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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Festival of Trees Opens at Berkshire Museum
11:53AM / Wednesday, November 16, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Walk the red carpet like a movie star when "Now Playing: Festival of Trees 2016" opens at the Berkshire Museum on Friday, Nov. 18, with a festive premiere party.

Widely regarded as the unofficial kickoff of the holiday season in the Berkshires, the annual event will feature more than 100 dazzling decorated trees, bedecked in film world finery, reflecting this year's movie theme. The creative holiday trees are sponsored by businesses, schools, and community organizations in a true celebration of cinema, from film noir and sci-fi to action-adventure, Westerns, and animation.

The family-friendly premiere party runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov.


Put Thanksgiving Lessons to Work in Your Financial Plans
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:22AM / Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thanksgiving is almost here. Over the years, this holiday has taken on a variety of meanings, most of them centered on family, caring and sharing.

You can carry these same values past Thanksgiving into your daily life – and you can certainly incorporate them into your financial strategies for taking care of your loved ones.

So, here are a few suggestions:

* Protect your family. If something were to happen to you, could your family pay the mortgage? Could your children still afford to go to college someday? To protect your family's current lifestyle and long-term goals, you may well need to maintain adequate life and disability insurance. Your employer may offer these types of


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

Pittsfield Property Tax Rate Up 4.5 Percent for Fiscal 2017
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Councilors including Kevin Morandi, center, raised questions over the high commercial rate. Councilor at Large Kathleen Amuso, right, said those considerations should have been made at budget time.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The average homeowner can expect to see a $150 a year increase in property taxes for fiscal 2017.

The City Council on Tuesday night approved 8-3 a tax shift of 1.65, resulting in a tax rate of $19.63 per thousand assessed value, up 87 cents over this year, for residential and $39.78 per thousand for commercial, up from $38.06 this year.

The vote came after nearly 90 minutes of discussion and an unsuccessful attempt to lower the shift ratio to ease the burden on


Downing's Next Step Is Solar Energy Firm
04:43PM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Ben Downing will join a solar energy firm after leaving office.

BOSTON — Benjamin B. Downing, who has championed renewable energies during his 10 years in the state Senate, will join a solar energy company at the end of his term.

Nexamp Inc. announced on Monday that the Pittsfield Democrat, who did not stand for a sixth term, would be the solar contractor's new vice president of new market development.

"Ben's long history of public service will complement Nexamp's expert team of local development professionals," said Zaid Ashai, chief executive officer of Nexamp, in a statement. "He joins us at the most exciting juncture in our company's young


Biz Briefs: Railway Museum Seeks Volunteers for Christmas Train Rides
02:29PM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Back on track: The 2016 season was Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum's first year "back on track" operating traditional train rides since December of 2011. A new train ride experience in the Hoosac Valley between North Adams and Adams enjoyed a very successful inaugural season. Winding down the 2016 operating season, BSRM has one final special event to present to the community: Christmas Train Rides featuring a visit from Santa Claus himself.

Volunteer help is needed in a few different places from routine summer operations. Experienced volunteers are placed in positions requiring skills, qualifications or certain levels of knowledge; however our Christmas trains are a great


Berkshires Beat: 'White Privilege' Author Speaking in Lenox
02:05PM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Privileged: Anti-racism activist Peggy McIntosh will present a workshop on white privilege as part of the Multicultural BRIDGE annual Awards Celebration at Kripalu in Lenox on Thursday, Nov. 17. She will also give the evening's keynote address, "Coming to See Privilege Systems: The Surprising Journey." The celebration will include the presentation of BRIDGE’s inaugural Peggy McIntosh Equity and Justice Award.

McIntosh, founder of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum and a former associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, is best known for her classic 1989 essay, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," in which she gives


Berkshire Medical Center Earns Straight A's for Patient Safety
12:19PM / Monday, November 14, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Medical Center has again achieved high marks in new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide and provide the most complete picture of patient safety in the United States.

The grades were recently released by The Leapfrog Group, a national patient safety watchdog. Berkshire Medical Center once again earned an "A," accomplishing the difficult task of being awarded Straight "A's" since the inception of the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade in 2012. Berkshire Medical Center is one of only 72 hospitals out of over 2,600 across the country to attain this honor.



Education Task Force Plans Presentations of Phase 1 Report
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:53AM / Monday, November 14, 2016

Eliot Levine, senior researcher manager for the Donahue Institute, presented the Phase 1 report on Saturday morning.

DALTON, Mass. — Enrollment is declining in Berkshire County schools and costs are rising.

It's one of those things everyone knows — now there's concrete data confirming those notions and pinning down some of the effects on Berkshire County education.

The Berkshire County Task Force on Saturday morning reviewed a 77-page report commissioned from the University of Massachusetts' Donahue Institute on the state of county education.

It's not pretty.

Enrollment is down 22.3 percent over the last 15 years in 17 of the school districts being


Pittsfield, Williamstown, North Adams Mark Veterans Day
By Andy McKeever & Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:55PM / Friday, November 11, 2016

Richard Kurek is presented the Veterans Coalition Veteran of the Year award in Pittsfield.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Veteran Service Officer James Clark has always felt that Veterans Day got the "short end of the stick" when it comes to holidays.

Most people do not get the day off from work like they do on the Fourth of July. And, Memorial Day is seen as the holiday to honor those who died in the armed forces. But, Clark says Veterans Day is just as important.

"It is a day we recognize not just those who have given it all in war but to all those who have worn the uniform of service. This day above all is a day to celebrate the choice one makes to serve their


Superior Court Briefs: Nov. 7 - Nov. 9
Staff Reports,
04:03PM / Friday, November 11, 2016
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, Nov. 7.   Israel Delgado, 43, of Melville, N.J. pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.   He was ordered to pay a $500 fine. The charge stems from an incident in Great Barrington on February 20, 1998.    A single count in trafficking in cocaine was dismissed by the state.   Nathan Tatro, 43, of North Adams pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and battery on a family or household member, two counts of strangulation or suffocation, and a single count of malicious damage to a motor vehicle in connection with incident in North Adams


Berkshire United Way Appoints New Board Members
01:57PM / Friday, November 11, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire United Way has appointed four new board members.

Jen Glockner is an accomplished communications professional with experience in television, radio, social media and press relations. Glockner holds a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and received recognition in BusinessWest magazine's "40 under 40" for her career and community contributions.  She has been actively involved in Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., Junior League of Berkshire County, the Berkshire Leadership Program Steering Committee, the Mass Audubon Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries Committee and the Ad Club of Western Massachusetts.

Glockner lives in Pittsfield


Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Nov. 11-17
11:39AM / Friday, November 11, 2016

  VIEW DAY-BY-DAY CALENDAR       November 11 - November 17,


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