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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Warren: Grit, Determination Will Get BCC Graduates to Next Goal
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:14PM / Friday, May 29, 2015
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren congratulated the graduating class of BCC on their grit, telling them they'll need to reach the next goals. Left, Warren poses with BCC President Ellen Kennedy. See more photos here. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — College wasn't always in the cards for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.   When she was growing up her family struggled to pay the bills. After high school she went to college but dropped out just two years in and started a family. Eventually, she paid $50 a semester at the University of Houston to become the first of her family with a degree. Her academic path would take her Rutgers School of Law-Newark and finally as professor of economics and

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The Independent Investor: Man's Most Expensive Friend
By Bill Schmick,
04:37PM / Friday, May 29, 2015

The pet business is booming. Last year, we spent $58.5 billion on our animal buddies and will plunk down an additional 4-5 percent more this year. The lion's share of that increase, after food, is going toward health care.

One reason for this growth is that a record numbers of Americans have pets today. The ASPCA estimates that there are 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats that are homesteading in our houses. That means that approximately 37-47 percent of all American households own either a dog or cat. If you throw in birds, fish, rabbits and other small pets, nearly 70 percent of Americans own pets today.

There was a time when the experts could just tell you how much that pet

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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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BHS, Medicaid Insurers Set Enrollment Fairs
11:12AM / Friday, May 29, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems, in conjunction with several Medicaid insurance providers, will hold special insurance enrollment assistance fairs throughout the Berkshires on Monday and Tuesday, June 1-2.

These fairs are designed to aid local residents currently enrolled with Boston Medical Center HealthNet (BMC HealthNet) to choose another insurer if they wish, in order to be covered in-network for Berkshire Health Systems hospitals and physician practice health services.

BMC HealthNet has terminated its contract with Berkshire Health Systems, including services provided by Berkshire Medical Center, Fairview Hospital, the Berkshire VNA & Hospice and BMC and

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Downtown Pittsfield Farmer's Market Expects 20 percent Increase This Year
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:52AM / Friday, May 29, 2015
Jessica Conzo updated the City Council on the success of the farmers' market's move to downtown. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — So far, the farmer's market is seeing a 15 to 20 percent increase in foot traffic by moving to the First Street Common.   Downtown Farmer's Market Manager Jessica Conzo said the weekly event, now in its third season, has attracted thousands of shoppers and is on solid financial footing. The city provided $10,000 in seed money to get the market going for its first summer in 2013.   "We saw 10,000 people come through last year," Conzo told the City Council on Tuesday.   For the first two years, the market was being held in

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United Independent Party Director Launches Bid For Pittsfield Council
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:24AM / Friday, May 29, 2015
Taylor DiSantis has launched his campaign for City Council.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Many of the people who grew up with Taylor DiSantis have graduated college but have no plans to return to the Berkshires.

It isn't because they don't want to, DiSantis says. They won't return because they don't have job opportunities.

The 24-year-old is now running for an at large seat on the City Council with his primary focus being job creation.   The political science major at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is jumping into the spotlight after working on the 2012 Andrea Nuciforo campaign for Congress and Evan Falchuk's run for governor last year.   He

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Adams Community Bank Celebrates Staff
05:18PM / Thursday, May 28, 2015

ADAMS, Mass. — Adams Community Bank recently hosted its annual Retirement and Service Award Celebration at Zucchini's Restaurant in Pittsfield.  

It was a special evening honoring staff members who have reached important service milestones in their careers.

Donna Tatro has dedicated the last 27 years to her customers in the Williamstown branch and is preparing for retirement.

"I look back on my career fondly and have built many long lasting relationships. I will miss my customers and coworkers but look forward to enjoying my retirement," she said. "I've especially enjoyed visiting with customers, and their pets, while taking care of their banking needs

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Lanesborough Sets 2015 Town Meeting Warrant
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:52PM / Thursday, May 28, 2015
The Board of Selectmen finalized the warrant on Tuesday. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Town meeting will be voting on 27 articles on Tuesday, June 9.   The largest article is for the proposed $10.4 million budget, which is about $360,0000 more than last year.   The majority of that budget is for education, with the Finance Committee recommending spending $6.4 million on the three schools the town's students attend — Mount Greylock Regional, McCann Technical and Lanesborough Elementary.   Mount Greylock assessment is proposed to see an increase of a $102,870 over this year for a total of $2,726.051. The elementary school budget and the McCann assessment have both

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New Pittsfield Program Feeds Elementary Pupils For Free
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:21AM / Thursday, May 28, 2015
All of the elementary school meals will be paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Every elementary school student will receive free breakfast and lunch next year.   The School Department has joined the federal Community Eligibility Provision program designated for districts with high levels of poverty. The program ups the U.S. Department of Agriculture's reimbursement for meals provided at participating schools.   Participating districts must have more than 40 percent enrollment from low-income households to be eligible and the higher percentage of low-income students in a school or district, the higher the

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Pittsfield Auctions Off 54 Tax Liens for $667,000
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:16PM / Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The city held an auction Tuesday afternoon for tax title liens. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city has recouped about 20 percent of the back taxes owed through the process of auctioning off tax title liens.   The effort culminated with $667,000 being sold at auction Tuesday afternoon. Since February when the auction was announced, some $1.2 million in back taxes were paid by the property owners, according to Director of Finance and Administration Susan Carmel.   "It was a very successful day," Carmel said Tuesday night.   Strategic Auction Alliance was hired to perform the auction. The city took a new tactic this year by selling the liens — or the debt

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C-SPAN to Broadcast BCC Speech by Sen. Warren
01:57PM / Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – C-SPAN will tape and air U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren's keynote speech at Berkshire Community College's 55th commencement Exercises on Friday at Tanglewood in Lenox.

Warren was elected to the Senate in 2012 and is recognized as one of the nation's top experts on bankruptcy and the financial pressures facing middle class families. She has introduced the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which, if passed, would allow borrowers to refinance their public and/or private student loans at lower interest rates.

"We are pleased that C-SPAN selected Senator Elizabeth Warren's keynote speech at Berkshire Community College's

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Pittsfield Paid $80K In Moving Costs to 100 North St.
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:48AM / Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The City Council requested a detailed list of the expenses to move the inspection services to 100 North St. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city spent $80,000 to move the inspection services to 100 North.   In response to a request from Councilor at Large Barry Clairmont, Mayor Daniel Bianchi's office provided a detailed account of the expenses to move the health, building, utilities, fire, a community development agent and a conservation agent offices to the mezzanine level of 100 North St.   The total was $80,873.91   The largest expenditure was $17,150 for information technology services from Comalli Group. That coupled with $5,980 for Comm-Tract to run fiber

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Pittsfield Licensing Board OKs New Classic Car Business
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:54PM / Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Terrance Gates Jr. got the license he needs to start his own used car dealership.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Terrance Gates Jr. has worked on classic cars his whole life.

Now, he is taking all of that experience and turning it into a business. 

Gates is opening T's Kustom Auto on Dalton Avenue this summer and is specializing in buying and selling classic cars. He received the auto dealer license from the city on Tuesday and hopes to have his shop open this summer.   "I am really familiar with classic cars. It'll be cars that they don't offer on everyday lots," Gates said. "I want a niche."   Gates spent a lot of time working on and selling

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