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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

'Bridge of Spies': Spans Troubled Waters
By Michael S. Goldberger,
08:47PM / Thursday, October 22, 2015

I suspect Steven Spielberg, realizing that few folks were as lucky as I to have Mr. Green as their high school social studies teacher, felt the necessity to impart the grand civics lesson contained in his highly exciting "Bridge of Spies." Chastising the baloney and opportunism that too often attend the application of patriotism, he cannily mines its most honest essence in this important chronicle of the May, 1960 U-2 incident and the Cold War drama that followed. Our spy, Captain Francis Gary Powers, is caught, and the Russians plan to make the most of it.

This calls for good old American ingenuity ... the more homespun the better. Granted, it's a cliché, but a great

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North Adams, Pittsfield YMCAs Form 'Permanent Partnership'
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:05PM / Thursday, October 22, 2015

The two boards approved the partnership on Thursday night.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The boards of the county's two YMCAs approved joining forces with one another Thursday night.   The Northern Berkshire YMCA and the Pittsfield Family YMCA will become the Berkshire Family YMCA, bringing the operations of the two disparate organizations together under one leadership.   "We're not looking at it as a takeover or merger. It is more of a partnership because with both organizations one of the key elements of each strategic plans was partnerships and collaborations. So who better to partner with than your sister or brother YMCA down the road?"

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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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Verizon's Hopeline Program Protects Domestic Abuse Victims
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:59PM / Thursday, October 22, 2015
Becca Bradburd, Linda Strassell, Janis Broderick, David Capeless, and Mike Murphy at the Verizon Wireless Store on Hubbard Avenue on Thursday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With today's technology it can be pretty easy to track someone down. When it comes to domestic abuse victims, Verizon wants to make sure that isn't the case.

Each year, Verizon donates boxes of secure cell phones to the Elizabeth Freeman Center to give to victims — getting them off the family plan and onto a secured line.   "The Hopeline gives us a safe phone to give folks so they can call for help or call for services," Elizabeth Freeman Center Executive Director Janis

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Tyer, Bianchi Outline Educational Visions at UEP Debate
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:35PM / Wednesday, October 21, 2015
The two mayoral candidates face off in a debate sponsored by the United Educators of Pittsfield on Wednesday night. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The two mayoral candidates both want strong educational systems. But, how to achieve that is where they differ.

For Linda Tyer, she'd want to adopt an International Baccalaureate program, a growing teaching method focused on academic rigor.

The program helps schools develop curriculum focused on writing, broad themes and inquiry, and world cultures and can earn credits from colleges. Such a move would make the city's educational system "unique" and help attract new students.   "It is really designed to create a

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Superior Court Briefs: Oct. 13 - Oct. 14
Staff Reports,
03:32PM / Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Oct. 13.   Jonathan Kirchner, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, two counts of larceny from a building, two counts of receiving stolen property, and a single count of attempt to commit a crime.   He was ordered to serve two to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The incidents occurred in Pittsfield and Lanesborough between April 28, 2014 and August 19, 2015.   Kayla Ferrell-Gibbs, 22, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of cocaine, and single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of a

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Lenox National Bank, Adams Community Bank Complete Merger
01:01PM / Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ADAMS, Mass. — The Lenox National Bank and Adams Community Bank completed their merger at the close of business on Friday, Oct. 16.

The former Lenox National Bank located at 7 Main St. in Lenox has reopened as a branch of Adams Community Bank.

“We plan to continue the Lenox tradition of strong community banking with local decision making. This merger is beneficial to everyone who lives or works in the Lenox community,” said Charles P. O’Brien, Adams Community Bank president and CEO.
 
Lenox National Bank CEO Paul Merlino will continue in an advisory role with Adams Community Bank in connection with the transition.

“Paul has been a mainstay of community

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When Investing, Put Time On Your Side
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:12AM / Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Now that we’re well into autumn, the days are getting noticeably shorter. The change in seasons reminds us that time is passing – and it’s important to use that time wisely.

When used well, in fact, time can be your greatest gift in many walks of life – and that’s certainly true when you invest.

To illustrate the importance of time, let’s look at a scenario. Suppose you start saving for retirement when you are 25. If you invest $3,000 per year in a tax-deferred vehicle, such as a traditional IRA, and you hypothetically earn a 7 percent annual return, you will have accumulated more than $640,000 after 40 years, when you reach 65 and are ready to retire.

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Pittsfield's At-Large Candidates Show Differences In Forum
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:54PM / Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Six of the seven candidates seeking four seats debated at Berkshire Community College on Tuesday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — If given a magic wand to change one thing in the city of Pittsfield, Melissa Mazzeo would give every resident a good paying job.   Peter White would do something similar, in that he'd fill all of the business parks with companies offering jobs. Tayor DiSantis would see the small businesses grow. Kathleen Amuso wants everybody to be safe. Peter Marchetti would change the perception people have of the city. And Joseph Nichols would like a new zoning map providing more areas for business growth.   The six candidates for at-large seats on the City

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Bianchi, Tyer Spar in BCC Debate
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:01AM / Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Mayoral candidates Daniel Bianchi, the incumbent, and Linda Tyer, city clerk, met in their second one-on-one debate on Monday night at BCC. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Daniel Bianchi says the city's youth deserves better job opportunities than to stock shelves at a big-box store.   That's why he said he put a stop to such a proposal to be used at the William Stanley Business Park when he was first elected.   In its place, he said he's moved along the Berkshire Innovation Center project, which he hopes will spur growth in the advanced manufacturing field allowing companies to grow.   "We shouldn't be asking the taxpayer to spend $110, $120, $140

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Making the Loop
by Soapbox
04:44PM / Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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We had some free time this week to walk the 2-mile loop through the downtown. Here's a few of things that caught our eye. (In between taking photos, we were heel-toeing and arm-pumping as prescribed.)

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Let's Go Paperless
by Soapbox
05:07PM / Monday, February 06, 2012
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This is from Ward 6 Councilor John Krol's eblast today. His switch to digital immediately caught our attention. With the associated costs - nearly $4,000 a year for paper alone! - zipping councilors "the packet" (as we in the know like to call it) over the ether makes loads of sense. Digital also means the average citizen gets far better access to these public documents than ever before. The city clerk's office has been diligent about posting meeting agendas and, where possible, relevant documents. So in terms of saving money and time and getting information out efficiently, digital is the way to go.

I would like to thank City Clerk Linda Tyer for agreeing to print out one less city council packet, as I have officially gone paperless for council meetings - which I hope will be a trend that can be extended throughout city government.

The bulky (and often, very bulky) city council packet that councilors use for a reference costs an average of $170 per meeting for paper alone. Add the additional costs of ink/toner, wear and tear on city hall copiers, and the time and energy of staff who put it all together - and a simple transition away from paper benefits everyone.

With the packet now fully digital in pdf form, all councilors, and everyone with an internet

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Berkshire Music School Kicks Off 2012 Classes With Open House
by Soapbox
12:29PM / Sunday, January 29, 2012
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The open house featured a sample class, access to musical instruments, information for parents, refreshments ...and more than a few delighted squeals.


January 29, 2011
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Dozens of youths, many of them under the age of 5, attended an open house at the Berkshire Music School Saturday, as the educational nonprofit enters its 70th year at its 30 Wendell Avenue home.
The open house featured a sample class, access to musical instruments, information for parents, refreshments... and more than a few delighted squeals, proving once again the inherent interest in making a joyful noise is not generational, and will never go out of style.
The open house featured a Music for Preschoolers class, designed to "children’s awareness of rhythm, ability to sing and move creatively to music," which

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