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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

'The Revenant': Will Haunt You
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:52PM / Friday, January 15, 2016

Director Alejandro González Inarritu's "The Revenant," starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the ultimate survival tale, is the adult equivalent of those scary films when you were little that gave you nightmares for a week, causing Mom to decree, "That's it, no more watching those movies."

Chronicling the mostly true travail of Hugh Glass, a trapper in what would become the Dakota Territory, circa 1823, DiCaprio's tour de force chillingly reminds that the real horrors of life are far more frightening than anything one can conjure.

This is deadly serious stuff, unremitting in its mission to ferociously parallel the terrors capable of being unleashed by both

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The Independent Investor: This Too Shall Pass
By Bill Schmick,
01:17PM / Friday, January 15, 2016

The markets have gone straight down for almost two weeks. The media is becoming more and more pessimistic as the averages plummet. Doom and gloom permeates the investor population. This usually means that opportunity is just around the corner.

In my own world, the telephone has been ringing off the hook and my inbox is full of panicky emails. So this column is for all those clients, readers and prospective clients out there who are wondering what the heck is going on.

First you must take a look at the emotions you are feeling. Fear, anxiety, even panic are just some of the emotions I have identified in my communications with investors. Most of you reading this column, however, have

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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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Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County Expands to Second Location
01:14PM / Friday, January 15, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County -- a program for the county's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender senior citizens and their friends -- will now be meeting twice each month at two different locations: Williamstown and now Pittsfield.

Williamstown potluck lunches and programs will continue to take place from noon to 2 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the First Congregational Church, 906 Main St.

Starting on Feb. 6, the group will also meet in Pittsfield on the first Saturday of every month, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Berkshire Athenaeum Conference Room.

The Williamstown meetings will continue to focus on a member-supplied pot luck lunch

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Will the Presidential Election Affect Investment Outlook?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
01:00PM / Friday, January 15, 2016

We’re just a few weeks away from the first caucuses and primaries, so presidential election season is in full swing. As a voter, you may be keenly interested in the election process. But as an investor, should you be concerned?

If you take a look back, you might be somewhat encouraged over the prospects of the financial markets this year. In the last 12 presidential election years, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been up nine times and down just three. So, election years must be good for the financial markets, right?

Not necessarily. In every year, the markets are influenced by a variety of factors: interest rates, inflation, corporate profits, geopolitical events, economic

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Superior Court Briefs: Jan. 11 - Jan. 13.
Staff Reports,
12:28PM / Friday, January 15, 2016
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, Jan. 11.   Scott Kennedy, 31, of North Adams was found not guilty by a jury on single counts of assault and battery on a pregnant person, assault and battery on a family or household member, and assault and battery in connection with incidents that occurred in North Adams between April 25, 2014 and March 22, 2015.   He was also found not guilty on a single count of assault by means of a dangerous weapon in connection with an incident in Clarksburg on September 7, 2015. The alleged victim in both instances was a 38-year-old woman.   Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, Jan. 13.   Jeffrey Renzi, 41, of

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Nuclea Lab Closure Impacts Still Unknown
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:19AM / Friday, January 15, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — By 2013, Nuclea Biotechnologies was starting to look like a staple in Pittsfield.   The company had just bought Wilex Inc., taking control of a 20,000 square-foot facility in Cambridge and 11 employees. The deal brought the company out of the research and development and into the commercialization of products.    At the time, then CEO Patrick Muraca said, "If life sciences really takes off at PEDA, then it is a real possibility that we can move the facility here."   Just a few months later, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center announced a $510,775 tax incentive for the company to create 25 new jobs in 2014. It was the only award for

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PEDA Looks At Changes, New Directions
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Correspondent
01:32AM / Friday, January 15, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — At it's opening meeting of 2016, the Executive Committee of the Pittsfield Economic Development Agency examined new directions, upcoming changes and its overall role going forward in conjunction with start of Pittsfield's first four-year mayoral term under Mayor Linda Tyer.   "The new mayor has an overwhelming desire to see that all our economic development efforts are going in the right direction, and to create a creative, unified effort to that end," said PEDA's sole full-time employee, Executive Director Corydon Thurston, summarizing recent discussions with Tyer.   One of the first changes in structure will occur in board

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Connell Announces Candidacy For State Representative
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:20PM / Thursday, January 14, 2016
 
More than a dozen supporters came out in the cold weather to support Connell's candidacy.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A piece of advice Christopher Connell received when he was a teenager has stuck with him.   If you want to make changes, you can either vote for someone who will or do it yourself.   Four years ago he took that advice to heart and ran and won a seat on the City Council.   Yet, the position still hasn't given him enough authority to make the types of changes he'd like to see.    "I feel like at times as a councilor, I am kind of in a box. I keep hitting the top of the box and I can't do any more for the city. I

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Berkshire Tidbits: Berkshire Grown Market, Ramen Nights
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
03:28PM / Thursday, January 14, 2016

Berkshire Co-op Market still has deals on holiday fare. Berkshire Co-op Market Member Appreciation Day Friday, Jan. 15; 8 to 8   Berkshire Co-op Market in Great Barrington on Friday will host the first of this year's quarterly Member Appreciation days during which Co-op members receive a 10 percent discount on everything in the store.   This is the Co-op's thank you to their owners for being owners and for shopping there. Over the course of the day, from morning to night, there will be an atmosphere of celebration with tastings, product demonstrations, giveaways, raffles and general fun.   Berkshire Co-op Market, 413-528-9697, is located at 42 Bridge St. in

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Pittsfield School Committee Taps Yon, Elias For Leadership
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:36AM / Thursday, January 14, 2016

Daniel Elias will be the vice chairman of the Pittsfield School Committee. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee will continue with the same leadership.   The committee picked Katherine Yon chairman and Daniel Elias as vice chairman on Wednesday. Both served in those roles during the last two years.   "It is indeed a distinct honor and great pleasure to assume the chair of the Pittsfield School Committee again," Yon said. "I look forward to working together as a team."    The vote was unanimous and School Committee member Anthony Reillo praised the leadership Yon provided over the last two years in the seat.   "That's a

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Pittsfield Principals Present Budget Requests Part 1: Building Repairs
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:25AM / Thursday, January 14, 2016
 
PHS Principal Matthew Bishop said he has windows that do not close.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield High Principal Matthew Bishop asked the School Committee for what seemed to be a simple request — windows that close.   "Not all of our windows close. Some of them are off track. So on nights like this, you'll have a little bit of snow inside," Bishop told the committee early Wednesday at the start of its daylong budget hearing.   The thought surprised the School Committee because it seemed like a no-brainer. Of course, the school shouldn't keep its windows open at all hours.   "This has got to be on the top of the

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Pittsfield Council Asks Mayor For Independent Review of Budgets
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:47PM / Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Councilors Anthony Simonelli, Lisa Tully and Nicholas Caccamo.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council asked former Mayor Daniel Bianchi a little over a year ago to bring in an outside consultant to review the city budget to look for reductions.

That didn't happen.

Now the council is hoping new Mayor Linda Tyer will do so.   "I see a lot of departments working as a silo. Our taxes have increased and they will again. I think we need to do our due-diligence and look at all of the city budgets," said Councilor at-Large Kathleen Amuso, who filed a petition asking the mayor hire a Six Sigma or a Lean consultant.   "Are there things we are duplicating on

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