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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

The Independent Investor: Veterans on Receiving End of Trump Administration
By Bill Schmick,
04:47PM / Thursday, February 28, 2019
In the 2019 fiscal budget, the Department of Veterans Affairs received more than $200 billion in spending. That's a 6 percent increase over last year and counts as the largest amount ever received by the VA. The money will go a long way in implementing an array of much-needed reforms.   There will be $400 million earmarked for preventing opioid abuse. As you might imagine, veterans are a high-risk group since opioids are used extensively in treating wartime casualties.   An additional $1.1 billion will jump-start the overhaul of the VA's electronic health records, while $1.75 billion will go to implementing the VA Mission Act. That money will revamp and re-write the


'Fighting with My Family': Truth in Wrestling
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:28PM / Thursday, February 28, 2019
Watching director Stephen Merchant's "Fighting with My Family," about a tight-knit family of professional wrestlers whose two youngest members have aspirations of making the big time, I, of course, had to think of my father.    Daniel Goldberger, a trucking company owner who submerged into the Polish underground in 1939 just before the Nazis confiscated his trucks and painted swastikas on them, was a kind but serious man. Even his jokes more often than not made a point, which played quite entertainingly against Mom's rather satiric sense of humor. Thus it is an anomaly I've never figured out that my Dad loved professional wrestling. It was as if he simply


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

Pignatelli Files Bill on Changing Chapter 90 Formula
05:42PM / Wednesday, February 27, 2019
BOSTON — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli has filed a bill that would update the funding formula for the state's Chapter 90 program by shifting the percentages toward road mileage.   H.D.3714, An Act promoting equitable distribution of Chapter 90 funds, introduces a new formula through which cities and towns are reimbursed through the Chapter 90 bond authorizations.   "There is a dire need to maintain and improve infrastructure throughout our commonwealth, especially in the rural parts of our state," said Pignatelli in a statement announcing the filing. "While Chapter 90 funds can serve as a lifeline to communities, the current funding


Alumna Donates $5 Million To Support Teachers At Miss Hall's School
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:04PM / Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Theresa Thompson PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall's School will bolster its efforts to attract and retain faculty with the help of the largest single gift the school's ever received.   Theresa Thompson, who graduated from the all-girls school in 1964, donated $5 million with an eye toward retaining faculty who deliver innovative curriculum at the school.   "The gift is directed to supporting salaries ... the salaries are our largest expense and our most valuable asset," said Head of School Julia Heaton on Wednesday.    Heaton said the gift had been in the works for some time and is being celebrated this year to honor Thompson's 55th


Letter: Downed Poles and Electrical Outage
Letter to the Editor,
02:00PM / Wednesday, February 27, 2019

To the Editor:

We would like to thank the gentleman from National Grid who arrived shortly after downed poles and wires interrupted our electrical service for seven hours after the terrible wind storm Monday.

These men worked constantly in horrific conditions to restore our power. We were extremely worried because of medical conditions that require oxygen, but told one of the men and he said it would be a while; after seven hours of their extremely hard work, our power was back!

Thank you, so very much!

Barb & Fred Keyes




Miss Hall's School Presents 'Mamma Mia!'
11:53AM / Wednesday, February 27, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Miss Hall's School Theater Ensemble makes plans for a wedding in its upcoming winter musical, the ABBA-inspired "Mamma Mia!"

Performances will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3. All shows take place in the Woods Theater of the Elizabeth Gatchell Klein Arts Center on the Miss Hall's campus. General admission is $10, and reservations are recommended. Senior citizen and handicapped-accessible seating is available. Visit the website for tickets or call 413-443-6401.

Set on a fictional Greek Island, "Mamma Mia!" tells the story of Sophie, who dreams of a "perfect"


Women May Need to Make Extra Financial Moves
Submitted by Edward Jones,
11:45AM / Wednesday, February 27, 2019

International Women's Day will be observed on March 8. Around the world, special events will celebrate the cultural, social, political and economic achievements of women. However, this last area – economic progress – is one that still causes concern, and rightfully so, because women still face gender-related challenges. How can you deal with them?

To begin with, you need to recognize the nature of these challenges. While many factors are actually responsible for women facing more economic pressure than men, two stand out in particular:

Gender wage gap: It's still around, despite some progress toward equality. The U.S. Census Bureau has found that full-time, year-round


February Going Out Like a Snowy Lion
11:26AM / Wednesday, February 27, 2019

February is certainly going out like a lion.

After the high winds of Monday and Tuesday, an Alberta clipper is set to dump a few inches of snow on the Berkshires on Wednesday night. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory from 3 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday.

NWS expects 3 to 5 inches starting late afternoon and warns on slippery road conditions and poor visibility tonight. Our friends at Channel 13 predicts 2 to 4 inches of snow before sunrise on Thursday, though mountain locations could see between 3 and 6 inches.

We appreciate this nugget from Channel 6 News: "This will be a light and fluffy snow so shoveling and brushing your car off won't be


Pittsfield Council Stalls Plastic Bag Ban Vote
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:56AM / Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo first filed the petition nearly six years ago. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A potential ban on single-use plastic bags was again delayed Tuesday night after the City Council appeared gridlocked on a few details.   The proposal to eliminate the bags primarily used at the grocery store checkout has been nearly six years in the making since attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo first petitioned for it in conjunction with a ban on styrofoam. The two were uncoupled and in 2015 the City Council passed a ban on Styrofoam food containers.   The bag ban, meanwhile, worked its way through the Green Commission and council subcommittee meetings -- including sitting


Making the Loop
by Soapbox
04:44PM / Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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.)

>> Read More

Let's Go Paperless
by Soapbox
05:07PM / Monday, February 06, 2012
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
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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