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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

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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Pittsfield Police Apprehend Shooting Suspect Who Forced BMC Lockdown
03:19PM / Saturday, May 14, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police apprehended a man suspected in a possible shooting incident around noontime Saturday that led to a brief lockdown of Berkshire Medical Center.

Dylan Ducharme, 20, of Pittsfield is being charged with several criminal counts, including discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.

According Sgt. John Soules, patrol officers responded to the report of shots fired at about 11:43 a.m. in the Hull Avenue area, about two blocks from BMC.

They were told that the suspect had fled on foot toward Berkshire Medical Center; other witnesses told police he was seen entering the Medical Arts Complex on the hospital campus.

As a result, BMC was briefly placed on

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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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Pittsfield Kicks Off 2016 Mayors' Fitness Challenge
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:20PM / Saturday, May 14, 2016

Catherine Van Bramer and Roberta McCulloch-Dews from the mayor's office kicked off the 10-week challenge on Saturday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It may be a challenge with no losers, but Pittsfield wants to win it.   The city kicked off its Mayors' Fitness Challenge, a friendly competition with the city of North Adams.   Residents in each city are asked to track health and fitness goals, earning points for such things as attending a farmer's market, eating healthy foods, and exercise.   The city whose residents gain the most points wins the challenge.   "This is a competition that has no losers. We are all winners. One, you are going to get healthy

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Clark Curator Explores 'Enigmatic' Artist in New Book
By Phyllis McGuire, Special to iBerkshires
07:30AM / Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Clark Art's Lara Yeager-Crasselt will speak on her new book this Sunday. Copies will be for sale.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Lara Yeager-Crasselt's enthusiasm was palpable as she gestured to an image of a painting in her newly published book "Michael Sweerts (1618-1664): Shaping the Artist and the Academy in Rome and Brussels."

"This is called 'A Painter's Studio,' " Yeager-Crasselt said. "It was done when Sweerts was in Rome and shows how he approached the subject of artists at work 'with an exceptional degree of immediacy and complexity,' which distinguished him from his contemporaries."

Asked what motivated her to write

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Ground Broken For New Taconic High School
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:20PM / Friday, May 13, 2016

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said the new building will reflect the educational excellence being taught by the teachers. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There have been three mayors, five superintendents, 30 city councilors, 20 School Committee members, 50 School Building Needs Commission members, three state treasurers, and three directors of the MSBA involved in building a new high school over the last decade.   On Friday, that effort came to fruition as city and state officials gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Taconic High School.   The $120.8 million project is expected to be completed in 2018.   "We are embracing as a community this milestone

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@theMarket: Traders Build a Wall of Worry
By Bill Schmick,
05:33PM / Friday, May 13, 2016

The markets are marking time. Earnings season is just about over. The lofty levels of the stock market survived those results largely because they were not quite as bad as expected. Now it is on to the next worry.

Pick your poison — uncertainty over this summer's political conventions, can oil prices sustain these price levels or how about the possibility of a Fed rate hike in June? No question, there is a wall of worry out there, but so far the markets have weathered everything the bears have thrown at them. That is quite impressive given that we have had a 13 percent gain from the lows and hovering just a percent or so below all-time highs.

We have been trading in a tight

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Bridging The Gap Fundraising Event This Weekend
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
05:29PM / Friday, May 13, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Salvation Army will hold a Craft Fair and Silent Auction this Saturday to benefit the Bridging the Gap program.

Program Director Carole Hilderbrand said because of funding cuts, the Salvation Army's after-school programs — for North Adams and Pittsfield teens who have been involved in the court system or who have displayed at-risk behavior — is itself at risk.

The craft fair will run from 10 to 3 at the Salvation Army building at  298 West St. and will feature home made corn chowder and donations from many local businesses.

"We have about 30 tables rented and we have at least 75 donations from different businesses for the auction so I

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Superior Court Briefs: May 3 - May 11
Staff Reports,
02:31PM / Friday, May 13, 2016
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, May 3.   Joseph Wiggins Jr., 39, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card and armed career felon.   He was ordered to serve four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the armed career felony change and given concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charge. His sentence will begin on June 2, 2016.   The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home in Pittsfield on May 8, 2015.   James Swift, 55, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: May 13-19
12:37PM / Friday, May 13, 2016

  VIEW DAY-BY-DAY CALENDAR       May 13 - May 19,

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Downing Honored During Brien Center's UNICO Dinner
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:33AM / Friday, May 13, 2016

Maria Congelosi shared her story of how the Brien Center saved her life. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Maria Congelosi was feeling so low that she tried to kill herself.   Congelosi is a Romanian native who came to the Berkshires because she was adopted. By the age of 9 or 10, she started getting into physical altercations with her adoptive mother. Throughout school she felt self-conscious, had depression and anxiety. She was teased by her peers.   "Growing up wasn't easy. I had image issues. I didn't like myself. I was excluded a lot. I didn't have friends," Congelosi said.   Her mother put her in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and Congelosi

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The Independent Investor: Estate Planning The Final Chapter
By Bill Schmick,
12:49AM / Friday, May 13, 2016

The weekend is over. During the last two days your family came together and had that "talk," but before everyone goes their separate ways; some followup is required. Here are some of the things you should make sure are accomplished.

As readers may recall, in this series we have covered a wide variety of subjects from leaving your legacy to collecting and reviewing all of your assets. Trusts, insurance policies, tax deferred savings plans, wills, living wills and durable powers of attorney are just some of the items we have discussed.

We have talked about the family meeting and who should attend. Be sure that someone is responsible for taking notes during this event because you

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'Captain America: Civil War': This Isn't Your Father's Superhero
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:09PM / Thursday, May 12, 2016

It wasn't just because "Captain America: Civil War" was unnecessarily convoluted that I grew despondent as I sat through its 147 minutes of confusion. Later I would also be miffed by the lack of clues leading to the surprise conclusion. But I am beside the point. With nary a Smartphone a-texting, the kids around me seemed to love it, totally welcoming the cacophony and esoteric story details. Such is what Father Time wreaks.

A new generation's ascendancy first begins with the confiscation of popular culture. Anyway, who's to argue with someone who's pinned a small ball bearing to the tip of their tongue?

But hey, wait a minute now. Most of the superheroes who

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