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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Governor Closes Schools Statewide, Bans Gatherings of More Than 25
06:31PM / Sunday, March 15, 2020

Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at a press conference detailing emergency actions being taken by his office.

BOSTON — State officials are taking "unprecedented" measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, including closing all private and public schools, banning gatherings of more than 25, prohibiting on-premise patronizing of restaurants and taverns, and disallowing all visitors to long-term care facilities and nursing homes. 

The school and restaurant orders take effect Tuesday.

"I realize these measures are unprecedented. But we're asking our residents to take and understand the rationale behind the guidance," said Gov. Charlie Baker at


Veterans Spotlight: Sgt. Delphia Took Care of Fellow Soldiers
By Wayne Soares, Special to iBerkshires
05:05PM / Sunday, March 15, 2020

Dick Delphia served as a corpsman at a hospital in Germany.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — What an absolute pleasure to sit and interview veteran Dick Delphia recently. Delphia served his country stateside as a corpsman from Jan. 1, 1953 to to Jan. 1, 1956.    At the age of 86, he is tremendously fit (he and his wife, Teresa, ride their stationary bikes every day), honest and possesses an "old school" humility.   Delphia had to quit Pittsfield High School at the age of 14 because of the sudden death of his mother.   "I had to take care of the family ... there was six of us" he remembered.   He enlisted at the age of 19 and was sent to

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Inauguration 2016
by Soapbox 02:00PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Kids 4 Harmony Provided The Music At The Inauguration Reception
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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
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Guest Column: SVMC Preparing for Coronavirus Containment, Treatment
04:03PM / Sunday, March 15, 2020
  Dear Community Member,   The health and safety of the patients, caregivers, and communities we serve is our most important priority. Our hospital and community health centers remain open and safe, and there has been no disruption to the high-quality patient care that we provide.   Beginning in mid-January, Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) took a proactive and measured approach for planning for the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19, by holding daily multidisciplinary meetings. When confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States escalated, we immediately implemented appropriate response protocols. When SVHC admitted Vermont's first presumptive positive patient


Pignatelli Wants Override of Regs Keeping State News Off Cable
04:13PM / Saturday, March 14, 2020
LEE, Mass. — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli is asking the state's congressional representatives to push for an emergency override that will bring Massachusetts news to the Berkshires as the state addresses the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.   The letter to U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal asks for an override or modification of the Federal Communication Commission's outdated regulations that place the farthest west county of Massachusetts in the New York Capital District's "Designated Market Area."    "Governor Baker declared a state of emergency earlier this week in response to the


State Creates COVID-19 Command Center
11:57AM / Saturday, March 14, 2020
BOSTON – The governor has created a COVID-19 Response Command Center to be headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.    The command center reports to Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and will be the commonwealth's single point of strategic decision making and coordination in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.   "Our administration has been working for weeks to address the outbreak of COVID-19, and the new Response Command Center we are launching today is an important step in our planning and preparedness efforts," said Baker in a statement announcing the action on Saturday mornng. "Led by Secretary Marylou


Springfield Diocese Cancels Masses, Schools
08:03PM / Friday, March 13, 2020
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has canceled all Masses and other activities within its parishes.    Bishop Mitchell Rozanski has issued these updated directives based on the current situation regarding the novel coronavirus and statements from federal and state officials. Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday afternoon issued an emergency order prohibiting most gatherings of more than 250 people in an effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19.   Rozanski has ordered:    • All Masses and other activities are suspended in all parishes until further notice. He urges parishioners to view the televised Mass, the "Chalice of


Berkshire Health Systems Institutes Visitor Protocols
04:28PM / Friday, March 13, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital, in Great Barrington, have announced changes to visitation policies in line with national trends and to further lower the risk of transmission of infectious disease, including the coronavirus COVID-19.    Hospitals and other health-care facilities across Massachusetts and the United States have enacted similar visitation restrictions.   "Berkshire Health Systems is committed to protecting the health and safety of our patients, visitors and staff, and this change helps us to enhance our ongoing efforts to minimize the potential transmission of COVID-19," said Dr. James Lederer, chief medical


Berkshire County Schools Closing for Two Weeks
Staff Reports,
02:52PM / Friday, March 13, 2020
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Schools across Berkshire County will be closed for the next two weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.    The decision follows teleconference meetings held on Friday with the state Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and of Public Health, as well as between the Berkshire County Superintendents Roundtable.    DESE left much of the decisionmaking up to local authorities but there was a recommendation that communities seeing an increase in community transmission of the novel coronavirus should consider closing for 14 days. Community transmission means that there are patients who are diagnosed or presumptive for the coronavirus


The Independent Investor: Chances of a 2020 Recession Have Just Sky-Rocketed
By Bill Schmick,
12:19PM / Friday, March 13, 2020
The one-two punch of a worldwide pandemic, plus the sudden sharp decline in energy prices have increased the odds that the U.S. economy could fall into a recession as early as this year. The fact that we still do not know the economic damage of the COVID-19, only increases the odds of a prolonged economic downturn.   At this writing, the number of cases and deaths attributed to the pandemic is growing, which is moving both consumers and businesses to dial back their spending on travel, conferences, large events and various work processes. As schools close, more and more parents are stuck at home instead of going into the office. This is also causing increased disruptions in


Mount Greylock Building Project Achieves LEED Certification
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:02AM / Friday, March 13, 2020
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School this week learned that the $64 million adddition/renovation project at the middle-high school achieved LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.   The council's approval of the project's sustainable elements ensures the district 2 percentage points on its reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.   That should translate to about $1 million of the total share the state authority will contribute to the project when all is said and done, said Hugh Daley, a Williamstown Select Board member and part of the finance working group of the district's School Building


Open Meeting Law Modification Allows for Remote Participation
11:02PM / Thursday, March 12, 2020
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration has issued an emergency order temporarily modifying the state's Open Meeting Law in order to allow state, quasi and local governments to continue to carry out essential functions and operations during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.   This emergency order suspends the requirement for public access to the physical location where a public meeting is taking place, provided there are other means of access available. This includes the use of a phone conference line for members of the public, social media or other internet streaming services, online meeting services, or methods of access.   Additionally, the order relieves the


Governor Baker Calls on Feds to Certify Testing Facilities
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:55PM / Thursday, March 12, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday called on the federal government to loosen restrictions on public and private laboratories to expedite testing for COVID-19.    Speaking in front of City Hall, Baker, who was accompanied by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Mayor Linda Tyer and the Berkshire delegation, said the state has received enough materials to test 5,000 more people.    "We're seeing an uptick in presumptive positive cases in part as a result of increased testing," he said. "And we expect this testing continues to increase, the more cases will be reported in the near future."   The state Department of Public Health on


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