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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

'We Are Your Friends': Thursday Night Fever
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:15PM / Thursday, September 03, 2015
Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
Warner Bros. Zach Efron comes of age to the beat of electronic dance music in 'We Are Your Friends.'

Cole Carter, an aspiring DJ played by Zac Efron, doubtfully knows what a bildungsroman is, even though that's what he's experiencing in director Max Joseph's "We Are Your Friends." Quite simply, it's a subgenre of the good old coming-of-age story, wherein the protagonist, usually in his late teens or early twenties, forms his view of things. In filmdom, we've been taking note of this psychological transition ever since Andy Hardy popularized the notion back

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Pittsfield's Superintendent McCandless Given Six-year Contract Extension
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:35PM / Thursday, September 03, 2015
Superintendent Jason McCandless agreed to a six-year contract extension. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee has approved a six-year extension to Superintendent Jason McCandless' contract.   The committee approved the extension on Wednesday, which replaces a four-year contract he signed in 2013 and will take him until 2021.   McCandless makes $157,000 and the agreement freezes what was a 1 percent annual raise.   "Even a small increase on my salary is money. I'm not going to do this while we are laying people off," McCandless said.   The raises could come back for negotiation as early as next year but for now, McCandless' salary

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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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Pittsfield Hoping One School Will Pilot School Uniforms
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:26PM / Wednesday, September 02, 2015
The School Committee approved a dress code policy that does not include specific uniforms but the board said it would like a school to pilot a uniform program. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee is wondering if one of its principals will pilot a school uniform program.   On Wednesday, the School Committee approved a dress code policy but toyed with the idea of finding a school to pilot uniforms. The members said the uniforms wouldn't automatically improve tests scores but could go a long way in improving school culture and reducing bullying.   "One of my concerns when I was looking at the dress code is that they are difficult to enforce. They take time

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Berkshire Federal Credit Union to Merge with Greylock
01:47PM / Wednesday, September 02, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Greylock Federal Credit Union and Berkshire Federal Credit Union have agreed to merge the two institutions.

The Boards of Directors at both credit unions have approved the merger, and approval from the National Credit Union Administration has been granted. Retiring Berkshire Federal Manager/President Evelyn Torrey will stay on for a period of time as a consultant to assist with the transition. All Berkshire Federal staff will join the Greylock team.

“Berkshire Federal Credit Union has served the employees of Berkshire Health Systems, its affiliates, and many other community members very well since 1966," Torrey said. "The challenging financial

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Downing Seeks Local Participants for Citizens Legislative Seminar
01:43PM / Wednesday, September 02, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing is seeking local residents to nominate as participants of the 75th Citizens Legislative Seminar, to be held Oct. 20-21 at the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

The CLS is a semi-annual educational seminar geared toward adults of all ages interested in learning more about state government and the legislative process.

Established in 1976 through a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, the two-day seminar features engaging presentations by senators and staff on aspects of the day-to-day experience of legislators in the commonwealth. Topics will include the history and process of the

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Greylock Provides Third Installment of $50,000 Pledge to Meals on Wheels
10:58AM / Wednesday, September 02, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Elder Services recently received the third of five $10,000 contributions that Greylock Federal Credit Union is making to support Elder Services of Berkshire County’s Meals on Wheels program.

The five-year $50,000 pledge by Greylock began in 2013 and will be completed in 2017.

“Elder Services reminds us that no one should have to go hungry," Greylock President Marilyn L. Sperling said. "We believe that the Meals on Wheels program is not only a necessity for homebound seniors, but also for the family members involved. We applaud the mission of Elder Services, and it is a pleasure to provide benefits for those whose interests we

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Pittsfield's Ives Pledges Communication In Bid For Council Seat
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:14AM / Wednesday, September 02, 2015
Sadler Avenue resident Tammy Ives is seeking a seat on the City Council as the Ward 1 representative. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Tammy Ives says Ward 1 residents have trouble getting their voices heard.   Ives is now challenging incumbent Lisa Tully for the seat on the City Council. Ives says she would greatly improve communication among residents.   "My No. 1 goal for the ward would be to have open communication. It is very important for me that if somebody calls or e-mails me with a problem or question that they get a response within 24 hours," Ives said.    Ives said there is no excuse for concerns to go unaddressed for more than a day and vows if

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Early Cost Estimations Show New Taconic Project On Budget
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:44PM / Tuesday, September 01, 2015
The School Building Needs Commission approved the submission of early cost estimations to the Massachusetts School Building Authority. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The first round of estimations are finding the Taconic High School plans within budget.   Over the last month, Drumney Rosane & Anderson Architects Inc. finished another, more detailed design plan and consultants Skanska USA and construction managers Gilbane Buildings both did independent cost estimations.   "Both numbers are amazing close," said John Benzinger of Skanska. "Both were under the project budget."   The sides came together to reconcile the differences in calculations but

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Pittsfield Hot Dog Ranch Eyes Move To Former Jimmy's Restaurant
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:49AM / Tuesday, September 01, 2015
The Licensing Board approved the transfer to the owners of the Hot Dog Ranch on Monday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Hot Dog Ranch is looking to move into the former Jimmy's Restaurant location on West Housatonic Street.   The Licensing Board approved the transfer of a liquor  license to DBM Ranch Inc. on Monday and the owners are hoping to relocate the Hot Dog Ranch from its Linden Street location to the vacant restaurant. The company bought the liquor license at auction.   "We are currently under contract to sell the building," said attorney Thomas Martin, who represented the Hot Dog Ranch at Monday's meeting. "The Hot Dog Ranch would relocate

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Pittsfield Schools Staff Ready For First Day of Classes
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:18PM / Monday, August 31, 2015
Katie Wiader told her co-workers that she is just as excited about the first day of school than she was 27 years ago. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Dawne DiNicola believes she has the best job anyone could ask for.   She has been a kindergarten teacher at Crosby Elementary School for 22 years.   "They are funny and they are happy. They are literal and innocent. And best of all, I get to see them grow," DiNicola told a Taconic High School gymnasium full of School Department employees.   DiNicola was one of 16 school employees to speak about their job at Monday's convocation at which all of the employees gathered to kick off a new school year, which opens on

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Pittsfield Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Murder
Staff Reports,
04:11PM / Monday, August 31, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The suspect in the shooting murder of 18-year-old Keenan S. Pellot Jr. has has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

Thomas Lee Newman Jr., 18, was arraigned on Monday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court before Judge John Agostini.

Newman entered not-guilty pleas to single counts of murder, armed assault with intent to commit murder and illegal possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun.

He is accused of killing Pellot and seriously wounding a 17-year-old boy in a midday shooting on Tyler Street on July 31, 2015.

The shooting set off a massive manhunt for Newman, who was being described as "armed and dangerous." He was arrested two days later in

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Best Buy In Berkshire Mall To Close At The End of October
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:07AM / Monday, August 31, 2015

Best Buy at the Berkshire Mall will close.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Best Buy at the Berkshire Mall will close at the end of October.   The retail company informed employees on Sunday that it will not renew the lease for the location, which will leave 63 employees jobless.   "The location lease was up for renewal and we made the business decision not to renew," said Best Buy Spokeswoman Carly Charlson on Monday morning.   Charlson said the company opts to close stores generally based on increasing lease costs, low sales or the strength of the retail center the store is located in. Charlson didn't specify what factors led to this

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