of boats and offer boat rentals and sales (new and used), service with a mechanic onsite, dock space, supplies, and more. You can also eat breakfast or lunch on their lakefront restaurant patio. I’ve found their staff to be friendly, helpful, and professional.

I went with three friends to O’Hara’s that day – Steve, Dave, and Dan – and we split the boat rental fee. They are all pretty big guys, and I was no lightweight myself, so we chose a pontoon that could hold eight people. We also needed the extra room to store the vast collection of fishing gear and ample teen-size sandwiches and snacks that we brought along. We received a tour and lesson about the boat and how to be safe, and after putting on the life vests the staff provided we started out on my very first pontoon adventure. 8

Celebrate Summer 2019 | www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

We were unsure of ourselves so we started off slowly and had only traveled about a hundred feet from shore when a gold trout jumped out the water in front of us. The state of Connecticut had been stocking some hybrid golden and tiger trout back then but none of us had ever seen one. We shut the boat off and made ready our fishing poles. That’s when we noticed a large number of fish swimming past us and we quickly threw our lines in the water and almost immediately hooked up with trout. We each landed one and put them in a cooler filled with water and ice and then immediately rebaited our hooks and cast out again with the same result. What luck! We were ecstatic as we baited up for the third time. It was then we heard a loud whistle. My friends and I turned to see who it was and to our surprise saw the Connecticut Department of Fish and Wildlife stocking truck parked on shore in the process of putting fish in the water. The two forest ranger types were watching us with their hands on their hips and disapproving looks on their faces. It seemed that although we didn’t break any laws we were guilty of being unintentionally bad sports for catching fish fresh from the truck. We sheepishly threw back some of the trout that were still healthy and took the boat out to deeper water out of sight of the rangers. We went on to fish for the next few hours but did not catch much. When our rental time was up we returned to the dock and got our deposit back. No mention was made by anybody about our fishing in a barrel trick – we had a great time on the pontoon and did manage to take three trout home for dinner. I have also rented pontoon boats from Onota Boat Livery in Pittsfield, MA, on more than a few occasions. One of the first times I remember was when I worked at the Kolburne School in New Marlborough to take a group of special needs kids on an outing. We packed a lunch and beverages, enlisted a life guard and staff, and spent the day fishing on Onota Lake. Everybody got a life vest, a fishing pole, and a sandwich and we were off on our journey. One of the students lost his fishing pole overboard in the first few minutes. The water was too cold to go in after it, but somehow we managed to hook it with another pole as we drove over it. The student got to fish again and actually caught the biggest fish that day – a two-pound pickerel. A good time was had by all and all fish were released.

art, culture & entertainment

I rented a pontoon boat once again for my birthday with six other guys. There was plenty of room for all of us to fish with a minimum of tangles. We saw a lot of wildlife on the banks including a great blue heron, an otter, ducks, and swans. We caught a few large bass, plenty of perch and sunfish and we released them all with our good wishes. Another time we went out and got caught in a rainstorm. The canopy protected us though and because of the rain the fish were biting like crazy. We caught and released over a dozen assorted fish that day, were able to stay warm and dry, and enjoyed a nice lunch on the water finishing our rental time in style. Pontoon boats are built for comfort not for speed – it’s enjoyable to just cruise at a slow pace and appreciate the day. It’s an almost zen-like feeling floating in the middle of a beautiful lake with the sun on your face and nature’s beauty all around you. There are two places in the Berkshires that I am aware of that rent pontoon boats, both in Pittsfield, MA. Berkshire U-Drive Boat Rentals, located on North Street, offers rentals for Pontoosuc Lake (www.berkshireudriveboatrentals.com). Onota Boat Livery, located on Pecks Road, offers rentals for – you guessed it – Onota Lake (www.onotaboat.com). Owners Caryn and Rick Wendling bought the business this past January. I was lucky enough to catch Caryn when she wasn’t too busy so we could talk for a bit. In addition to pontoon and various boat rentals they sell boats and motors, fishing supplies and bait, offer rental space in the marina for people to dock their boats, and have a full-service marine repair shop on site. Their pontoon boat rentals are all new, and they provide a half hour with staff so you can learn how to use and enjoy them safely. The older boats get sold by the livery at a good price, so I am saving my pennies.


If you would like to own a pontoon boat and would like to shop around, be sure to check out Tony’s Berkshire Boats on West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield, MA. They have been there for more than 50 years and are one of the oldest and biggest boat dealers in the area. They have up to 30 pontoons in stock and you can buy or even lease one for the summer. I spoke to Warren, their head salesman, and he was very informative about the size and types of pontoons they carry. They can even be customized! In general a new pontoon can cost anywhere from $20,000 to more than $100,000 depending on size and custom features. They can come with many options including handicapped accessibility, refrigerators, elaborate sound systems, and even a flat screen TV for those that want it. As for me . . . I just want to fish from one. ~ Michael Romano, a Great Barrington, MA, resident for almost 40 years, is an avid fisherman who in his own words “kind of treats fishing as a contact sport and has had more than a few misadventures in the process.” Michael is a retired chef – he and his wife, Susan, worked for many years at the now-closed Kolburne School.

● Sales & Service ● A Harris Dealer

(413) 443-6475 483 West Housatonic, St. Pittsfield, MA 01201

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Creamy Chilled Avocado Soup with Thai Flavors / Four entrée or six appetizer portions


his is a refreshing, chilled soup with Thai flavors and coconut milk, perfect for any warm summer lunch or dinner. Goes well with a topping of cooked shrimp or a dollop of lowfat sour cream or yogurt. This recipe has been adapted from www.californiaavocado.com by local dietitian Rachel Alves of Guido’s Fresh Marketplace.

Ingredients 2 large, ripe avocados (about 8 oz each)

1 14-15 oz can of light coconut milk

1-2 fresh garlic cloves, minced, or ½ tsp garlic powder

6-8 cups water (more or less as needed for desired consistency)

2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced

1-2 T Thai green curry paste (start with 1 and add more to desired spiciness)

Zest and juice of 2 limes 1 tsp salt ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper (more to taste)

1 T (or more as desired) maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar ¼ cups chopped fresh Thai basil (sweet basil will do, also!)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Garnish Suggestions Cooked shrimp

Chopped toasted, salted peanuts

Lowfat Greek yogurt or sour cream

Sliced green onions or chives

Toasted unsweetened coconut

Directions Scoop the flesh out of the avocados and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic (or garlic powder), ginger, lime zest and juice, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and pulse a few times to break down the avocado. With the processor on, pour the coconut milk into the chute and add the water, one cup at a time until you achieve the desired consistency. Add the curry paste and sweetener of your choice and purée again for about 30 seconds or so. Taste and adjust for seasoning: salt, curry, red pepper, and sweetener. Soup should be a balance of sweet and spicy. Add basil and pulse twice. Place soup in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with garnish of your choice. ~ Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, www.guidosfreshmarketplace.com

food & drink

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www.OurBerkshireTimes.com | Celebrate Summer 2019


food & drink

The History of Hand Pies



weet or savoury, hot or cold, hand pies are the perfect food any time of year. Tasty, satisfying, aromatic, and fun to eat, these D-shaped, portable meals are formed by placing a dollop of filling onto a circular piece of pastry dough – the dough is then folded in half, the edges are crimped shut, and the pies are baked (or fried in some places) until flaky and golden brown.

