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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Recount Confirms Rivers as Pittsfield Ward 5 Councilor
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
11:23AM / Monday, November 16, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Donna Todd Rivers will be the new Ward 5 city councilor after a recount on Monday morning confirmed a 12-vote win over her opponent.

Rivers polled 743 votes to Richard Scapin's 730 in the general election two weeks ago. That narrow vote gap prompted Scapin, a former City Council president, to petition for a recount.

In the end, he picked up one vote, cutting River's thin edge of victory to a round dozen votes.

"The recount is done, the voters' decision has been confirmed and now it's time to move forward," Rivers said after the results were announced. "I've got a lot of work to do."

Scapin and Rivers were vying for the


Berkshire County Arc Celebrates Accomplishments
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:25AM / Monday, November 16, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire County Arc is as much family as support agency.

That was the message on Friday morning as some 200 staff and clients filled the Itam Lodge for the nonprofit organization's 61st annual meeting.

"When it started it was just a job, now it's become a passion ...  I've learned so much from every individual I've worked with, from every staff member, every supervisor and I can't imagine doing anything else for a living," said Barbara Tanski, BC Arc's brain injury site manager for 11 years and this year's recipient of the Carol Craighead Mission Award.

Craighead, who died in 2010, had been involved with BC Arc for


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

Pittsfield Superintendent Wants School Officials to Review 'Unfiltered' Budgets
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
11:43AM / Saturday, November 14, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee may take a look at the first draft school budgets next year.

Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless asked the committee on Thursday night if it would consider a daylong budget hearing during a January workday to review all the principals' budgets.

"I'm taking a page from the mayor's budget book," he said, referring to the marathon meetings when the department budgets have been presented to the City Council.

"The budget request you get from the principals is filtered through Central Office," he said. "I think there might be tremendous value in taking a day ... where the principals came in and


@the Market: Buy the Dip
By Bill Schmick,
10:06AM / Saturday, November 14, 2015

Markets sold off this week but not everywhere. While the U.S. and Europe suffered a bout of profit taking, parts of Asia did fine. Investors should expect more volatility on the home front next week.

The mood among investment advisors was somber, if not downright bearish, at the Schwab investment conference in Boston. Over the last week, hundreds of money managers, including yours truly, sat through educational and investment sessions given by some of the best minds on Wall Street. Why so glum?

Many were worried that global growth would continue to slow and drag our economy down with it. Then there were the Fed Heads, who changed their mind about a December rate hike for the umpteenth


'Spectre': Keeps the Bond Spirit Alive
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
06:20PM / Friday, November 13, 2015

Director Sam Mendes's "Spectre," the 24th James Bond film produced by Eon Productions, is a snazzy, action-filled hoot ... a nearly $300 million extravaganza that pays dutiful homage to the franchise's past while passionately bringing 007 into the techno-charged present. It is a grand synthesis of all things Bond ... a blend of man, machine and moral heroism again sublimely evinced by Daniel Craig.

Perhaps a tad more anticipatory than the two teen-aged boys to my right, I was there not just to be entertained, but to see that right was done by my man ... the secret agent every guy wants to be, and every woman wishes to be romanced by, or so I'm told. I mean, I was


The Independent Investor: 'Bag Lady' Syndrome and You
By Bill Schmick,
06:02PM / Friday, November 13, 2015

Ladies, are you secretly terrified that you are going to end up penniless on the streets, begging for enough money to feed yourself? Well, join the crowd because almost 50 percent of women share your anxiety.

That's right, a high percentage of women, even those who make more than $30,000 per year (and 27 percent of women who have salaries over $200,000) are secretly (or not so secretly) worrying that they will become destitute in their old age. The study, conducted by Allianz, an insurance company, surveyed 2,200 women between the ages of 25 and 75.

You might discount these findings, figuring that most of the women surveyed were stay-at-home wives or wealthy widows. You would be


Health Officials Encourage Uninsured to Get Enrolled
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:03PM / Friday, November 13, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Massachusetts has a good record on insuring its residents — 96.3 percent of the population is covered.

So it's that 3.7 percent without insurance that health officials are focusing on during this open enrollment period.

"We're really down to a small number of people ... We want them to know that insurance is important not only for health wise in order to be able to go to the doctor and get help when your sick or hurt but also financially," said Jason Lefferts, spokesman for the state's Health Insurance Connector Authority, on Friday morning. "It's a lot cheaper to go to the doctor when you have health


Pittsfield School Committee Endorses Moratorium on Charter Schools
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:36AM / Friday, November 13, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee on Wednesday night endorsed a joint statement with United Educators of Pittsfield to support a moratorium on charter schools.

State Senate bill 326, filed by state Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, seeks to halt the state's granting of charters to Commonwealth charter schools until September 2018.

The move comes on the heels of two reports questioning the efficacy of charter schools and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's oversight of their legislatively-mandated goals.

"This moratorium will allow time for an independent evaluation for our charters schools to determine whether charters are meeting their intended


Skunks Captured in Pittsfield Test Positive for Rabies Virus
City of Pittsfield, Community Submission
09:51AM / Thursday, November 12, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The Pittsfield Health Department has been notified by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory that two skunks captured in the vicinity of Canal and Boylston streets have tested positive for the rabies virus.

The skunks recently had encounters with dogs that were kenneled in their yards.

Rabies is a very serious disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of mammals (animals with fur/hair), including humans. Though rabies is usually a disease of wild animals, it can spread from an infected animal to a person.  

Transmission of the rabies virus occurs only when the saliva from a rabid animal is infectious and if a person or animal is exposed to


BArT's Campus Improvements Paying Off
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:19PM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

ADAMS, Mass. — All the physical changes at the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School are paying big dividends, school officials say.

From the science lab to the new gymnasium and cafeteria wing to the remodeling of the former "cafegymatorium," it has been a busy few years on the Commercial Street campus.

Last week at BArT's annual fall breakfast, Executive Director Julia Bowen explained how the school's physical transformation is helping improve the program at the Grade 6-12 school.

"In the past, students have had to make unfortunate decisions about leaving BArT [after middle school]," Bowen said, referring to students' desire to

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Nuclea Biotechnologies Accredited by College of American Pathologists
11:08AM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists has awarded accreditation to Nuclea Biotechnologies, based on results of a recent on-site inspection as part of the CAP’s Accreditation Programs.

Nuclea was advised of this national recognition and congratulated for the excellence of the services being provided. Nuclea’s laboratory in Pittsfield is one of more than 7,700 CAP-accredited facilities worldwide.

“We take great pride in the quality and integrity of the products and services that Nuclea offers,” said Patrick Muraca, president and CEO of Nuclea. “CAP certification is the industry standard that we worked

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Get Your Affairs in Order for an Orderly Estate
Submitted by Edward Jones,
10:42AM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

You may be quite willing to plan an investment strategy for your retirement years. After all, it can be enjoyable to think about traveling the world, pursuing your hobbies or participating in any of the activities you’ve associated with an active retirement.

However, once you do retire, you’ll need to “shift gears” somewhat to focus on your legacy. Specifically, to protect your loved ones and ensure your intentions are clear and carried out, you’ll need to do some more planning – and you’ll need to share your thoughts with your family.

Here are some moves to consider:

* List your assets and debts. Your family needs to be aware of your assets and

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