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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Guest Column: Shared Services Are the Future
By Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli, Guest Columnist
04:46PM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

After nearly a year of preparation, and just a few short months since 17 South Berkshire communities came together in a historic Community Compact signing, we are starting to see the successful work of so many coming together.

As community leaders, we have to be willing to have a serious conversation about our region's financial stability, and sustainability, as well as how can we best streamline and enhance the services that our taxpayers have grown to expect with their hard earned dollars.

Collective action will provide collective success.

When this conversation started I had three goals in mind.

1: Maintain each towns' unique identity,

2: Enhance services for residents,

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PEDA Planning Three Open Houses for Stanley Business Park
04:33PM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority will host three open house events on Aug. 24, Aug. 31, and Sept. 14 at the William Stanley Business Park to showcase the park's developable building sites. PEDA is encouraging potential developers, builders, existing businesses and community members to attend and learn about current and future plans and view available properties.

Each open house will run from 4 to 7 p.m., at the PEDA office on the corner of Kellogg Street and Woodlawn Avenue. Refreshments will be offered, and guests can gather information and see firsthand the sites available at the park. In addition, guided walking tours will be offered at 4:30

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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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PEDA Extends Negotiation Period With Waterstone
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:30PM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority has extended the timeframe to reach a land lease agreement with Waterstone Realty for the development of a Walmart Supercenter.   On Tuesday, PEDA approved the extension to the letter of intent. Executive Director Corydon Thurston said the original 60-day window was "too aggressive" and hopes to have an agreement before the board by the next meeting.   "It is a complex document because it involves so many agencies," Thurston said.   PEDA granted Waterstone a letter of intent on June 15 giving the company the exclusive rights to negotiate a lease and sales agreement for the parcel on

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Berkshire STEM Network Snags $65,000 State Grant
01:08PM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshire STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Network has received $65,000 from the Massachusetts STEM Pipeline Fund to promote STEM education in the region.

The funding is part of more than $250,000 in recent grant awards to support the commonwealth's regional STEM networks. This regional award will support Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley. As the lead partner of the Berkshire STEM Network, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will continue to collaborate with education, community and industry partners across the region.

MCLA Dean of Academic Affairs Monica Joslin, who serves on the STEM Advisory Council, said an investment

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As Tanglewood Season Wanes, Music Still Fills the Mountains
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires.com
12:39PM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

During this penultimate week of the Tanglewood Festival, the spotlight will focus on a wide range of both standard and unusual fare in varied genres: from Stravinsky, Mozart and Verdi, to Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Prokofiev and contemporary composer George Tsontakis (b. 1951).

Come late August, classical aficionados are saddened to acknowledge the waning Tanglewood season – a cornucopia of musical riches presented in an incomparably bucolic setting. Many of those superlative concerts will reside in our collective memory for a long time.

There's no cause, though, for dismay. Looking ahead, these last two months of magnificent music making are but a prelude to the fall array of

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Consider All Aspects of College Savings Options
11:52AM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It's almost back-to-school time. If you have young children going to public schools, your biggest expenditures may be on pens, pencils and notebooks. But if you want those same kids to go to college someday, you'll eventually face considerably larger costs – so you may want to start preparing soon.

College is costly. For the 2015-16 school year, the average expense (including tuition, fees room and board) was nearly $20,000 at a public, four-year school, and more than twice that amount at a four-year private school, according to the College Board. Of course, cheaper alternatives are available – your children could go to a local community college for two years at a very

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Summer League, Travel Team Open Lacrosse Opportunities
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports
11:23AM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016
DALTON, Mass. -- For the record, ODB defeated the Wahconah boys lacrosse team Tuesday in the championship game of the Berkshire Summer League.   But the league is really less about records and more about having a chance to play.   “The kids just want to stay active,” Wahconah varsity coach Zach Sondrini said as his players prepared for a 45-minute playoff game at Nessacus Middle School Tuesday evening. “They want to stay busy. And that’s our goal: to give them an opportunity to pick up sticks in the off season.”   Sondrini does a number of things to provide those kinds of opportunities.   In the winter, he runs two high school box lacrosse

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Debates, Forums Slated for State House & Senate Candidates
01:55AM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — There are several forums and debates being held over the next several weeks for candidates running for the state Legislature.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts hosts a debate at the Church Street Center beginning at 7 p.m. sharp on Wednesday for state Senate candidates.

The three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination — Rinaldo Del Gallo, Andrea Harrington and Adam Hinds — and the sole Republican candidate Christine Canning-Wilson have been invited to attend.

The moderator will be Margo Bowden, president of the Williamstown League of Women Voters, and questions will be asked by a panel of local journalists, including from iBerkshires.com,

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Organ Recipients Speak to Need for Donations of Life
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:18PM / Tuesday, August 16, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Denise Swistak owes her life to a man from Oklahoma whom she'd never met.

And it's all because he had checked off the box to be an organ donor on his driver's license application.

"A man from Oklahoma saved my life. I'll never know him, I thanked his family for his generosity and for the unselfish gift they decided to give to me," said Swistak, tearing up at the memory. "They gave me a new life. I will be forever connected to that family in Oklahoma. I'll probably never meet them, maybe, god willing someday, I will."

Swistak's message was delivered on Tuesday at City Hall to raise awareness of the ease of signing up

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Pittsfield Airport Raises Landing, Tie-Down Fees
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:12AM / Tuesday, August 16, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Airport Commission has implemented new fees in hopes to raise revenues.   Airport Commission Chairman Chris Pedersen told a research group looking to the operations on Monday that a number of the fees have gone up — including more than a 60 percent increase for tie-downs and a complete revamping of landing fees.    "The Airport Commission took this up in the beginning of July or the month prior and our goal was to have new fees in place for Aug. 1," Pedersen said.   The commission changed its landing fees from the three-tier system based on weight. The new plan calls for $4 per 1,000 pounds so some owners will be paying more

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Pittsfield 14s Bow Out at Babe Ruth World Series
08:40PM / Monday, August 15, 2016
WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Janek Luksza went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs Monday to lead New England champion Tri-County, Maine to an 11-1 win over Pittsfield at the 14-year-old Babe Ruth World Series.   Jett Steinman doubled and scored on a Jacob Harrington single to account for the Pittsfield run in the top of the first of a game shortened to five innings at Bullens Field.   Pittsfield (0-5) concluded its World Series run with the loss. The top three teams in each of two six-team pools advance to the single-elimination tournament that begins Tuesday morning.   With the win, Tri-County improved to 3-2 in pool play.

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Pittsfield Notes: Covanta, Handicap Parking, Solar Arrays
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:42PM / Monday, August 15, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City officials are hoping Covanta won't be leaving after all with the passage of a new tax incentive for those type of operations.   Covanta plans to close its Hubbard Avenue facility in March claiming the "high operating costs and the size of the facility have made it increasingly difficult to run the plant profitably," according to company spokesman James Regan.   The plant has been in operations since 1981 on 5.8 acres of land and serves as the primary location for Republic Services to dispose of trash collected from the curbside collection of residents. The company turns the waste into steam energy, which is then sold to Crane &

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