Russian pirozhki, Jewish knishes, Jamaican beef patties, Nigerian meat pies, Greek spanakopita, Bolivian salteñas, and on it goes.

Easy to take on the go because they require no plate or utensils to eat, hand pies make convenient, versatile meals and are a great option to have when entertaining guests. Some say it’s all about the crust – that’s where the magic lies – and we do agree this is very important, but mmmmm those fillings. Today for an appetizer or main dish, savoury hand pie fillings can include many different types of meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, and herbs in any combination. Sweet hand pies can be made with a wide array of fruits, purées, and sweet cheeses and spices, and can be eaten plain or garnished with ice cream, crème fraîche, chocolate shavings, and more. The real magic, or trick of the trade, is making sure the filling is neither too juicy so it leaks from the pastry crust, nor too dry so it is unpleasant to eat.

We found mixed information when researching the history of hand pies, but to the best of our understanding it looks as if historians have traced the roots of meat pies back to ancient Egypt and the origins of pie pastry to the Greeks. At the time the main purpose of the pastry shell was to serve as a storage and preservation container for the fillings, and were for the most part too hard to eat. During the Medieval times of England, hand pies were mostly filled with meat like beef, lamb, wild duck, and pigeon. In our culture, they trace the origins of hand pies back to nineteenth century England where they made a convenient lunch for Cornish tin miners, and once again, after the fillings (beef, potatoes, rutabaga, and onion) were consumed, the pastry was discarded. The Pilgrims who colonized America brought England’s meat-based recipes with them and it was not until the 1800s that the majority of sweet pies came into fashion. Flash forward to today and what a sweet, savoury, and ohhh-so-satisfying assortment of hand pies (and edible pastry!) we have to choose from.

Popular in many places around the world (although made in different ways), you will recognize hand pies as Mexican empanadas,

Be sure to keep an eye on Sweet and Savoury on Main’s Facebook page (see ad below) for hand pie specials.

boutique bake shop on main street in lee, ma small batch ● handcrafted on the premises daily locally sourced when possible ● scratch made

Doughnuts made by John and Debbie Scalia, formerly of Home Sweet Home Doughnuts. pastries ● savoury hand pies ● soups ● specialty cakes ● paninis ● coffee & espresso 413-243-7777 | 56 main street, lee, ma | www.sweetsavourymain.com 12

Celebrate Summer 2019 | www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

food & drink

Summer Vegetable Tian RECIPE FROM ANDREA KREST AT BERKSHIRE FOOD CO-OP ith summer veggies hitting peak season right now, this classic French dish is the perfect way to use fresh, local ingredients direct from the farm! While you’re at the Co-op, grab a Berkshire Mountain Bakery baguette too, so you can soak up every last drop of the herbaceous juices this dish yields.


minutes, then pat dry.


Transfer to a medium baking dish.

1 medium eggplant, peeled Salt to taste 2 medium onions 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided Freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 medium zucchini, sliced 6 ripe medium tomatoes, sliced 3-4 sprigs fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, basil, or oregano ½ cup grated Gruyère cheese


Preheat the oven to 400°. Thinly slice the eggplant (¼” thick), sprinkle with salt, and place in a colander. Drain for 30

Slice onions and cook with garlic in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.

In the same skillet, cook eggplant in 2–3 more tablespoons of the olive oil until tender and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant in layers over the onions. Top with herbs, drizzle with remaining oil, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Gruyère cheese over the top and bake 30 to 40 minutes. Enjoy! ~ Berkshire Food Co-op, located in downtown Great Barrington, MA, (413) 528-9697, www.berkshire.coop.

GOOD FOOD ~ for ~

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www.OurBerkshireTimes.com | Celebrate Summer 2019


Improve Your Health & Support Local Farms


he new owners of Berkshire Organics, Shaun and Amanda Opperman, say “Considering the relevance of Berkshire Organics in our community has led us back to where it all began: with a strong connection to local farmers and an amazing abundance of peakof-season fruits and veggies that we are able to deliver to homes throughout Berkshire County within hours of being harvested. We’re experiencing clarity as we restructure the business to focus on our produce basket program and delivery service. The health of our community is proving to be an indomitable motivation for our work, and is really the driving force for all we’d like to accomplish. “What is offered is a very real connection to truly local food being grown by farmers within miles of where we live. It’s sustainable agriculture thriving in a globally focused system of mass food production. It’s action behind the demand for essential nutrient content that should be inherent in what we eat. We also offer practical tools and information so our customers are empowered to use their food to enrich their lives and work toward feeling their best selves. “Many people are not able to go to a farm to pick up their CSA shares each week. It’s a fabulous and worthy experience but it just isn’t realistic for a lot of folks. We offer a convenient, predictable, and flexible delivery service that allows for adequate meal planning and is compatible with our busy lifestyles. “The food we eat has the potential to heal us, fuel us, and support vitality. It communicates with our DNA. In fact, every molecule of food is a message instructing our cells to do a task. Cabbage promotes cancer-fighting activity, blueberries can reverse the process of diabetes, garlic and ginger thwart viral illness, greens give us calcium, build our bones, thin our blood, and help our bodies form hormones and neurotransmitters. On the other hand, sugars in any form, e.g. processed flours, cereals, and sweeteners, work against our innate immune defenses, dictate the metabolic pathways our bodies use, tax our energy, and invoke


Celebrate Summer 2019 | www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

powerful neurological addiction. Our food’s nutrient content is thus incredibly important to our well-being. At Berkshire Organics Our Driving Force Runs Deep “We’re on the farms each week. We know our farmers. And our mission is to source food for you that’s in season and full of the vitality we need to thrive. We use photography and social media to connect our community with the farmers and how their food is being grown. Affordability and Easy Integration Into Our Lives “Our organic offerings are not the expensive organic offerings found in supermarkets. Working with local growers for over a decade has allowed us to agree on price points that promote the farm’s sustainability and are still reasonable enough for us to distribute to homes throughout the Berkshires. “The ordering system at www.berkshireorganics.com is a platform our customers can access at will. There are no minimum order requirements or up-front financial obligations. Every produce basket offered is completely customizable and able to be built upon as the needs of the individual or family change. We’re delighted to offer something for any budget, the flexibility of ordering as needs vary, and a seamless integration into our lives that saves us time.” To find out more, visit their website (address above), call them at (413) 442-0888, or visit their market in Dalton, MA, to shop on Friday and Saturday of each week from 9am to 7pm.

