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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Education Task Force Continues Study on Countywide School District
By Jeff Snoonian, iBerkshires Correspondent
04:02AM / Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Project manager Jake Eberwein, center, presents his management plan to the task force. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire County Education Task Force is trying to anticipate potential problems on the pathway to a unified county school district.    The task force meeting at Berkshire Regional Planning's office Saturday morning certainly didn't solve any problems but did try to outline where those challenges may arise.    As with all other education initiatives the first hurdle they have is money. More specifically the lack of it.   "The full proposal we pitched (to the state Department of Education) was $420,000 for each of the first three

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20 New McCann Graduates Welcomed Into Nursing Profession
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:15AM / Tuesday, November 19, 2019

See more photos of Monday's pinning ceremony here.  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Billie Allard opened her arms wide on Monday to welcome the newest cadre into the nursing profession.    Calling on other nurses in the gym at McCann Technical School to stand and be noted, the keynote speaker at Monday night's pinning ceremony told the 20 licensed practical nursing graduates that she had no idea what her life would become after her own pinning ceremony years ago.    "I have never regretted for one moment the decision I made nurses has nursing has helped me develop a deep and abiding love and appreciation for every person each day and each moment as

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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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Messy Mix of Ice, Rain, Snow Expected Monday Night
Staff Reports, iBerkshires Staff
02:50PM / Monday, November 18, 2019

A chilly rain for most of the Northeast Coast but more of a wintry mix with some ice (BOOOOO!) for parts of the interior Northeast. @LianaBrackett and I will time out the worst of the weather. 9am-1pm ET on the @weatherchannel. pic.twitter.com/rZSpzfG19q

— Alex Wallace (@TWCAlexWallace) November 18, 2019

The Berkshires missed any messy commute on Monday but that doesn't mean we're out of the woods. More sleet and freezing are on the way.

Forecasters over the weekend had warned of possible icy conditions on Monday morning that slipped on by us. However, there's a winter weather advisory in effect for Monday into Tuesday at 10 a.m. for freezing drizzle that could start by

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BCAC Taps Community For Needs Assessment
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
04:03AM / Monday, November 18, 2019

Christina Maxwell of the Food Bank of Western Mass talks about food security. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Poverty was the topic of conversation on Friday to help the Berkshire Community Action Council gauge the needs in the community.   Community leaders and experts led a panel Friday morning at the Berkshire Athenaeum to help spark a conversation among participants focused on poverty and its different catalysts.      "We are all interested in working on the destabilizing effects poverty is having on our community and so we hope that we will get some good information here," BCAC Executive Director Deborah Leonczyk said. "So please give us your ideas,

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Pittsfield Preparing Morningside Fire Station RFP
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
05:52PM / Saturday, November 16, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city plans to reissue another request for proposals for the Morningside fire station with developers' interest ramping up.   The City Council on Tuesday heard from Paula Messena during public comment who said she and her partner Scott Graves were interested in developing the long vacant fire station.   "I stand before you today publicly announcing our interest in the Morningside fire station," she said. "Scott Graves and I have shown on numerous occasions interest in the building but have never officially been acknowledged by the city."   Graves purchased the YMCA boathouse on Pontoosuc Lake and renovated it as the Rusty

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Brien Center Honors Two at Annual UNICO Dinner
By Jeff Snoonian, iBerkshires Correspondent
07:18AM / Saturday, November 16, 2019

Ed Sutton spent years struggling with addiction but now is a counselor at the Brien Center, helping others dealing with substance abuse. Seen here with his wife, Karen, he spoke at the Brien Center's annual fundraising dinner.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Ed Sutton celebrated his 17th birthday in lockup, he knew something had to change. Like many addicts it took him several more years and realizations, and another stint behind bars to finally make that change permanent.    At Thursday night's annual Brien Center/UNICO dinner at Berkshire Hills Country Club, he got to tell his story.   "I've used and abused substances for as long as I can

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PHS to Determine Reopening This Weekend
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
05:04PM / Friday, November 15, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With cleanup ongoing, administrators will decide this weekend if Pittsfield High School will open Monday after a water line break.   Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless said families will receive a call Sunday letting them know whether or not school will reconvene Monday.   "We are optimistic," McCandless said Friday.   The school was dismissed early Thursday after a pipe burst causing water damage in the building.   According to the Berkshire Eagle, the pipe burst in the dome of the building causing damage in the center rooms on the second and third floors.    McCandless said clean up is still under way.

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@theMarket: Record Highs Again & Again
By Bill Schmick,
04:41PM / Friday, November 15, 2019
It has been one of those weeks where just about every day the stock market opened lower. But by the end of the day, one or more of the three main averages would rebound and close higher, usually close to, or at a minor new high. I expect it should continue.   And as stocks grind higher, more and more equity players are calling for a minor 2-3 percent pullback. Is that something that we should even care about? My answer would be no.    We are in a news-driven market. Most investors only seem to care about the latest news on a China trade deal; that said, being out of the market appears to be riskier than being in it.   Many believe we are only one tweet away from a 5

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Taconic High Community Mourns Sudden Loss of Teacher, Coach
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:51PM / Friday, November 15, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The school community is mourning the sudden loss of Taconic High School teacher Kevin Harrington, 38.   Harrington, a special education teacher and coach, collapsed Wednesday in a classroom at the school after a medical incident.   "Our students lost a teacher with an infectious optimism, a ready smile, and a constant willingness to help his colleagues and students alike," Superintendent Jason McCandless said in a statement. "He was a true champion for all students, including students who most needed a champion. To know Mr. Harrington was to love and respect him. He taught in the school he graduated from and loved, and he will be

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Pittsfield Receives Contingency Funds For Dam Removal
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Friday, November 15, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council accepted a $113,316.12 grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to go toward the demolition of the Mill Street dam.   Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath told the council Tuesday that the grant funds will go toward the dam removal contingency but that there is still a ways to go to hit the 10 percent contingency goal.   "It's a small contingency for a large project like this but there was a recognition that additional funds were needed," he said. "That is why these funds form the commonwealth are coming toward us for contingency."   The deteriorating dam is

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The Independent Investor: Attention Retirees!
By Bill Schmick,
05:10PM / Thursday, November 14, 2019
It has been more than a year since President Trump admonished the government to strengthen retirement security in America. This week, in response, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a proposal to comply with that executive order. Its suggestions were decidedly underwhelming.   Truth be told, financial planners and tax accountants have been speculating for years that, at some point, the IRS was going to have to recognize certain facts of life concerning retirement. One of which is that Americans are living longer. Why should that matter so much to you, the retiree?   Because everyone that has a tax-deferred savings account like an IRA, 401(k), 403(b), etc., is required

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Letter: Problematic Proposed Lenox Short-Term Rental Bylaw
Letter to the Editor,
05:00PM / Thursday, November 14, 2019

To the Editor:

Under the proposed short-term rental Lenox bylaw, "up to two bedrooms in a dwelling unit may be rented year-round by right provided that the owner or tenant is occupying the dwelling unit at the time of the rental."

Presumably, bedrooms may not be rented at all if the owner or tenant is not occupying the dwelling unit.

In other words, literally, the very same use is allowed by one type of owner (an owner occupying the dwelling unit), but not another type of owner (one who does not occupy the dwelling unit where bedrooms are being rented). Because there is identical use and intensity and the only thing that differs is the type of owner or renter; it is hard to view

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