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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Council Supports Having Option Of Contracting With Law Firm
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:55AM / Thursday, April 14, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The mayor now has the option of hiring a staff person or a law firm to be the city solicitor. Well, at least according to city code.    The City Council approved a language change in the city code that changes "city solicitor" to "city solicitor/ legal firm." The intent of the change is to give Mayor Linda Tyer the ability to look at both forms of representation when considering options to fill the position on a more permanent basis.   Getting such a change, however, came with a lengthy discussion amongst the councilors, with opponents fighting the language change to prevent a law firm from being contracted.   Councilor at

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Lanesborough Looks To Raise Retirees' Share of Health Insurance
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:40PM / Wednesday, April 13, 2016
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Town officials are looking to increase the percentage retirees pay in health care as a way to save the town money.   The Board of Selectmen peppered attorney Adam Dupere with questions Monday night about Supreme Court rulings that give municipalities the ability to change the split without renegotiations or a vote at town meeting.   Dupere said he felt it was clear that the town have the ability to change the percentage with just a public hearing and vote of the Board of Selectmen. He said likely there'd be a challenge by the unions but it'd be a challenge he doesn't believe would hold up in court.   The only rule surrounding the

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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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Berkshire Tidbits: Preparing for Passover
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
08:57PM / Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The menu for the Haven Supper Club for the week of April 11 to 15 will be:

Roast chicken with asparagus, roasted potatoes and sherry mushroom sauce Lemon roasted rainbow trout with sautéed kale and basmati rice Roast pork loin with sautéed spinach, polenta and pineapple chutney Mushroom risotto with butternut squash and asparagus

Entrées come with soup or salad and cost $22 for one to three dinners ordered, $75 for four dinners ordered, $110 for six dinners, $200 for 12 dinners. They can be any of the dinners.

Order by Wednesday, pick up at the bakery in Lenox on Friday. The staff suggests people can order for different meals and can choose among that

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Austen Riggs Chief Becomes 'CEO Against Stigma'
03:05PM / Wednesday, April 13, 2016

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Named one of the nation’s best hospitals in psychiatry in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report, the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge is leading the way once again.  

Medical Director and CEO, Dr. Andrew Gerber has signed the pledge to become a "CEO Against Stigma," taking his commitment to mental health for everyone another step further. By signing on to the campaign, created by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Mass), Dr. Gerber demonstrates that a stigma-free work environment for his 142 employees and their families is a priority.

“Partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness is a key

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Pittsfield Firefighters Snuff Out Attic Fire On Dawes Ave.
Staff Reports,
12:27PM / Wednesday, April 13, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters snuffed out an attic fire on Dawes Avenue Tuesday night.   According to Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Stephenson, firefighters were called to 53 Dawes Avenue at about 10:30. Upon arrival a small fire was located in the attic and a man was injured.   "One occupant burned his hands trying to control the fire. He sought medical attention," Stephenson wrote in a report on the incident.    The fire was apparently caused by "improper disposal of a cigarette" and one room, which was used for storage, was damaged. However, the home is likely habitable, Stephenson said, depending on inspections on

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While Paying Off Student Loans, Don’t Forget About Retirement
11:46AM / Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Even if you’ve been out of school for a few years, you may still have a vivid reminder of college: your student loan debt.

Since you’ve joined the workforce, you might be paying back your loans as best you can. But can you gradually reduce your debts while still putting money away for your long-term goals – such as retirement?

Of course, you might think it’s premature to even think about retiring, since you probably have decades to go before you say goodbye to the working world. But the sooner you begin saving and investing for retirement, the more time you’ll have for your money to grow. Plus, your early start will help you avoid having to play “catch

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Pittsfield Looking to Refinance $4.2M in Long-term Debt
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:15AM / Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The City Council was somewhat split on whether the item had to go to subcommittee. Councilors Christopher Connell and Anthony Simonelli thought so while Lisa Tully and Nicholas Caccamo were among the group voting that it didn't.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is looking to refinance $4.2 million in long-term debt incurred in 2008.   Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood received City Council approval to start the process of issuing refunding bonds for the debt. The will city will basically be paying off those callable bonds from 2008 with money borrowed at a lower interest rate.   The bonds will still mature in 2028 but, because of the new interest rates, Kerwood

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St. Joe High Accredited, Approves Strategic Plan
02:54PM / Tuesday, April 12, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — St. Joseph Central High School has been accredited for 10 years by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The recent acknowledgment by NEASC affirms the academic excellence of the diocesan high school's programs and offerings, said school officials. The self-evaluation process, which is also extended to public schools, sets specific criteria as it reviews all aspects of a school.

School Board President John O'Brien applauded the many individuals and their countless meetings involved in the accreditation process, stating that it was "no small undertaking. We are extremely pleased with the NEASC commendations and have incorporated all of

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Tractor Supply Paper Clover Drive Benefits 4-H
01:38PM / Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Tractor Supply Company, in partnership with National 4-H Council, launches its 2016 Spring Paper Clover Campaign this week

Local Tractor Supply customers can purchase paper clovers between April 13 and April 24 for $1 or more during checkout. All funds raised will be used to support 4-H youth development program activities in the communities where Tractor Supply stores are located.

 "We were so thrilled by the results of last year's Paper Clover Campaign, and with the help of our dedicated customers we hope to meet and exceed that goal this year," said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply. "Partnering

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Lanesborough Considering Reconstruction Options for Summer Street
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:27AM / Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Engineer Paul Furgal gave the Selectmen his thoughts on the process and the challenges. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Selectmen are trying to figure out the best way to reconstruct Summer Street.   The road spans from Route 7 over to Old State Road, right near the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail and Route 8. Heading east from Route 7, Summer Street travels up a steep hill through a tight residential neighborhood with a sidewalk leading up to the Elementary School.   Shortly past the elementary school, at the Partridge Road intersection, the road breaks into a winding, narrow, and rural road into Berkshire Village.   The two seemingly disparate potions of the road is posing

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Campaign Statement: Addressing the Heroin Crisis in Western Mass
By Adam Hinds, Guest Columnist
04:53PM / Monday, April 11, 2016

I recently attended the National Summit on Heroin in Atlanta, where President Obama announced new federal action to combat the epidemic. A week earlier, Massachusetts Governor Baker signed legislation intended to curb opioid use. These actions at the state and national level signal that we are moving from sounding the alarm on heroin addiction to practical steps aimed at turning the tide. Yet more needs to be done, especially in Western Massachusetts.

Getting ahead of this epidemic requires addressing it as a major public health crisis. We need a comprehensive, community approach that links law enforcement and the medical community with mental health professionals and accessible

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St. Joseph Students Receive Multiple Literary Honors
02:03PM / Monday, April 11, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — St. Joseph Central High School honors writer Taylor Jordao finished in the top 1 percent of nearly 3,000 writers in the Letters About Literature writing contest, sponsored by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. 

In recognition for her letter to author Shel Silverstein, Jordao and 14 other high school writers received commendations at the March 15 ceremony at the State House in the Great Hall. Jordao also met with Sen. Benjamin Downing, a St. Joseph alumnus (class of 1999).

Other St. Joseph students finishing as Letters About Literature semi-finalists, in the top 10 percent of entries, were: Elizabeth Bean, Ilyssa Creamer, Camila Gomez, Leanne Hamilton,

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