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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Can You Make Your Investments Less 'Taxing'?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
12:06PM / Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tax Freedom Day, which typically occurs in late April, according to the Tax Foundation, is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year. So you may want to use this opportunity to determine if you can liberate yourself from some investment-related taxes in the future.

Actually, Tax Freedom Day is something of a fiction, in practical terms, because most people pay their taxes throughout the year via payroll deductions. Also, you may not mind paying your share of taxes, because your tax dollars are used in many ways – such as law enforcement, food safety, road maintenance, public education, and so on – that, taken


Fire Damages Pittsfield Apartment Kitchen
Staff Reports,
10:19AM / Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The fire was confined to the kitchen area. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A fire caused by cooking caused damage to a Columbus Avenue kitchen.   Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Garner reported that at 8 p.m. firefighters were called to 324 Columbus Avenue for report of a structure fire and that the blaze was brought "under control quickly."   The occupants were not displaced.   "Upon arrival Car-2 founds the fire showing on an interior door. An occupant was attempting to extinguish the fire," Garner wrote in a report.    Three engines, a ladder truck, and a square care responded to the scene. One occupant suffered some smoke inhalation but refused


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

Lanesborough Retirees Weigh in on Health Insurance Proposal
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:10AM / Wednesday, April 27, 2016
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Town retirees say they were one of the first to agree to move to Medicare when few were doing that.   They don't receive any additional reimbursement as available in other towns and, at age 65, health insurance premiums jump by some 30 percent, according to Charles Oranellas, a former member of the public employee committee. The move to the federal Medicare program saved the town by reducing its contributions toward health care because the federal government took over the majority of the cost.    The Board of Selectmen are now looking to up the percentage retirees pay for their health-care plans to capitalize on an expected reduction in Medex


Pittsfield Council Nearing End Of Vice Presidency Debate
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:15PM / Tuesday, April 26, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It's been more than four months since a lengthy City Council debate about how to pick a vice president and still no resolution has been adopted.   On Tuesday, the council tabled a set of rule changes that include outlining that a vice president would be elected by the councilors during inauguration.   The vice president selection process had sparked a heated debate at the end of the year that included a charter objection and councilors petitioning for a special meeting. A temporary compromise was reached but the debate triggered a full review of the rules.   "I still don't like it. I don't like when we changed it and I don't like


Taconic Project Passes 90 Percent Design Phase
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:32PM / Tuesday, April 26, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The 90 percent design drawings for the new Taconic High School have been submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority but architect Carl Franceschi says the design work is closer to 100 percent.   "We are actually beyond 90 percent completion of the full document," Franceschi, of Drummey Rosane Anderson, told the School Building Needs Commission on Monday.   By mid-June the full specifications will be completed, he said, and that's when the bidding process for the most of the work will be put to bid. The design work is continually updated and price estimated to ensure that the construction is no more than the $97.7 million


SDA Youth Soccer Teams Post Three Wins
08:17AM / Tuesday, April 26, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Some quality Soccer Domain Academy performances were on display throughout Massachusetts with three teams posting wins in Week 3 of the spring travel soccer season last weeknd.


U12 Boys

Five SDA teams travelled away from home to play while one hosted GPS at Berkshire Community College on another amazing spring day in Massachusetts.


The initial game of the day featured the U12 Boys in Easthampton against Western United.


After an even start of the game, Western United took the lead through a good finish from the center midfielder. The ball fell to him on the edge of the box and a looping volley beat the goalkeeper.  For the remainder of the


Bloomberg Releases Platform for 3rd District Representative
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:23AM / Tuesday, April 26, 2016


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Democratic candidate for Pittsfield's state representative Michael Bloomberg released this weekend a platform focused on eight issues he'd like to tackle if elected.   The platform was released in tandem with his website. While he highlighted eight areas of focus, he said his highest priorities will be on jobs, education, and public safety. The other focus areas are the opioid crisis, "smart" government, veterans services, environmental sustainability, and taxes.    "I believe the three broadest, biggest issues for the city are jobs and economic development, public safety and our school system. I have really focused


New Wine Bar Eyed For Downtown Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:34AM / Tuesday, April 26, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new wine bar is planned for downtown.   Susan Jansen, who once was part owner of the former Halpins, is looking to open Regions Wine Bar and Nosh in the Crawford Square building. Jansen received a seasonal beer and wine license from the Licensing Board on Monday.   "It's just going to be a quite, peaceful place," Jansen said. "It's not going to fill up with the young, drinking crowd."   There won't be any jukebox or entertainment. Nor will there even be televisions for the crowd Jansen says is expected to be people just getting out of work or a movie. The small, 898-square-foot space to the left from the main


Berkshire Tidbits: Spring Cleaning, Mushroom Cultivation
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
04:05PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

Mariette and James Rickard show other gardeners at Canoe Meadows community gardens one of their prized 'peanut' pumpkins at the annual end-of-season garden picnic celebration in 2010.

Last Saturday, April 23, was an Earth Day celebration and inauguration of the new community gardens at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds. This Saturday, April 30, from 9 to noon, will be a day to prepare the community gardens at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Pittsfield, sponsored by Berkshire Sanctuaries during Massachusetts Audubon's Statewide Volunteer Day, for spring — for the 40th year!

Before that, Pittsfield's community gardens were near the old Burgner's turkey farm,


Countywide Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 30
02:34PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

This spring, community coalitions from across the county have joined forces to host the biannual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at eight locations within Berkshire County.

The process of dropping off medication is anonymous and quick, and it has potential life-saving benefits. Anyone with unused, unwanted and expired prescription, over-the-counter and controlled medications should stop by to dispose of them safely. Personal needles are also accepted in puncture proof plastic containers. Please note that the following items will not be accepted: thermometers, IV bags, blood or infectious waste, nebulizers and oxygen tanks.

Locations include:



Williamstown Resident Joins Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees
02:29PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Joan B. Hunter has joined the Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees as its newest member.

Hunter, a Pittsfield native and Williamstown resident, brings a wealth of experience as a dedicated volunteer in the cultural community here in the Berkshires as well as her professional expertise in the field of education.

The trustees and staff of the museum are currently engaged in a long-range strategic master planning process, making this an exciting time to join the governing board for the Museum. The goals of the master plan are to create a sustainable, relevant institution that continues to provide high quality experiences for its participants in the 21st


Critical Care Specialist Honored With Patient-Centered Award
01:40PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A highly respected BMC Pulmonary and Critical Care specialist has been recognized with the 2016 Patient-Centered Physician Award, presented annually to a physician who exemplifies the philosophy of patient-centered care at BMC.

Dr. Hafez Alsmaan was awarded the honor during a special ceremony on March 30, National Doctors Day.

“Dr. Alsmaan has brought a powerful spirit to the hospital, and his heart and soul belong to his patients, their families and his colleagues at BMC,” said Diane Kelly, RN, BMC's chief operating officer. “He is the kind of physician who leaves a lasting mark on all who are in his care. It is his life’s work, his


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