Bits & Bytes: Heat Up the Winter strikes on-line; healthcare speak focuses on older adults; Zoom tour of Jefferson’s Monticello –

Wanda Houston will perform and be honored at this year’s Warm Up the Winter fundraiser. Photo: Sean Alan Morris

Construct’s Warm Up the Winter call to action moves online

Great Barrington — Construct’s Warm Up the Winter call to action for emergency assistance will be held online, at 7 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 6. The event is free to attend, but donations are encouraged. This year, Construct will honor singer, actress, and song stylist Wanda Houston for her generous contributions to this annual benefit since its inception, by Rabbi Deborah Zecher and Hevreh, more than 10 years ago.

Warm Up the Winter proceeds go directly to community members in need of emergency assistance for fuel, utility, and rental payments, as well as emergency accommodation costs and, this year, keeping those who are homeless safe.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s event will move from its traditional home at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center to a virtual platform. It will be emceed by Construct’s Executive Director Jane Ralph and board member Barney Stein, and will feature music by The Wanda Houston Band along with vignettes from Construct clients and community members, including appearances by actors and supporters Chris Noth and Lauren Ambrose.

“Warm Up the Winter has always provided a winter safety net for those who need it most,” said Ralph. “Construct usually receives $5,000-$10,000 in emergency assistance funds from the state to keep households who are homeless sheltered during the coldest winter nights. This year, due to the added pandemic expenses, Construct did not receive those funds. Therefore, this event is more important than ever, and we will need to stretch the funds farther than ever. For that reason, we recognize this event as a call to action more so than a traditional fundraiser.”

The event is underwritten by The Schnesel Family Fund. Community partners include Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Berkshires, Volunteers in Medicine–Berkshires, Southern Berkshire Rural Health Network, and the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.

Donations can be made online, by calling Construct’s Development Office at (413) 429-4433, or by texting WARMUP2021 to (855) 202-2100. Donations also can be sent directly to Construct “Warm Up the Winter” at 316A State Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230. Information is available on Construct’s Facebook page and on its website.


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Berkshire OLLI presents free virtual talk on healthcare for older adults

Dr. Lena Makaroun photo courtesy OLLI at BCC

Pittsfield — The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Berkshire Community College will present Healthcare Does Not Equal Health: Drivers of Health Inequities for Older Adults, a live virtual talk by Dr. Lena Makaroun MD, MS, at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4.

Dr. Makaroun, a geriatrician trained at Cornell and University of California San Francisco, will also respond to audience questions. As a geriatrics health services researcher at the VA Pittsburgh Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, and a Pepper Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Center, Dr. Makaroun studies social influences of health for older adults.

The talk is free and open to all; RSVPs are required to receive the Zoom link. This event is organized by OLLI at BCC’s Changing the Culture of Aging Shared Interest Group, and is co-sponsored by Berkshire SuperGenarians and Age Friendly Berkshires.


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Scoville Library and Salisbury Association host live Zoom tour of Jefferson’s Monticello

Monticello photo courtesy Scoville Library

Salisbury, Conn. — The Community Events Committee of the Salisbury Association and the Scoville Memorial Library will present a free live Zoom tour of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home, Monticello, a former plantation of 5,000 acres, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Jefferson’s home, built as a plantation house, eventually took on the architectural form of a villa. Remodeling work on the home continued throughout most of Jefferson’s presidency. Although generally completed by 1809, Jefferson continued work on the present structure until his death in 1826.

The interior is centered on two large rooms, which served as an entrance-hall-museum, where Jefferson displayed his scientific interests, and a music-sitting room. The most dramatic element of the design was an octagonal dome, which he placed above the west front of the building in place of a second-story portico. Monticello was a botanic laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world. Jefferson grew 330 vegetable varieties in Monticello’s 1,000-foot-long garden terrace and 170 varieties of fruits.


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