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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Organ Recipients Speak to Need for Donations of Life
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:18PM / Tuesday, August 16, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Denise Swistak owes her life to a man from Oklahoma whom she'd never met.

And it's all because he had checked off the box to be an organ donor on his driver's license application.

"A man from Oklahoma saved my life. I'll never know him, I thanked his family for his generosity and for the unselfish gift they decided to give to me," said Swistak, tearing up at the memory. "They gave me a new life. I will be forever connected to that family in Oklahoma. I'll probably never meet them, maybe, god willing someday, I will."

Swistak's message was delivered on Tuesday at City Hall to raise awareness of the ease of signing up


Pittsfield Airport Raises Landing, Tie-Down Fees
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:12AM / Tuesday, August 16, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Airport Commission has implemented new fees in hopes to raise revenues.   Airport Commission Chairman Chris Pedersen told a research group looking to the operations on Monday that a number of the fees have gone up — including more than a 60 percent increase for tie-downs and a complete revamping of landing fees.    "The Airport Commission took this up in the beginning of July or the month prior and our goal was to have new fees in place for Aug. 1," Pedersen said.   The commission changed its landing fees from the three-tier system based on weight. The new plan calls for $4 per 1,000 pounds so some owners will be paying more


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

Pittsfield 14s Bow Out at Babe Ruth World Series
08:40PM / Monday, August 15, 2016
WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Janek Luksza went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs Monday to lead New England champion Tri-County, Maine to an 11-1 win over Pittsfield at the 14-year-old Babe Ruth World Series.   Jett Steinman doubled and scored on a Jacob Harrington single to account for the Pittsfield run in the top of the first of a game shortened to five innings at Bullens Field.   Pittsfield (0-5) concluded its World Series run with the loss. The top three teams in each of two six-team pools advance to the single-elimination tournament that begins Tuesday morning.   With the win, Tri-County improved to 3-2 in pool play.


Pittsfield Notes: Covanta, Handicap Parking, Solar Arrays
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:42PM / Monday, August 15, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City officials are hoping Covanta won't be leaving after all with the passage of a new tax incentive for those type of operations.   Covanta plans to close its Hubbard Avenue facility in March claiming the "high operating costs and the size of the facility have made it increasingly difficult to run the plant profitably," according to company spokesman James Regan.   The plant has been in operations since 1981 on 5.8 acres of land and serves as the primary location for Republic Services to dispose of trash collected from the curbside collection of residents. The company turns the waste into steam energy, which is then sold to Crane &


Students Join Berkshire Community College’s 2016 STEM Starter Academy
03:17PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Twenty-six Berkshire County students have joined the 2016 STEM Starter Academy at Berkshire Community College, a program geared toward high school students who are interested in attending BCC to study STEM fields.

Part of a statewide Massachusetts Community College initiative, the program features a three-week Summer STEM Success Academy and a year-long Support Academy at BCC. The program aims to provide students with the tools they need to be STEM ready in college and the workplace including: academic support, tutoring, special field trips, guest speakers and a STEM Academy Success Kit.

The following students applied and were accepted into the program:



Boys & Girls Club Advances to Giorgi League Final in Double OT
01:47PM / Monday, August 15, 2016
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Shaq Ardrey scored 23 points, including 21 on 3-pointers, to lead Boys & Girls Club to a 84-80, double overtime victory over Troiano & Sons Building on Sunday evening in the John Giorgi Summer Basketball League.   Joe Wiggins scored 21 points, Tank Roberson added 19, and Keiland Cross had 15 points and 11 rebounds on a night when league play was moved to the North Adams Armory.   Lawrence Carrier scored a game-high 29 and grabbed 15 rebounds, and Sedale Jones scord 22 with 11 boards for Dagnoli. Jamual Warren scored 19, and Ron Kelly had 12 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks in the loss.   In Sunday's other semi-final, Geoff Kondel scored


Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Bank Offers Free Admission to Hancock Shaker Village for Children
01:02PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

Free for kids: For the fourth consecutive year, Berkshire Bank is sponsoring Hancock Shaker Village's "Be Our Guest" program, a cultural access program that provides children ages 12 and under with free admission with a paid adult throughout its 2016 season. The museum is open daily through October and for an abbreviated schedule in November and December.

