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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

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


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

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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Pittsfield City Council Endorses Natural Gas Infrastructure Bills
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:34AM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday night voted to endorse two State House bills related to natural gas infrastructure.

The petition submitted by Ward 6 Councilor John Krol asked the council to support the passage of H.2870, related to gas leaks paid by ratepayers, and H.2871, which would have gas companies audit and make any repairs to their their lines during road projects.

The council voted 8-2 to endorse, with President Melissa Mazzeo and Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell in opposition. Ward 1 Councilor Lisa Tully was absent.

"Essentially what this does is say two things, thus the two bills, No. 1, when there are leaks in gas pipes throughout the city of

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Berkshire Tidbits: Cooking Classes, Firefly Specials
By Judith Lerner, iBerkshires Columnist
09:45PM / Monday, November 09, 2015

'Cooking at The Chef's Shop'
Baking Thanksgiving pies

The "Cooking at The Chef's Shop" series continues this Thursday as guest chef Elaine Khosrova, a Hudson Valley food writer and editor from Albany, demonstrates the art of baking Thanksgiving pies. She is a former pastry chef  who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and at La Varenne in Paris.

On Nov. 22, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Gale will be back and her students definitely get their hands into the cooking. She'll be making four Thanksgiving side dishes: tarragon creamed pearl onions, rutabaga with caraway, jalapeno corn soufflé and cranberry-kumquat sauce.


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Lanesborough Selectmen Want Town Meeting Vote on School District
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
08:15PM / Monday, November 09, 2015
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Monday voted to ask a special town meeting whether voters want the board to pursue withdrawal from the Mount Greylock Regional School District.   The board also put an article on the Dec. 1 ballot asking whether the town approves amendments to the agreement between Lanesborough and Williamstown that governs the junior-senior high school district.   The Mount Greylock School Committee drafted the amendment in response to a request from Lanesborough officials to modify the way the district apportions capital expenses in light of the proposed Mount Greylock Regional School renovation project.   Williamstown voters will decide


Berkshire Community College Awarded Grant to Aid Student Success
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
07:01PM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Students enter Berkshire Community College with dreams of furthering their opportunities, but too often they find the challenges overwhelming.

The college is hoping its selection for a $2 million federal grant, one of 40 granted nationwide, will help forge stronger pathways to success for students from low-income families or who are minorities or first-generation college students.  

"We are ecstatic that our efforts, which were driven by a diverse group from the BCC community as well as outside constituents, were recognized by the Department of Higher Education," said BCC President Ellen Kennedy in a statement. "Our students are at the heart

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Recount Scheduled for Pittsfield's Ward 5 Race
01:13PM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There will be a recount of last Tuesday's tight race in Ward 5.

Newcomer Donna Todd Rivers squeaked out 13-vote victory over Richard Scapin, a former Ward 5 councilor and City Council president.

The final count was 743-730 in favor of Todd Rivers in the tightly contested race. Scapin submitted a petition calling for a the recount with the required number of voters' signatures.

According to the city clerk's office, the hand count will take place in City Council Chambers on Monday, Nov. 16, at 10 a.m.

Two counting teams composed of a ballot reader and tally clerk will review the 1,543 ballots, of which the machines recorded 67 as not having a vote

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Mentors Needed for Financial Literacy Workshop
11:23AM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall's School is seeking area professional women to volunteer as mentors for its 16th annual Money Matters financial literacy workshops to be held on Monday, Nov. 16, and Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the school’s Holmes Road campus.

Eighth-grade girls from across Berkshire County will attend the program, which provides them with a foundation of financial understanding. This year’s program will be facilitated by Dr. Mahnaz Mahdavi, professor of economics and the Ann F. Kaplan ’67 Faculty Director of Center for Women and Financial Independence at Smith College, and René Heavlow, Director of the Center for Women and Financial

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Pittsfield Library Offering Food For Fines Program
11:10AM / Monday, November 09, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's public library, will offer a modified fines amnesty through Monday, Nov. 30.

During this four-week period the library will accept nonperishable food items in lieu of paying fines for overdue books.

“This ‘Food for Fines’ initiative has become an annual tradition at the Berkshire Athenaeum, which for over 20 years has linked the extended fines amnesty period to the Thanksgiving holiday,” library Director Ron Latham said.

Food will be collected in boxes located at the Adult Circulation Desk and at the Children's Service Desk. When "paying" off a fine with a donated food item, a staff

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