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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Independent Investor: Don't Worry, Be Happy
By Bill Schmick,
04:02PM / Thursday, March 23, 2017

It is official: the happiest country in the world is Norway, with Denmark the runner-up, according to the World Happiness Report. What lessons can we learn from this survey and what, if anything, should we do as a nation to join their ranks?

Where, you might ask, do we here in the U.S. rank? The answer would be No. 14, down from No. 3 in 2007. The least happy inhabitants on Earth appear to be in Africa while the average Chinese person is no happier than he was 25 years ago, despite the country's much-lauded economic miracle.

How do a pair of tiny countries stay so happy for so long?  It sure isn't the weather, where it is so cold that summers require overcoats and the days

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Pittsfield Committed to Diversity But Work Still to Be Done
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
10:42PM / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mayor Linda Tyer says her administration is committed to opening up opportunities for the city's minority populations.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A recent letter to the editor castigating the city's administration for failing to promote affirmative action prompted Mayor Linda Tyer to respond with a full court press.

James M. Boyle, currently of Cheshire, a former School Committee member and city councilor, was upset by a recent photo of the nine new firefighters hired through Civil Service and a $1.1 million grant. The white firefighters, he wrote to The Berkshire Eagle, showed a lack of commitment to diversity and he urged citizens to tell state and federal officials to cut off

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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

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by Soapbox 04:10PM / Tuesday, December 10, 2013

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Habitat for Humanity ReStore Celebrating Earth Day by Holding DIY Contest
12:48PM / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity ReStore is celebrating Earth Day 2017 by asking people to give a second life to donated materials, reducing waste in landfills and by putting their "do-it-yourself" skills to work.

Participants should register for the Do-it-Yourself contest at ReStore, 399 Hubbard Ave., by March 25 to get their project materials and chance to win the grand prize, a $100 certificate to the ReStore.

The number of Contestants is limited to the first 20 entries. There is an entry fee of $10, which includes a cabinet door front and a 10 percent discount coupon. Get a chance to win the grand prize and have the title of being

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Help Protect Older Adults from Financial Abuse
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:02AM / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Financial exploitation costs older Americans billions of dollars per year, according to several sources, including the National Council on Aging. If you have older parents, could they be vulnerable to financial scams and rip-off artists? And, if so, what can you do to help protect them?

Unfortunately, it is possible for anyone to become a victim. For a variety of reasons, older adults may be easier targets than younger people. And that is why, when interacting with your parents, you should look for these warning signs:

* Suspicious new relationships: If your parent mentions something about a new friend, a romantic partner or some type of caregiver who seems to have taken a great interest

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Berkshire Arts, Research Take Hits in White House Budget
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

LENOX, Mass. — Proposed cuts in President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 spending plan would create serious problems for the creative economy.

"The real travesty is this is actually taking money out of the pockets of people who are trying to keep food on their table while teaching kids," Shakespeare & Company Artistic Director Allyn Burrows said this week.

"[Lawmakers in Washington, D.C.] may not feel their personal connection with the arts, but their kids do. This is all part of that fabric. It's doing the next generation a disservice to yank that."

"That" would be the National Endowment for the Arts, one of the federal programs that would

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Pittsfield Brainstorms Future of Parks and Open Spaces
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:17AM / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

BRPC Planner Lauren Gaherty outlined exactly how much open space and recreation space the city has and why it is important. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Expand the skate park. Add lights to Clapp Park. Fix the drainage at the old beach at Pontoosuc Lake. More benches at Burbank.    And the list goes on.   These are some of 43 ideas thrown out by more than 50 residents Tuesday night to help the city craft a new parks and open space plan.   The Parks Commission held a public hearing as it works toward the new plan. Those ideas will be consolidated and crafted into a bold vision to guide the next seven years.    "We are trying to be creative. We are trying

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Xerox Affiliate Opens Office Space In Allegrone Co-Working Building
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:02PM / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The company becomes the first tenant in the Berkshire Design Center.  LENOX, Mass. — Connecticut Business Systems, a Xerox company, cut the ribbon on new office space on Pittsfield Road as it looks to grow its Berkshire operations.    The company is becoming the first tenant in Allegrone's Berkshire Design Center, a multi-office building featuring 16 suites for lease. CBS had previous operated out of a small office space in Pittsfield and will now expand it's local service through the new location.    "We see Lenox as a growing community in the Berkshires and we really want to put a focus on the Berkshires, growing our resources within the

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Local Environmentalists Oppose Policies Supporting Natural Gas
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:00PM / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Christopher Kilfoyle of Berkshire Photovoltaic Services is pushing for 100 percent of the state's energy come from renewable sources. 

DALTON, Mass. — Dicken Crane has a large solar array on his Holiday Brook Farm. He has a forest management program to harvest timber to burn in a wood furnaces.

He doesn't need more natural gas.

Crane is one of some 500 businesses that have signed onto a petition against Gov. Charlie Baker's push for access to more natural gas.    Baker has been supportive of new natural-gas infrastructure and had previously introduced a proposal to allow electric utilities to levy a tax on users to pay for infrastructure,

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Letter: Say No to Immigration, Yes to Making Pittsfield Great again
Letters to the Editor,
02:00PM / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

To the Editor:

This past November election has taught us all many things. It has reminded us that the "long shot" should never be counted out and sometimes it ultimately prevails. Donald Trump is now our president, an upset to some and a relief to others.

I am of the latter. I am a huge Trump supporter. Why not build the wall and protect ourselves and to help pay for it, he can start by taking money away from sanctuary cities. I am for veterans before immigrants. Love him or hate him, he is making a nation think about issues we have all taken for granted.

Which leads me to the anger I felt when the city of Pittsfield claimed that they will welcome immigrants with open arms. While

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First Phase of Springside House Restoration Starts This Spring
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:54AM / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The porch was last re-done in 1974 and since the boards need to be lifted for the foundation work, it is being redone again this year. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The first phase of the restoration of the Springside House is slated to begin this spring.   The city awarded Allegrone Construction a $212,000 contract to fix the foundation, a portion of the roof, and drainage controls. The construction will start in the spring, addressing the most immediate needs to preserve the building.   From there, advocates and city officials are continuing to plan the exact usage of the building for the future.    "The foundation had been compromised for a number of reasons,

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Taconic High Student Arrested After Handgun Found in Backpack
Staff Reports,
05:26PM / Monday, March 20, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Taconic High School student is facing a raft of charges after allegedly shooting a man in the hand on Monday.

The student left school grounds without permission at noontime and later was arrested by police at the high school after being found with a handgun in his possession.

School officials released a statement to parents saying the unidentified juvenile was involved in a gun-related incident off-campus and that a search found a handgun in his backpack.

According to police, dispatch received a call reporting a disturbance at a residence on Danforth Avenue and a second call reported reported gunfire. Responding units encountered an adult man with a gunshot

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United Cerebral Palsy Awarded Assistive Technology Regional Center Contract
02:28PM / Monday, March 20, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County has been awarded the Assistive Technology Regional Center contract through 2027.

The anticipated annual amount for the contract is $100,000 per year. Funding for this program is part of the MassMATCH federal program which is administered by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and allows UCP to lend assistive technology equipment and offer demonstrations throughout Western Massachusetts.

"At UCP, we believe technology is the key to unlocking human potential, so I am pleased to announce that UCP has been officially awarded the contract to offer Assistive Technology Regional Center services to Western

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