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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

The Independent Investor: The Elephant in the Room
By Bill Schmick,
03:27PM / Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Mid-term elections are less than two weeks away. Issues, for the most part, have fallen by the wayside as pure politics runs amuck. No wonder voter turnout is traditionally so poor in this midterm madness.

Republicans are running against an unpopular president and are expected to sweep both houses of Congress. All they have to do is keep the focus on President Obama while mobilizing their die-hard base.  That strategy appears to be highly effective so why worry about mundane things like issues? After all, if voters don't care, why should they?

Both parties' campaigns are now dictated by whatever voters are worrying about on a day-by-day basis.  The fear of an ebola

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Pittsfield Schools Review Teacher Evaluation Process
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Staff
03:48AM / Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Morningside Principal Joseph Curtis explained the development of a teacher evaluation system to the School Committee on Wednesday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Morningside Community School Principal Joseph Curtis hailed a recently developed system for evaluating performance of educators in the district, in a presentation to the Public School Committee on Wednesday.   Curtis told the committee development of the evaluation process had begun several years ago, as he had worked with former Superintendent Howard Eberwein and teacher's union representative Scott Eldridge to establish a system that was palatable to both teachers and administrators.   The process stresses candid

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Kids 4 Harmony Provided The Music At The Inauguration Reception
by Soapbox 08:38PM / Monday, January 06, 2014

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
by Soapbox 04:10PM / Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Look the city's Christmas Tree is bigger than a bus!
by Soapbox 10:10AM / Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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Pittsfield Expecting Heavy Usage at Renovated Common
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
08:36PM / Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Most of Phase 3 is expected to be completed by November; finish work, such as lighting, and the new basketball court will be done in the spring.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The renovated Pittsfield Common will be substantially completed within the coming month, and city park officials are already anticipating a volume of special event requests for the refurbished site.

Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath told the Parks Commission this week that the majority of the multimillion dollar redevelopment of the historic downtown gathering yard will be finished by mid-November, with the exception of a new enlarged basketball court that will need to be laid in the spring.

"Every time

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Pittsfield Granted $4.5 Million To Finish North Street Reconstruction
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:13PM / Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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North Street is in the tail end of a decadelong reconstruction. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city has the money to finish reconstructing North Street.   Gov. Deval Patrick announced Tuesday that $4.5 million in MassWorks grant funding will be awarded to complete the fourth and final phase of the project.    "We believe we should be able to finish the streetscape project. We are happy about that," said Mayor Daniel Bianchi of Tuesday's announcement.   "We're very pleased. This is going to go a long way in allowing us to fulfill the vision of a revitalized downtown."   That vision began in 2005 with the development of downtown master

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PEDA: Springfield Rail Car Contract Benefits Berkshires
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:17PM / Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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PEDA hoped the company who chose to do the final assembly in Pittsfield would be chosen but they weren't. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — While PEDA Executive Director Corydon Thurston is disappointed the William Stanley Business Park won't be the manufacturing site for the new Red and Orange Line cars, he says the plan to build them in Springfield will still be a benefit to the Berkshires.   "Obviously I am disappointed the company that was leaning toward Pittsfield didn't get selected," Thurston said on Tuesday, around the same time Gov. Deval Patrick was in Springfield announcing CNR Changchun is being recommended for the contract with the intentions to bring

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Pittsfield School, City Officials Prepping For Big Decisions
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:09AM / Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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The City Council, School Committee and the School Building Needs Commission gathered on Monday to recap what has happened in the school building project. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Soon enough, the City Council will be asked to authorize spending some $40 million of taxpayer money to build a new high school.    The School Building Needs Commission invited both the City Council and the School Committee to a joint meeting on Monday to detail the steps that have been taken in an effort to keep the boards apprised of the process.   "We think this is too important. [This meeting is] for all us to hear the same thing at the same time," said Kathleen Amuso, who

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MBTA Rail Cars to Be Built in Springfield
Staff Reports,
07:27PM / Monday, October 20, 2014
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An artists illustration from PEDA's efforts to position Pittsfield and the Berkshires in the MBTA rail car bidding. The contract was awarded to a company that had already selected Springfield as its base.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Springfield will be the beneficiary of a half-billion dollar rail car contract that's expected to generate 150 to 300 jobs over the next decade.

Gov. Deval Patrick is expected on Tuesday to announce CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles as the winner of a $566,600,000 contract to build Red and Orange Line cars for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

The Republican reports that the governor is scheduled to announce the contract on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at

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Trick-or-Treat Hours for Halloween 2014
03:52PM / Monday, October 20, 2014
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Trick-or-treaters around Berkshire County and beyond will be donning costumes and ringing doorbells in anticipation of treats on Halloween on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014.

Below is a list of towns holding trick-or-treat hours on Halloween, unless otherwise noted. Those towns in orange have not been confirmed so check back. If you don't see your town listed and you know the hours, let us know at info@iberkshires.com or 413-663-3384, Ext. 29, or if your organization is holding something Halloween related.


Adams: 5:30 to 7; Adams Lions Club holds its annual Halloween Parade on Sunday, Oct. 26, at 4:30, beginning from Adams Community Bank and marching to the gazebo for judging and awards. Hot

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BerkshireWorks Plans Events in Honor of Veterans
12:38PM / Monday, October 20, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — BerkshireWorks Career Center will be offering a number of special events in honor of Veterans during the month of November.

All workshops, classes and events are free of charge and held at the Career Center, unless otherwise noted. The schedule is as follows:

* Monday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m.: Resume Writing Workshop   

* Friday, Nov. 7, 8:30 a.m.: NAMI Veterans Expo (at the Crowne Plaza)

* Monday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m.: Interviewing Workshop  

* Friday, Nov. 14, 10 a.m.: On-the-Job Training Workshop

* Monday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m.: Dress for Success Workshop

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Job Fair for Vets

BerkshireWorks partners with a number of

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Area Democrats Making Final Push For November Election
By Andy McKeever,
01:21PM / Sunday, October 19, 2014
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Maura Healey is running for attorney general but she isn't just focused on her own campaign.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — As Maura Healey's campaign for Attorney General enters the final weeks leading up to the November general election, the candidate is rallying the vote.

But not for herself.

On Saturday, Healey rallied area Democrats and volunteers for Martha Coakley's campaign for governor.    "Seven years ago Martha Coakley gave me he opportunity of a lifetime. She scooped me out of private practice and made me head of her civil right's division. She empowered me and she empowered others in that office to go out every day and

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