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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Diocese Weighing Multiple Bids For Former St. Mary The Morning Star
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:50AM / Friday, June 16, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Diocese of Springfield is looking to sell the former St. Mary the Morningstar Church in a "reasonable time" and its broker is speaking with multiple parties.   The former church on Tyler Street has been closed and on the market since 2010; the church was closed in 2008.    In 2014, Cafua Management planned to raze the church and build a Dunkin' Donuts. That proposal faced tremendous opposition and eventually the company withdrew its offer.    Earlier this year, developer David Carver put in an offer and a plan to turn many of the existing buildings into market-rate housing, as he has done with numerous other churches in

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Tyer Gives Address at Statewide Planning Conference
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:32AM / Friday, June 16, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer has a brick sitting on her desk from the old Colonial Theatre.    She got it back when she was a city councilor and one of the votes in favor of allocating $1 million from the General Electric Development Fund to help with the restoration of the historic structure. That brick symbolized more than just one building being restored; for her, it symbolized the moment the city of Pittsfield got through its "group depression" and refocused on the future.   "To me, that was the symbolic moment of when we finally decided we were going to pivot and we were going to commit to the art and culture economy," Tyer

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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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The Independent Investor: A Tale of Two Charities
By Bill Schmick,
07:56PM / Thursday, June 15, 2017
We are a country divided. Washington is paralyzed. Half the country considers our president a joke and any and all legislation is dead on arrival, according to the TV talking heads. Social media is filled with outrage and despair. As a result, Americans are supposedly wringing their hands, or worse, hiding under the covers. Don't you believe it!   To hear the media tell it, on one side of this nation are the ultra-left, tree-hugging liberals, who want government to do everything by taking from the rich and giving to the poor. On the other side, are the red-necked conservatives, who despise government and its welfare programs. They want to whack the Muslims, build "the

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Berkshire Mountain Faerie Festival Returns This Saturday
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
07:28PM / Thursday, June 15, 2017
ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshire Mountains Faerie Festival has grown beyond the town of Adams and is drawing magic from throughout Berkshire County.   And the festival set this Saturday, June 17, from 10 to 10 at Bowe Field is expected to double attendance.    "We have taken from last year what worked really well and went, poof!" Adams Arts Advisory Board member and organizer Gail Sellers said. "Last year, we had 2,000 people so we are hoping to double that and we are getting people from outside the immediate area and it is not just an Adams event."   The event features more than 40 artists, crafters, performers and vendors from Cheshire, North

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'My Cousin Rachel': Relatively Mysterious
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:21PM / Thursday, June 15, 2017

I kept thinking, "It can't be that ... it's too obvious." Thus were my incredulous musings while trying to figure if Rachel Weisz's title character in director Roger Michell's "My Cousin Rachel" was the husband-murderer her newest suitor initially thought she was. You see, I'm terrible at unraveling mysteries. I've been trying to solve the meaning of life for decades, and still nothing.

So I had to question my suspicion, which in turn became the main reason why this otherwise average motion picture held my interest. That said, Weisz sure can sow the doubt.

Granted, it's possible that, like Sam Claflin's 24-year- old Philip, the wealthy

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Letter: Help Dad Quit Smoking for a Happy Father's Day
Letters to the Editor,
05:00PM / Thursday, June 15, 2017

To the Editor:

Are you looking for an original, meaningful, and inexpensive Father's Day gift? If your dad smokes, show him your love by supporting him in quitting smoking. Quitting can take many tries and he doesn't have to do it alone!

If your father is thinking about quitting, start by telling him about the Massachusetts Smokers Helpline. By calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), he can get free and confidential coaching 24 hours a day, as often as he wants.

Let your dad know you'll stand by him for as long as it takes. Even if he has tried to quit before, encourage him to keep trying – a smoker attempts to quit an average of seven times before quitting for good.

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Pittsfield Questioning Continued Use of 'Braves' For Taconic Mascot
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Thursday, June 15, 2017

There are only two high schools in Berkshire County that still use terms for Native Americans as a moniker and/or logos. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Taconic High School may need a new mascot.   The state Legislature is currently debating a bill that would ban the use of names, symbols, or imagery referring to Native American tribes. The proposed law even specifically uses the term "braves" as being outlawed from use.   Taconic High School has long used the name Braves, with a mascot depicting an American Indian, but with a new school and a new law, school leaders are starting to question if the name should stay or go.   "Whether the law is enacted or not,

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Pittsfield Approves $156.4M Budget, $22.4 Million In Capital
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:15PM / Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The City Council have its preliminary approval of the budget on Tuesday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council approved a $156.4 million operating budget and $22.4 million in capital borrowing.    The $156,429,586 for the city and enterprise operations was approved Tuesday and is $39,168 less than the budget preliminarily approved last week.   That deduction was made after the City Council discovered the mitigation fund, created for through a union negotiation for a health insurance switch three years ago, was overfunded.   The total spending plan proposed by Mayor Linda Tyer was $163,859,871, which is $1,693,362 more than last year. The budget

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The Cassical Beat: Tanglewood, Tannery Pond, Taconic Music Prepare to Open
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires
12:25PM / Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Finally! It's that longed-for time again: the summer "high season" of classical music is about to begin. After an arduous winter, the summer's musical offerings will be balm to both popular music and classical aficionados, who anticipate the cornucopia of music these diverse festivals and series present.

This week, I'll focus on the three "T"s - Tanglewood, Tannery Pond and Taconic Music. Together, they make the region a cultural capital, drawing thousands to hear great music – chamber, symphony, choral, opera, musical theater, film music, contemporary classical, pop, rock, jazz- to experience masterworks within the verdant hills and dales we call

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Financial Gifts Can Help Dad for Years to Come
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:25AM / Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Father's Day is almost here. Dad will probably like any gift you give him, of course, but this year, why not go beyond the ordinary? By presenting your father with an appropriate financial gift, you can bring him some benefits that can keep on giving.

For starters, how about a back-to-school gift for Dad? If you have children, you may already be familiar with 529 plans, which many parents use to help their children pay for college. But 529 plans have no age limits, so there’s nothing stopping you from reversing the usual formula and opening an account for your father. While 529 plans are commonly used to pay for four-year colleges, the money can also go toward most two-year

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Pittsfield Finds Health Insurance Contract Overfunded
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:04AM / Wednesday, June 14, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council cut another $39,168 from the budget Tuesday night after discovering a union contract had been overfunded.   In 2014, then Mayor Daniel Bianchi had negotiated with the Public Employees Committee to switch from the Group Insurance Commission to Blue Cross Blue Shield, which saved the city around $2 million over the course of three years. The city's Public Employees Committee, which is made up of representatives of the city's 15 workers unions, approved a contract with the city on how to share those savings.    The contract calls for the city to establish an "employee mitigation fund."    In the first year of

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McCann Postgraduates Ready for Workforce
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:22AM / Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The graduates flip their tassels over to show they've graduated. See more photos here.  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It was the second time that Jennifer Boucher of Adams had earned a diploma from McCann Technical School's postgraduate program.    And she held it tight as she danced her way out of the gym to the strains of "Uptown Funk" on Monday, ready for a life-changing career.   Boucher had first earned a cosmetology diploma from McCann and has been working as a hair stylist for years. On Monday night, she was pinned and presented a diploma in dental assisting.   "I am 45 years old and decided in this past year that I needed to make a

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