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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Tony Stewart to Bring His Tour to Lebanon Valley in August
03:31PM / Wednesday, March 23, 2016

WEST LEBANON, N.Y. - For more than 30 years, fans have seen some of the best 410 Sprint Car drivers race around the high banks of Lebanon Valley Speedway with blistering speeds. In 2016, fans are encouraged to purchase tickets early to witness the first ever appearance of Tony Stewart’s All-Star Circuit Of Champions on Aug. 21.


Lebanon Valley Speedway has offered race fans a major 410 sprint car race each year going back many years. Typically, those events ran under the (World Of Outlaws) Sprint banner. In the summer of 2016, sanction names may change for the event, but action will remain red hot with a breath of fresh air courtesy of the Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit Of

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Berkshire Tidbits: Easter Specials
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
02:15PM / Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Cornell Inn in Lenox offers a Sunday breakfast buffet by chef Karen Saunders. Reservations are encouraged a few days before.

Looking for a place to dine on Easter Sunday, March 27?

Here are some restaurants I know of that are serving special Easter brunches or dinners or are open for a festive meal, but there are still more. Some have given me more information than others. All the meals are plus tax and gratuity unless otherwise noted.

Aegean Breeze, 327 Stockbridge Road/Route 7 in Great Barrington, 413-528-4001, the traditional Greek restaurant, will be open their regular hours, 11 to 9, serving their regular menus with specials of lamb soup, ham and stuffed sole.

Barrington

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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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Auditor's Warning: Pittsfield Approaching Tax Levy Ceiling
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:25AM / Wednesday, March 23, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Auditor Thomas Scanlon Jr. says the city's ability to tax will quickly erode over the next few years forcing it to either make significant cuts to the budget.   "You still do have some levy capacity in there but you should be thinking for future budgets," Scanlon told the City Council on Tuesday.   The auditor said there is $6.7 million in taxable capacity in 2016 but that is down from $8.4 million in 2015. In the next budget, close to $3 million is expected to be added because of bonds, shrinking the ability to raise taxes even further. If budgets continue to rise over the next few years, the city will lose its ability to raise taxes any

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Pittsfield Fire Damages Montgomery Avenue Duplex
By Andy McKeever,
02:22PM / Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Next door neighbor Tony Paredes snapped this photo of the flames bursting through the windows. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Several pets were killed when a fire erupted on the first floor of a duplex on Montgomery Avenue shortly after noontime on Tuesday.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated but appears to be limited mostly to 7 Montgomery Ave. The 9 Montgomery Ave. side suffered "significant smoke damage." 

Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes said the department responded to the report of a structure fire and firefighters arriving on scene could see smoke coming out the building.

A least three windows were blown out by the blaze. Next door neighbor Tony

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Lanesborough Ambulance's Future Unknown With Budget Struggles
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:52AM / Tuesday, March 22, 2016
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town is going to have to find new ways to fund ambulance operations or stop providing it.   The ambulance service is funded by an enterprise account that derives its revenue from billings to both insurance companies and users for services. However, there are fewer available emergency medical technicians to cover all shifts, reducing the amount of business, and a growing pile of unpaid patient bills.   "We are having some issues. They are not bringing in as much revenue as they used to," Town Manager Paul Sieloff said on Monday. "There are reserves in that account but the problem is they are going to start chewing through the

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Public Input Sought on Endangered Pittsfield Buildings
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Correspondent
02:23AM / Tuesday, March 22, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Private homes, commercial structures, social clubs, churches — if it's vacant or underutilized, the city wants to hear about it.

A grant-funded effort to inventory at-risk historic buildings is currently looking to collect additional information from city residents before establishing a final list of which properties will be included. The project is funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

Elizabeth Rairigh, the preservation planner hired to undertake the project, has heard from a variety of city staff and appointed officials in recent months, but is looking for more information and opinions from the broader community before

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Berkshire Tidbits: Greek Pastry & Wine Dinners
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
04:21PM / Monday, March 21, 2016

The menu for the Haven Cafe Supper Club for the week of March 21 will be as follows:

• Herb roasted rack of lamb with couscous and roasted asparagus
• Rosemary, lemon and balsamic marinated chicken with saffron rice and grilled zucchini
• Grilled shrimp over spinach and scallion pancakes with lime butter

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 week's options. Contact Haven at

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YMCA Ofers Free Adult Swim Lessons
02:16PM / Monday, March 21, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Family YMCA’s Pittsfield Branch will offer free adult swim lessons, ssponsored by the Sponsored by the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation/U.S. Masters Swimming.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 37 percent of American adults cannot swim the length of a pool. If you never learned how to swim or are afraid of the water or want to improve your strokes or breathing technique, this session is for you. Instruction will be provided by the Y’s Polar Bears Masters Swim Club participants.

Free lessons will be offered on Thursdays from April 7-28, with one session from 5:30-6:15 p.m. and a second session from 6:15-7 p.m. There is no cost

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Lola Greene Legacy Scholarship Applications Being Accepted
01:44PM / Monday, March 21, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Applications are now being accepted for the Lola Greene Legacy Scholarship.

A one-time grant of $250 to $500 will be awarded to a graduating high school senior from Berkshire County who is planning to continue to study Latin and/or the Classics in college. The scholarship will be awarded based on scholastic achievement with emphasis on Latin study and related activities, future plans to continue Latin and Classics studies, and demonstrated leadership and good moral character.

Lola Greene taught at Mount Greylock Regional High School from 1984 through 2000. During this time she developed the school’s Latin program and Junior Classical League into one of

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BRPC Director Reflects on Origins During 50th Year
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:31AM / Monday, March 21, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — This is the 50th year Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has been in existence.   On Thursday, Executive Director Nathaniel Karns honored the anniversary by providing highlights from the first 25 years, showing where the commission had been on the frontline with major issues.   The commission formed in 1966 and, a year later, Karl Hekler was hired as executive director, a position he'd keep for those first 25 years. The first issue facing the commission was plans for an interstate Route 7 highway cutting from Connecticut to Pittsfield.   "That was an era of large highways being built without community input or environmental

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Tyer Develops 'Guiding Principles' For Next Four Years
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:13AM / Sunday, March 20, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — How can we?   That's a question Mayor Linda Tyer wants city employees to consider when faced with any issue — whether it be a constituent complaint, a specific project or idea, or long-term planning.    "I want us to spend more time thinking about how can we do something than the reasons we can't or shouldn't," Tyer said.    Tyer has spent less than 100 days in office but has been putting together the framework for the next four years. Since taking office in January, she has been delving into the various issues, getting caught up on ongoing projects, building her administrative team, and handling the day-to-day

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Taconic High Project Site Work Starts Monday
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:23AM / Saturday, March 19, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — On Monday, the Taconic High School property will start to look like a construction site.   Superintendent Jason McCandless said workers from J.H. Maxymillian Inc. will begin site work for the new high school. Maxymillian won one of three early contracts put out by the city for the $120.8 million new school.   "We have a construction trailer at Taconic and their work is going to start on Monday," McCandless said.    Maxymillian will be installing water retention basins and a bridge over a small creek, building out a parking lot, creating an access road and leveling the ground for construction among the work needed to prepare the land.

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