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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Sagas of the Shire: The Mystery of the Gentleman Burglar
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Columnist
07:43PM / Sunday, October 25, 2015

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — It began as an isolated incident — a widow on the outskirts of town, robbed at gunpoint by a masked intruder who slipped in quietly, in broad daylight one warm afternoon that October.

She had just recently withdrawn $100 from the bank, which the masked man demanded. The witness said she was terrified until the robber spoke, which he did in such "soothing tones" that it calmed her considerably for the duration of the heist.

So began what The New York Times would refer to as "a reign of terror" for the town of Stockbridge, lasting from late 1892 through 1893, and give birth to the "Gentleman Burglar," a criminal of folkloric

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Kiwanis Fill Park Square With Flags For Second Year
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:32PM / Saturday, October 24, 2015
A large crowd gathered for the opening ceremony Saturday afternoon. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In its second year, the Kiwanis Club of Pittsfield has grown the Park of Honor project to some 640 flags.   The flags are sponsored by residents and businesses in honor of veterans, each with a tag representing the name of the veteran being honored. The club is flying them throughout Park Square for the month of November.   "This is just a beautiful project," said Kiwanis Club Chairman Real Gadoury at a ceremony on Saturday. "We were trying this year to do 524 flags and we did 640."   The sponsorship, with the addition of four flag purchases Gadoury was

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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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@theMarket: Regaining the High Ground
By Bill Schmick,
10:44AM / Saturday, October 24, 2015

As of today, the S&P 500 Index is in the plus column for the year. That seemed impossible to most investors just a month ago. And I expect more gains to come over the next two months.

In last week's column, I predicted the worst was over and the price action this week confirms that. This will be the fourth week in a row that U.S. markets have generated positive returns. The engine of growth behind these further gains this week came as no surprise to me.

I have argued repeatedly that the monetary stimulus programs underway by central banks across the globe would keep stock markets climbing. Last week I wrote that "The ECB launched a stimulus program at the beginning of the

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The Independent Investor: Water Scarcity Not Only California's Problem
By Bill Schmick,
06:39PM / Friday, October 23, 2015

Just about everyone is aware of the California water crisis. You may be tempted to simply dismiss this on-going event as a local problem, but it isn't. Our world is running out of water and we are on the brink of a freshwater shortage.

At least that is the conclusion of NASA, in a recent report that argues that even giant lakes are disappearing. The agency believes that sometime within the next 35 years the globe will be facing a long and protracted drought of epic proportions.

You might say, "So what? We have plenty of time to come up with solutions. Besides, the 'authorities' will handle it." A look at what is happening in California might dissuade you of that

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Bianchi Attacks Tyer For Declining Springfield Debate
Staff Reports,
04:13PM / Friday, October 23, 2015
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Incumbent Daniel Bianchi criticized challenger Linda Tyer for not participating in a debate in Springfield on Friday afternoon.   The two are seeking the corner office for the city's first four-year term. 22News out of Springfield organized the debate, which Tyer declined on Oct. 7. Bianchi went ahead with an appearance on the station and latter issued a statement saying he was disappointed Tyer hadn't showed.   "My opponent and I have agreed that the most important part of any campaign is the opportunity to discuss the issues facing our community; which is why, after the preliminary election, I immediately challenged my opponent to a series

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Superior Court Briefs: Oct. 20
Staff Reports,
03:51PM / Friday, October 23, 2015
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Oct. 20.   George Chapman, 30, of Springfield had not guilty pleas entered on his  behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and conspiracy to violate drug laws.   He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 66 Angeli Street in North Adams on August 6, 2015.   Mark Daniels, 33, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - and a single count of conspiracy to violate

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Berkshire County Arc Administrator Receives Supervisor of the Year Award
12:50PM / Friday, October 23, 2015

BOSTON, Mass. — Erwin Figueroa, a residential supervisor at Berkshire County Arc, received the Supervisor of the Year Award during the 40th Annual Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers' Convention and Expo at the Marriott Copley Hotel in Boston on Monday.

The Convention is the largest human services conference in New England, with more than 1,000 in attendance.

Figueroa, who has been with Berkshire County Arc for 16 years, was born in Guatemala. During his childhood, he lived on a coffee farm in the village of Isnul. The eldest of seven brothers and two sisters, he moved out of his home at age 14 to attend seventh grade and continued his schooling while working for

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Richmond Enters Into Agreement to Purchase Former Girl Scout Camp
11:57AM / Friday, October 23, 2015

A group of Girl Scouts enjoys one of the last Scout outings at Camp Marion White in Richmond. The town has entered into an agreement to buy the camp.

RICHMOND, Mass. — After several months of negotiations, the town and the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts have entered into a Purchase and Sale agreement for Camp Marion White. The purchase price for the property is $1,375,000.
 
The camp, located on Swamp Road, is comprised of three parcels totaling 50 acres with more than 1,300 feet of shoreline on Richmond Pond. Thirty of the acres are located on east side of Swamp Road. This is the area of the property that was used by the Girl Scouts. The

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Pittsfield Selected for Working Cities Challenge Design Grant
11:47AM / Friday, October 23, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The city of Pittsfield has been chosen by the Boston Federal Reserve’s independent selection committee to receive a Working Cities Challenge design grant.

The $15,000 award will support the development of Pittsfield’s initiative over the next six months. The goal of the Working Cities Challenge is to assist Massachusetts small cities in developing a strong civic infrastructure that includes a cross-sector leaders and institutions to provide outcomes that benefit residents who are under-resourced. As an awardee, Pittsfield will be eligible to compete for a three-year implementation grant in the spring of 2016.

The Pittsfield team, facilitated by

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Berkshire Bank Foundation Awards More Than $200,000 To County Nonprofits
11:01AM / Friday, October 23, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Berkshire Bank Foundation has awarded $202,416 in grants and pledges to 41 non-profit organizations in Berkshire County during its third quarter grants cycle.  

Some of the organizations receiving support include the Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Innovation Center, Pittsfield Public Schools, Literacy Network of Southern Berkshire, The Christian Center, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Railroad Street Youth Project, the Dalton CRA and Construct Inc.

·  Berkshire Museum based in Pittsfield received a grant to support their educational programs for local schools.

·  Berkshire Innovation Center based in

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Oct. 23-29
10:45AM / Friday, October 23, 2015
Office of Cultural Development | City of Pittsfield    

 Friday: Celebrate #ArtsMatter Day!    Celebrate #ArtsMatter Day with Mass Creative, a statewide creative advocacy organization.  Share your #ArtsMatter story by showing and telling the world why arts matter to you.  Share it on social media with the

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Pittsfield Board Approves Credit For Controversial Development
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Correspondent
02:04AM / Friday, October 23, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After heated debate and conflicting legal opinions, the Community Development Board voted Tuesday to issue a letter of credit on the remaining bond for a controversial development project that includes three unaccepted streets off Williams Street and Leona Drive.

Yola Esther Development says it has completed the subdivision, which includes Kara and Giovina Streets and Karen Drive, to the terms stipulated in the bond agreement.

But opponents — including City Engineer Matthew Billetter, Ward 4 City Councilor Chris Connell, and Commission on Disabilities Chairwoman June Hailer — said the streets should not be considered complete until several issues,

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