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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Sees Residential Values, Tax Bills Increase
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
03:25AM / Friday, November 13, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday set a rate that will see residential tax bills rise by about 2.5 percent, or about $100 for the average homeowner.    The vote was 8-2 to adopt a tax shift of 1.6738 on the commercial side. Councilors Christopher Connell and Kevin Morandi voted against because they had also voted down the budget.    This makes the residential tax rate $19.25 per $1,000 valuation and the commercial, industrial, and personal property tax rate, $39.99. This is down from $19.71 and $40.36 last year.    However, the value of the average home has risen by about $10,000, from $194,288 to $203,901. This will result in an increase of

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Pittsfield Suspends Table Service, Reins in Activities as COVID Cases Surge
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
04:50PM / Thursday, November 12, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city has suspended all indoor dining and shifting back the Step 1 of Phase 3 in the state reopening process after a surge in COVID-19 cases. 

Since Oct. 22, there have been 169 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city. These cases have been directly attributed to large get-togethers in restaurants and large private gatherings held in residences and attended by individuals from multiple households.

"We have reached a point of crisis in our city that impacts our entire community. The number of COVID-19 cases have grown exponentially over a very short period of time," said Mayor Linda Tyer said in a statement. "Based on our current case rates and

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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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Berkshire Health Systems Releases New Visitation Policy
03:49PM / Thursday, November 12, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Health Systems has changed its visitation policies as the number of COVID-19 cases in the community are rising.    The changes are effective starting on Monday, Nov. 16, and include:   • All patients and visitors must be screened for COVID symptoms upon entering a BHS facility.   • No visitation for visitors experiencing symptoms of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills, body      aches, loss of sense taste, or smell).   • Inpatient visitors/companions must sign in, show identification and be issued a visitor badge.   • Approved visitors must always

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Pittsfield Police Union Starts Fundraising Campaign
03:36PM / Thursday, November 12, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — On Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, The Pittsfield Police Department Officers Union IBPO Local 447 will start its fall fundraising campaign.    The fundraising campaign will run through Dec. 24, 2020.   The union is attempting to raise funds to continue to contribute to the community as they have in the past. Although the pandemic has caused financial hardship for some, it also means that charitable giving is as important now as ever.    The fundraisers from the last several years have allowed the union to continue the IBPO Local 447 Memorial Scholarship program that awarded scholarships to numerous students from the area that will be attending

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Update: All Pittsfield Public Schools Transition To Remote Learning
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
03:16PM / Thursday, November 12, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In a response to the uptick in COVID-19 cases in the city, all Pittsfield Public School students will transition to remote learning starting Friday, Nov. 13   Pittsfield Public Schools and the Health Department released a joint response Thursday afternoon announcing that all city schools will suspend in-person learning and will transition to full remote learning.   The statement reads: "While recognizing that the suspension of in-person education certainly continues to add to the challenges that families, students, schools, and communities have been presented with during the COVID-19 era, the health and safety of our students and staff remain

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The Retired Investor: Small-Town America Is in Vogue
By Bill Schmick,
01:53PM / Thursday, November 12, 2020
The on-going coronavirus pandemic has boosted consumer demand for small-town real estate. Whether that trend will continue with a vaccine on the horizon is anyone's guess.    In the meantime, it could be a godsend for those looking to retire and possibly downsize during this period. The obvious driver in this trend change has been the safety factor. The devastating carnage that occurred in the nation's large cities during the first surge of the coronavirus convinced many families to pull up stakes and find dwellings as far from the mayhem (and people) as possible.   Home listings in small towns jumped more than 100 percent this spring, according to Redfin, while

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Big Y Launces Virtual Sack Hunger Program
08:25AM / Thursday, November 12, 2020
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. —  In order to simplify the giving of food to those in need, Big Y has turned their annual Sack Hunger campaign from a $10 sack of groceries to a more simplified $5 donation.   Donations will go to one of five food banks within Big Y's two-state marketing area. These food banks support local soup kitchens, food pantries, senior food programs, daycare centers and many others of the 2,100 member agencies that they help every day.    "Throughout our 85-year history, we've recognized the importance of helping our communities," Big Y's president and CEO Charles L. D'Amour said. "This year is no different. We know that

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Congressman Richard Neal Vists Boyd Technologies
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
01:30AM / Thursday, November 12, 2020

CEO Stephen Boyd, FreMon Scientific's Farideh Bischoff and Thomas Rosenbloom with the ZipThaw, a device that controls the thawing of plasma. Bischoff is holding one of Boyd's smart bags. LEE, Mass. — Local manufacturer Boyd Technologies will be expanding its capacity to produce personal protective equipment and is collaborating with a life sciences company FreMon Scientific on a device for COVID-19 therapies.    Company officials had invited U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to tour the facility on Tuesday and hear an update on their work in the fight against novel coronavirus.   "This visit to Boyd Technologies today reassured my firm belief that there are

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Pittsfield Not Ready to Close Schools Despite Uptick in COVID-19
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:47PM / Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The City Council hears an update on the city's COVID-19 plans.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Department is not considering going back to remote learning despite the sharp rise in COVID-19 over the past  few weeks. That includes two cases reported on Tuesday.    Mayor Linda Tyer agreed with public health officials that the city is in a "crisis moment" but not yet to the point of closing school buildings.   Her comments came during a report from the Public Health and Safety subcommittee at Tuesday's City Council meeting. Ward 1 Councilor Helen Moon had requested an update on the emergency response plan for the novel

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County Holds Low-Key Veterans Day Observances This Year
By Jack Guerino & Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
03:23PM / Wednesday, November 11, 2020

In Pittsfield, city and state officials honored veteran Anthony Pastore as the Berkshire Veterans Coalition 2020 Veteran of the Year. NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Veterans day looked different in Berkshire County this year and instead of holding parades and large gatherings, communities opted for smaller ceremonies in line with COVID-19 safety precautions.   The American Legion Post 125 held a small gathering outside of the shuttered Legion post home instead of the usual large ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park.    "I know that this year our gathering is smaller and more socially distanced, but it is no less respectful and no less celebratory," Mayor Thomas

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Frontline Worker Honored With Miraval Retreat
10:19AM / Wednesday, November 11, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lorena Dus, a senior caseworker at Berkshire Immigrant Center, has been honored by the Berkshire United Way with a retreat at Miraval Berkshires.   "I am very lucky. I have a job I love and being able to help others is my reward," Dus said. "I feel very humbled and honored and I look forward to staying at Miraval Berkshires. Thank you to Berkshire United Way and to my colleagues for thinking of me."   In partnership with Miraval Berkshires, Berkshire United Way issued a call for nominations to honor first responders and essential workers supporting their community during the pandemic.    "Thank you to everyone who took

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Letters Show How North Adams Couple Endured WWII Separation
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:50AM / Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The front cover reflects the 939 letters Henry Contois wrote to his wife, Doris. NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — After three years in the Army, Henry Contois was eager to leave France for his hometown of North Adams.   "What a life this is waiting to go home after being away so long," he wrote his wife, Doris. "Don't think I'm losing courage, Honey, but honest I'm sick and tired of it all. But one thing I know, I'm not alone. There's plenty of other soldiers waiting just as I am."   They were reunited a few weeks later. His letter, written in March 1946, would be among last of more than 900 he wrote home during his military service. Doris

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