Shaun and Amanda Opperman and family

home & garden

The Dark Side of Google / Continued from page 4 ©6/29/19 PART 2 - GOOGLE: “ORGANIC IS A LIE, SUPPLEMENTS ARE DANGEROUS, CHIROPRACTIC IS FAKE,” AND OTHER THOUGHTS THEY WANT YOU TO THINK” By Sayer Ji, Founder, GreenMedInfo.com / condensed and reprinted with permission

actually been performed in the United States in the past month with the phrase: “supplements are bad.” The result? Only 1001,000 searches, which is between only .2739 and 2.7 people a day. That’s right, in the entire population of the United States (327,321,076 as of March, 26, 2018), at most 2.7 people type the phrase “supplements are bad” into the Google search engine. But if any of those 327 million people type “supplements are . . . ” into the Google search engine, all 327 million users will have their search completed for them with the suggestion that they are “bad” and search for information on how bad they are. Alternative browsers like DuckDuckGo.com, on the other hand, won’t suggest anything because it does not have an autocomplete function as Google does, which Google states: “is designed to help people complete a search they were intending to do, not to suggest new types of searches to be performed.” Recently, a shocking discovery was made: Google is autocompleting the search fields of billions of users with false information (topics ranging from natural health to candidates for election), based not on objective search volume data, but an extremely biased political and socio-economic agenda – one that is jeopardizing the health and human rights of everyone on the planet. It was discovered that Google also manipulates users with their autocomplete function into thinking that natural approaches to health are fraudulent and even harmful. Google manipulates your search results in a very specific way. For instance, if you start your search out with “supplements are,” Google will autocomplete your search field with the following suggestions: “supplements are bad, useless, not regulated, dangerous, scams.” Most Google users believe that its suggestions reflect the volume of searches others are doing on the topic – a reasonable assumption, given Google says their algorithm is “Based on several factors, like how often others have searched for a term.” In fact, Google goes out of their way to say they are not making subjective suggestions, but objective predictions based on real searches. But Google Trends data show the “supplements are” autocomplete results above to be inaccurate, if not blatantly falsified. In fact, keyword search volume trend lines show that since 2004, searches for the phrase “supplements are bad” relative to “supplements are good” are far lower, and the gap continues to increase, with about 5x more people searching for them in a positive rather than negative light. This is the very definition of the Orwellian inversion: where Good becomes Bad, and War becomes Peace. Amazingly, a third Google product from its extremely profitable Google Ads division called Keyword Planner, shows an even more accurate quantification of how many searches have

Our investigation has uncovered a number of examples like this [including: taking vitamins is, gmos are, organic is a, homeopathy is, holistic medicine is, chiropractic is, and so forth] where Google is placing autocomplete suggestions into the search user’s mind that are not only the opposite of what most people search for, but sometimes do not search for at all – indicating that Google’s ostensibly objective feature is literally a propaganda device programming users to think thoughts they would never otherwise consider. One might argue that the examples mentioned above are benign, and may even reflect a twisted sense of humor. After all, wasn’t Google’s original tongue-in-cheek motto “Don’t be evil”? And how seriously do we take a company whose name, after all, is as silly as Google? It turns out, however, that the sort of manipulations revealed here actually have extremely powerful effects on human thinking and behavior – far beyond what most can even imagine. The true extent to which Google’s search algorithm affects human society today was first revealed by research psychologist Robert Epstein, and his associate Ronald E. Robertson, who discovered the search engine manipulation effect (SEME) in 2013 – the largest human behavioral effect ever identified. In fact, their randomized, clinical trial based research revealed that Google’s “instant” search tool, which “autocompletes” a user’s sentences, may be so extraordinarily powerful as to have determined the outcomes of a quarter of the world’s elections in recent years. Their 2015 paper titled, “The search engine manipulation effect (SEME) and its possible impact on the outcomes of elections,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is well worth reading. It found that within certain voter subpopulations, such as undecided Republicans, the SEME was so powerful that it determined up to 80 percent of the votes. continued on page 31 www.OurBerkshireTimes.com | Celebrate Summer 2019


Healthy Home Renovations SPRUCE UP YOUR DWELLING, FEEL WELL & SAVE MONEY / By Nina Anderson


f you’re thinking about sprucing up your dwelling, whether it’s just planting a few bushes or repainting the bedroom, you might want to consider the effect these renovations will have on your health. Many of us living in the Berkshires are conscious about using nontoxic lawn and garden treatments since chemical weed killers, fertilizers, and pesticides are not only hazardous to our health but can also affect our pets and the wildlife that scamper about our yards. But when it comes to interior renovations we may not be as savvy.

Many years ago my book, Your Health and Your House, was published. In it I outlined a myriad of “new” nontoxic building and decorating materials. At that time it wasn’t easy to find paint, varnishes, and cleaning products that didn’t outgas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and toxic vapors, which can have adverse health effects. Some even contain known or suspected human carcinogens (cancer-promoting substances). More immediate symptoms from breathing these fumes can range from asthma, dizziness, and migraines to depression and more. Today it is much easier to choose natural cleaning products, and most paint stores carry paints that contain low or no VOCs, but you need to read labels or ask someone who’s knowledgable. If you plan to do a more serious renovation like replacing flooring, you may want to choose unfinished wood and then apply a low- or no-VOC finish to it. For quality natural stains and paint check out Bioshield at www.bioshieldpaint.com. Natural bamboo and cork are nontoxic flooring options, but inquire about the resin that is used to hold them together – check to see if they are GreenGuard certified to contain low VOC emissions. Soft vinyl, engineered woods, and laminates can be quite toxic because of the glue they use, but several brands claim low VOC, so do your research. If you must install prefinished flooring, make sure it is stored in a well-ventilated place for a few weeks prior to installation so the chemicals have a chance to at least partially outgas. Marble tiles, slate, or ceramic are normally devoid of toxins but marble may contain chemical resin gap fillers, so ask about this. Also, some marble and slate products come with a chemical sealer on them. I have used ceramic extensively in my home and find that AFM Safecoat (www.afmsafecoat.com) produces a sealer and water-resistant treatment that is zero-VOC that you can apply once the tile is set. Be careful of glazed tiles that may contain lead – not good with kids or pets that spend time on the floor. Carpets are great at hiding a myriad of floor issues including scrapes, scratches, and discoloration, or used as the main treatment over subflooring. They also feel good beneath your tootsies, but many carpets come with a high chemical load, especially if they are stain resistant. That new-carpet smell that we thought was good is actually outgassing chemicals that are inherent in the glue (often formaldehyde-based) used to bind the fibers and in the artificial fibers themselves. People exposed to chemical carpets have developed symptoms such as headaches, 16

