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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

The Independent Investor: How to Avoid Recession? Emigrate to Australia
By Bill Schmick,
03:13PM / Thursday, June 14, 2018
  — "New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus (Statue of Liberty)   This "land down under" has escaped an economic recession for 26 years in a row. An open immigration policy in a nationalist world that demands just the opposite is one of the key drivers to their success. An abundance of natural resource wealth has also helped.   Readers would need to go back to the late 1980s, early 1990s, to find two quarters of negative growth (the definition of an economic recession) in Australia. Back then, Australia was noted for its boom and bust economy. Throughout their 160-plus year history, mining booms in gold, gas, sheep and other commodities left

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Donna Todd Rivers Hired as 'Berkshire Workforce Czar'
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Thursday, June 14, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There are agencies, companies, and organizations throughout the county focused on workforce development. Each of them has their own set of offerings for job seekers and employers.    Donna Todd Rivers is now eyed to become the person who knows them all and gets them all on the same page.   Rivers has been hired as Berkshire County Regional Employment Board's Berkshire recruiter -- or as state Sen. Adam Hinds has dubbed it, the "workforce czar." The position was created through state funding and is intended to help tackle the issue of there being some 2,000 jobs available at any given time and an equal number of job seekers who just

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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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Popular Music Scene Awakens in the Berkshires
By Grace Lichtenstein, Special to iBerkshires
02:01PM / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Please allow me to introduce myself: My name is Grace and I will be your guide each week this summer to the best in pop concerts, jazz and musical theater throughout the Berkshires.

I'm a lover and student of all genres of music and a Berkshires regular. My background is as a news and feature reporter for The New York Times. I've written and/or collaborated on six books and my work has appeared in numerous magazines. Most importantly, in recent years I have specialized in writing about music, books and culture.

You can look forward to this column as a tip sheet about upcoming shows. I won't review them; I will preview them, and I'll try to persuade you to attend a concert

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Musical Festival Season Appears on the Horizon
By Stephen Dankner, Special to iBerkshires
01:00PM / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

With the upcoming summer music festival season almost upon us, music lovers in droves will soon flock to the Berkshires, Franklin County and southern Vermont to immerse themselves in classical music. Call it a reward for enduring a long, hard winter, or a yearly renewal of the soul via the musical preachments of the great masters.
Whatever the reason, the classical canon, including a full summer's festival within a festival celebrating the wonderful music of Leonard Bernstein (it's his 100th birthday), will nurture and inspire us anew at this special time and in this magical place - the Berkshires and environs.

My goal, as your musical guide, will be to assist you in choosing

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Father's Day: Lessons About Money Can Be Priceless Gifts to Children
11:46AM / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Father's Day is almost upon us. If you're a dad, you certainly may enjoy getting cards and gifts, of course. But, over time, you will gain even greater satisfaction by what you can give your children – such as some valuable financial lessons.

These lessons can include the following:

Setting goals: If you are contributing to an IRA and a 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plan, explain how you build these accounts now, while you are working, so you'll have enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement someday. And you can bring your children into the picture, too, by telling them that another financial goal is saving enough to help send them to college or to further

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Lanesborough Sixth-Graders Have Plan For Berkshire Mall
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:02AM / Wednesday, June 13, 2018
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Sixth-graders Tyler Hynes-Drumm and Riley Babcock understand the impact the struggling Berkshire Mall has on the town.   "This issue is important because," Riley told the Board of Selectmen on Monday and Tyler finished the sentence, "our town income is lower because the mall had just a big impact on our community."   "When it is gone, we have to pay higher taxes and tourist may stop visiting," Riley said.   The pair had sat down with Assessor Kelly Tolisano, who explained to them that the mall is valued at $19.5 million, resulting in a tax bill of $417,000 — a number that is significantly down from the mall's

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Pittsfield OKs $159M Budget Appropriation; $10M In Capital Projects
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:50AM / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Christopher Connell, on the left, pushed for the city to use $1.5 million in free cash. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council gave its final approval on the $167.6 million spending plan for fiscal 2019.   The budget calls for a city appropriation of $159,976,645 after the City Council asked for $20,000 worth of reductions from the original proposal. The budget reflects a $2.8 million, or 1.8 percent, increase from the current year.   The council also approved the proposed $8,893,000 million general funds capital budget and a $1,627,500 capital budget for enterprise accounts. During budget hearings, the council cut a

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Local Children and Family Organizations Honor 'Reunification Day'
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:23AM / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Judge Joan McMenemy said she often sees good people in bad situations. She is grateful for the organizations that help families. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Four years ago, Jose Miranda was detained by immigration and was taken away from his son, Eli, for whom he was the sole caretaker.   He knew at the time he wasn't in a good position to properly care for his son. He was struggling with securing stable housing. He needed regular employment. He started working with the state Department of Children and Family on all of those issues, knowing he could eventually get back to his son.   And he did.   "He was released, returned to Berkshire County, returned to his

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State Officials Launch Passenger Rail Expansion Efforts
04:43PM / Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The state is also launching a pilot passenger service between Greenfield and Springfield next year, from the Olver Transit Center. SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The state is launching the first step in determining the feasibility of east/west passenger rail between Pittsfield and Boston.    Gov. Charlie Baker, surrounded by state and federal officials at Union Station, announced on Tuesday that the state Department of Transportation is soliciting requests for proposals for a consultant team to study the feasibility of east-west passenger rail service, the launch of a pilot for passenger rail service between Greenfield and Springfield, and one-seat service through Springfield to

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College Notes: June 2018
03:37PM / Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Student Emma Whittum of Williamstown, a junior at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., studied in Spain during spring 2018 semester. The program she participated in is one of 100 study-abroad programs offered to undergraduates.

 

Annie Wenger-Schulman of Pittsfield, a graduate of the Advanced Inquiry Program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently traveled to Mongolia with the program's Project Dragonfly. Wenger-Schulman studied the ecology of steppe ecosystems, with a focus on the Pallas' cat, Przewalski's horse and participatory conservation media. Project Dragonfly's Earth Expeditions graduate courses offers firsthand educational and scientific research at

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Selectmen to Skyline: Events Are Getting Out of Control
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:02AM / Tuesday, June 12, 2018
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Selectmen has a message for the Skyline Country Club: the parties are starting to get out of hand.   Skyline owner Jim Mitus has been leasing the clubhouse to a local event organizers Mad Crew three or four nights a year for the last few years. During each of the last three events, however, police had to respond to an array of issues. Town officials had somewhat of an intervention on Monday as they asked Mitus to keep a closer eye on those parties.   "I just don't want this to be the next Chameleons or the next Pepes. I know you run a clean house but unfortunately, stuff is kind of accumulating and we're worried about it," Police

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Biz Briefs: Berkshire Realtors Host Battle of the Bartenders
02:47PM / Monday, June 11, 2018
Bartending for a cause

The Berkshire Realtors will host an evening of competitive bartending on Monday, June 11, at Gala Restaurant & Bar at Orchards Hotel in Williamstown. Six teams will square off in half-hour shifts to see who can raise the most tips during their time behind the bar. Proceeds support the Berkshire Immigrant Center.

The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. at Gala, located at 222 Adams Road (Route 2) in Williamstown. Bartending teams and schedules for the evening are: 5-5:30 p.m. Maureen Baran & Erin Scott; 5:30-6 p.m. Buffy Lord & Susan Gold; 6-6:30 p.m. Brooke Mead & Joe Bergeron; 6:30-7 p.m. Seth Alden & Terry Lamb; 7-7:30 p.m. Jason Dohaney & Sarah

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