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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Committee Divided on Chiefs in Civil Service
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
11:24PM / Friday, April 18, 2014
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The Civil Service advisory committee is split on whether to retain Civil Service for appointing the fire and police chiefs.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The majority of a temporary task force on Civil Service is leaning toward recommending the position of police and fire chiefs be taken out of the troubled system.

But representatives of those departments on the committee oppose such a move.

All members seemed to agree Thursday that permanent appointments need to be made for the chiefs of the fire and police departments, who are currently serving in "acting" or provisional capacities. The task force remains split, however, on the best way to do accomplish this.

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@theMarket: Easter Bunny Bounce
By Bill Schmick,
03:55PM / Friday, April 18, 2014
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This holiday-shortened week saw a relief rally that began on Monday and carried through until Thursday. The markets still have further to go in the coming week before we once again reach the top of this four month long trading range.

The question that haunts both bulls and bears is when and in what direction will the markets finally break out or break down? As readers are aware, I believe that there is a high probability that stocks will do both in the weeks ahead. We could easily see the S&P 500 Index, for example, reach a new high, possibly 1,900 or beyond.

However, at some point this spring, that index and others will rollover. The resulting decline will be nasty, scary and

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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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Holiday Hours: Patriots Day
12:07PM / Friday, April 18, 2014
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Monday, April 21, is Patriots Day, a state holiday marking the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord that began the American Revolution. The day has been celebrated on the third Monday in April since 1969.

It was on the morning of April 19, 1775, that Paul Revere and other riders began the alert across and beyond Massachusetts Colony that troops were planning to advance from Boston to the towns of Lexington and Concord. They were to seize a cache of gunpowder and arms and capture revolutionaries Sam Adams and John Hancock.

(Local legend claims that Israel Bissell, later of Hinsdale, rode all the way to Philadelphia, but most historians dismiss it.)

Previous attempts to

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Superior Court Briefs: April 14 - April 16
Staff Reports,
10:59AM / Friday, April 18, 2014
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, April 14.

Jordan Moon, 26, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of cocaine.

He was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on February 26, 2014.

Kristina St. Jean, 35, of Becket had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on five counts of reckless endangerment of a child.

She was released on personal recognizance. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield between March 1, 2012 and July 16, 2013. The alleged victims are girls ages 4,5,8,13 and

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Pittsfield Lakefront Property Being Developed on Churchill Street
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:13AM / Friday, April 18, 2014
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The Community Development gave its OK for the owner to move forward with selling the individual lots.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new lakefront neighborhood is in the making.

The Community Development Board Thursday gave the Okay for 650 Churchill Street LLC to subdivide the first of five lots on the 35-acre parcel.

The buildout has been threes years in the making since the board initially approved the full development plans.

"It is a special permit for five lots and a common driveway," said engineer James Seidl, of SK Design. "We are creating the first lot at this point."

Owner Don Bernard purchased the property from the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center,

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"Draft Day": It's a Coin Toss
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
07:04PM / Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
Kevin Costner cogitates on who he'll pick for his fantasy football team in the insidery 'Draft Day.'

Director Ivan Reitman's "Draft Day" dramatically mirrors the changing, commercially charged face of sportsdom. Once upon a time, devotees were primarily concerned with their superstars' skill and determination. I've always added a few points for uniform design: i.e. — the serious majesty of the Yankees' NY, and those pinstripes; the colorful whimsy of two birds balancing at each end of a bat on the St. Louis Cardinals' jersey.

But if such pure,

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The Independent Investor: Good Friday and the Stock Market
By Bill Schmick,
03:52PM / Thursday, April 17, 2014
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This Friday the stock and bond markets will be closed to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, or so the theory goes. But that is just one of the many myths involved in this holiday and its origins remain a mystery.

The fact that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has a tradition of closing on Good Friday, one of nine holidays per year, has many traders and investors scratching their heads. After all, it is not a federal holiday and plenty of other businesses are open on that day. What makes Good Friday any more important than say, Columbus Day?

There is a story that during the 1890s there were three years in a row that the market suffered big drops on Good Friday. Superstitious

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"Muppets Most Wanted": More or Less
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:27PM / Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
It's not easy being green ... in a gulag. The latest Muppets movie has a some laughs but lacks spirit.

irector James Bobin, entrusted with bringing "Muppets Most Wanted" to the silver screen, dives into the toy box of things Muppets and dexterously assembles all the parts that comprise the famed franchise, except for one.

Missing from this eighth feature film, as Miss Piggy may be wont to emote in her best French, is the joie de vivre, the je ne sais quoi. Or, as Kermit might plainly croak, it just doesn’t fly off the fat end of the bat.

While entertaining via the inside

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PERC Shares Stories of Business Success
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:11PM / Thursday, April 17, 2014
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PERC held their annual meeting Thursday morning at Berkshire Community College.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Rachael Troxell was treating her breast cancer, doctors made her wear a compression sleeve on her arm that was just ugly.

So she went and designed and developed one that is much more fashionable and founded the company LympheDivas.

In 2008, she died from the disease and her father took over to keep the business alive. Then in 2010, her brother Josh Levin took over. But his life didn't allow him to be at the Philadelphia office; he needed to find a location that worked for him.

Pittsfield proved to be that location but there was a problem. He needed architectural work on

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Are We There Yet?: Hoppy Easter
By Rebecca Dravis,
12:56PM / Thursday, April 17, 2014
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"I'm feeling hoppy," reads the cheerful poster hanging on the door to my daughter's bedroom. Fifty-one weeks of the year it doesn't make sense, but this week it does, as Easter is this Sunday, April 20.

Which means this weekend's family fun can be found in the form of Easter egg hunts in pretty much every corner of the county — including Pittsfield, despite that they have decided to take the word "Easter" out of their official egg hunt, which will be visited by "The Bunny." (What does THAT animal look like?)

But I don't want to get political in this column.

So for Saturday, April 19, here's what I know about.

Pittsfield's

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