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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

State Senate President Hears Berkshire's Challenges, Successes
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:27PM / Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Ellen Kennedy, Michael MacDonald, state Senate President Stan Rosenberg, and Sen. Benjamin Downing discuss the new turf field project at Berkshire Community College.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College President Ellen Kennedy watched her email with baited breath over the last few months.

Gov. Charlie Baker had put a cap on bonding levels, which put her project to renovate Hawthorn and Melville halls on the chopping block.

The state had earmarked $21 million to renovate the campus's two major classroom spaces in 2012 and Kennedy saw those on the list of projects eyed to be delayed.   Luckily for BCC, work had already begun and the state administration


The Classical Beat: Tanglewood Defines Summer Music in the Berkshires
By Stephen Dankner, iBerkshires Staff
01:18PM / Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tanglewood in Lenox has a variety of opening week events.

For many music lovers, Tanglewood in Lenox virtually defines music in the Berkshires. It is the largest summer presenter, with the most comprehensive schedule of performances across the full spectrum of musical styles and genres.

Before getting into imminent opening events, bookmark the Boston Symphony’s websites, or for the full summer concert schedule, season highlights, tickets and general information.

During the opening week’s events, from Thursday, June 25, through Wednesday, July 1, Tanglewood celebrates the opening of their celebratory 75th Music Festival with a sampling


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

Residents Skeptical of Dalton High School Housing Plan
By Stephanie Salvini, iBerkshires Correspondent
12:44PM / Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Elton Ogden, president of BHD, provided what he called a very preliminary projection on Monday for the acquisition and conversion of Dalton High into affordable apartments.

DALTON, Mass. — A plan to turn the former Dalton High School into affordable housing units ran into stiff opposition on Monday night.

The presentation at the Senior Center by Berkshire Housing Development raised concerns over safety issues, noise and lack of housing for seniors.

Elton Ogden, president of BHD, provided what he called a very preliminary projection for the acquisition and conversion of Dalton High into approximately 33 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for individuals and families whose


Miss Hall's School Announces Head's List and Honor Roll
12:41PM / Wednesday, June 24, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall’s School has announced 42 local students among the 131 girls schoolwide named to the Head’s List and Honor Roll for the second semester, which ended May 22.

For Head’s List recognition, students must have taken five major, full-credit courses and must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 92, with no single grade below B-plus.

For Honor Roll recognition, students must have taken five major, full-credit courses and must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 86, with no single grade below B-minus.


Grade 12: Julia Bianchi, of Cheshire; Emma Bullock, North Bennington, Vt.; Ginger Ciaburri, Hinsdale; Elizaveta


Berkshire Museum Awarded Grant For Playground Equipment System
12:20PM / Wednesday, June 24, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Dr Pepper Snapple and national nonprofit KaBOOM! have awarded the Berkshire Museum a $13,200 Let’s Play Improvement Grant to use toward the purchase of an Imagination Playground in a Cart, an innovative playground equipment system.

The grant, which will allow the Berkshire Museum to install the system at the museum, is part of Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple to get kids and families active nationwide. Imagination Playground in a Cart is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication, and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination


Pittsfield Narrowly Approves $11M Capital Plan; OKs 2016 Budget
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:59AM / Wednesday, June 24, 2015
The City Council approved the mayor's amended capital budget on Tuesday and passed a $145.2 million operating budget.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli has made it clear through a series of budget hearings that he wants reductions.

On the capital budget, he was on the losing end of a motion to cut $250,000.

But on Tuesday, he wasn't going to be the one vote to send the city into back-to-back years without a spending plan for major projects.

Simonelli was one of four councilors to reject the $11 million capital budget Tuesday but then asked for reconsideration and changed his vote.

"I still believe there are places to cut but I refuse to let what


Pittsfield Firefighters Busy With Third Fire in 24 Hours
By Andy McKeever,
09:57AM / Tuesday, June 23, 2015
  Firefighters tackled two fires on Tuesday: an apartment fire on Columbus Avenue (above) and a house fire at 20 Larch St.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City firefighters are being kept on their toes this week. The department's dealt with three structures fires in 24 hours.

"We certainly have days we have structure fires, but to get three in a 24-hour period is kind of unusual for us," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said right after his crews snuffed out an apartment fire on Tuesday morning. "The guys held up very well, they're not ready to call it quits yet."

The chief did not think there was a pattern to the fires.

"It all seems to be


Pittsfield Prayer Vigil Urges End of Hate, Racism
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:11AM / Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Rev. Warren Dews Jr. sings during a prayer vigil in honor of the victims of the church shooting in South Carolina. See more pictures from the vigil here.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There is a story told to Jewish children about a teacher who directed his students to make sure they repent before they died.

The students, after pondering this question, finally asked the teacher, "But how will we know when we are going to die?"

"That's the exactly the point," the teacher told the students, and Rabbi Barbara Cohen told a crowd of several hundred people gathered Monday evening for a prayer vigil. "Live as if it's your last day."

That sentiment


Berkshire School Committees Considering District Consolidations
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:04PM / Monday, June 22, 2015
The panel of legislators at Lee Middle and High School met with educators from various school districts.

LEE, Mass. — This year more than 60 teachers countywide could lose their jobs because of budget cuts.

School districts from Great Barrington to North Adams are struggling to support the ever-growing costs of public education.

With high school enrollment decreasing to what is eyed to be about 4,689 in just 10 years, school committee members across the county are wondering if now is the time to consolidate the more than a dozen high schools.

A coalition of school committees met with state legislators Monday in forum about what needs to be done to curb the cost of education


Pittsfield Election: Nomination Papers Taken Out Show Possible Races
Staff Reports,
07:14PM / Monday, June 22, 2015
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Only two incumbents appear to be running unopposed in the upcoming city election.   As of June 22, races have formed for all City Council seats except in Ward 3 and Ward 5. There appears that there will be races for city clerk, mayor, and School Committee.   Of four people who took out papers for mayor, only incumbent Daniel Bianchi and current City Clerk Linda Tyer have had their signatures certified. Eric Bassett and Craig Gaetani have both taken out papers but haven't returned them.   For city clerk, Jody Phillips, a former city clerk, has returned her nomination papers and Aurelina Peguero has taken out nomination papers but hasn't


Pittsfield Signs Agreement on Tyler Street Initiative
03:18PM / Monday, June 22, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city has inked a deal with MassDevelopment to begin redevelopment efforts on Tyler Street.

Pittsfield was one of 10 Gateway Cities chosen in January to received funding and technical assistance from the Transformative Development Initiative.

As part of the agreement, MassDevelopment will provide a district revitalization plan for Tyler Street; evaluate sites, properties, housing stock, and buildings for appropriate reuse; and hold workshops on historic building rehabilitation, business improvement districts, marketing, and small business development.

"Transforming the Tyler Street neighborhood and business district has become a priority," said


Berkshire Cultural Venues Join 'Free Fun Fridays' Schedule Again
02:57PM / Monday, June 22, 2015

BOSTON — The Highland Street Foundation's seventh annual “Free Fun Fridays” initiative, a summer program that offers visitors no cost admission to many of the most treasured cultural venues in Massachusetts, kicks off this Friday, June 26, with three Berkshire County institutions joining the fun.
Since its inception in 2009, “Free Fun Fridays” has drawn more than 800,000 visitors to venues throughout the commonwealth. Last year alone, the program reached 150,000 people and according to Executive Director Blake Jordan, the Highland Street Foundation expects that those numbers will increase again this year with the expansion of the


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