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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Budget Review Day 2: RSVP Budget Sparks Discussion
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Friday, May 24, 2019

Day 2 


Jeff Roucoulet received the longest questioning on Thursday evening.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council preliminarily approved eight additional department budgets on Thursday with most of the discussion being focused on RSVP.

The debate over the Retired Senior Volunteer Program was focused on a 49.2 percent raise for the volunteer coordinator position. Director Jeffrey Roucoulet said there had been high turnover in the position and the position of administrative assistant/bookkeeper and the decision was made to raise both of the salaries. However, some of the city councilors felt the increase was too steep at once.   "The wages for those

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Pittsfield, Habitat Cuts Ribbon on New Police Substation
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:07AM / Friday, May 24, 2019

Police were unable to attend because of an emergency situation but Office Friendly made an appearance.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The new police outreach center on Columbus Avenue is now open.   The center, or substation, dubbed the Community Outreach Post (COP) is aimed to bring the police more closely in line with the community in the West Side neighborhoods.   It was developed after a strong push from the community in the wake of murder on Robbins Avenue when a community meeting was held to discuss safety.   One of the main themes from that meeting was that residents wanted to see a stronger police presence and Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Carolyn

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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: Don't Take Loans From Your Tax-Deferred Accounts
By Bill Schmick,
04:49PM / Thursday, May 23, 2019
It sounds too good to be true. Why borrow from a bank when you can take a loan out from your 401(k) or 403(b) and pay yourself back in both interest and principal? If that sounds like a great deal, it's not.   Money purchase plans, profit-sharing plans, 457(b) plans and both 401(k) and 403(b) plans may offer loans, but IRAs, SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs do not. The IRS does have some restrictions on the borrowing. It limits how much you can borrow at any one time. In general, you are limited to the smaller of 50 percent of your vested account balance, or $50,000. However, there is one exception (hardship) that allows you to borrow up to $10,000 even if it exceeds 50 percent of the

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Pittsfield Firefighters Battling Stubborn Building Blaze
By Andy McKeever,
04:24PM / Thursday, May 23, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters are battling a stubborn fire in a four-family home on Tyler Street on Thursday afternoon. 

  Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said at about 4 p.m. that he expected to be on the scene for at least the next few hours if not all night.    "We've got a very stubborn fire in the attic right now, we're not sure where exactly that fire started," said Czerwinski, an hour or so after the call came in. "It looks like it may have been rolling on the front porch when we arrived and extended up into the attic."    Crews were moving a second aerial truck into the back yard to bring more water to bear on the

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Pittsfield Firefighters Snuff Back-to-Back House Fires
By Andy McKeever,
09:14PM / Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A police officer talks with children at the Wahconah Street fire.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters quickly snuffed out two back-to-back minor fires on Wednesday night -- but they were serious enough displace a dozen people.    The first was a dryer fire on South Onota Street that displaced two families, a total of eight people.   "It looked like it was just overheated," said Deputy Chief Tom Sammons. "Now again, that got out of the dryer and started a little bit of the surroundings on fire. ... So we pulled an inch and three-quarter line there, knock down the fire that was coming out of the dryer, removed the dryer from the structure. And that

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Memorial Day Events 2019
By Staff Reports,
05:00PM / Wednesday, May 22, 2019


*Adams
The parade will step off at 10 a.m. from the former Adams Memorial Building and conclude with the traditional ceremony at the Maple Street Cemetery. The usual route will be followed: Columbia Street to Hoosac Street, Hoosac Street to Summer Street, Center Street to Park Street. This is the parade's centennial. 

The American Legion Post 160 Honor Guard will participate. Music will be provided by the Hoosac Valley High School band and the Berkshire Highlanders. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in the Adams Fire Station.

Adams American Legion Post 160 will make its 87th pilgrimage to the Mount Greylock Veterans Memorial on Sunday May 26, 9 a.m. There will be

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Biz Briefs: MountainOne Bringing All Services Together in Downtown North Adams
12:36PM / Wednesday, May 22, 2019
All together now

MountainOne Insurance is relocating from 26 Union St. in North Adams to downtown North Adams, adjacent to its Main Street headquarters location, in June 2019.  Additionally, MountainOne Insurance will also relocate its Employee Benefits division, along with its partners from OneDigital, from 795 Main St. in Williamstown to the new offices at 85 Main St. in North Adams. MountainOne Investments will also be relocating back to the newly renovated and expanded 85 Main St. location. The significant investment of creating this new and improved working space in downtown North Adams enables MountainOne to bring all of its financial service offerings of banking, insurance and

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Board Urges Sale Of Lach's Lounge Liquor License
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:27PM / Wednesday, May 22, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lach's Lounge is shut down for good and for now, nothing else can take its place.   The Licensing Board previously suspended the bar's liquor license after three years of repeated violent incidents. The board opted to suspend rather than revoke to give the bar's owner Michael Kruger a chance to sell the license. As of Monday, Kruger hasn't found a buyer.   The property owner, Joseph Renzi, purchased a liquor license from the closed Elbow Room with the intent of bringing a new bar or restaurant to the Fenn Street location. But that is stymied because a license is already on the books for Lach's Lounge.   "The buyer of that

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Take a Closer Look at Myths Surrounding 529 Plans
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:58AM / Wednesday, May 22, 2019

If you want to help pay for your children's college educations, you might want to consider contributing to a 529 plan. With this plan, your earnings grow federally tax-free, as long as the withdrawals are used for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition and room and board.

Yet, you may have heard some things about 529 plans that are keeping you from investing in one. However, these concerns may be more myth than reality, so let's take a look at a few of them.

* "I need a lot of money to contribute to the plan." This myth has essentially no truth to it. Typically, only a modest amount is required to open your 529 plan, and you can generally transfer small

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Wonder Inside: Berkshire Athenaeum Rebrands
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Library Director Alex Reczkowski discussed the re-branding process. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Welcome everyone.   That describes the Berkshire Athenaeum in the fewest words. It's a place for everyone to get answers to any question they might have. Library officials revealed a new branding of the athenaeum aimed to reflect just that.   "At the heart of any brand, it is about what are our promises? Our promise to our community, our promise to our patrons, our promise to ourselves and what motivates us to come here every day and serve our community," Library Director Alex Reczkowski said.   The library contracted with TSM Design on a yearlong effort to

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Holiday Hours: Memorial Day
09:00AM / Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army Arlington National Cemetery is the nation's first federal military cemetery. A ceremony is held each Memorial Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Memorial Day is being celebrated Monday, May 27. It is a federal holiday observing the sacrifices of the nation's servicemen and -women. It started as a day to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers, particularly in the South, and many states adopted the day as Decoration Day to commemorate all U.S. soldiers after World War I.

Memorial Day was established as a federal holiday in 1971 by Congress. It falls on the last Monday in May.

Closed:
Federal, state and local offices; no mail

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Licensing Board Denies Additional Licenses For Proprietor's Lodge
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:24AM / Tuesday, May 21, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Licensing Board and the Fire Department are of the same mind when it comes to Proprietor's Lodge in that no expansion of service shall happen until the parking issues are resolved.   The Community Development Board had previously granted the restaurant and event venue at the former Itam Lodge a special permit to add outdoor seating, ceremony space, and a deck. But, neighbors in the area have fought the expansion saying the existing operations are already causing traffic and safety hazards.   Proprietor's included a parking management plan that called for shuttling guests in from property that owner Eric Taylor purchased in Lanesborough for a

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