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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Biz Briefs: Berkshire Bank Pays Veteran's Mortgage for One Year
01:45PM / Monday, April 09, 2018
How exciting

Keith Cosimini of West Springfield, Mass., was the winner of the Berkshire Bank Exciting Rewind Mortgage Giveaway for veterans. Cosimini spent much of his career as an Army specialist. As the winner, he will be awarded $12,000 to pay his mortgage for the year. The giveaway was extended to active military members and eligible veterans, serving as an extension of the dedication of Berkshire Bank to the servicemen and servicewomen of our country.
When asked of how he felt about winning the Exciting Rewind giveaway, Cosimini said, "I couldn't believe that I won when I got the call. I had recently opened an account with Berkshire Bank and saw the contest on


Berkshires Beat: Berkshire OLLI Set to Kick Off Spring Semester
01:16PM / Monday, April 09, 2018
Lifelong learning

OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, offers almost two dozen varied courses this spring throughout the Berkshires. With no tests, no grades, and no prerequisites, OLLI classes are designed for those who enjoy learning, meeting interesting new people and exploring the Berkshire and beyond. To register for classes, call 413-236-2190 or go online. OLLI courses are designed especially by and for people 50 years and older, but everyone is invited to join and attend.

Weekly classes are held in Pittsfield, Lenox, Great Barrington and Williamstown this semester. Highlights include:

* The Fight to Vote: Kit Dobelle, former White House Chief


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

Former Sonsini Employees Describe 'Toxic' Work Environment
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:07PM / Sunday, April 08, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It would only take one look and Kimberly Wilson's family would tell her, "you need to quit that job."   Wilson was hired as a staff member for the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter in September and quit a few months later because of what she says was a poor work environment.   "It was constant fighting. It was constant backstabbing ... It was taking a huge toll on all of us," Wilson said on Thursday.   Wilson recounts a story that doesn't stray much from other employees who resigned around the same time. The former Sonsini staff members describe a "toxic" work environment.   "It is devastating. It is about


Berkshire Mosquito Control Ramping Up For 2018 Season
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:13AM / Sunday, April 08, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — As winter turns into spring — eventually — the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project renews its efforts to prevent the spreading of diseases.   Superintendent Christopher Horton said the organization has begun testing mosquito breeding grounds looking for larvae and have already found some. Within the next two weeks, those sites will be treated with larvicide to reduce the number of mosquitoes that take to the air as the weather warms.   "We want to know when West Nile virus is occurring in the environment," Horton said, later adding that "We also identified eastern equine encephalitis in Berkshire County."   The


Tyer: ACO Will Manager Animal Shelter In Short-Term
Staff Reports,
04:26PM / Saturday, April 07, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer says Animal Control Officer Joe Chague will manage the animal shelter in the short term.   The city had ended its contract with the Friends of Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter and has sought to take back control of the Downing Industrial Park building. However, last Friday the staff there refused to hand the keys over and have continued operations.   On Thursday, the city extended the contract until the end of April but will still seek control of the building. Tyer has been silent on the issue as legal battles play out in court. But, on Friday, she did issue an update to say the city will be taking care of strays even without the Friends of


Steepleview Realty Celebrates 20 Years
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
04:01PM / Saturday, April 07, 2018

Segala bought the building at 63 Park St. a year after opening the company. She now has offices in North Adams, Pittsfield and Williamstown. ADAMS, Mass. — Steepleview Realty celebrated 20 years in the Berkshires on Thursday.   Jennifer Segala started her business venture on April 1, 1998, and ever since has been going strong.   "I was just a young girl with a lot of gumption and I am just as ambitious as I was 20 years ago," Segala said at a small party held at her flagship office at 63 Park St.     Segala started at One Commercial Place but then purchased the Park Street building within a year of starting her business. Now Steepleview


Court Ruling Paves Way For Berkshire Museum Art Sale
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:37PM / Friday, April 06, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Museum can proceed with its planned sale of some 40 pieces of art after a Supreme Judicial Court ruling Thursday.   The ruling affirms the agreement the museum had reached with Attorney General Maura Healey in February which includes allowing the museum to sell Norman Rockwell's Shuffleton's Barbershop, provided it remains on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum for 18 months. That agreement allows the art sale to proceed but only until the museum hits $55 million.   The museum is seeking to sell the artwork at auction through Sotheby's and raise some $55 million to reinvest. The museum had been financially struggling and looks


@theMarket: The Trump Trade Bluff
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Friday, April 06, 2018
This week, our fearless leader upped the ante on the tariff tiff with China. It went like this: Trump announced his list. China announced theirs. And at the end of the week, the president sees them one better. Aside from the volatility, it is causing in the stock markets, not much besides headlines has been accomplished.   Are you seeing the pattern yet? Think back to Trump's schoolyard diplomacy with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. First, a furious exchange of tweets and name-calling between the two. That was followed by saber-rattling on both sides. More test missiles. Naval ships steaming toward the Peninsula. The media spent days explaining the "what ifs"


Superior Court Briefs: March 30 - April 3
Staff Reports,
02:43PM / Friday, April 06, 2018
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, March 30.   Tina Lorette, 38, of Lenox pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.   She was ordered to serve one year of a two-year sentence at the Hampden County House of Correction and placed on two-years probation. She will begin her sentence on April 20, 2018.   The charge stems from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on February 10, 2017. Two counts of distribution of heroin were dismissed by the state.   Christopher Root, 43, of Pittsfield was sentenced to concurrent 20 to 25 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on two counts of rape and abuse


'Step Up' Event Raises Awareness of Child Abuse in Berkshires
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:39PM / Friday, April 06, 2018

Others didn't think Kiersten Thomann would graduate high school after she got pregnant. But, she proved them wrong with the help of local parenting programs. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Kiersten Thomann, a senior at McCann Tech, got pregnant, she heard what people were saying.   "People would say you can't do this, she ruined her life, she will never graduate," Thomann said.   "But I did do this. I am a great mom to my son. To me, having a baby at a young age meant my life had just begun. My son didn't take away my future. He gave me a new one."    She had quickly got in touch with Child Care of the Berkshires, which got her into


'Isle of Dogs': Will Wag Your Tail
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:33PM / Friday, April 06, 2018
Writer-director Wes Anderson's often brilliant, stop-motion animated feature, "Isle of Dogs," about a 12-year-old boy's search for his lost pup, packs its humor-filled, sociopolitical wisdom into 101 entertaining minutes like hard ice cream jack-hammered into a pint carton. Lose concentration for a second and you'll miss a manifesto, a dictum, a theory and perhaps two or three mini-treatises on government. It soon becomes clear that the bulk of its pontifications will be gleaned not in the theater, but in the den via successive screenings over the years.   Thus the best tack to take, if you can, is to sit back, relax and enjoy this genre heir to "Animal


Kids Place Holds Annual Benefit Race on Saturday
By Ashlyn Marcil,
11:48AM / Friday, April 06, 2018

The 5K race to benefit Kids' Place begins at 10 a.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire County Kids' Place will hold its annual Champions Against Child Abuse 5k and 1 Mile Color Fun Run on Saturday, April 7.

The 5K race begins at 10 a.m. at the Kids' Place offices at 63 Wendell Ave. Registration for the 5K is $25 for adults and $20 for children 15 and under. The 1 Mile Color Fun Run kicks off at 11 a.m. Registration for that event is $20 for adults and $15 for children between the ages of 5 and 15. Runners that want to participate in both events receive a $5 discount of both races combined ($40 for adults/$30 for children).

Laura Baran, the Development and Special Events

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