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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

A 529 Plan Can Help with Those College Bills
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:25AM / Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We’re near the end of another school year. If you have younger kids, you might be thinking about summer camps and other activities.

But in the not-too-distant future, your children will be facing a bigger transition as they head off to college. Will you be financially prepared for that day?

A college education is a good investment – college graduates earn, on average, $1 million more over their lifetimes than high school graduates, according to a study by Georgetown University. But a bachelor’s degree doesn’t come cheap. For the 2015–2016 school year, the average expense – tuition, fees, room and board – was $19,548 at a public four-year school

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Airport Study Group Debates Depth Of Research Charge
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:35AM / Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Councilors Christopher Connell and Melissa Mazzeo feel the work is far from complete but others think it is almost done.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The citizen group studying the airport spent its meeting Monday hotly debating just how in-depth its analysis should be.

The group was formed after three city councilors petitioned the mayor to do a cost-benefit of the municipal airport.   The intent of the councilors was to look at all options of management and operations. The city currently spends $100,000 or so each year to supplement the airport.   However, the mayor's formation of the group put a timeline on the process, ending it on May 15, and the mayor hasn't

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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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Polito Signs Community Compacts With Pittsfield, Hinsdale, Cheshire, Williamstown
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:10AM / Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said the administration wants to be partners with local municipalities.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is facing some significant financial challenges in the next few years and the state is helping to overcome the hurdles.   On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito signed a community compact agreement with the city that will give it $25,000 to work with the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management to develop long-range financial planning.    "First we will create customized financial forecasting models that will include a review of historical data and an assessment of assumptions. This model, once created, can be monitored year

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Challenging Day for Soccer Domain Academy Teams
Community submission,
10:43AM / Tuesday, May 17, 2016
It was an action-packed Sunday with five Soccer Domain Academy teams in competition and four squads on the road. The club went 0-3-2 on the day.   U13 Girls The under-13 girls were on the road for the first game of the day against GPS Rhode Island North Elite Girls. SDA started the game very slowly, giving its opponents too much time on the ball and allowing them to move the ball well with very little challenge. In the defensive third, the away side defended well and didn’t allow GPS to convert consistent pressure into shots on goal.    As the half progressed the pressure paid off and slow reactions from the visitors allowed GPS to get a shot off with no pressure on the

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Johnson Seeking Seat on Lanesborough Board of Selectmen
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:26AM / Tuesday, May 17, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — If you don't like the way things are going, change it.   That's what Michelle Johnson hopes to do as she seeks election to the Board of Selectmen. Incumbent Robert Ericson is up for election on June 21 and Johnson was the first in to challenge him for the seat.   The Prospect Street resident moved to Lanesborough in 2003 because of the town's affiliation with Mount Greylock Regional School but that relationship was recently threatened when members of the Board of Selectmen began questioning its future. There was some consideration of a tuition agreement with Adams-Cheshire Regional School District, which followed a push from a former selectman

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Pittsfield Honors National Police Week With Ceremony
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:08PM / Monday, May 16, 2016

A wreath was laid next to the memorial to honor the fallen officers. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — So far in 2016, 35 police officers have died in the line of duty.   Those 35 join the national total of more than 20,000 officers who died or were killed while doing their job.   Last year, 128 officers "made the ultimate sacrifice."   "These are the men and women who put on their equipment and purposefully stride toward the scene of gunfire, violence, destruction and chaos when many other people would turn and run away," Police Chief Michael Wynn said.    On Monday, law enforcement representatives from a number of local police department, the

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2016 Pittsfield 4th of July Parade Raising Funds
03:47PM / Monday, May 16, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Parade Committee is raising funds for the 2016 Parade and is seeking community support through contributions and sponsorships.

Those interested in contributing may do so online via PayPal by visiting www.pittsfieldparade.com, or by mailing contributions to Pittsfield Parade Committee Inc., P.O. Box 1738, Pittsfield, MA 01202.

Businesses and organizations interested in supporting the Parade through a sponsorship have a range of options:

* $2,500 or more: Exclusive July 4th Parade and July 3rd Drum Corps Show Sponsorship: includes a sponsorship banner displayed in parade, a small ad in Drum Corp Show Program (at Wahconah Park), as well as a full

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Berkshires Beat: Seeing the Signs in North Adams
02:39PM / Monday, May 16, 2016

Signs of the time: MountainOne Bank has given $10,000 to North Adams Partnership in support of new welcome and wayfinding signage throughout North Adams.

“The North Adams Partnership has undertaken the responsibility of developing a new branding campaign for North Adams as part of its economic development program. MountainOne Bank is committed to supporting this initiative, especially given that we are headquartered in North Adams," said Robert Fraser, president and CEO of MountainOne Bank. "We are dedicated to the communities we serve through robust lending and community banking programs, further enhanced by our Community Dividend grant program and volunteer leadership

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Biz Briefs: Nonprofit Leaders Participate in Training
12:54PM / Monday, May 16, 2016

Leading the way: Four Berkshire County nonprofit leaders participated in Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s 2016 Nonprofit Leadership Institute, a collaborative and peer-learning program for executive directors across the region to strengthen their leadership and management skills.

Facilitated by veteran consultant Janet André Block, the program includes small group meetings for five full days, followed by two full days of personalized coaching and consulting for each participant.

The Nonprofit Leadership Institute is made possible through the generosity of individual donors and four Berkshire Taconic area funds.

Participating were Nick Pohl, Housatonic Youth Service

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Letter: Pittsfield Health Department Chasing Away Business
Letters to the Editor,
07:00PM / Sunday, May 15, 2016

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the situation with the Health Department. Do they not realize that the city is in an economic crisis and that any business that wants to come here should be considered and not turned away because of a tobacco permit? I realize that they are trying to curb underage smoking and it certainly is toxic to your health, but that doesn't mean to chase away business either. The reality is it won't stop people from smoking they can just go to another town or get someone else to buy it for them.

The people who bought the area on East Street and were going to name it the Gas Man should have been an exception for a permit. It seems that due to a lack

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Pittsfield To Consider Extending Beacon Cinema's Tax Breaks
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:54PM / Sunday, May 15, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council is being asked to extend tax breaks for the Beacon Cinema.   The cinema was granted a tax increment financing agreement was part of the financing package put together for project, built in 2008-09. That agreement spanned for nine years, concluding this June.   For the first seven of those, the theater had 100 percent of the tax on increases in value each year abated — so owner Richard Stanley paid both personal property and real estate taxes on the set value of  $609,100. For the final two years, the company paid 25 percent of the value increases and this year expected to pay 50 percent. So far, the city has seen some $208,017

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Graduates Leave MCLA Commencement 'One Degree Hotter'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:53PM / Saturday, May 14, 2016

Krystal Henriquez, organizer of last month's Figment North Adams, is among Saturday's graduates. She is starting an internship at Mass MoCA.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts made 404 graduates "one degree hotter" on Saturday morning.

And it wasn't from the traditionally steamy Amsler Campus Center gymnasium, but the awarding of 369 bachelor's degrees and 35 master's degrees and certificates at the college's 117th commencement.

"You will leave this room one degree hotter, you will be leaving this room with the knowledge and skills to face any obstacle thrown your way," Kelsey McGonigle, president of the class of

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