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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Lanesborough Settles Tax Appeal With Berkshire Mall
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:24AM / Wednesday, September 28, 2016
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town has settled the tax appeal lawsuits with the former owners of the Berkshire Mall.   The former owners, Strategic Property Services, operating as Berkshire Mall LLC, had appealed its assessment for both fiscal years 2015 and 2016. When preparing for its recent sale to Kohan Retail Investment Group, the owners sought a settlement agreement with the town and the Baker Hill Road District on those assessments and a lawsuit.    Town Manager Paul Sieloff said a settlement was reached in which the town is rebating about $200,000 of taxes paid.   "It was to their benefit to settle before the closing went through. We are expecting the new

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Pittsfield Council Rejects Funds to Start Demolition of JB Paper Site
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:45AM / Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mayor Linda Tyer asked for a $25,000 increase in the building demolition budget in the wake of the JB Paper fire, which now poses a hazard. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council rejected a request Tuesday night to add funds to the property demolition budget line to start moving toward securing the JB Paper Co. building, which burned last month.   Mayor Linda Tyer put in a request to add $25,000 to the property demolition budget, a budget that the City Council had cut during the budget process by that much. The council reduced Tyer's budget request for $50,000 down to $25,000, which was the amount budgeted the previous year.   Tyer said the increase would go to

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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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Gilbane, City Settle On 'Guaranteed Maximum Price' For Taconic Construction
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:38AM / Wednesday, September 28, 2016

John Benzinger from Skanska presented the GMP on Monday. PITTSFIELD,Mass. — The city and Gilbane Building Co. have settled on a guaranteed maximum price for the construction of the new Taconic High School.    The price for construction only is $97,757,373, which is equal to the project established months ago by the state. Now that the bids for the construction are in, Gilbane and the School Building Needs Commission finalized that construction budget, outlining the cost of each item and subcontracts.    "Tonight was a reaffirmation that that was number. Almost two years ago, the [Massachusetts School Building Authority] said this is the number. The City

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Pittsfield Fire Now Carrying Narcan
Staff Reports,
04:53PM / Tuesday, September 27, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Fire Department is now equipped with Narcan.   The firefighters are being equipped with the overdose reversing drug through a Massachusetts Department of Public Health grant. All of the engine companies were issued nasal Nalozone - Narcan - on Tuesday morning.   The drug reverses potentially fatal opioid overdoses by displacing the drug from the receptors in the brain. The drug is said to have minimal side effects and is not dangerous if administered to someone who is not overdosing. But, it does have the potential to save a life in some instances.    From now on, if the department responds to a call in which a person has overdoses, the

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Pittsfield Licensing Board Considering New Processing Fees
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:09AM / Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lenco President Leonard Light said he is the only one to blame for an issue between his company, the Fire Department, and the Licensing Board and he took action to correct the violations. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Licensing Board is looking to add on a processing fee for alcohol license holders who make changes mid-year.   The fees would be tacked on to such transactions like changing of hours or changing of managers that are done outside of the annual renewal. Or the board is looking to up all of the annual renewal fees.   According to Licensing Board member Dianne Pero, none of the fees have been changed in nine years so a group began to compare them with neighboring

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Commission Listens to Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:01AM / Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Margo Chevers, the Western Mass representative on the commission, said custodial grandparents had to get vocal to make change happen.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Margo Chevers remembers the night she was called to take in her two granddaughters, once almost 10 months, the other 23 months.

She wasn't prepared for the physical and emotional toll or the financial needs. It was, she said, a wake-up call.

"I dropped $50 just to get through the night," Chevers said of the supplies she had to get - diapers, food, pajamas. And there was the "mental calisthenics of how I'm going to get through the day."

Within two years she was facing a major health crisis, and saw

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Middle East Refugee Plan Outlined to Overflow Pittsfield Crowd
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:28PM / Monday, September 26, 2016

Deirdre Griffin said the project is a public-private partnership. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An overly packed library auditorium heard an overview of the organization looking to resettle 50 Syrian and Iraq refugees in the city's plans.

