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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Classical Beat: Concerts Blossom Throughout the Region
By Stephen Dankner, iBerkshires Staff
03:02PM / Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Come August, the summer high season for classical music blossoms, with a glorious profusion of "fiori musicali" throughout the region.

The mind reels with the diversity of it all: opera in concert, concerto and symphony, the ever-popular John Williams' Film Night – all at Tanglewood; a recital for cello and piano of Baroque masterpieces and more at The Clark Art Institute; an all-Beethoven orchestral concert in Manchester, and a spectacular piano recital at Tannery Pond.

Read below for the details.

Tanglewood

• Thursday, July 31, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: The Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by David Angus, brings Jack Beeson’s harrowing ‘Lizzie

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The Best Small Town in America
By Paul Harsch,
10:56AM / Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Everyone has their own favorite and usually it's the town they grew up in or live in, or at least I hope many can feel that way about where they live.

Take Williamstown for example. Is Williamstown the best small town in America? Here are some reasons to consider it just might be (and in future blogs I'll probably cover other towns and cities in the Berkshires and why they could be the best, too).

Reason 1.  The lack of traffic. Williamstown has none except when there's something big going on like the Williams alumni parade or fall alumni homecoming and those conditions last all of 15 minutes. Even on those rare occasions a driver can still drive the length of Main

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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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GMO-Label Bill Stuck in Ways & Means Committee
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
01:38AM / Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Above, non-GMO High Mowing Farm seeds at Berkshire Organics in Dalton; left, a label on a cereal box. A bill to require GMO labeling on foods and seeds is stuck in committee on Beacon Hill.

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — With the clocking counting down to the end of the legislative session on Thursday, a bill requiring GMO food labeling is still sitting in committee.

"This is a very simple bill," state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, said. "People have the right to know what they are eating. The labeling gives the consumer a clear choice."

Bill H.3996, An Act relative to the labeling of seed, requires that "food for human consumption and seeds that produce

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Weather Service Reports Dalton Hit by Tornado
Staff Reports,
06:30PM / Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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DALTON, Mass. — The National Weather Service said a short-lived EF-1 tornado touched down in Dalton during Sunday's storm.

According to a statement on the NWS website, the tornado "touched down in Greenridge Park along South Street and moved southeast up a hill and ended behind residences along Lindsay drive."

It nearly cleared a quarter-mile forest path about 10 to 20 yards wide "leaving a noticeable trail."  

The tornado touched down at about 4:55 p.m. on Sunday with winds at about 90 mph.

The town was also hit by a microbursts to the northwest and southwest of the tornado's track. The winds moved from north northeast to south southwest,

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Pittsfield Councilors Favor Opposition to Gas Pipeline
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
12:26PM / Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Residents, gas line opponents and members of the 'Climate Summer Bikers' attended Monday's hearing on a resolution against a proposed natural gas pipeline. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A City Council subcommittee was won over by opponents of a proposed plan for a new natural gas pipeline that has proved controversial in rural communities across four Northeastern states in recent months.   The Committee on Public Health & Safety voted unanimously on Monday to recommend that the full council endorse a resolution against allowing the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, to develop the pipeline across sections of Pittsfield's Ward 4. If

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Berkshire Force Set to Host Softball World Series
iBerkshires.com Sports,
11:03PM / Monday, July 28, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Berkshire Force softball team brings talent, experience and the home field advantage to this week's Babe Ruth Softball 16-and-under World Series.   One year after representing the New England region at the national tournament, the Force is hosting seven days of competition at the Doyle Field Complex -- welcoming some of the best teen softball teams from around the country.   And hoping not to be too welcoming, at least not between the foul lines.   "Basically we're going to try to do better this time," said Lanesborough's Miranda Voller, one of several veterans from last year's tournament in North Carolina.   "We

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Pittsfield School Building Panel Opts for New High School
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
09:15PM / Monday, July 28, 2014
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Carl Franceschi goes over the Taconic High School options prior to the School Building Needs Commission voting for a new school on Monday night.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield will submit the option for a constructing a new $120 million Taconic High School to the Massachusetts School Building Authority next week.

The School Building Needs Commission on Monday voted 16-1 for the new construction option after more than an hour of discussion — and years of debate.

Ballpark figures for a new school range from $114 million to $125 million, including so-called soft costs ranging from contingencies to furniture.

The city will submit the option to the MSBA on Aug. 7 along with

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Berkshire Bank Renames Its Mortgage Lending Division
03:03PM / Monday, July 28, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Berkshire Bank has renamed its mortgage lending division to Berkshire Bank Home Lending.  
The line of business includes a home lending call center, operations, servicing and a team of best in class mortgage loan originators.

This business line will transition Berkshire’s current mortgage lending affiliate, Greenpark Mortgage, into the Berkshire Bank Home Lending brand.  

Along with its new home lending call center and loan servicing operations, Berkshire Bank Home Lending includes more than 90 mortgage loan originators located in offices throughout New England and New York.  These offices and teams enable Berkshire Bank Home Lending to have a

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'Sex Tape': Risqué Behavior
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:13PM / Monday, July 28, 2014
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Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
  Annie and Jay (Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel) fear  their home movie may become a viral hit in 'Sex Tape.'

Jake Kasdan's "Sex Tape" accomplishes a curious thing. It's the near surreptitious merging of traditional romantic farce with the new screwball raunchiness that's body-snatched the American film comedy in recent years. While the prim and proper are sure to be abashed by the complications engendered when a thirtysomething couple's tape of their marathon lovemaking goes viral, the jaded may be wont to wonder: When did such risqué behavior

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Lanesborough to Celebrate 250th Birthday
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:51AM / Saturday, July 26, 2014
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Volunteers met on Thursday to brainstorm ways to celebrate the town's history. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Volunteers are organizing more than a half-dozen events to celebrate the town's 250th anniversary.   In 2015 it will be 250 years since the town incorporated and a dozen or so volunteers are preparing to launch a series of events to celebrate the milestone.   "This might develop a life on its own," said Mary Reilly, who headed Thursday's meeting to brainstorm different ways to celebrate.    The participants jumped through an array of ideas spanning from a Valentine's Day Ball to a Firemen's Muster to an ice cream

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