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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Superior Court Briefs: Aug. 18.
Staff Reports,
11:10AM / Friday, August 19, 2016
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, August 18.   William Fiske III, 27, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of assault and battery and single counts of armed assault with intent to murder, breaking and entering a building in the daytime, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, larceny from a building, violation of a restraining order, threat to commit a crime, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, vandalize property, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and failure to stop for a police officer.   He also entered not guilty pleas on three counts of assault and battery on a correction officer, and a single count of

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Adams Residents Brainstorm Fictional Wizardry School's Possibilities
By Jack Guerino,
03:46AM / Friday, August 19, 2016

The conservation group said trail safety was one of their main concerns.

ADAMS, Mass. – Adams residents are brainstorming ways to harness magic from the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to spark the local economy.

"We need to come up with as many ideas we can from the far out and the fun to the very probable, to the businesses, to people and to families and just weave this in as much as we can," Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco said on Thursday night. "We can have as much fun with it as we want but there is an economic component to this as well.

A Harry Potter fan himself, Mazzucco was speaking to the "Ilvermorny Opportunities" meeting, a

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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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BRPC To Towns: Consider Long-term Sustainability of Broadband Choices
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:11AM / Friday, August 19, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is warning towns not to settle for internet which may not be fast enough in a few years.   The relaunching of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute comes with changes to the program which allows towns to craft individual plans for expanding broadband into unserved areas. That includes grants for cable companies to expand, such as Lanesborough, West Stockbridge, and Hinsdale opted to do, or expansion of a wireless system — like Middlefield is piloting — or running fiber cables to the homes like Mount Washington.    BRPC's Regional Issues Subcommittee believes that nothing less than fiber optic

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EZ Pass Van Coming to 4-H Youth Fair
08:20PM / Thursday, August 18, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Angelica Paredes of the Berkshire County 4-H Fair Association have collaborated to bring the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s EZ Pass Van to the annual 4-H Youth Fair, set for Saturday, Aug. 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

The fair is at the Berkshire County 4-H Fairgrounds on Utility Drive (Off Holmes Road), and the fair itself will run 9-5 and is free. The free transponders will be distributed for the Massachusetts Turnpike.

After an overwhelming response to the EZ Pass van at the downtown Farmers Market on Aug. 6, Farley-Bouvier was contacted by Angelica Paredes about bringing the EZ pass van to the

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Aug. 19-25
07:09PM / Thursday, August 18, 2016

 

  VIEW DAY-BY-DAY

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The Independent Investor: Health Savings Accounts a Good Idea
By Bill Schmick,
03:14PM / Thursday, August 18, 2016

Does your employer offer a health savings plan? Many do, especially if your company's health insurance has a high deductible. If you aren't taking advantage of it, you should and here's why.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) were created as a way to help control rising health care costs. An HSA is an account, similar to a personal savings account or an IRA that you can open at work or on your own. Employers consider it a supplement to their high deductible employee health insurance plan (HDHP).

How do you know if your health insurance plan qualifies as a high deductible? Usually, HDHPs won't start paying out until after you've spent at least $1,300 (individual) or $2,600

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Democratic State Rep Candidates Debate Issues on GMP
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:21PM / Thursday, August 18, 2016

Challenger Michael Bloomberg said Farley-Bouvier hasn't done enough in the state house for the city of Pittsfield and is calling for a change. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The two candidates for the Democratic nomination for state representative clashed Thursday morning in their second debate before the primary.   John Krol, host of "Good Morning, Pittsfield," moderated the hourlong debate on his radio show in Taconic High School's WTBR-FM studio between incumbent Tricia Farley-Bouvier and challenger Michael Bloomberg.   The Democrats are vying for the nomination in the Third Berkshire District, comprised solely of Pittsfield.   The two wove through about

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McCandless: Contamination at Taconic Site Mostly Cleaned
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:26AM / Thursday, August 18, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The contaminated material found at Taconic High School is mostly cleaned up, according to Superintendent Jason McCandless.   McCandless told the School Committee on Wednesday that about 80 percent of the material pulled from the site of the new school has been trucked off to a landfill in Syracuse, N.Y. During site work, three types of soil that could not be reused or contaminated was discovered.   "The removal of those piles began on Aug. 10 and as of today, 80 percent done," McCandless said.   The soils are categorized in three types: unsuitable, construction debris, and contaminated. It cost a total of $700,000 of unexpected costs to

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Guest Column: Shared Services Are the Future
By Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli, Guest Columnist
04:46PM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

After nearly a year of preparation, and just a few short months since 17 South Berkshire communities came together in a historic Community Compact signing, we are starting to see the successful work of so many coming together.

As community leaders, we have to be willing to have a serious conversation about our region's financial stability, and sustainability, as well as how can we best streamline and enhance the services that our taxpayers have grown to expect with their hard earned dollars.

Collective action will provide collective success.

When this conversation started I had three goals in mind.

1: Maintain each towns' unique identity,

2: Enhance services for residents,

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PEDA Planning Three Open Houses for Stanley Business Park
04:33PM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority will host three open house events on Aug. 24, Aug. 31, and Sept. 14 at the William Stanley Business Park to showcase the park's developable building sites. PEDA is encouraging potential developers, builders, existing businesses and community members to attend and learn about current and future plans and view available properties.

Each open house will run from 4 to 7 p.m., at the PEDA office on the corner of Kellogg Street and Woodlawn Avenue. Refreshments will be offered, and guests can gather information and see firsthand the sites available at the park. In addition, guided walking tours will be offered at 4:30

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PEDA Extends Negotiation Period With Waterstone
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:30PM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority has extended the timeframe to reach a land lease agreement with Waterstone Realty for the development of a Walmart Supercenter.   On Tuesday, PEDA approved the extension to the letter of intent. Executive Director Corydon Thurston said the original 60-day window was "too aggressive" and hopes to have an agreement before the board by the next meeting.   "It is a complex document because it involves so many agencies," Thurston said.   PEDA granted Waterstone a letter of intent on June 15 giving the company the exclusive rights to negotiate a lease and sales agreement for the parcel on

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Berkshire STEM Network Snags $65,000 State Grant
01:08PM / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshire STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Network has received $65,000 from the Massachusetts STEM Pipeline Fund to promote STEM education in the region.

The funding is part of more than $250,000 in recent grant awards to support the commonwealth's regional STEM networks. This regional award will support Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley. As the lead partner of the Berkshire STEM Network, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will continue to collaborate with education, community and industry partners across the region.

MCLA Dean of Academic Affairs Monica Joslin, who serves on the STEM Advisory Council, said an investment

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