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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

'St. Vincent': Absolved of All its Sins
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:26PM / Friday, October 31, 2014
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Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
  Bill Murray teaches his young neighbor Oliver, played by Jaeden Lieberher, about the vagaries of life in the smartly written 'St. Vincent.'

I'm thinking there must have been dust or some such irritant in the movie theater where I saw director Theodore Melfi's "St. Vincent," about a curmudgeonly Vietnam vet who takes the lonesome, diminutive young boy next door under wing. Otherwise, how could a manly man like your humble film critic explain the intermittent, involuntary production of a liquid in his eyes that might otherwise be confused for tears of joy and/or

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The Independent Investor: Workers Get to Save More in 2015
By Bill Schmick,
01:48PM / Friday, October 31, 2014
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The IRS has given us all a New Year's gift. As of Jan. 1, the tax-deferred contributions on a variety of employee-sponsored, retirement savings plans have been increased, but not for IRAs.

Readers may already be familiar with the traditional 401(k) plan. It was established as an alternative to the nation's pension plans that are fast disappearing. Most companies offer 401(k)s to their employees (or 403(b)s if working for the state or a non-profit) as a fringe benefit. These plans allow employees to contribute as much as $17,500 a year plus an additional $5,500 catchup if you are over 50. The contributions come right off the top of your W-2 wages so there are considerable tax

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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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These Mysterious Hills: Pittsfield's Downtown Awash in Ghostly Legends
By Joe Durwin, These Mysterious Hills
01:17PM / Friday, October 31, 2014
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Some have claimed to see a gentleman in top hat and tails at the Colonial Theatre, above, and strange sounds and footsteps at the Whitney Center for the Arts, also known as the Colt House. The 'Ghosts & Legends of Downtown Pittsfield' walking tour explored these and other interesting incidents at downtown venues.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — For years now, in these pages and elsewhere, I have tried to advance the observation that paratourism is growing business in the travel industry, and one which the Berkshires is primed to take great advantage of, with its seemingly endless string of ghost stories and curious tales attached to inns, restaurants. museums and

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Pittsfield Debates Control Over School Department Budget
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:03AM / Friday, October 31, 2014
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The City Council sent the petition to the Ordinance and Rules subcommittee. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council is looking to take the final say over the school budget away from the mayor.   Councilor at Large Churchill Cotton filed a petition that allows a supermajority of the City Council to approve a school budget higher than the mayoral recommendation.   Currently, the City Council only has the power to approve or deny the mayor's school budget request.   "I would like to have the opportunity for the School Committee to make its case to the City Council for more funding," Cotton said.   The petition was referred to the Rules and Ordinance

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Lenox Calling Special Town Meeting
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:06AM / Friday, October 31, 2014
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The Board of Selectmen set the town meeting for Nov. 18. LENOX, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen has scheduled a special town meeting to move the proposed solar project at the landfill and waste-water treatment plant forward.   The special town meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. The warrant will feature three questions: one for the solar array, another to strengthen environmental protections on watershed lands and a third to specify the use of funds in the sewer budget.   "The latter two could wait but if we are going to call a special town meeting it makes sense to dispatch them all at once," said Town Manager Christopher

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Are We There Yet?: Halloween Times Two
By Rebecca Dravis,
09:50PM / Thursday, October 30, 2014
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I don't think anyone gets Halloween off from work or school, but somehow it feels like a three-day weekend, doesn't it?

First off, if you're going trick-or-treating Friday night, stay safe. I'm sure you know the drill but here are some tips just in case you want a reminder.

You might as well keep the Halloween fun going into the evening of Saturday, Nov. 1.  Starting at 5 p.m., the Mason Library in Great Barrington is hosting a free Community Halloween Party. The kids party starts at 5 p.m. with "spirited" storytelling by Tim Van Egmond, a folksinger and storyteller who performs throughout New England. Devilish pizza and creepy cupcakes follow from 6

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BRPC Concludes Train Station Study, Encourages Towns To Stay Involved
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:32PM / Thursday, October 30, 2014
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The MPO accepted the rail station report on Tuesday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The six towns a passenger rail line to New York City is eyed to cut through are being encouraged to capitalize on the benefits and minimize the negatives.   The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's Metropolitan Planning Organization endorsed Tuesday the study commissioned by the federal government and Housatonic Railroad for station locations.   Four towns have been cited as the best locations to host stations — Pittsfield, Sheffield, Great Barrington and Lee. But, Planner Gwen Miller says all six towns need to be prepared.   "We hope the rail company and the state agencies

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Two Students Arrested at Different Schools with Loaded Weapons
Staff Reports,
03:13PM / Thursday, October 30, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A high school student and a college student were found with loaded weapons this week after each created a disturbance at their respective campuses.

On Tuesday night, a Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts student was arrested at the North Adams campus after becoming belligerent during an evening class. Chris LaFrance, 25, was allegedly intoxicated when campus police pepper sprayed him; upon arresting him, police said they found a loaded handgun on his person. While reportedly licensed to carry a firearm, LaFrance is facing a number of charges related to the incident and the public school where he had been training was apprised of his arrest and terminated his

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2014 Bazaars & Craft Fairs
02:39PM / Thursday, October 30, 2014
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The craft fair and bazaar listings will be updated regularly through the fall. Send information to info@iberkshires.com.

Saturday, Nov. 1

The Richmond School PTO's annual Craft and Country Fair runs from 10 to 3 at the school. There will also be a book fair, a silent auction and activities for the kids. The cafeteria will offer chili, overstuffed sandwiches and a selection of bakery items. Information: 413-698-2207 or richmondpto@gmail.com.

Saturday, Nov. 8

Sheffield Historical Society's 15th annual Festival for the Holidays craft market in the Old Stone Store, 137 Main St., showcases products handcrafted by local artisans. The store hours are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and

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Berkshire County Arc Launches 2014 Annual Campaign
01:04PM / Thursday, October 30, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire County Arc has launched its second annual campaign, the purpose of which is to raise funds for an accessible kitchen and laundry in the agency’s Social Development Berkshire County Arc’s Social Development Center
Center.

The campaign will run through Dec. 31.

Located on Depot Street in Dalton, Berkshire County Arc’s Social Development Center is a day habilitation program that teaches participants a wealth of cognitive, recreational and daily living skills, including cooking and laundry activities.

The funds raised through the campaign will be used to purchase accessible kitchen and laundry appliances, which will be installed in a

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