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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

On Valentine's Day, Consider Financial Gifts
10:36AM / Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Last year, Americans spent more than $19 billion on Valentine's Day gifts, according to the National Retail Federation, with the majority of this money going to flowers, candy, cards and an evening out. These gifts were thoughtful, of course, and no doubt appreciated, but they were also somewhat disposable, for want of a better word.

On the other hand, some financial gifts can have a pretty long "shelf life."

Beyond simply enclosing some money in a card, what sort of financial gifts can you give? The answer depends somewhat on the recipient. For example, if your sweetheart is also your spouse, some of the gifts suggested below may be redundant to the financial moves you

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Health Officials Make Case for Needle Exchange in Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:48AM / Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Mayor Linda Tyer led off the meeting by saying this is one of many sessions planned to take the concept to the public. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It wasn't long ago when a young man came to the Brien Center looking for help after he had overdosed on heroin.   Dr. Jennifer Michaels, the center's medical director, got him into sober housing, meetings, and family support. He "did all the things he needed to do."   And then the health screening came back and showed during his drug-use days, he contracted Hepatitis C from sharing needles.   That was yet another hurdle for the man to overcome and the medical treatment bills piled up, bills paid by the

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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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New Shakespeare & Company Head Strives for 'Resonance' with First Season
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:30AM / Wednesday, February 08, 2017

LENOX, Mass. — Celebrating four decades of theater and maintaining relevance for contemporary audiences is the focus of Shakespeare & Company's 2017 season.

With founding Artistic Director Tina Packer at his side, first-year Artistic Director Allyn Burrows Tuesday morning unveiled the venue's lineup for its 40th anniversary season.

Burrows wasted no time establishing that the company cannot program its season in a vacuum and has to recognize the environment beyond its stages.

"Some of us, and Tina as well, were just down at the Shakespeare Association conference in Baltimore," Burrows said. "It was a collection of all the Shakespeare companies around the

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Berkshire Orthopaedic Associates Affiliates with Berkshire Health Systems
05:55PM / Tuesday, February 07, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Orthopaedic Associates, a provider of orthopedic care in the Berkshire region, has entered into an affiliation with Berkshire Health Systems.

“Through this affiliation, Berkshire Orthopaedic Associates will be able to preserve and strengthen the availability of orthopedic services across Berkshire County,” said Dr. Kevin Mitts, division chief of orthopedics at Berkshire Medical Center and a surgeon with the practice. “In addition, this agreement gives us critical access to a variety of support services, including assistance in recruiting new physicians and other providers to serve our community’s orthopedic needs. In fact, two new

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Pittsfield Councilor Kathleen Amuso Won't Seek Re-election
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:24PM / Tuesday, February 07, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Councilor at Large Kathleen Amuso will not seek re-reelection.   Amuso sent out a statement Tuesday morning saying that she believes "it is the right time for me to step away" after 14 years in public office.   Amuso was first elected to the School Committee in 2003 and left in 2013 to succesfully run for the City Council. She has served two terms on the council. As she began to think about the next election in the fall, she decided it was the right time to step aside and find other avenues to help the city.   "I wanted to step down early enough so if people are thinking about running, they know at least one incumbent is not

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Lanesborough Town Manager Sets Budget Target
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:33AM / Tuesday, February 07, 2017
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Budget preparations have begun and Town Manager Paul Sieloff is hoping to keep tax increases to 1.5 percent.   Sieloff said nearly all department heads have returned budget requests and he has crafted a draft budget. He said he's factored in an expected drop in assessed values and the increased cost of the Mount Greylock Regional School renovation and new-build project. Sieloff is hoping to have a budget that increases taxes by 1.5 percent — a small amount compared to previous years. That 1.5 percent does not include the $200,000 or so for the school project.   "This year we are going to have an increase of just under $200,000 for the

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Pittsfield Eyes 9-Member Community Preservation Panel
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:20AM / Tuesday, February 07, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A City Council subcommittee is recommending that elected officials do not sit on the nine-member Community Preservation Committee.

Voters adopted the Community Preservation Act in November, which places a surcharge of 1 percent on tax bills with the first $100,000 of value being exempt. That money is matched by the state at around 30 percent, depending on the year, and can be spent on projects for historical preservation, open space, conservation, and affordable housing.    Which projects, or how much to save for future projects, will be determined by a Community Preservation Committee and then ratified by the City Council. On Monday, the council's

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Adams Outlasts Greylock in Youth Basketball Tourney
iBerkshire Sports,
11:16AM / Monday, February 06, 2017
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Carson Meczywor scored 11 points Sunday to help Adams outlast Greylock, 32-29, in the Adams youth basketball tournament.   "Adams put lots of pressure on us the whole game that caused us to offensively press and to even get a shot off," Greylock coach Rick Paris said. "We were down, 24-11, at the end of three quarters. We only had three baskets at that point from the field. But in the fourth, our kids really started to attack the rim and pressure the ball."   Derek Paris scored nine of his 11, and Malcom Waynick scored eight of his nine for Greylock in the fourth quarter.   "We are just so proud of how our kids responded to the

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Community Meeting Set on Pittsfield Refugee Resettlement Program
Staff Reports,
01:48AM / Monday, February 06, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The organization heading the refugee resettlement program in Pittsfield will hold its second community meeting on the topic on Monday, Feb. 13.   Jewish Family Services of Western Massachusetts is looking to resettle 50 refugees from Iraq and Syria in Pittsfield. The group announced its intentions in September and held a community meeting later that month. That meeting was so well attended that people were being turned away at the door.   In January, the U.S. State Department approved Pittsfield as being a site for resettlement and the group announced it will have another round of community meetings. One was scheduled for Monday at Morningside School but

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Pittsfield Sets Schedule For Budget Development
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:22AM / Sunday, February 05, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city has set an early schedule for the budgeting process this year.   Mayor Linda Tyer says she is requesting the School Department to adopt a budget before May 1 and submit it the next day. She plans on bringing the city's budget, including the School Department's, to the City Council the second Tuesday in May.    Last year, the council's budget hearings took place in mid-June. The earlier schedule brings a bit more leeway for the council to adopt or change budgets before the July 1 start of the fiscal year. The council scheduled hearings over a two-week period last year. In total, a lengthy 22 hours or so were put into the budget by

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Pittsfield Police Suspending Residency Preference For Hiring
Staff Reports,
05:17PM / Friday, February 03, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Police Department is suspending its residency preference for the next Civil Service exam to boost its list of eligible candidates.   The department has been ramping up its hiring of new officers after the City Council authorized a $1 million boost in funding in the budget. Last month, the department put another 10 officers on the roads and had seven in the pipeline. But even more hiring is taking place.   The ramp-up in hiring led the department to exhaust the local list of candidates, which preferenced those who live in the city of Pittsfield. That list was completely depleted so in the next exam, the department is opening it up to the entire

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@theMarket: Trump Tweets Tweak Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:28PM / Friday, February 03, 2017

Financial markets, under the new president, continue to react on an hour-by-hour basis to Donald Trump's latest electronic missives. That's no way to conduct business but it is what it is. At what point will traders begin to discount these tweets?

It will take some time, in my opinion, because there has been nothing quite like this in the history of the world. What makes it worse, as it turns out, some of the new president's statements have proven less than factual, while others have clarified the growing mountain of fake news that media outlets appear happy to broadcast. In the middle are the High Frequency Traders and the computer algorithm geeks who find themselves running

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