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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield City Council Endorses Natural Gas Infrastructure Bills
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:34AM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday night voted to endorse two State House bills related to natural gas infrastructure.

The petition submitted by Ward 6 Councilor John Krol asked the council to support the passage of H.2870, related to gas leaks paid by ratepayers, and H.2871, which would have gas companies audit and make any repairs to their their lines during road projects.

The council voted 8-2 to endorse, with President Melissa Mazzeo and Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell in opposition. Ward 1 Councilor Lisa Tully was absent.

"Essentially what this does is say two things, thus the two bills, No. 1, when there are leaks in gas pipes throughout the city of

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Berkshire Tidbits: Cooking Classes, Firefly Specials
By Judith Lerner, iBerkshires Columnist
09:45PM / Monday, November 09, 2015

'Cooking at The Chef's Shop'
Baking Thanksgiving pies

The "Cooking at The Chef's Shop" series continues this Thursday as guest chef Elaine Khosrova, a Hudson Valley food writer and editor from Albany, demonstrates the art of baking Thanksgiving pies. She is a former pastry chef  who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and at La Varenne in Paris.

On Nov. 22, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Gale will be back and her students definitely get their hands into the cooking. She'll be making four Thanksgiving side dishes: tarragon creamed pearl onions, rutabaga with caraway, jalapeno corn soufflé and cranberry-kumquat sauce.

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

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by Soapbox 04:10PM / Tuesday, December 10, 2013

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Lanesborough Selectmen Want Town Meeting Vote on School District
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
08:15PM / Monday, November 09, 2015
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Monday voted to ask a special town meeting whether voters want the board to pursue withdrawal from the Mount Greylock Regional School District.   The board also put an article on the Dec. 1 ballot asking whether the town approves amendments to the agreement between Lanesborough and Williamstown that governs the junior-senior high school district.   The Mount Greylock School Committee drafted the amendment in response to a request from Lanesborough officials to modify the way the district apportions capital expenses in light of the proposed Mount Greylock Regional School renovation project.   Williamstown voters will decide

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Berkshire Community College Awarded Grant to Aid Student Success
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
07:01PM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Students enter Berkshire Community College with dreams of furthering their opportunities, but too often they find the challenges overwhelming.

The college is hoping its selection for a $2 million federal grant, one of 40 granted nationwide, will help forge stronger pathways to success for students from low-income families or who are minorities or first-generation college students.  

"We are ecstatic that our efforts, which were driven by a diverse group from the BCC community as well as outside constituents, were recognized by the Department of Higher Education," said BCC President Ellen Kennedy in a statement. "Our students are at the heart

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Recount Scheduled for Pittsfield's Ward 5 Race
01:13PM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There will be a recount of last Tuesday's tight race in Ward 5.

Newcomer Donna Todd Rivers squeaked out 13-vote victory over Richard Scapin, a former Ward 5 councilor and City Council president.

The final count was 743-730 in favor of Todd Rivers in the tightly contested race. Scapin submitted a petition calling for a the recount with the required number of voters' signatures.

According to the city clerk's office, the hand count will take place in City Council Chambers on Monday, Nov. 16, at 10 a.m.

Two counting teams composed of a ballot reader and tally clerk will review the 1,543 ballots, of which the machines recorded 67 as not having a vote

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Mentors Needed for Financial Literacy Workshop
11:23AM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall's School is seeking area professional women to volunteer as mentors for its 16th annual Money Matters financial literacy workshops to be held on Monday, Nov. 16, and Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the school’s Holmes Road campus.

Eighth-grade girls from across Berkshire County will attend the program, which provides them with a foundation of financial understanding. This year’s program will be facilitated by Dr. Mahnaz Mahdavi, professor of economics and the Ann F. Kaplan ’67 Faculty Director of Center for Women and Financial Independence at Smith College, and René Heavlow, Director of the Center for Women and Financial

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Pittsfield Library Offering Food For Fines Program
11:10AM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's public library, will offer a modified fines amnesty through Monday, Nov. 30.