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sore throat, dizziness, slurred speech, and more. And if this chemical assault is not remedied, it may eventually develop into an autoimmune illness such as multiple-chemical sensitivity (MCS). Did you ever wonder why your dog prefers to sit on the furniture? Could it be that he/she doesn’t want to breathe those toxins that are most concentrated within two feet of the floor? You may discover a used carpet treasure at a tag sale in good shape that has long since outgassed, but beware of the dust mites, bacteria, and mold that could be lurking in it. If you prefer carpet, untreated chemical-free, biodegradable, sustainable, pure undyed natural wool carpets (like Earthweave, www.earthweave. com) that are suitable for allergic, chemically injured, or immune compromised individuals are the healthiest choice. Suppose you want to remodel your kitchen or bath and hope to find cabinets and countertops that are free of chemicals. This is not an easy task. Many of the designs we see today are made with plastic or Formica, which although not considered toxic if it is fabricated with low-VOC laminate glue, may be still be emitting harmful fumes. Make sure the products you choose contain nontoxic plywood rather than formaldehyde-based particle board. It is possible to purchase all-wood cabinets created without formaldehyde-based glue, and these can be unfinished allowing you to choose zero-VOC paints or other natural finish. Finished nontoxic cabinets may be a little more expensive, but so are doctors when you develop symptoms from chemical exposure. Countertops can also be a source of symptoms if they are constructed with toxic resins – choose marble, copper, granite, or ceramic without chemical finishes. Another piece of green renovation is to cut energy costs and possibly save money with an Energy Star program. If you are replacing your old leaky windows, consider Low-E. Low-E glass windows have a microscopically thin coating that is transparent and keeps the temperature in your home consistent by reflecting the interior temperatures back inside. More money can be saved if you are reinsulating an area of your home or adding on with new construction. Old fiberglass batt insulation sags after awhile and reduces the insulation factor. I found the best solution is to use open-cell Icyene water-blown foam (castor oil based, no polyurethane). Not only is it nontoxic but it won’t exacerbate a fire. We have put a torch on the foam and it absolutely won’t catch fire – it just melts. Because it penetrates every nook and cranny in the wall there is no air to fuel the fire either. Another alternative is hemp and wool batt insulation but check the brand to see if they use chemical binders. If you need an expert to advise you, there are many local architects, builders, and suppliers who would be more than willing to help. ~ Nina Anderson is author of Your Health and Your House

and Are You Poisoning Your Pets? She also does healthy house inspections. www.nlpberkshires.com

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Visit our new location. We look forward to meeting you. 85 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230 413-528-3556  www.linengb.com www.OurBerkshireTimes.com | Celebrate Summer 2019




t’s that busy time of year when everyone wants to

get out and enjoy the warm weather, so indoor household chores and tasks often take a back seat. While we’re gardening, camping, picnicking, going to concerts, and swimming, our homes have a way of filling up with extra clutter. It’s a grab and go time of the year but with a little extra planning and the following tips, you can stay better organized and have more stress-free fun time in the sun. • Devote a tote bag to swimming gear with all the basics in one place. Be sure to include swimwear, towels, sunscreen, natural bug spray, goggles, ear plugs, floaties or water wings for the little ones, as well as an empty plastic bag (or other waterproof options) for transporting wet suits home to be washed.

• Pass up freebie swag that’s given out at many fundraisers, community events, and 5K runs, unless it’s an awesome T-shirt or a well-designed refillable water bottle – something you know you’ll really use. I find a lot of not so very well-made tote bags in clients’ homes that we wind up using to drop off donations. Swag tends to add up quickly, so if you notice you have more freebie clutter than you know what to do with, kindly refuse to even bring it home! • Originally souvenirs were simply relics from a destination, but to preserve sacred and historic sites officials started distributing mass-produced trinkets to visitors. Soon, souvenir fever was ignited. This year when you go on vacation be kind to yourself, friends, family, and the environment by passing up that goofy pen, oversized pencil, refrigerator magnet, bumper sticker, mug, shot glass, miniature snow globe, or shrunken Statue of Liberty. While comical and fun at first, eventually it’s just one more knickknack to dust or postcard that you’ll never send. With smartphones and all the photos we take these days you won’t forget your trip to the beach, so leave the seashells at the seashore! • A rainy summer day is a good opportunity to work on the buildup of clutter and possessions inside your home. You have probably heard about keeping items based on whether they “spark joy” but I like to encourage people to ask themselves if an item sparks apathy. Don’t try too hard to apply this logic, instead ask yourself if a possession is something you use, need, or love. Utilitarian items might not spark any emotion but if you use that badminton set, need a first aid kit, or love your collection of wood carving tools, the answer to keep or discard will come easily to you. • Remember how handy a good list can be to assure us that we packed everything we need, or to remind us how to efficiently get ready for an event. Not only do I have a basic packing list for travel, I have created lists for barbecuing (the culinary term mise 18

Celebrate Summer 2019 | www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

en place is French for having everything in place) and for local day trips like when we go to outdoor concerts. When there is a check list, it’s easier for you to delegate tasks to others and with the whole team on board, getting ready to go is less stressful! • It’s time to start the grill and slice up that watermelon! But the bounty of the season can create challenges for kitchens that don’t have much space. Counter clutter can impede food preparation causing frustration. Countertops are prime real estate so don’t let squatters like mail, medications and supplements, rarely used appliances, or excessive condiments crowd the cutting board zone. Lots of produce means lots of washing, knife work, and preparation. Think of any food show from Julia Child in the late 1960s to modern day cooks, and you don’t see radios, knickknacks, or piles of cookbooks taking up precious prep space. Where should the mail really live? Can you just keep your top three favorite cookbooks in the kitchen and the rest on the bookshelves in the dining room? • Sporting goods should be accessible and for some that means doing a seasonal swap. This summer the skis, snowshoes, and ice skates could live elsewhere to make room for soccer cleats, biking gear, and everything tennis. Do be mindful of how you store skis though: living in a hot attic in the off season might mean warping. Categorize like with like so it’s easier to pack everything you need for a hike up Monument Mountain or a trip to one of the many town beaches or state parks in the lovely Berkshires. One of the best ways to keep your home neat and tidy any time of year is to adopt two mantras: put it right away or else it will stay and don’t go anywhere emptyhanded. There’s always something that belongs in another room of the home or elsewhere altogether, and taking a few extra moments to put things away properly will help keep your home streamlined and ready for summer living! ~Julie Ulmer has built an extensive business as a professional organizer, speaker, and consultant, having founded Minding Your Manor in 2005. She specializes in chronic disorganization and hoarding disorder. Minding Your Manor services the Capital District as well as Columbia, Rensselaer, and the northern Dutchess counties of New York and the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Julie is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, and the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. www.mindingyourmanor.com

