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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

United Way Urging State to Help Up Preschool Teaching Salaries
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:02AM / Friday, November 11, 2016

Dalton Preschool Director Paul Harris met with Douglas McNally, state Rep. Paul Mark, and United Way Program Director Karen Vogel on Thursday. DALTON, Mass. — On Thursday, Paula Harris wore a button to work in support of a movement to raise the wages for preschool teachers like herself.   The button was from 26 years ago.   Harris is approaching her 30th year as a preschool teacher and is now the director of the Dalton Preschool, housed in the same building with the CRA. When she took over as the director, she took a pay cut and she hasn't had much of a raise since then, now earning around $35,000 a year.    But she's ahead of the curve. Many


'Doctor Strange': Physician, Heal Thyself
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:39PM / Thursday, November 10, 2016

Back in the day, when I was a weekend Hippie hanging out at a friend's home I deemed the clearing house of all things late 1960s, travelers of all stripe would pop in, flop into a beanbag chair and regale us with tales of their adventures. The chronicle might begin with, "Been going through some really heavy changes, man," often followed by a description of some strange, exotic place where one might foreseeably learn the secret of life. I imagined it to look somewhat like Kamar-Taj, where the title character of "Doctor Strange" goes to seek healing.

In director Scott Derrickson's highly entertaining film based on the famed Marvel Comics character of the same


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

Lanesborough Elementary to Veterans: Breakfast Is On Us
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:15PM / Thursday, November 10, 2016

This student saluted during the National Anthem.  LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The kindergarten class led the way, the preschoolers followed with flags held high — and teachers reminding them not to let them hit the ground.   They stood in the cafeteria and looked over a crowd of some 75 armed service veterans and began singing patriotic songs. When they finished, they had handmade cards of thanks to give to each and every one who attended.   Meanwhile, the third-graders were going from table to table asking, "would you like more coffee, sir?" The first-graders were waiting outside the door, ready to perform their own songs.    The scene was the


Pittsfield Approves Tax Agreement For Redevelopment of Holy Family Church
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Thursday, November 10, 2016

David Carver is looking to rehabilitate the former Holy Family Church into 10 market-rate housing units. He hopes to close on the property by the end of the year. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council approved a tax agreement to help the redevelopment of the former Holy Family Church on Seymour Street.   Developer David Carver, owner of Scarafoni Properties and doing this project under WDM Properties, is looking to turn the former church into 10 market-rate housing units.   The City Council approved Wednesday night two pieces to help bring the financing together: a tax increment exemption to ease the tax burden from increasing the assessed value of the building and


Pittsfield Public Safety Advisory Awaits Mayoral Appointments
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:20AM / Thursday, November 10, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Public Safety Advisory Committee wants to get working, but needs the mayor to appoint a full board.   What was left of the sparse committee met on Monday and said they've been trying to meet with Mayor Linda Tyer about the committee to no avail. They plan to put a written request to meet with her in hopes to get the board together.   "We have done it as a request in writing, in an email, in person, and on the telephone," said Chairman Larry Tallman. "There have been several efforts on our part."   The group has been trying to get back together for almost a year now. The committee calls for as many as 13 members, but only

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Miss Hall's Presents 'Peter and the Starcatcher'
02:43PM / Wednesday, November 09, 2016

PITTSFIELD — The Miss Hall's School Theater Ensemble will take to the high seas this fall, pursuing the story of how Peter Pan became "The Boy Who Never Grew Up" and performing the award-winning play "Peter and the Starcatcher." Shows will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11; at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12; and in a matinee at 2 on Sunday, Nov. 13.

Based on the best-selling novel "Peter and the Starcatchers," by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the play is a prequel to the story of Peter Pan. It opens with a young orphan and his two companions shipping out aboard the Neverland from Victorian England to a distant island. Also on board is a trunk of


No on 2, Yes on 4, and Community Preservation Act Adopted
By Andy McKeever,
12:42AM / Wednesday, November 09, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Money can't buy votes.   At least that's what voters said when it came to Question 2, a ballot initiative calling to raise the cap on the number of charter schools by a dozen.   Voters overwhelmingly shot down the expansion of the charter school system on Tuesday by a 2-1 margin. That is despite proponents outspending opponents by some $10 million. Those pushing for more charter schools spent $24.1 million as of Oct. 31, compared to $14.5 million spent by opponents.   "The power of people is stronger than money. The influence of the Wall Street corporate hedge fund, funding about $20 million of this with 80 percent being out of state


Hinds, Farley-Bouvier Win Big For State Seats
Staff Reports,
11:03PM / Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Farley-Bouvier quickly greeted Hinds with a hug when he entered the back room at J Allens where Democrats had gathered to watch the results. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It was shortly after 9:30 on Tuesday night when Adam Hinds claimed victory for the Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden state Senate district.   The Democrat was the favorite going into the general election after winning the primary over Rinaldo Del Gallo and Andrea Harrington.   With the victory in the general election over Republican Christine Canning-Wilson, He now takes the seat of Sen. Benjamin Downing who opted not to run for re-election after 10 years.   "After nine months, I'm excited


Berkshire County Election Day 2016
Staff Reports,
04:15PM / Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Finale

The upshot: Adam Hinds won the state Senate seat being vacated by Benjamin B. Downing and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier retained her seat representing Pittsfield. Both defeated their opponents by wide margins.  

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal will also return to Congress after easily besting two challengers.

Also passing was Pittsfield's adoption of the Community Preservation Act by an impressive vote of 15,331 by 4,169.

The statewide ballot questions were an up and down, with recreational marijuana and the banning of confinement cages for livestock passing; another slots facility and lifting the charter caps going down.

Clarksburg hit 78 percent turnout and Pittsfield 70

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Berkshire County Heads to the Polls for Election 2016
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
03:58AM / Tuesday, November 08, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It's election day in Massachusetts, unless you're one of the one million voters who have already cast ballots.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; find your polling station here. It's suggested you bring an ID if you're voting for the first time, your registration has been inactive, there may be some question to your status or you have to complete a provisional ballot.

Berkshire County voters will only find a couple of local issues on the ballot this year. They'll be determining the replacement for state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, who is departing after 10 years representing the far western part of the state, and a number of


Pittsfield Looks To Raise Fines For Abandoning Dogs
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:41AM / Tuesday, November 08, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is looking to raise fines for those who dump man's best friend.   The City Council's Ordinance and Rules Committee on Monday voted in favor of a number of changes to the local animal control laws. The changes including raising the fines for abandoning dogs by 10 times the current amount, changing the fine structure for other animal violations, and shortening the number of days before a stray dog can head to adoptions.   "If we don't find an owner after seven days, then chances are we aren't going to find the owner," said Animal Control Commissioner and Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter Board of Directors Chairwoman Krista


Williamstown-Lanesborough Superintendent Leaving Post Under Fire
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
10:38PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The brief tenure of public schools superintendent Douglas Dias came to an end Monday after an evening of lengthy closed-door discussions among the three school committees he served.

Dias, who was hired to administer the Lanesborough-Williamstown Tri-District in spring 2015, is leaving the post in the wake of undisclosed "complaints or charges" leveled against him.

"After careful consideration of our respective managerial and educational priorities, the parties agreed to sever the relationship," Dias' attorney, Michael Long of Hingham, said in a brief statement. "We wish each other well in our future endeavors and will have no


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