During this four-week period the library will accept nonperishable food items in lieu of paying fines for overdue books.

“This ‘Food for Fines’ initiative has become an annual tradition at the Berkshire Athenaeum, which for over 20 years has linked the extended fines amnesty period to the Thanksgiving holiday,” library Director Ron Latham said.

Food will be collected in boxes located at the Adult Circulation Desk and at the Children's Service Desk. When "paying" off a fine with a donated food item, a staff

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Sagas of the Shire: A Visit From The Divine Healer
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Columnist
11:43PM / Sunday, November 08, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — From the moment he arrived in town, everything about the mysterious traveler attracted attention and provoked comment.

Garbed all in black, vaguely oriental robes and sashes, with grayish eyes and long flowing brown hair, he was an unusual sight for Pittsfield, glimpsed speeding about on his bicycle or holding court in space rented just off North Street.

This was the "Divine Healer," the "Western Wonder," Augustus Schrader.

He arrived in the city in mid-May, 1897, having traveled to Massachusetts after what he said were thousands of requests he'd received.

"LOOKS LIKE CHRIST," read the header of his ad space in the Pittsfield

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Letter: Peru Should Take Hard Look at Budget
Letters to the Editor,
01:00PM / Sunday, November 08, 2015

To the Editor:

The Peru taxpayers have just learned that their tax rate has increased to $20.15.

We were informed by our gatekeepers (the Board of Selectmen), via an explanatory insert included with our tax bills, that 85 percent of the increase was due to the school budget. That's all well and good and the math works, but since the laws of our land dictate that children get a free education, apparently including whatever vocational school they care to attend, with no limit on the tuition and transportation costs, there's not a heck of a lot we can do about that number other than to pay it, especially since we are the last town in our district to vote the school budget and it is

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Legislative Women's Caucus Hears From Berkshires
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:53PM / Friday, November 06, 2015
City Councilors Kate Merrigan, left, and President Lisa Blackmer at the listening session held by the Caucus of Women Legislators at MCLA.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Affordable housing, arts, education, substance abuse, pregnancy, child care, wellness, family support, food, transportation, farming, licensure and breast feeding.

It was a wide range of concerns addressed to members of the Caucus of Women Legislators on Friday at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

One of the solutions? Get more women in office, said Judith Grinnell of the Hoosic River Revival. She called on the Women's Caucus to create a bipartisan approach to seek out strong women and encourage them to

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Local Call/Volunteer Firefighters Graduate State Training Program
11:28AM / Friday, November 06, 2015

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. — Eight local volunteer firefighters graduated Wednesday from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.

Class No. 54 of the Call/Volunteer Firefighter Recruit Training program included five Dalton firefighters, Craig Eggleston, Jordan Anderson, Matthew Chrostowski, Michael Shaughnessy and Mitchell Messana; two from Great Barrington, Jacob Borden and Joel Timm, and Michael Doyle of the Richmond Fire Department.

The certificates were presented by State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Director George D. Kramlinger in a graduation ceremony at Easthampton High School.

The Call/Volunteer Firefighter Recruit Training program delivers a standard recruit training

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Adult Diploma Program Enrollment Starts Nov. 9
11:04AM / Friday, November 06, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Individuals age 18 or older who have dropped out of high school but passed the MCAS have a second option to earn a high school equivalency.

Starting Monday, Nov. 9, the Pittsfield Adult Learning Center will offer a free adult diploma program.  This project based option offers flexible hours, allows students to work at their own pace, provides a high school diploma from the Pittsfield Public Schools and does not require a HiSET (formerly GED) exam.

For more information, call the Pittsfield Adult Learning Center at 413-499-9530 to schedule an orientation.

In addition to the adult diploma, the center offers HiSET exam preparation as well as free services to

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