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Riojana Wines / Berkshire Food Co-op ENJOY La Fair Trade certified La Riojana wines are produced

cooperatively by family farmers in Argentina. La Riojana teaches their growers to produce wine using sustainable and ethical farming practices and helps them, their families, and communities grow and prosper. In the southern Berkshires, you can only find these delicious, affordable wines at Berkshire Food Co-op. Six varieties available including Chardonnay, Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Bonarda Malbec, and Torrontés. Berkshire Food Co-op was created almost 40 years ago by families in the community to bring great food to the southern Berkshires. Everything they sell is thoughtfully chosen to meet the highest standards of quality and sustainability. 34 Bridge St, Great Barrington, MA (413) 528-9697, www.berkshire.coop


Green Gorilla CBD Freeze-Dried Dog Treats Lenox Village Integrative Pharmacy

Green Gorilla CBD freeze-dried dog treats are made with organic ingredients and expertly formulated. CBD oil works to interrupt and decrease pain signaling. It also reduces inflammation, stress and anxiety, improves sleep, relieves discomfort in hips and joints, enhances the immune function, and restores energy and balance. CBD products are also available for human consumption. Come in and consult with our pharmacist. LVIP has been family owned and operated for more than 25 years and offers packaged medication tear-off packets, some compounded medications, and home delivery.. In addition, the pharmacy offers jewelry, natural skin care and cosmetics, bath, gifts, and homekeeping items to choose from. 5 Walker St, Lenox, MA (413) 637-4700, www.lviprx.com


agic is seeing wonder in nature’s every little thing, seeing how wonderful the fireflies are and how magical are the dragonflies.” ~Ama H. Vanniarachchy

& Necklace / Cheshire Glass ENCHANT Dragonflies These magical glass dragonflies and this stunning

dichroic glass necklace on sterling silver chain have been handcrafted right here in Berkshire County at Cheshire Glassworks by artist Jill Reynolds. Jill’s independently owned studio and gallery, located in the northern Berkshires, is filled with sparkling pendants, earrings, bracelets, rings, glass vases, and imaginative sculptures. Jill lovingly creates each one-of-a-kind piece with the magic of fire, glass, and brilliant color. Now celebrating 13 years in business. Custom orders are always welcome. Jill is also now carrying work by other talented local artists. To view more of Jill’s creations see her website and Facebook page. Visit 24 South St, Cheshire, MA. (413) 743-7828, www.cheshireglassworks.com


Gelato & Sorbet / Chocolate Springs

Enjoy delicious, creamy, freshly made gelato and sorbet at Chocolate Springs. Stay for a scoop or cone, and buy prepacked pints of all your favorite flavors ready to go. This European-style chocolate and dessert café run by proprietor Joshua Needleman, who has decades of experience in crafting the finest handmade bonbons from natural ingredients, is located conveniently in Lenox, MA. Chocolates at the café (and for online purchase) include milk and dark, truffles, award-winning ganaches, and amazing hot chocolate using only the finest seasonal and organic ingredients whenever possible. In addition to the treats mentioned above, enjoy coffee, espresso, specialty desserts, and much more. Buy gifts online at any time, or stop by in person to visit the café at 55 Pittsfield Rd, Lenox, MA. (413) 637-9820, www.chocolatesprings.com

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Onota Boat Livery is your one-stop shop for all fishing and boating needs. The store is open seven days a week and offers a huge variety of fishing tackle, live bait, marine accessories, and boat/motor sales. Boat rentals are available and include kayaks, canoes, small fishing boats, and pontoon boats. The livery offers a full-service marine repair shop and has a huge inventory of engine repair parts. Dock slips are also available. Located on Onota Lake at 463 Pecks Rd, Pittsfield, MA. Visit our website or call us for more information. Mention this spotlight to receive10 percent off your tackle/ rental purchase. (413) 442-1724, www.onotaboat.com www.OurBerkshireTimes.com | Celebrate Summer 2019


Dr. Brian Wessels BVSc M.Med c1943 - 2019 / By Kristina Dow


he veterinary community has lost an iconic veterinary practitioner. Dr. Brian Wessels, a mentor, a friend, and the inspiration for a good number of the articles I’ve written for this publication, has passed away. Those of you who were fortunate enough to have worked with him, or to have consulted with him, or to have attended one of his workshops, will understand the great loss his passing represents. Dr. Wessels spoke with great knowledge and wisdom, with truth to power, and his silence now is overwhelming. Dr. Wessels received his Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree (our North American Doctor of Veterinary Science degree) from the Veterinary Faculty in Pretoria, South Africa. In private practice for 20 years in Pinetown, South Africa, he then received his advanced Masters in Medicine degree from the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in Durban, South Africa, and served at that institution as department head of physiology, biochemistry, and functional histology. Ultimately, Dr. Wessels’ retirement brought him to the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, and from that vantage point he inspired veterinarians and lay people, from Tucson, AZ, to Westport, CT, to Great Barrington, MA, to feed and nurture their pets holistically. And yet, he refused the holistic label for himself. On the Anaflora Flower Essence website, one can find Dr. Wessels listed along with mystical scholars, animal communicators, spiritual healers, and well-known holistic veterinary practitioners as an exemplary friend and colleague of Anaflora, recommended by them without qualification, but Dr. Wessels never defined himself as either holistic or alternative. As far as he was concerned, he was just doing things the way that all veterinarians should, with integrity and careful study, taking care to do no harm, and always remaining respectful of Mother Nature’s intentions and allowing influence by none other. As a truly extraordinary veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Wessels was able to offer his students of nutrition a clear, fact-based understanding of the physiology behind the nutritional needs of our pets, and he could describe with great clarity the genesis of the pathologies created when those needs were not met. His students learned that proper pet nutrition is not a matter of the pet food industry’s opinion-du-jour, but rather it is a matter of well-defined, unwavering physiological needs. While that may all sound unwaveringly boring, Dr. Wessels was never boring in his teaching. In fact, his manner of teaching could be delightfully wicked. For example, when the conversation 22

