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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Three Factors to Consider When Making Charitable Gifts
12:19PM / Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The holiday season is here, which means gift-giving is probably on your mind. In addition to making gifts to your family and friends, you also may be interested in contributing to charitable organizations. But before you donate financial assets, such as stocks, you will need to consider several factors, including taxes, your portfolio balance and the reputation of the charity.

Let's look at these areas:

Taxes: Your donations to qualified charities (those that are considered 501(c)(3) organizations by the Internal Revenue Service) can give you tax deductions – if you itemize deductions on your tax return. However, due to recent tax law changes, the standard deduction for 2018


New Doctor Joins BMC Pulmonary and Critical Care Team
12:17PM / Wednesday, December 05, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems announces the appointment of Dr. David A. Oelberg, a board-certified and fellowship-trained pulmonologist, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the physician staff of Pulmonary Professional Services of BMC.

Dr. Oelberg is accepting new patients in need of pulmonary and sleep medicine services, and is partnered with Drs. Hafez Alsmaan, Kashif Aslam, Cynthia Callahan, Julio Miranda, Michael Mortelliti and Jack Ringler at Pulmonary Professional Services of BMC.

Dr. Oelberg is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary disease, critical care and sleep medicine. He received his medical degree from McGill University,


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

Pittsfield Councilors Split on Water/Sewer Rate Increase
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The City  Council votes 6-5 in favor of the new rates on Tuesday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council is split on setting water and sewer rates for the next 18 months.    In a 6-5 vote Tuesday night, the council's Committee of the whole approved Mayor Linda Tyer's plan to raise water rates by 20 percent and sewer rates by 50 percent starting on Jan. 1.   However, the final decision has to be made next Tuesday and the council has requested more information before casting that vote.    David Russell from Russell Consulting presented an executive summary of a water and sewer rate study he recently conducted in determining where rates need to


Cop on Top Raises $45K For Special Olympics
Staff Reports,
11:36AM / Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The torch, lit by a local athlete, burned throughout the event. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The ninth annual Cop on Top event raised $45,000 for the Special Olympics.   For two days local law enforcement officers camped out at the roof of Walmart in Berkshire Crossing while in the parking lot there were a number of raffles, sales, and giveaways to help raise money.   The officers fell quite a bit short of their goal of $55,000 but, nonetheless, are calling it a success.   "We didn't do quite as well as years past but I think the weather played a part," said Investigator John Bassi.    The event is put on by the Berkshire County


Residents Unhappy With Mediation For GE River Cleanup
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Tim Gray, director of the Housatonic River Initiative, pushed for chemical and biological technologies to break down the PCBs in the river. LENOX, Mass. — Why is this even being negotiated?   That's what many of the residents along the Rest of the River corridor rhetorically asked Monday night in regards to the cleanup of PCBs in the Housatonic River.   Mediator John Bickerman has been brought in to help reach a compromise between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and General Electric regarding the final section of the river that needs to be cleaned up.   Bickerman led a public forum at Lenox Memorial Middle and High School on the matter in hopes to


Berkshire Palate Opens in Williamstown
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
01:23AM / Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Sweet potato with kale, dried fruit, brown butter and pecans.     WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — It doesn't get much more local than Berkshire Palate, a family-run eatery that offers homegrown flavors.   Paul Brassard and his three sons Nolan, Aaron and Zach have had Berkshire Palate on the mind for some time now.   "Zach was making his own jams and spice rubs, so he was kind of outgrowing that," Paul said. "We always wanted a restaurant and once he went to culinary school then it went from 'it would be cool maybe someday' to 'when?'"    The Brassards looked at 13 locations but settled on 240A Main St. in the


CHP Great Barrington Practice Wins Patient Experience Award
03:18PM / Monday, December 03, 2018

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs Great Barrington Health Center has been recognized by Massachusetts Health Quality Partners for excellence in the primary care patient experience, based on patient surveys.

The MHQP Patient Experience Awards is a new program introduced this year by MHQP, a nonprofit measurement and reporting organization that brings together providers, health plans and patients to improve the quality of patient care experiences in Massachusetts. MHQP conducts the only statewide survey of patient experience in primary care in Massachusetts, with feedback from more than 65,000 commercially-insured patients across the state.

Awards were given to the


Paratransit Workers Vote Work Stoppage Over Contract
01:56PM / Monday, December 03, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The union representing paratransit drivers for the Paratransit Management of the Berkshires rejected a contract on Sunday, resulting in a work stoppage on Monday.   In a statement, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority said the paratransit service will not operate during the strike.   "BRTA has subcontracted with other chaircar vendors to perform essential paratransit trips. BRTA will operate limited fixed route service during the strike," the statement reads.    Starting Tuesday, Dec. 4, the updated limited fixed route service bus schedule is below:   Route 1 will operate 6:30, 7:30, 9:00 and 10:00 morning runs and

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Hinds Sets Community Outreach Events for December
09:10AM / Monday, December 03, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The staff of state Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, will host two community outreach events during December.   The senator's staff will be available to meet with constituents in the communities of Clarksburg and Conway for this month's staff office hours on Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Last month's scheduled office hours in Clarksburg had to be postponed to December. Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 11 to 1, Clarksburg Town Hall at 111 River Road; Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 11 to noon, Conway Town Hall, 5 Academy Hill Road Wednesday, Dec. 12, noon to 1, Conway Town Offices, 32 Main St. All


Pittsfield Seeks Input on Tyler Street Streetscape Plans
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Monday, December 03, 2018

One of the options includes creating a protected bicycle lane.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is determining what Tyler Street will look like in the future.   After months of working on conceptual designs and working with stakeholders, officials are now taking the vision for a streetscape plan to the wider public.   Consultants BSC Group will present various concepts for bicycle lanes, expanded sidewalks, and pedestrian safety measures on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Morningside  Community School.   Five concepts have been drawn up and for residents to prioritize.   "We've been hearing the same things for a few years. We really want to see


Census Bureau Preparing For 2020 Count
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:25AM / Monday, December 03, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A community has 675 billion reasons to make sure every resident is counted on the Census.   The 2020 Census may still be a year and a half away but the bureau is already preparing for it. The effort is to count where every single person living in America puts their head down at night.   Those numbers ultimately lead to determining the number of seats in the U.S. House - and the Berkshires know what it is like to lose one of those -- but maybe more importantly, some $675 billion worth of federal funds are dispersed based on those numbers.   "It matters to every community that every person is counted," said Georgia Lowe from the U.S. Census


Pittsfield Honors Inaugural Citizens Academy Class
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:20PM / Sunday, December 02, 2018

The mayor said the city is likely to hold another academy next year. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The mayor's office believes the first citizen's academy was a success.    Executive Assistant Catherine Van Bramer headed the effort to connect local residents more closely with city government. The inaugural class attended weekly seminars throughout the summer, meeting with various departments to get a closer look at the depth and breadth of how the municipal government works.   "This academy opened a new door to connect with the residents," Van Bramer said. "Over 10 weeks, 15 participants dedicated their Thursday evenings to learn about the many


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