But representatives did not field questions much to the distaste of many who attended.

The meeting only lasted an hour with more than 400 people, in standing room only in back and on the sides and overflowing into the other rooms, with Jewish Family Services providing an overview of the program.   The plan will bring the 15 or so Arab-speaking families from the Middle East to Pittsfield and volunteers and the JFS will work closely with

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Berkshires Beat: Fall Foliage Week Has Arrived
01:16PM / Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall Foliage Festival extravaganza: It's Fall Foliage week, and with that comes lots of news, notes - and pleas for help.

First, the pleas: The North Adams Chamber of Commerce is in need of six cyclists to help power its human powered vehicle for the Oct. 2 parade. Email Phil Sellers at phil@riverhillpottery.com. Remember, the parade kicks off at 1 p.m. from the Ocean City Job Lot parking lot. All of this week's events can be found online.

Now, some news: Before the parade, Greylock Federal’s Fall Classic 5K Road Race will begin at noon at the top of Main Street near the North Adams Public Library and travel west down Main, then south on (Route 8) State Street before

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Unistress Volunteers Build Shelter For Dogs At Sonsini Shelter
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:01PM / Monday, September 26, 2016

The shelter will be finished next weekend. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There are some cool dogs at the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter thanks to local businesses.   Some 30 Unistress employees were at the volunteer-run shelter this past weekend to build a cover to protect the dogs from the elements. The project allows the dogs to be outside without overheating from the sun that beats down onto the kennels.   "This is going to be a structure to provide shade and protection from the elements for the dogs when they are outside," said Krista Wroldson Miller, chairman of Sonsini's board of directors.   "It is has been a project we've been working on for

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Biz Briefs: Lee Outlets Expand Before Holiday Season
11:30AM / Monday, September 26, 2016

Outlet additions: Popular apparel retailer Guess has opened a factory store at the Lee Premium Outlets, and Toys 'R Us Express and Ten Thousand Villages are open at the center through the fall and holiday shopping seasons.

Guess offers a full range of denim, apparel and accessories for women, men and kids and, with a presence in over 80 countries, is a truly global brand that will appeal to the shoppers from far and wide who visit Lee Premium Outlets. The store is located on Main Street at the center, between Johnston & Murphy and Lindt.

Ten Thousand Villages, open through Dec. 31, showcases handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture, textiles, serveware and personal

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End of Session Review: William 'Smitty' Pignatelli
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:47AM / Monday, September 26, 2016

LENOX, Mass. — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli said despite a slow start to a short session, the Legislature was able to make some progress on big issues.

"It was an interesting session. We have two-year legislative sessions and it was a slow start to the session mainly because of the change in leadership in the Senate and we had a lengthy discord that is still going on about the rules and the joint rules of the Legislature," Pignatelli said. "That slowed our process down a little bit. ...

"But the second year was productive. There were a lot of things we left on the table because it was a short session."

The Lenox Democrat says his focus

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Busy Weekend for Local Collegians in Village Beautiful
iBerkshires.com Sports,
12:29AM / Monday, September 26, 2016
It was homecoming weekend of sorts for local graduates in Williamstown this weekend.   Cross country’s Purple Valley Classic and golf’s Williams Fall Invitational each attracted schools that feature Berkshire County alumni on their rosters.   At Taconic Golf Club, the Williams Fall Invitational included Salem State senior Chad Alibozek and an MCLA team that featured four locals.   Drury alumnus Matt Lawrence carded rounds of 83 and 85 to tie for 65th place in the field along with MCLA teammate Quinn McCormick. The pair were joined at the two-day event by Nick Bator (Drury), Josh Fortier (Pittsfield) and Liam Nolan (Pittsfield).   Salem State senior Alibozek

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