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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

FAFSA Day Offers Free Help Applying for Financial Aid for College
01:25PM / Monday, January 25, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Every high school senior, college student and adult student who will be attending college during the 2016-2017 academic year needs to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid.

FAFSA Day Massachusetts, part of the national College Goal SundaySM program, provides free help statewide to students and families looking to complete the FAFSA.

The 12th annual FAFSA Day Massachusetts is being held on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 1:15 p.m. at Berkshire Community College. Families are encouraged to visit www.FAFSADay.org to register and to see a list of what to bring.

The services are free

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Downing Ending Tenure In State Senate
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:22PM / Monday, January 25, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing announced on Monday his decision not to run for re-election after 10 years representing the Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin District.   "This is something I thought about for a while. It's not a decision I came to lightly. I care deeply about the city. I care deeply about the Berkshires. I care deeply about the region and Western Massachusetts. I also care about it enough to know that if I didn't have it in my heart to do it 100 percent, I couldn't tell voters that I was," Downing said.   Downing remembers when there was an open state Senate seat for the 2006 election and friends and family urged the

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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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Police Investigating Two More Armed Robberies in Pittsfield
Staff Reports,
08:52AM / Monday, January 25, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating two more robberies.   Police say Angelina's Sub Shop on Elm Street and Subway on Tyler Street were both robbed Saturday night, less than a half hour apart.   At about 7:48 p.m. a suspect described as a light skinned white male, mid twenties to early thirties, approximately 6-feet tall, weighing approximately 200 pounds, with a thin build robbed the Subway at gunpoint. He was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, light colored mask, dark colored pants, and dark colored gloves.   About 20 minutes later, a white man in his mid-twenties standing about 5'10'' tall and weighing about 175 with a skinny build held up

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State Police Find $20K Worth of Heroin During Pittsfield Traffic Stop
Staff Reports,
09:26AM / Saturday, January 23, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A defective brake light led police to finding more than 500 packets of heroin and $1,650 in cash during a traffic stop.   State Police say on Thursday at 6 p.m. troopers pulled over a blue Honda sedan on South Street for the defective light. The vehicle took a quick left turn and sped away for several hundred yards. Upon pulling the vehicle over, troopers found 10 packets of heroin on owner Joseph Walker, 42, of Pittsfield and then another 500 packets inside the vehicle, with an estimated value of $20,200.   The passenger, Derrick Laforest, 33, of Pittsfield, was found to have $1,640 of cash in his possession. Laforest is also accused of repeatedly

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Library Advocates Lobby State Lawmakers For More Funding
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:46AM / Saturday, January 23, 2016

State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi reads a handout provided by the advocates. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Since 2001, state funds for technology and resource sharing among the state's libraries has decreased from $4.4 million to $2.1 million.    State aid to regional libraries has decreased from $16.9 million to $9.9 million in the same time frame. Overall, support of libraries has fallen from $34.6 million to $25.3 million. Meanwhile, every thing from usage to costs have gone up, according to those who work in libraries.   Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing Inc. (CWMARS) is a consortium of libraries which share access to books and resources. Board

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Finance Reports Show Bianchi Outspent Tyer in Final Election Push
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:41PM / Friday, January 22, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Daniel Bianchi outspent Linda Tyer in the final month of the mayoral race by $1,400, which includes the incumbent giving himself a $12,000 loan in an last-ditch effort just six days before the election.   In financial reporting from Oct. 17 until the end of the year, Bianchi spent $23,061.57 of his total $23,093.38 - leaving just $31.81 in the campaign account. He headed into Oct. 17 with a $7,413.38 balance and raised $15,680 in those final weeks. Tyer had previously outspent Bianchi in the reports leading up to the preliminary election.   The largest contribution in that period was a $12,000 loan the former mayor took out on Oct. 28.    He

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@theMarket: Stocks Rebound
By Bill Schmick,
02:31PM / Friday, January 22, 2016

It had to happen at some point. The averages declined almost every day for three weeks in a row, so a relief rally should be expected. The question is will it continue?

Unfortunately, that depends on the price level of oil. The bounce in stock prices that began on Wednesday was directly related to the bounce in oil. Oil has gained over 10 percent in just two days. Traders believe we still have not seen a bottom however. No one knows when and at what price oil will finally bottom. Until it does, stocks will be held hostage to the energy market.

No one knows when and at what price oil will bottom. Until it does, stocks will be held hostage to the energy market.

In the meantime, everyone

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Jan. 22-28
01:23PM / Friday, January 22, 2016
Office of Cultural Development | City of Pittsfield    

Friday: WeeMuse Adventures at Berkshire Museum   Little ones can explore the aquarium and three galleries. Each week features songs, stories, scavenger hunts, play time, and more. This program is geared towards children 18

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Superior Court Briefs: Jan. 19 - Jan. 22
Staff Reports,
01:15PM / Friday, January 22, 2016
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Jan. 19.   Timothy Gill, 38, of Pittsfield pleaded not guilty to a single count of murder.   He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail. He is accused of murdering his wife Halena Irene Gill, 37, whose body was found inside of their apartment on December 15, 2015.   Lexus Perez, 21, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.   He was ordered to be held on $2,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on October 8,

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Dalton CRA Registering for Swimming Lessons
11:33AM / Friday, January 22, 2016

DALTON, Mass. — The Dalton Community Recreation Association has opened registration for Session III Swimming Lessons.

Lessons run from Feb. 1-April 16 (10 weeks). A General CRA Jr. Membership ($40) is required and everyone must wear a swim cap.

The Dalton CRA offers a full range of swimming lessons including: Parent-Toddler (6 months to 3 years, parent needs to be in the pool with toddler); Pre-School (3-5 years, not in Kindergarten); Beginners (5 years and up); Beginners Deep End (5 years and up - no bubble); Advanced Beginners, Intermediate Swimmer and Advanced Swimmer. Cost for lessons is $60 (plus Membership). Parent Toddler lessons are $30 (plus membership). There will be no

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Tyer Seeks to Replace Key City Hall Employees
Staff Reports,
11:23AM / Friday, January 22, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The shake-up of City Hall staffers will continue when the City Council is asked at its next meeting on Tuesday to approve a number of mayoral appointments - including director of finance, director of buildings maintenance and director of personnel.   Newly elected Mayor Linda Tyer is asking for former city councilor and current Richmond Town Manager Matthew Kerwood to take over the reins as director of finance. Kerwood will replace Susan Carmel. Former State Rep. Denis Guyer is being appointed as director of buildings maintenance, taking over for Peter Sondrini, and Michael Taylor is proposed to take over as personnel director, replacing John

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Pittsfield To Update Parks and Open Space Plan
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:37AM / Friday, January 22, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is looking to use $25,000 from the governor's Community Compact program to update its parks and open spaces plan.   The seven-year plan expired in 2015 and needs to be updated so the city is eligible for state grants to make improvements to parks.   Previously, the plan called for improvements to Wahconah Park, which saw upgrades to the sound system and lighting, and the First Street Common, which has been completely renovated with state funds. The updated plan will identify new priorities for state funds.   "It is something we would be looking to engage in this spring and early summer," Parks and Open Space Manager James

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