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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Harrington Kicks Off Campaign For District Attorney
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:10AM / Thursday, May 24, 2018

Shirley Edgerton said Harrington has a better sense of the power of the office. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Andrea Harrington says the "status quo" in the district attorney's office is not working for Berkshire County.   "It is time to have a district attorney with integrity and who is accountable to this community," Harrington said.   The local attorney said North Adams has the highest crime rate per capita in the state and Pittsfield ranks ninth.The district attorney's office, which had been occupied by David Capeless for the last 14 years, can do much more in a preventative manner than it has been doing, she said.   Harrington is now running

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College Notes: May 2018
05:01PM / Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Graduations Lauren Levardi from Pittsfield was awarded a bachelor of science in exercise and sports science from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., during commencement exercises on May 4-5. She was one of 1,183 students who walked during commencement, which had head football coach Joe Moglia as the speaker.   Assumption College awarded 617 degrees during its 101st commencement exercises on Sunday, May 13, held at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester, including to Taylor Kline of Adams and Sarah Morley of Pittsfield. The speaker was the Most Rev. Robert E. Barron, S.T.D., auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.   Curry College in Milton awarded

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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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Italian Community Pushes Back On Renaming Of Columbus Day
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:49PM / Wednesday, May 23, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local Italian groups feel insulted that the School Committee would erase Christopher Columbus from the school calendar.   A number of members from such groups as the Italian American Club and the Sons of Italy pleaded with the City Council Tuesday night, asking them to urge the School Committee to reconsider renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.   The School Committee voted in January to change the name of the holiday on the second Monday in October in its school calendar because they felt Columbus wasn't worthy of being honored.   Local Italian groups agree that Columbus was controversial but they also said he was accomplished and

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You Can Still Gain Tax Benefits from Charitable Donations
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:34PM / Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Like most people, you probably know several organizations worthy of your philanthropy, and you may well have contributed to them, perhaps on an annual basis. In the past, when you've made charitable donations, it's been a win-win: You were able to provide support to a worthy organization and you received some valuable tax benefits.

But with the passage of the new tax laws, things may have changed considerably for many people. Are there still tax benefits to making a charitable donation?

Here's some background: Previously, you may have been able to deduct your charitable donations if you itemized deductions on your income tax return. So, for example, if you were in the 25

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Efforts to Create Rural Transportation Options Turn to Private Sector
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:01AM / Wednesday, May 23, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Groups looking to create a transportation management authority will soon turn their eye toward getting private-sector involvement.   Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Transportation Program Planner Clete Kus said the plans are aimed to improve transportation in the rural area. In briefing the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Kus said the idea is to create a membership-based organization to shuttle people in rural areas, helping them get to jobs.   "It's a membership-based organization where you get the business community along with institutions and possibility municipalities, develop an agreement and focus on providing and delivering

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Adams ZBA Reschedules Cumberland Farms Hearing
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
02:12AM / Wednesday, May 23, 2018
ADAMS, Mass. — The Zoning Board of Appeals continued its public hearing with Cumberland Farms to next month but still heard from some concerned residents.   After receiving a letter from Cumberland Farms asking to reschedule the hearing, the ZBA voted Tuesday to reschedule for June 7 and used the rest of the meeting to answer questions from the nearly 20 residents that attended the meeting.    "I know that you are feeling stressed and you are feeling like you are being railroaded but the truth is these things take time and your voices will be heard," board member Francie Anne Riley said. "Nothing will be decided tonight, and we don't even have the

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Pittsfield Councilors Told Trash Hauler Started Enforcement On Its Own
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:08AM / Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Mayor Linda Tyer has put a halt on the additional enforcement following public outcry. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The mayor says the city's trash hauler halted trash pickup in some cases and placed violation stickers on bins and bag throughout the city on its own.   Recently, Republic Services began what City Hall is calling "soft enforcement" of the city's current trash ordinances.   The workers started placing violation stickers on residents' trash bins if they did not comply with the standards and in some cases refused to collect trash or recycling because of non-compliance.    However, very few people in the public knew it was coming. That

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Great Barrington, Berkshire Thunder Start Strong in BABL
08:11AM / Tuesday, May 22, 2018
The Great Barrington Millers and Berkshire Thunder are off to fast starts in the Berkshire Adult Baseball League this season.   Each team has gone 2-0 to lead, respectively, the 20-year-old and over-35 divisions in the 13-team league.   Last week, the Thunder defeated the Outlaws, 14-0, behind three hits and three stolen bases from Bruce Blake. Rob Yeaton had two hits for the outlaws.   The Millers edged Lenox, 7-5. Scot McFarland hit a home run, and Chris Walker earned the win on the mound. Justin Hopkins had a double and an RBI for Lenox.   In last week’s other game, the Adams Aces won their opener, 8-0, over Tunnel City. Corey Swistak had a triple, and Jeremy

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Pittsfield's Business Development Manager Hitting The Ground Running
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:46AM / Tuesday, May 22, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — If you want to talk business in Pittsfield, Michael Coakley is the guy you want to talk to.   Coakley was hired at the start of this year as the city's first-ever business development manager. His job is to find those companies looking to expand or move and get them to take a look in Pittsfield.   "It's been very encouraging so far and exciting. I think there are a lot of opportunities out there, both local companies and some companies that are national and international," Coakley said.   Coakley started the position a little over three months ago. And he said he's hasn't been short on leads.   "It hasn't been

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Breaking: Adams Man Accused in Terror Plot Pleads Guilty, Agrees to 20-Year Sentence
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com
02:36PM / Monday, May 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Adams man accused by the government of plotting a terror attack and providing material support to the Islamic State pleaded guilty to all charges in federal court on Monday afternoon.

Alexander Ciccolo, 25, admitted to supporting ISIS, planning a terror attack at an unnamed college campus outside Massachusetts, illegally possessing firearms and assaulting a nurse at the Franklin County Jail on the first night of his incarceration during a 50-minute hearing before Judge Mark G. Mastroianni.   According to a plea agreement negotiated between Ciccolo’s lawyers and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ciccolo would be sentenced to 20 years in prison and a

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Berkshires Beat: Roots Rising Enters New Phase
01:40PM / Monday, May 21, 2018
Rise up

Roots Rising, Pittsfield's farm-based youth development program, was developed in collaboration by Alchemy Initiative and Berkshire Botanical Garden, and launched in 2017. Now that the program is in operation, the two organizations have agreed to shift to a single managing organization. This will ensure the most efficient oversight of the program’s continued growth and success. Effective immediately, Roots Rising will become a program of Alchemy Initiative, with Berkshire Botanical Garden stepping aside as a program partner.

Both Alchemy Initiative and Berkshire Botanical Garden are extremely proud of Roots Rising's achievements in its first year of operation. In

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Music & Art Come Together This Summer With Painted Pianos
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:08AM / Monday, May 21, 2018

Keith Bona checks out his piano at Memorial School.  ADAMS, Mass. — More than a dozen pianos are being transformed into singular artworks to evoke the county's musical and artistic heritage.    Dirty, dusty and out of tune, these castoffs found new partners as local artists tramped through the empty Memorial School last Tuesday to select the perfect piano for their endeavors.    Sue MacVeety of Sheffield had come prepared with primer, covering her selection with its first base coat of white. Keith Bona of North Adams picked a large upright and was planning out a celestial concept and figuring how he might use the frame-like back.   "This

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