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about canine nutrition would turn to stool formation (“poo” as he called it) as an indicator of digestive health, Dr. Wessels would often suggest to his audience that the best way to evaluate a dog’s poo was for both man and beast to enjoy a good evening meal and then take a walk together, with the former enjoying a good smoke while observing the latter enjoying a good poo. Then, as he continued with his description of what a healthy dog poo should look like, Dr. Wessels would gesture as if holding and enjoying a cigarette in his right hand, then, transferring the imaginary cigarette to this left hand, he would stoop to pick up, with his right hand thumb and index finger, an imaginary perfect poop, pretend to examine it as he described it, and then toss it over an imaginary fence into his imaginary neighbor’s back yard. At that point, he would then transfer his imaginary cigarette back to his poo-scooping right hand, and resume his imaginary smoke. By this time, Dr. Wessels’ audience would have erupted with a mixture of aghast groans, hoots, and laughter, while I would be in the back of the room stifling my own laughter while chiding him, “That’s wrong on so many levels, Brian!” And Dr. Wessels, quite satisfied with himself, would return to his lecture with a chuckle. But, as engaging as his lectures could be, the end-of-program Q&A was always when Dr. Wessels’ unparalleled expertise shone through. His responses to the randomly offered questions were always . . . wow . . . right there! For example, when queried by an elderly woman about why her tiny dog would eagerly run to the filling of the food bowl, but then look at the bowl and its contents blankly and walk away without touching a bite, Dr. Wessels was quick to suggest a number of ways to correct the nutritional deficiencies that were likely creating a disconnect between the emotional side of the brain (that registers hunger) and the instinctive side of the brain (that would tell the dog to eat), and thus yielding the behavior she was describing. “Try adding those couple of things to the diet, and I’m sure your little ankle-snapper will feel much better,” he’d say with a wink and a smile. But, as important as Dr. Wessels’ nutritional teachings were in understanding the basic underpinnings of good health, his approach to illness brought his teachings to a whole new level. And to illustrate that point, there follows, with the kind permission of the publisher, an edited reprint of an article that appeared in a 2011 issue of this publication. It was written as a part of a series I wrote about the teachings of Dr. Wessels, who is therein referred to as the Wise Old Veterinarian. ~ Kristina “Tina” Dow is sole proprietor of BensDotter’s Pet, a retail pet supply store in Great Barrington, MA. www.bensdotters.com

animal talk

A Wise Old Veterinarian Once Told Me Do Not Always Assume That The Body Is Failing . . . It May Very Well Be Succeeding / By Kristina Dow


t happened in the dark of night. My husband did not realize that Xena, our elderly kitty, was sprawled out sound asleep on the floor beside the bed. As he arose from the bed, he stepped down on her . . . hard. She cried out in apparent pain, but seemed alright within a few minutes, albeit very annoyed. The next morning, we both breathed a sigh of relief when all still appeared normal. Xena ate a hearty breakfast, washed her face, and settled in for a nap. All that drama in the darkness must have been more insult than injury. It was a few days later that Xena stopped eating. We took her to the vet, and described the trauma of some days earlier. The vet examined Xena, drew some blood, and took some x-rays. The vet’s diagnosis was not what we wanted to hear: a mass on the spleen, no doubt a tumor that would require further evaluation to determine malignancy. An elevated white blood cell count, no doubt due to a very severe infection, from which, at her age, she was unlikely to recover. And a high blood urea nitrogen level, no doubt indicative of kidney failure. The prognosis was grim. Enter the Wise Old Veterinarian . . . Out for a drive in the country, he stopped by to chat, and I queried him with regard to Xena’s recent diagnosis. After describing her condition, I asked for his advice regarding what I might do to help keep the old girl comfortable in her final days. Instantly, he burst into complaint, “Why is it that we always assume that the body is failing rather than succeeding? Why is it that we are capable of seeing only pathology? We search ardently for clues to something gone horribly wrong, all the while failing to recognize that the body may be functioning absolutely normally. “Everything about this case is entirely consistent with absolutely normal physiology, not disparate pathologies. There’s no need for a malignancy, no need for an infection, and no need for failing kidneys to explain what could be going on. It can all be explained as an absolutely normal series of responses to trauma. The trauma yields a bruised mass (hematoma) on the spleen. The white blood cell count elevates with the injury and inflammation, and as well to clean up the hematoma. The blood urea nitrogen level rises with the loss of appetite and accompanying dehydration, and as well with the release of urea as the hematoma dissolves. The body is performing exactly as it should. With a bit of supportive care, she should be fine.” And fine she was. And fine she remained for several more years – well into her 20th year – but with a night light always kept on in the bedroom.

Gratias tibi ago, requiescas in pace, Brian. www.OurBerkshireTimes.com | Celebrate Summer 2019


This & That

“To create art with all the passion in one’s soul is to live art with all the beauty in one’s heart.” ~ Aberjhani












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or those of us who want to learn more about art from accomplished artists there are several nonprofit organizations that offer venues in the Berkshires. The Berkshire Art Association (BAA) connects the community with artists by providing outlets for their work, makes financial awards possible for high school art field trips, and among other projects they have helped local merchants and artists set up the First Fridays Artswalk under the auspices of Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. The Becket Arts Center has an art camp for children, provides exhibitions for local artists to present their work, and this fall will have a DriveAbout guide to help others discover the wonderful talent living here in the Berkshires. Visiting artists to the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio are giving demonstrations of their medium on Fridays at their Lenox location. They also offer a fun August workshop that uses Color-aid papers and creative templates so participants can learn how artists choose color and can create their own masterpiece. The Guild of Berkshire Artists holds seminars, exhibits, and special events to educate their members and the public about art. The Northwest Connecticut Arts Council serves both the culture-loving public and the cultural community in its 25-town service area and surroundings by acting as a hub for all aspects of cultural information and resources to ensure that culture thrives in and around the region.







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enox, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with its quaint shops, historical attractions, fine restaurants, and award-winning lodging. This is a big year for the Lenox Chamber of Commerce with their upcoming 40th Lenox Apple Squeeze to be held on September 21 and 22. The two-day event will host more than 130 food, craft, and informational vendors up and down Main Street and brings in close to 20,000 people each year. Visitors can expect live music both days at the stage (located behind Firefly Gastropub) to continue the festivities. Additional parking will be offered at Tanglewood for $5 with a shuttle running back and forth to Main Street throughout the event both days. In addition, the Chamber will be awarding a $500 scholarship a to a senior from Lenox Memorial High School for competing in an Apple Squeeze Instagram contest. Also celebrating the forty-year mark in Lenox this year are Andrew DeVries Fine Art International, Laurie Donovan Designs, and Guido’s Fresh Marketplace. A big forty recognition as well for lifelong resident Tom Fiorini, whose father was one of the Apple Squeeze founders. Tom has a sculpture garden on Church Street and has attended every Apple Squeeze to date. So much to celebrate and enjoy, this is an event not to be missed!

This & That



ost of us now know that consistently eating locally grown organic food is so much better for our family’s health (including our pets) and the environment, but with busy schedules we can sometimes forget just how important it is. The use of pesticides and herbicides in conventional farming these days significantly increases the risk of developing serious health issues in addition to contaminating groundwater, ruining the soil structure, and promoting erosion. And it’s interesting to note that nonorganic meats have an even higher (in fact far higher) concentration of pesticides than fruits and vegetables. It pays to get to know and support your local farmers for so many reasons: not only is it a great way to learn about your food, buying local whenever possible really does strengthen our local economy and revitalizes our community.

