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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Welcomes Irish Sister City Mayor
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Saturday, March 11, 2017

Ballina Mayor Michael Loftus was welcomed during a reception at City Hall. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Michael Loftus got to town after a lengthy flight from Ireland, he knew where to go. He's been here before.   The mayor of Ballina, Ireland returned to Pittsfield on Friday for his second visit. He comes from the Pittsfield's sister city,  a partnership that's last 19 years and still going strong.    "To me, coming here today and this weekend, has meant an awful lot. It is an honor to get the opportunity to come back here," Loftus said.   The longstanding relationship serves as a way for the two cities to share cultures and ideas.

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@theMarket: Mushy Markets in March
By Bill Schmick,
04:44PM / Friday, March 10, 2017
Investors took a break this week from the ongoing Trump rally, even as the pace of change in Washington seems to be accelerating. Both the financial downside and political upside should be positive for your investment portfolio overtime.   The minor consolidation I have been expecting in the stock market began this week. The averages have pulled back a little, but the S&P 500 Index, for example, has lost less than one percent from its all-time highs. That's not exactly the end of the world ...   I see a meandering two steps back, one step forward, kind of market with the downside risk somewhere between 2,300 and 2,330 on the S&P 500 Index. That would equate to about a

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Inauguration 2016
by Soapbox 02:00PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016

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

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Superior Court Briefs: March 6 - March 10
Staff Reports,
04:38PM / Friday, March 10, 2017
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, March 6.   Zachary Santoro, 29, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to four counts of rape and abuse of a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14.    He was ordered to serve four to six years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution on the rape and abuse charges and given concurrent four to five years on the indecent assault and battery.   The charges stem from incidents that occurred in Lanesborough between June 1, 2014 and August 7, 2014. The alleged victim is now 18 years old.   Mackenzie Colvin, 24, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two

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Pittsfield Schools Ending Student Resource Center Program
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:36PM / Friday, March 10, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The school district is ending the partnership with the sheriff's office to provide alternative education.   Since 2006, the district has been contracting with the Berkshire County sheriff's office to run the Student Resource Center, formerly known as the Juvenile Resource Center. The program was for out-of-school suspensions and the district is now restructuring the way it handles discipline, reducing the number of those suspensions altogether.    "We think we need to use this as an opportunity to ramp up our in school suspension program," Superintendent Jason McCandless said at Wednesday's School Committee meeting. "We

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Barrington Stage Company Names New Managing Director
12:31PM / Friday, March 10, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Barrington Stage Company has announced that Michele Weathers will assume the role of managing director of Barrington Stage Company beginning March 13.

Current Managing Director Tristan Wilson departs the company in May after the completion of the renovation of the theatre's new home at the Wolfson Center, 122 North St.

Weathers comes to Barrington Stage Company from PlayMakers Repertory Company, having recently served as the theatre's interim managing director under the leadership of Joseph Haj and Vivienne Benesch. In New York, she was the assistant general manager for the Off-Broadway production of "In The Heights" and also served on the

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MountainOne Insurance Appoints Jake Rand to Sales Team
11:55AM / Friday, March 10, 2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Jake Rand has been appointed account executive at MountainOne Insurance.

As account executive, Rand will be responsible for developing a portfolio of new commercial insurance clients, as well as maintaining an existing book of business.

Prior to joining MountainOne Insurance, Rand served as a personal insurance salesperson in the automotive industry. He is also experienced in banking, having served as a personal banker for several years.

Rand holds a bachelor of science degree in business management from Westfield State University. Additionally, he has earned the Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist (CLCS) designation.

Rand is very active in the local

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Change Your Clocks, Check Your Alarms This Weekend
11:46AM / Friday, March 10, 2017

BOSTON — State fire officials are reminding people that as they change their clocks this weekend to check their smoke detectors as well.

"Prevent that annoying chirp of a dying smoke alarm battery by replacing the alkaline batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms now, unless you have newer alarms with 10-year sealed batteries,"  State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said. "Check the age of your alarms. Smoke alarms need to be replaced after 10 years usually, and carbon monoxide alarms after five to seven years."
 
Ostroskey said time is the enemy during a fire, and alarms offer precious seconds to evacuate before poisonous gases and heat make

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: March 10-16
11:35AM / Friday, March 10, 2017

  VIEW DAY-BY-DAY CALENDAR       March 10 - March 16,

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Vascular Surgery Specialist Joins Berkshire Health Systems
11:30AM / Friday, March 10, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems has announced the appointment of Dr. Elie S. Semaan, a vascular surgeon, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the physician staff of Berkshire Surgical Services of BMC.

Dr. Semaan is accepting new patients in need of vascular care, and joins Drs. Michael Cohn, Eugene Curletti, Michael DiSiena, Christian Galvez, Andrew Lederman, Robert Lincer, Clayton Peterson and George Veinoglou at Berkshire Surgical Services of BMC.

Semaan comes to the Berkshires from New Hampshire, where he operated a vascular surgery practice for the past year. Previously, he was director of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at NYC Surgical Associates

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Homeless Man Charged With Using Parking Kiosks For Threats
Staff Reports,
05:24PM / Thursday, March 09, 2017
      PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 27-year-old homeless man allegedly using the parking meter kiosks to leave a threat on a vehicle.   Police say Joshua Tagge was charged with threat to commit a crime and a civil rights violation for allegedly printing a ticket reading "KILL THE JEW" where the license plate number would be and placing it on the window of Virginia O'Leary's vehicle.   The kiosks ask for users to type in their license plate, which is then printed onto the receipt ticket.   O'Leary reported that the ticket was left on her windshield on Feb. 27. She said she had parked on North Street and found the ticket and

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The Independent Investor: America's Road Toward Universal Health Care
By Bill Schmick,
04:51PM / Thursday, March 09, 2017

The GOP's plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was introduced this week.  As one might expect, the Republican Party's long-awaited plan was met with a firestorm of protests from just about every conceivable lobbying group. That's exactly what one should expect, given that there is so much at stake.

Headlines throughout the week warned that if the plan were passed in its present form, health-care premiums could rise by 30 percent or more. Seniors could pay far more for coverage under the new plan, while between 6 million and 10 million people would lose their health insurance coverage altogether. The poor would get short shrift, while the wealthy would

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'Logan': Makes Some Sharp Points
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:50PM / Thursday, March 09, 2017

Judged solely on its surface value, director James Mangold's "Logan," the third and reputedly final escapade of the Wolverine/Marvel Comics/superhero/X-Men series, rates a six on my excitement scale. However, bear in mind that loyal adherents of this franchise evaluate their cherished, alternate world of right, wrong and not so sure by their very own, entirely proprietary measure. They couldn't care less about what this fuddy-duddy thinks.

Well, good. There is much philosophical baloney and wisdom to be gleaned from the generation gap. Hence, knowing my place as the Brave New World thunders outside my slightly blemished ivory tower of pontification, kindly acknowledge

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