Through support from the bank’s charitable Foundation, the "Be Our Guest" program offers youth the opportunity to immerse themselves in an expansive, authentic, historic site and actively engage in the practices, culture, and values of the Shaker community. Kids learn about issues that are relevant in


Pittsfield Co-op Awards $7,000 in Scholarships to Area Students
12:49PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank has announced that 14 area students have received awards from the bank's Centennial Scholarship Fund.  Each recipient received $500.

Created in 1989 in celebration of the co-op’s 100th anniversary, the Centennial Scholarship Fund has provided more than $295,000 in aid to local students seeking to further their education.  

This year’s recipients are:

Taconic High School: Richard Garwood, Nicholas Gingras        

Pittsfield High School: Hailey Graham, Allison Hunt         

St. Joseph's Central High School: Michael Peplowski, Nicholas


Biz Briefs: Goodwill Leases Space in Great Barrington for New Retail Store, Donation Center
12:27PM / Monday, August 15, 2016

Growing again: Goodwill of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont is expanding again, having leased 2,000 square feet of retail space on Route 7 in Great Barrington, where it plans to open a new thrift store next month. This will be the second retail enterprise the Pittsfield-based non-profit organization has launched in 2016, following the opening of a Goodwill store in Rutland, Vt., in March.

The site, at 396 Stockbridge Road, is located next to Laramee Cleaners in the building that once housed the Caffrey Ford car dealership.

A grand opening of the Great Barrington retail outlet will be held on Saturday, Sept. 10. The site also has a donation center where people are encouraged to drop


Hancock Resident Having Fun With Politics, Launches Mock Presidential Campaign
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:35AM / Monday, August 15, 2016
HANCOCK, Mass. — A Polish proverb reads, "not my monkeys, not my circus" to essentially mean, it's not my problem.   For years that's how Hancock resident Barry Grauman has felt about politics. He's been an active voter, intent to make it to the polls every time. But, he's never liked his choices. He says he was voting out of hate, voting against a candidate and not for one he likes. He's sick of that, though, and he is trying to make it his circus.   Grauman has launched a mock presidential campaign. It is one of humor where his stance on gun control is "I feel that whenever I am around guns, I prefer they are under


Sarasota, Fla., Tops Pittsfield 14s
10:23PM / Sunday, August 14, 2016
WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Southeast Region champion Sarasota, Fla., Sunday scored two runs in the top of the first to take the lead and four runs in the top of the seventh to put away an 8-1 win over Pittsfield in the 14-year-old Babe Ruth World Series.   Samuel Miller went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored for Sarasota, which got 4-1/3 innings on the hill from Evan Gibbs.   Christian Womble singled to drive in Dylan Burke for Pittsfield's run in the bottom of the fifth.   Womble went 2-for-3 at the plate and struck out five and allowed one earned run in three innings of work on the mound.   Sarasota improved to 2-2 in pool play at the World Series. Pittsfield


Pittsfield City Councils Votes to Put CPA on November Ballot
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:43AM / Sunday, August 14, 2016

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier said the Legislature each year approves a budget for the CPA but none of those funds are coming back to Pittsfield.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Voters will be asked for a second time whether the city wants to adopt the Community Preservation Act.

The state law allows for communities to add a surcharge to property tax bills to pay for parks, open spaces, historic preservation, and affordable housing. The state divvies up fees collected from deed transfers with real estate sales and matches on a percentage basis.    Proponents say a 1 percent surcharge on the bills would have generated $383,613 in local revenue dedicated to those areas. That would


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