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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

McCann Senior Named U.S. Presidential Scholar
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:05AM / Thursday, May 26, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Tech senior Samantha Dorwin is going places.

Or, to be more accurate, she is going MORE places, as the 18-year-old already has logged 15,000 miles in the air in last two years participating in SkillsUSA conferences. This coming summer, while attending SkillsUSA's National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., she will fly to Washington, D.C., for a couple days to be honored for receiving one most prestigious awards a graduating high school senior can earn: the U.S. Department of Education's Presidential Scholar award.

Appropriately for Dorwin, daughter of Daniel and Pamela Dorwin, she learned she was a finalist for the honor while on


Berkshire Chamber, Visitors Bureau Merge Into 1Berkshire
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:40AM / Thursday, May 26, 2016

John Toole led a toast after the meeting to honor the occasion.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After living together for three years, the Berkshire Visitors Bureau and the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce announced their engagement on Wednesday.   The two organizations will become one as of July 1 as part of the 1Berkshire Strategic Alliance, joining Berkshire Creative and the Berkshire Economic Development Corp. and cementing a relationship the organizations have been growing for a decade.   "The whole is greater than the sum of our individual parts. Our capacity is larger, our voice is louder, and our influence is stronger," Berkshire Chamber of Commerce President


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

Berkshire Tidbits: Rhubarb Festival Returns
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
05:40PM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This week is the hoped-for time for the reopening of 20 Railroad Public House in Great Barrington under its new owners, partners Laura Shack of Firefly Gastropub in Lenox and Ben Downing — not the state senator but a 32-year-old Great Barrington native.

Downing, with longtime good relationships in town, will manage the pub.

"We see ourselves as bringing back an icon," he said of the work he and Laura are doing on the restaurant previously known as 20 Railroad Street. "But we don't want to undo what's worked."

He said they will emphasize craft cocktails, craft beers and a wine list and, in January, when it will be quieter, they plan to add a wood fired


Berkshire Innovation Center Hitting Number of Funding Hurdles
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:14PM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The plans for the Berkshire Innovation Center have hit a number of financing snags.   On Tuesday, the City Council was informed that the city did not receive a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Agency that was eyed to improve the gateway to the William Stanley Business Park and the Berkshire Innovation Center. The news is on top of a still dormant funding gap for construction, penned at $3 million, which has delayed construction.   BIC officials say they still have a number of companies and educational organizations signed on to be members of the building, which is hoped to provide research and development for small and medium-sized advanced


The Independent Investor: Let's Have a Jewelry Party
By Bill Schmick,
12:43PM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Contrary to all the present and future trends in retailing, multilevel marketing (MLM) is still alive and well in this country. Exactly what is MLM and why are so many Americans enamored with hitting up their friends and relatives in an effort to succeed at personal retailing?

MLM is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for what they sell but for the sales of other people they recruit. These new recruits in the chain are referred to as the participant's "downline" and, if done right, can provide multiple streams of compensation.

Most readers are familiar with these companies. Amway, Avon and Mary Kay come to mind, as does Herbalife, a


Lanesborough Looks to Join Berkshire Mosquito Control Project
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:19AM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Voters will be asked to join the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project at town meeting.   The Board of Selectmen voted to add a warrant article asking voters to join the efforts to control mosquito populations after meeting with project Superintendent Christopher Horton. The project is state run and so far eight other Berkshire towns are part of the local effort — those are Clarksburg, Hinsdale, Otis, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sheffield, Stockbridge and Tyringham.   "It's basically a plan of attack against mosquito populations used across the world," Horton said.   Horton said Berkshire County is a "mosquito prone


Pittsfield Approves Extending Tax Breaks For Beacon Cinema
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Beacon owner Richard Stanley has exceeded his part of the TIF deal and the City Council approved extending that agreement for another five years. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It was in 1997 when Downtown Pittsfield Inc. revealed a downtown master plan that called for a movie theater on North Street.   City officials and DPI went searching high and low for a developer, from big chains to independent operators with little luck. Eventually they found Richard Stanley, who ran the Triplex in Great Barrington, but he, too, wanted nothing to do with the project.    But officials continued to lean on him, talking about how important such an attraction would be to the downtown and


Lanesborough Chief Sorrell Receives High Marks in Performance Review
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:50AM / Wednesday, May 25, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. —— Town Manager Paul Sieloff couldn't be happier with the performance of the police chief in his first year.   The Board of Selectmen authorized a 2.5 percent raise for Chief Timothy Sorrell on Monday after Sieloff's exceptional review. As part of his contract, Sorrell will be reviewed annually and pay raises will be based on performance.   "I have him excellent in every case," Sieloff said.   Sorrell took over the department from Mark Bashara, who retired, on July 1 of last year. Sorrell had actually taken over operations a month or so earlier on an interim basis but the new contract wasn't in place until the first of the


Licensing Board Considers Outdoor Restaurant Seating During Third Thursday
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:14AM / Tuesday, May 24, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Office of Cultural Development is considering letting North Street restaurants have outdoor seating during the monthly Third Thursdays.   Shiobbean Lemme of the Office of Cultural Development brought the idea to the Licensing Board on Monday in hopes to find the best way to do it. The board said it liked the idea but wanted to see specific plans on how the alcohol service will be controlled by each restaurant during the popular street fairs.   "The theme for July is food and we were wondering if we could figure out a way to invite the 14 restaurants on the streetscape of Third Thursday to provide outdoor seating," Lemme said.   Lemme


Lanesborough Fire Department Hosts Junior Firefighter Academy
10:39PM / Monday, May 23, 2016

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Lanesborough Fire Department hosted its first-ever Junior Firefighter Academy on Saturday, May 7.

The event was done in conjunction with the Berkshire County Fire Chiefs Association. Sixteen juniors attended from a number of Western Massachusetts fire departments as far away is Goshen, Huntington, Northfield, Monterey and Alford. 

The inspiration for the Junior Fire Academy was Nick Garrity. He and his father, Deputy Fire Chief Wood Garrity, saw the Junior Fire Academy being hosted by the National Volunteer Fire Council, and for the costs associated to attend that decided instead to host an event locally.

The juniors that attended rotated through eight

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Pittsfield Pair Charged With Drug, Gun Crimes On Circular Avenue
Staff Reports,
10:16PM / Monday, May 23, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police arrested a juvenile and a 24-year-old man during the investigation of shots being fired in a home on Circular Avenue.   Police say Jerrel Hall and the juvenile were arrested on outstanding warrants Monday at about 11 a.m. at a home on Circular Avenue. Police were on scene continuing an investigation of Sunday's shooting and Det. Kim Bertelli-Hund observed several men in the area believed to have active arrest warrants. Two men then fled into a home.    Consent was given to search the home where both were found and arrested on those outstanding warrants.    Additionally, the pair are being charged with possession of a Class A


Stop Ignoring Recall Letters From Auto Manufacturers
Sponsored Content,
09:56PM / Monday, May 23, 2016

Over the past two years, 113 million vehicles have been recalled by manufacturers. According to, that’s approximately one of every four cars on the road being recalled. This does not mean cars are any less safe than in the past; in fact, industry experts feel that cars are safer than ever before. It’s just that detection systems are now extremely advanced and defects are picked up much more quickly and easily. 

This should all be great news for the consumer, except … not all drivers are taking the recalls seriously. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as many as 25 percent of car owners do not respond to a


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