But are you really getting organic? Once again, get to know your local farmers. And what about when you shop at the grocery

store? Think PLU (price look-up) codes. On most produce you will find a sticker with a bar code that contains a number. Conventionally gown food labels will start with the number 4. Genetically modified foods (aptly refereed to as Frankenfoods) start with the number 8. And when looking for organic, your lucky number is 9.

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ennington County is comprised of 17 towns and is the only Vermont county with two shire towns (county seats), Manchester in the Northshire (nine towns) and Bennington in the Southshire (eight towns). The two shire towns are linked by the scenic Shire of Vermont Byway. The area is alive with a creative economy that blends an authentic sense of place with a powerful historical and agricultural heritage. The Southwestern corner of Vermont, also known as The Shires of Vermont (Bennington through Manchester) has a terrific lineup of activities this summer. Start the season in Bennington with Midnight Madness in mid-July (a retail extravaganza), then visit the Southern Vermont Craft Show and Homebrew Festival in the beginning of August. The annual Sidewalk Sales in Manchester (their famous shops offer the biggest discounts of the season) also happens in August, followed by the Garlic and Herb Festival on Labor Day weekend. Nicknamed Garlicfest, this farmer’s market-style festival is known for its cascading rows of 200-plus garlic vendors, kids’ activities, food trucks, beer and wine garden, and regional live bands. It is considered to be one of the best garlic-themed festivals in the world. And this is just a sampling of happenings! www.OurBerkshireTimes.com | Celebrate Summer 2019


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Encouraging Capability: How Being Curious Can Help By K. Meagan Ledendecker

recently attempted my first open water swim across Lake Mansfield. The day was stunning. Blue skies. Warm sun. Cool water. I was with a group. We had people supporting us in canoes and on paddleboards. I had spent the previous year becoming a stronger swimmer, refining my strokes and increasing my endurance.


So when my son was getting upset about the arrangement of his possessions as we started our drive, I could have asked questions like:

But a few minutes into the swim, my breathing rate began to increase. I could feel anxiety, and even the tendrils of panic, begin to creep into my consciousness. I knew I was going to have to turn back.

When we reached the site of the triathlon, I recalled my earlier open water swim attempt and thought about my son’s process of learning to navigate his feelings of frustration and anxiety. I looked around at the group of people setting up bikes, getting on wetsuits, and preparing to face a challenge. Once again the day was stunning. Blue skies. Warm sun. Cool water.

The swim coach wanted me to succeed. He gave me advice. I floated on my back. I alternated strokes. I tried everything he suggested. All the assistance helped. But only briefly. I was overwhelmed and needed to head back to shore. Ultimately, I knew I was going to need to try the open water swim again, without the pressure of lots of people around and without trying to do the whole swim at once. I needed time and space to process what I needed and to figure out what steps would work best for me. A few weeks later, while driving with my family to my first triathlon, my six-year-old son was getting lots of “you should” advice as he got himself settled in the back seat. His sister and I kept offering suggestions, and it quickly became clear that we were merely overwhelming him. Later I remembered how much more effective it can be to ask questions rather than telling someone what to do. In the Positive Discipline model, we ask “curiosity questions” in order to cultivate feelings of capability and to invite cooperation. The added benefit is that children are less likely to put up resistance or get flooded when their brains are processing questions rather than commands.

“What’s happening?” “What would you like to have happen?” “How can I help?”

In that moment, it occurred to me that we all could benefit from curiosity questions. When the coach in the canoe had seen me stop swimming, what if he had asked, “What’s happening? What would you like to have happen? How can I help?” Perhaps the outcome would have been the same, but I think my internal process would have been different. Maybe I would have considered my own needs and felt more empowered at a time when I was feeling pretty incapable. We have an opportunity to help our children, and I daresay even the other adults in our lives, feel more confident and even connected. In those moments that we want to give advice and solve problems, what if we were to just become curious? ~ As director of education of the Montessori School of the Berkshires and mother of three, K. Meagan Ledendecker is curious about how to cultivate curiosity and capability in school, home, and workplace communities. www.berkshiremontessori.org www.OurBerkshireTimes.com | Celebrate Summer 2019


More than Four Billion Our government has paid out more than four billion dollars in damages to individuals and families affected by vaccine injury and there are thousands more cases waiting to be processed. And yet, all of this has happened without any liability on the part of the drug companies that created and sold these vaccines. Where are the checks and balances in our legal system to protect the public? In a country that prides itself on individual freedoms, our legal system is failing us.

Useful Links From OBT Magazine The Truth About Vaccines - For parents who wish to be informed about both the benefits and the risks associated with vaccines without pressure, propaganda, or agenda, we highly recommend watching The Truth About Vaccines. This free educational 7-episode series contains quality information from 60 top vaccine experts. To register, go to www.thetruthaboutvaccines.com. National Vaccine Information Center, NVIC - This nonprofit organization is an independent clearinghouse for information on diseases and vaccine science, policy, law, and the ethical principle of informed consent. NVIC supports the availability of all preventive health care options and the legal right for individuals to make informed, voluntary health choices for themselves and their children. They are dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and advocating for informed consent protections in medical policies and public health laws. NVIC defends the human right to freedom of thought and conscience and supports the inclusion of flexible medical, religious, and conscientious belief exemptions in vaccine policies and laws. www.nvic.org Legally protect your loved ones against vaccine-induced damage. If we still live in a free country you have the right to say no! Download this helpful free report from Dr. Joseph Mercola about how to legally avoid immunizations: www.tinyurl.com/y2akq267. 28

Honoring the Vaccine-Injured By Adam Kerzner, DC


he inconvenient truth about vaccines is that there is a growing number of children with vaccine injuries. As the number of vaccines given has increased, so has the number of vaccine reactions, side effects, injuries, and deaths. In the current adversarial climate surrounding vaccines, these individuals and their families are being dismissed instead of honored for their sacrifice. I propose that we step back from all the fear and anger and take the time to acknowledge these families. By ignoring and dismissing them, the level of division and mistrust is growing. The pharmaceutical industry promotes vaccines as “100 percent safe and 100 percent effective.” To believe this is simply to believe in a fantasy. There is no drug that does not have significant side effects. It creates the first disconnect between these families and the public at large. The Vaccine Injury Compensation fund was set up by Congress in the 1980s to help families who were injured by vaccines. Since you can’t sue vaccine makers for any damages, families are sent through a system of arbitration. This fund has paid out over 4 billion dollars and there are many cases waiting to be processed. This system protects drug companies from having to give any evidence of possible production or safety flaws that may be related to the injury caused by the vaccine. The reporting system is VAERS (vaccine adverse event reporting system). When an injury happens, parents have experienced resistance to reporting it. Many are dissuaded by being told it is just a coincidence and it couldn’t be from the vaccine. Studies have found that only a small fraction of adverse vaccine events are being reported. There is valid criticism of VAERS because it is voluntary reporting and the claims made do not constitute blame. This is true, but it does not mean these injuries aren’t

