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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Remains Concerned With Police, Fire Overtime Spending
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:21AM / Friday, December 21, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police and fire overtime continues to be a financial concern.   The two accounts, as well as snow and ice, have been on the city's financial team's radar for a number of years as it seems that those accounts are routinely underfunded and officials have to find money at the end of the year to cover the deficits. That hasn't changed this year as all three accounts are trending above budget.   The Fire Department's overtime is particularly notable this year because last year a slew of new hires significantly dropped the expense -- so much so that the city reduced that line of the budget.   Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood, however,

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Dec. 21-27
09:39PM / Thursday, December 20, 2018
MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE SAT Samantha & Ron at The American Legion Samantha Talora and Ron Ramsay bring you Christmas is Here! The duo will be joined by Eileen Markland on violin and Michael Gillespie on saxophone, clarinet, flute, guitar and foot tambourine to bring you an evening of holiday songs. Tickets are $20, which includes post-show sweets. A special ticket price of $10 is offered for veterans and active military members. 7 p.m. at The American Legion (41 Wendell Avenue). FRI Ugly Sweater Party at Polish Falcons | FRI Rebel Alliance & Friends at

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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: The Fed Stands Tall
By Bill Schmick,
06:25PM / Thursday, December 20, 2018
Sometimes it takes a while, but financial markets almost always test a new incoming Federal Reserve Bank chairman. On Wednesday, Jerome Powell faced his test and passed with flying colors. Of course, a glance at the stock market averages at the end of the day on Wednesday would have the casual observers scratching their heads.   As most readers know, the stock market has been declining since October. One of the reasons for the sell-off is the fear that the Federal Reserve Bank's gradual tightening policies have gone too far. Their continuous interest rate hikes coupled with the selling of $50 billion of U.S. Treasury bonds every month had started to reduce the excess liquidity from

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Weather Whipping Up a Rainy Christmas Weekend
05:42PM / Thursday, December 20, 2018

FUTURECAST Winds...

Winds will increase rapidly later tonight into Friday-Especially the higher elevations where winds may gust to 50+mph from the SSE.

Wind Advisory is in effect for the Berkshires/S Vermont/Taconics...Catskills and Adirondacks. Especially East Facing slopes. pic.twitter.com/lGPz3q2sBE

— Steve Caporizzo (@SteveCaporizzo) December 20, 2018

The coming Christmas weekend may be more wet than white this year.

After a mild sunny day Thursday, there's rain in the forecast for much of the region with a flood advisory into the early hours of Friday.

Some areas could get up to 3 inches of rain, particularly in the higher terrain across the Berkshires. The National

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Berkshire United Way CEO Kristine Hazzard Stepping Down
12:40PM / Thursday, December 20, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire United Way will begin the new year searching for a new leader.    Kristine Hazzard will step down as president and chief executive officer by June 30, 2019. Hazzard has led the charitable organization for the past decade.   "While it will clearly be a challenge to replace Kris, we fully expect to find a very strong and driven professional who will take on the role of CEO and continue the great work being done by Berkshire United Way, as well as help map out and drive strategies and execution to meet the changing needs of our community," said Richard E. Rowe, chairman of the United Way board, on announcing her

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Establishment of Police Advisory Board Heads to Pittsfield City Council
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:34AM / Thursday, December 20, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The creation of a reimagined Police Advisory Board will now go before the full City Council.   The council's ordinance and rules subcommittee hashed out the details of the new board at Monday's meeting and voted a positive recommendation for adoption.   The version approved closely aligns with the version put forth by the mayor, and the mayor's proposal was one that was sharply criticized by some of the original petitioners for not providing the board with enough authority to investigate misconduct of officers.   The conversation began about a year ago when Igor Greenwald and others pitched the idea of an oversight board to Mayor Linda

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Pittsfield Councilors Look to Honor Financial Support For Turf Field
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:25AM / Thursday, December 20, 2018

Attorney Michael MacDonald outlined the history of the project on Tuesday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city will honor its previous commitment to the Berkshire Community College turf field project.

But councilors still have some questions about the operations,

Particularly, at-Large Councilor Earl Persip raised concerns that there is no guarantee that the field will be accessible to the city's youth years into the future and he dislikes that city schools are being charged the same price to rent the facility.   "I would like to see our fees be cheaper than somebody from outside," Persip said, citing schools from towns that hadn't contributed to the

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Kimball Farms Awarded Five-Year CARF accreditation
02:42PM / Wednesday, December 19, 2018

LENOX, Mass. — Kimball Farms Life Care has earned a Five-Year Term of Accreditation from CARF International.

"Only about 10 percent of the continuing care retirement communities in the country have achieved five-year accreditation status," said Bill Jones, president of Berkshire Healthcare, which operates Loomis. "This is a tremendous source of pride for all of us and it speaks volumes about the terrific work the team here does."

In Massachusetts, only seven CCRCs hold five-year CARF accreditation. Two of those, including Kimball Farms and Day Brook Village Senior Living (formerly Loomis House) in Holyoke, are Berkshire Healthcare Systems affiliates.

An

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Consider Some New Year's Financial Resolutions
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:29AM / Wednesday, December 19, 2018

As the year winds down, you may want to look ahead to see which areas of your life you can improve in 2019. Perhaps you will decide to exercise more, eat healthier foods, reconnect with old friends or volunteer at a school or charitable organization.

All these goals are certainly worthwhile – but you also may want to add some New Year's financial resolutions to your list.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

* Boost contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan. Good news! Contribution limits will be increasing for many employer-sponsored retirement plans. For 2019, you can contribute up to $19,000 (up from $18,500 in 2018), or $25,000 (up from $24,500 in 2018) if

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Holiday Events and Tree Lightings 2018
11:15AM / Wednesday, December 19, 2018

'Tis the season to be merry and bright. Planning a holiday event? Let us know at iBerkshires.com. (Visit our Holiday Bazaars and Craft Fairs list for holiday craft fairs.( And see below for a guide to Christmas tree lightings in towns across the Berkshires.

The city of Pittsfield is offering free downtown parking for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve and Christmas on Fridays Dec. 7, 14, 21, and 28. There will also be a week of free parking starting Dec. 17 through Dec. 21. Parking is always free in the evenings and weekends.

 

Holiday Events Wednesday, December 19

Pittsfield: The sixth annual Beer & Carols will be held in the Common Room at Zion Lutheran Church, 74

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North Berkshire Coalition Forum Listens to Community's Kids
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Wednesday, December 19, 2018

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Out of the mouths of babes.

At the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's December monthly forum — held for the first time outside of North Adams, at First Congregational Church in Williamstown — Executive Director Amber Besaw unveiled a six-minute video she made in conjunction with Paul Marino from Northern Berkshire Community Television in which several local children were filmed answering questions about their own families.

The airing of the video to the nearly 100 people in the church's Fellowship Hall kicked off the forum subject: "Re-Imagining How We Support Children in Our Community." The topics brought together people from

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Habitat Makes Urgent Repairs to Pittsfield Home
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:25AM / Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Carey was given a framed collage with photos from before, during, and after renovation. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Britton Street resident John Carey said what happened to his home is "the American Way."   The elderly veteran is living in the home his grandfather had built. But it was getting old and falling into disrepair and Carey simply couldn't come up with what was needed to make those fixes.   In May, the Health Department cited it for numerous nuisance and housing code violations and fines were set to be $1,000 a day if the repairs weren't made.   His roof was leaking, animals were finding their way inside, the siding was falling off, the stairs

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