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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Berkshire Force Softball Sets Tryout Dates for Travel Teams
Community submission,
11:31AM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
PITTSFIELD – The Pittsfield Girls Softball League has announced tryout dates for the U14 and U16 Berkshire Force travel teams.   Players interested in the under-14 team are eligible if they have a birth year of 2004 or younger. Players interested in U16 are eligible if they have a birth year of 2002 or younger. Players must attend at least one tryout. Dates and locations are as follows:   Saturday, Feb. 2, at Reid Middle School, 950 North St.: 9:30 a.m., registration for U14. 10 a.m. to noon, tryouts for U14. Noon to 12:30 p.m. registration for U16. 12:30 to 2:30, tryouts for U16.   Wednedsay, Feb. 6, at Conte Community School, 200 West Union St.: 5:30 to 7 p.m.,

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Pittsfield Schools Take Aim at Reducing Chronic Absenteeism
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:51AM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — No written policy is ever going to fully address chronic absenteeism.    Deputy Superintendent Joseph Curtis believes that because he's been a principal when the district has had strict attendance policies. He tried raffles and giveaways to incentivize students to go to school and it never worked. He'd meet with families who wouldn't even realize the number of days their child missed or that there was even a policy.   However, not having a policy doesn't help either because once the policy fell into disuse, the number of absentee students increased.    Particularly, the district faces chronic absenteeism from those from

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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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Pittsfield Councilors Ask That Marijuana Tax Go to Roads
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:18AM / Thursday, January 24, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Should the city set aside half of the income from local marijuana taxes to fix the roads?   That's what City Councilors Melissa Mazzeo and Christopher Connell suggest. The pair put forth a petition to designate 50 percent of the local marijuana tax into a stabilization account to repair roads.   Connell said the city is borrowing some $2 million or more every year for road repairs. Those bonds are paid off over as long as 25 years while the individual roads are lasting less than half that time.   "We are digging ourselves a big hole. We are borrowing, doing the road, and before they are paid off, we are borrowing and doing them again,"

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MCLA Opens 125th Year With New Strategies, Initiatives
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:31PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

President James Birge pulls tickets for some gift certificates as a thank you to the attendees.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Some legislators are calling it the "year of education" but for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, it's not about one year but about 125 years of education.

The college will celebrate its quasquicentennial in 2019 with a series of events, exhibitations, signage and celebrations. President Jamie Birge announced the anniversary along with other college news as the spring semester kickoff breakfast held in the Centennial Room on Tuesday morning.

Established in 1894 as the North Adams Normal School to train teachers, the college has gone through a

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Biz Briefs: Berkshire Gas, Avangrid Foundation Supports Girls Inc. STEM Program
01:55PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Eureka! moments

The Girls Inc. Eureka! program at the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center has received continued support from the Avangrid Foundation, in partnership with Berkshire Gas. Eureka! brings girls in the Berkshires a unique opportunity to explore STEM-related subjects through intensive, hands-on programming over five years.

The first Eureka! cohort was launched in July 2018, made up of 14 girls entering eighth grade. The girls immersed themselves in a four-week summer experience studying a range of STEM subjects including physics, biology and environmental science with area professors from Berkshire Community College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on site at

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Redefining Good Health - And Good Health Care
By Lia Spiliotes,
12:08PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A federal court ruling in December declaring that ACA unconstitutional raised yet another alarm-raiser for Obamacare customers around the country. Again, in the delicate realm of subsidized insurance, ACA customers were asking: Should I reapply? Is the ACA dead?  Will my coverage be canceled?

For now, the foreseeable future, the ACA remains the law of the land as this latest upheaval makes its way through the courts. Obamacare has withstood numerous challenges and two Supreme Court appeals, so advocates recommend people stay the course and get covered. During the recent enrollment period, which ended Jan. 23 in Massachusetts, our insurance counselors at Community Health Programs

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Are You Prepared for a Natural Disaster?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:57AM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The year ahead offers new opportunities and experiences. But as you make plans throughout 2019, be mindful of the things that can derail those plans – such as the natural disasters that affected so many families in 2018. Every area around the country is subject to natural disasters, whether they're wildfires, hurricanes or tornadoes. How can you prepare for them?

Here are a few suggestions:

Maintain adequate insurance. It's a good idea to review your homeowners insurance at least annually to ensure it's still providing the protection you need. And make sure you know exactly what your policy covers in terms of natural disasters. You will also want to review your life and

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Pittsfield Councilors Requested, Not Required, to Take Cultural Competency Training
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:31AM / Wednesday, January 23, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City councilors will go through cultural competency and implicit bias training — if they want.   The council unanimously approved a petition from Councilors Helen Moon, Donna Todd Rivers, Youth Alive Executive Director Shirley Edgerton, and local NAACP branch President Dennis Powell requesting that all councilors go through the training aimed to help interact effectively with people from different cultures and backgrounds.   Moon felt that councilors should be given "another tool in our toolbox" for best serving all constituents in the city.    The city's demographics have been growing more diverse and the Pittsfield has

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Authorities Identify Pittsfield Murder Victim
Staff Reports,
05:18PM / Tuesday, January 22, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities released the name of the victim in Sunday morning's homicide on Edward Avenue.   According to the District Attorney's Office, 18-year-old Jaden Salois, of Dalton, was pronounced dead on the scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide.    Police had responded to Edward Avenue at 2:13 a.m. Sunday morning for a reported shooting and found the teenager. Salois died from a gunshot to the torso, according to preliminary autopsy results.    The investigation is still ongoing and Police are asking anyone with information about it to contact the detective bureau at 413-448-9705.    The

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Pittsfield Firefighters Put Out Chimney Fire
Staff Reports,
03:15PM / Tuesday, January 22, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters extinguished a chimney fire on East Housatonic Street Monday evening.   According to the Fire Department, a passerby had noticed embers being discharged from a chimney at 91 East Housatonic Street. There was an active fire in the chimney and firefighters spent more than an hour extinguishing the blaze and removing the contents.    The Fire Department is reminding homeowners to clean the chimney and liner on a consistent basis and thanked the passerby who reported the fire.

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Pittsfield ZBA Approves Permit for West Street Cannabis Shop
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:36AM / Tuesday, January 22, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A proposed cannabis retailer received the local permits needed for a West Street location.   Devin Bajardi and Mark Penna are planning to open Pure Botanicals inside the existing building at 239 West St. The plan is to use 7,000 square feet in the rear of the industrial building for the discrete location of the retail shop. The plan estimates for nine total employees and limited alterations to the property.    "It is more of an industrial use right now," Bajardi told the Zoning Board of Appeals last week.   The particularly noticeable change to the property will be the replacement of a current fence in the rear to provide more privacy

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Hinds Rolling Out 'Rural Agenda' In New Legislative Session
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Tuesday, January 22, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Adam Hinds is pushing a "rural agenda" in the new legislative term.   The Pittsfield Democrat is filing more than 60 bills, many of which are aimed at helping small rural areas. While he represents the Berkshires' only two cities, the bulk of his constituents reside in 50 towns spread over three counties. They have an average population of 1,900, ranging from Adams' at 8,200 people to Monroe with only 95.   "We really go through with what are we doing for a rural jobs act, trying to take away a lot of the problems that our towns face like PILOT payments, trying to get a PILOT commission. We are stick with the volunteer

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