happening. In fact, it means we need to have more research and reporting on vaccine injuries. We need to examine and document all cases of reactions to vaccines. Doctors should be encouraged to clearly report adverse events, so we can better understand them. Parents need to be heard. Parents, mostly mothers, are being told they are emotional and hysterical since vaccines are “100 percent safe.” This misogynistic rhetoric in part fuels the growing anger on the part of parents. It is important to note that much of the so called “anti-vax” movement is being led by parents of vaccine injured children. By putting our heads in the sand on this issue, we are fanning the flames of anger and mistrust in our systems – our health care system as well as our legal system. We need to listen to and honor their many valid concerns. We have a growing generation of children with learning disabilities, neurological deficits, and chronic illness. Much of this can be scientifically connected to a toxic overload in our environment, which includes aluminum, mercury, and other chemicals found in vaccines. There are calls for increased safety protocols for vaccines. Vaccine injuries need to be better identified, studied, and considered as the required number of shots increase. These efforts are being drowned out by name-calling and the rhetoric of fear coming from drug companies. Please remember that when someone is questioning the safety of vaccines, it is likely that their life has been touched by illness and grief. ~ Dr. Kerzner, Body Connection Chiropractic located in Great Barrington, MA, has been in practice in the Berkshires since 1997. The focus of his work is building health and well-being in his clients through gentle hands-on spinal care, and to empower people in their healing choices through education and self-discovery. www.adamkerzner.com

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Fluoride. Should We Really Still Be Using It? / By Drs. Maureen & Jeffrey Viglielmo


ainstream dentistry has historically been in love with fluoride, a naturally occurring element in our earth’s crust. In dental school we were told it was a great tool in combating tooth decay, which of course we wish to lessen for our patients. It was explained that if taken systemically in water or supplemented it would be incorporated in the teeth as they form, making them less susceptible to acid attack which is the primary reason teeth rot. What has been found, however, is that this desired action is false. In fact, fluoride can kill the cells that form enamel (the outer covering of our teeth), causing mottling, which is not only unaesthetic but has also, ironically, built a large cosmetic business for the dental industry in general. Fluoride does not harden the teeth as highly touted by numerous TV commercials! If it has a positive effect at all, it is that it makes the bacteria temporarily sick, which lessens the amount of acid they can produce from fermenting sugars in your diet. If you want to slow down your decay process, it is much better to reduce the fermentable carbohydrates that you eat. It will help not only your teeth but your entire body as well. The practice of adding fluoride to water supplies and oral care products should be ended as soon as possible for many reasons. Studies have shown that fluoride is a bone carcinogen and a neurotoxin, it has been shown to decrease IQ and cause brain damage, it impairs fetal brain development, and it’s an endocrinedisrupting chemical that has been linked to the rising prevalence

of thyroid disease – medicating an entire city through their drinking water without any control over dosage is dangerous. The more water that is drunk, the higher the daily intake! Not to mention the added exposure from dental care products. A researcher at Harvard University found that boys under the age of 10, during their growth spurt, had a manifold increase in osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Our town of Kingston, NY, was the first community included in a study in the 1940s. Thank goodness it was the control . . . unfortunately for Newburgh though, which wound up being fluoridated. The results did state that tooth decay was reduced in Newburgh, but failed to note that the reduction was also seen in Kingston (which was not fluorinated), likely from generalized better oral hygiene in both cities. Did you know that the fluoride used in drinking water is an untreated industrial waste product and is also used as a rat poison? If a child eats a tube of fluoridated toothpaste, they may die from cardiac arrest. There are many accounts of communities being physically crippled by the escape of fluoride gas during the days of uranium enrichment and spills in water bodies. It makes no sense to use this toxin any longer. If there are any positive dental effects from the use of fluoride, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Fluoride-selling pharmaceutical giants that profit greatly from it are behind the marketing campaigns to sell this product, but should we really still be using it in our bodies? ~ Drs. Viglielmo Biological

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Celebrate Summer 2018 | www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

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The Dark Side of Google Continued from page 15

When someone searches Google – an act so common that it was added as a legitimate transitive verb to the Oxford English Dictionary and the 11th edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary 2006 – they are often at their most uncertain and vulnerable moment, which is why they have a question and are deferring to Google for an answer. In fact, every second there are 63,000 Google searches performed around the world, which translates into 228 million searches per hour, and 2 trillion searches per year. The majority of these searches will present an autocomplete suggestion, effectively completing the users’ thoughts for them. Most searchers assume the results Google will present are somehow objective, and credible sources of data, because of the perceived power and/or omniscience of their algorithms. This is why Google’s autocomplete feature is so powerful. And why, if it is not an accurate prediction of what the user is looking for, but the opposite, it can profoundly influence a person’s thinking and subsequent favor. It is fundamentally the trust one puts in Google that it does not have its own agenda, which gives it its immense power and draw. This is why the recent undercover investigation by Project Veritas is so concerning. James O’ Keefe interviewed a top Google executive who admitted that Google adjusted their algorithms to manipulate elections. Where do we go from here? The research on Google’s manipulation of search results has just begun, and there are other topics to be explored. For instance, we addressed Google’s attempt to discredit vaccine safety and health freedom advocates by further amplifying the dehumanizing effects of the socially engineered slur “anti-vaxxer.” Yet Google Trends shows that this is not a search that the public makes, globally, nor in the USA. Clearly, Google cannot be trusted. Three of their own core products – Google Search, Google Trends, Google Ads’ Keyword Planner – boldly reveal how their search results do not accurately reflect their search volume. How can they get away with this, you might ask? It turns out that they are indemnified against lawsuit for manipulating content on their platform due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Until this act is repealed they will continue to operate with impunity, essentially above the law. But in a promising new development, on June 19, 2019, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced legislation, Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, which “removes the immunity big tech companies receive under Section 230 unless they submit to an external audit that proves by clear and convincing evidence that their algorithms and content-removal practices are politically neutral. Senator Hawley’s legislation does not apply to small and medium-sized tech companies.” We hope it continues to receive bipartisan support and succeeds in correcting the loophole which has led to Google’s immense misuse of power. ~ Sayer Ji is founder

of GreenMedInfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.


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BensDotter's Pet 940 Main Street, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

A Little Bit Conventional. A Little Bit Alternative. A Whole Lot Different!

FEED DOGS RIGHT TO LOVE THEM LONGER Our dogs love us unconditionally. Raw food let’s us love them back & feed them right. Closely mirroring how dogs would eat in the wild, raw food is optimal for carnivorous canines. This biological approach to canine nutrition is the most common sense way to return to nature and give dogs what they require.


95% Meat, Bones & Organs Made responsibly from grass fed, cage free animals MORE Meat & NO Fillers NO HPP: completely raw food