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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

The Independent Investor: Financial Scams Targeted at Elderly Are Epidemic
By Bill Schmick,
04:50PM / Thursday, May 03, 2018
As Baby Boomers age, the volume of reported financial scams directed against them continues to escalate. By some estimates, more than $37 billion a year is now being stolen from America's elderly. And those are only the reported cases.   It is estimated that 5 million Americans are bilked by con artists every year. Some financial firms believe the total can exceed $37.5 billion annually. The Office of Children and Family Services in New York begs to disagree. They say that in their state alone $1.5 billion a year is stolen. And for every case that is reported, 44 are not.   Aside from the impact of losing their entire savings, elder fraud victims are dying at triple the death

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Lanesborough Continues Interviews For Town Administrator
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Thursday, May 03, 2018


Kelli Robbins is the executive secretary for the town of Holland, which is a comparable position to the town administrator job description in Lanesborough. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Kelli Robbins, the executive secretary in Holland, used a vacation day on Wednesday to prepare for her interview that evening for the Lanesborough town administrator post. 

But by 10 a.m., she was back at Holland Town Hall to work. She describes herself as someone who will likely die at her work desk. 

"When something needs to be done, it needs to be done regardless of the time it takes," Robbins said.   Her position in Holland, in Hampden County, is comparable to a town

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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 Councilors Petition To Have BMC Pay More In Taxes
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:11AM / Thursday, May 03, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Councilors John Krol and Helen Moon are asking Berkshire Medical Center for $1 million more annually.   The pair has filed a petition with the City Council asking for the sum through the execution of a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement. Krol says the total is a quarter of what the hospital would have paid for all of its tax-exempt properties should those real estate holdings be taxes at the commercial rate.   "Berkshire Health Systems is an entity that is quite profitable. At the same time, we're, as a city, struggling to pay for an adequate number of teachers, to make sure the roads are maintained, and paying for health insurance,"

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Republic Services Donates $1,200 To Help Impoverished Families
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:33PM / Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Rev. Joel Huntington looks on as Republic Services and pantry staff wheel in a full U-boat of donations into the South Congregational Food Pantry. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Republic Services donated $1,200 to organizations helping families in poverty on Wednesday.   The city's trash hauler delivered a $700 check for the Berkshire Community Action Council and $500 for the South Congregational Food Pantry.   Those donations were gifted just before the company's staff unloaded a u-boat worth of canned goods and pasta to restock the shelves at the pantry.   "We're in the city each day being a service provider and we feel it is important for us to support

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Here's a Checklist for Changing Jobs
07:51AM / Wednesday, May 02, 2018

A few generations ago, it was not uncommon for workers to stick with a single job for their whole careers. But for many of us today, frequent job changes are a fact of life: The average employee tenure is just over four years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

So, assuming you’re going to switch jobs a few times, you’ll want to be prepared. Here’s a checklist of things you can do to smooth these transitions and help your financial situation:

* Build an emergency fund. Some of your job changes may be involuntary, so you’ll want to have a cash cushion handy – just in case. One smart move would be to build an emergency fund, containing three to

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Five More Marijuana Business Seek Permits to Open In Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Attorney Thomas Hamel discussed the cultivation facility planned for Downing Industrial Parkway. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The floodgates have opened.   With two months before commercial, recreational marijuana sales are legal in Massachusetts, businesses are getting in line to open up shop. On Tuesday, five new businesses jumped the first local permitting hurdle as they seek to open marijuana facilities.   "You can expect more applications related to various marijuana uses," City Planner CJ Hoss told the Community Development Board on Tuesday night, and presented the members with a map of the numerous proposals that have come before the city which will be updated

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Pittsfield CPA Committee Recommends Funding For 11 Projects
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:22AM / Wednesday, May 02, 2018

A group opposing the turf field project lined up on Fenn Street during the meeting. PITTSFIELD, Mass — The Community Preservation Committee is recommendating just about all applicants for the first year's distribution receive some level of funding.   The committee agreed on Monday to recommend a total of $320,000 from the fund be distributed to 11 different projects. The City Council will be asked to provide the final approval to the committee's recommendation before any funds can be distributed.   The newly adopted act adds a 1 percent surcharge on property tax bills, with the first $100,000 of value being exempt. The funds are collected and somewhat matched

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Berkshire Medical Center Again Recognized for Straight A’s in Safety
08:19PM / Tuesday, May 01, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Leapfrog Group, a Washington D.C-based organization aiming to improve healthcare quality and safety for consumers and purchasers, has announced the Spring 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades and awarded Berkshire Medical Center the elite designation of “A” for its continued achievement in patient safety. 

BMC is one of only 49 “Straight A” hospitals in the United States to be awarded an “A” every grading cycle since 2012. 

“This consistent recognition for patient safety is reflective of the dedication our care team has to providing nothing but the best and safest care possible,” said David Phelps,

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Froio Senior Center Celebrates 25th Anniversary
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:21PM / Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Chairwoman Theresa Bianchi detailed the history of the senior center. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Twenty-five years ago, the ribbon was cut opening the Ralph Froio Senior Center in the former Capitol Theater.   The building had gone through extensive renovations after the historic theater had closed about a decade earlier.   The building itself dates back to 1898 but had mostly served as the theater from 1922 until 1982. In 1993, it reopened as the senior center.   "This beautiful marquee was restored to the original condition and the lights were lit," said Council on Aging Chairwoman Theresa Bianchi.   On Tuesday, another ribbon was cut. This time it

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Opposition To Mosquito Control Mounts Again In Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Tuesday, May 01, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A group of citizens is yet again mounting opposition to the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project.   A citizens group dubbing itself "Residents Against Poison Spraying" has petitioned the City Council to end its enrollment in the program. This is third strong push against the program in the eight years since Pittsfield joined. Those in opposition question need for the program, the effectiveness of the pesticides being used, and say there are health and environmental risks associated with it.   "Hundreds of Pittsfield residents over several years have indicated their opposition to the pesticide spraying in this program through multiple

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MS Foundation Gala Hears Inspiration, Presents First McGraw Award
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
09:16PM / Monday, April 30, 2018

Kathy Mazzeo is congratulated by state Sen. Adam Hinds after giving an inspirational speech on her experiences with multiple sclerosis.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Kathy Mazzeo had been stressed for years over the specter of multiple sclerosis.   More than a dozen years ago, she'd started to exhibit some of the symptoms of MS: the feeling of pins and needles on her extremities, some difficulty maneuvering, vision problems. She was haunted by the memory of a little girl with the disease whom her mother had cared for when Mazzeo was younger.   "As I kept thinking in my mind of what was going on with my body, the more issues I had," she said. Her neurologist

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Berkshires Beat: Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants Hosts Lenox Students
01:26PM / Monday, April 30, 2018
Accounting on it

The Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants, the professional association of CPAs for the commonwealth of Massachusetts, previewed what an accounting career future would look like for students from Lenox Memorial High School at its "Is Accounting for Me?" conference at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst on April 27. The conference included interactive accounting exercises and workshops, discussions about accounting careers and CPA services, information about college programs and student life, and a networking lunch with college students, faculty and CPA practitioners.
 
Students got the chance to hear from professional CPAs about their

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