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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

New Wine Bar Eyed For Downtown Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:34AM / Tuesday, April 26, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new wine bar is planned for downtown.   Susan Jansen, who once was part owner of the former Halpins, is looking to open Regions Wine Bar and Nosh in the Crawford Square building. Jansen received a seasonal beer and wine license from the Licensing Board on Monday.   "It's just going to be a quite, peaceful place," Jansen said. "It's not going to fill up with the young, drinking crowd."   There won't be any jukebox or entertainment. Nor will there even be televisions for the crowd Jansen says is expected to be people just getting out of work or a movie. The small, 898-square-foot space to the left from the main


Berkshire Tidbits: Spring Cleaning, Mushroom Cultivation
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
04:05PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

Mariette and James Rickard show other gardeners at Canoe Meadows community gardens one of their prized 'peanut' pumpkins at the annual end-of-season garden picnic celebration in 2010.

Last Saturday, April 23, was an Earth Day celebration and inauguration of the new community gardens at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds. This Saturday, April 30, from 9 to noon, will be a day to prepare the community gardens at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Pittsfield, sponsored by Berkshire Sanctuaries during Massachusetts Audubon's Statewide Volunteer Day, for spring — for the 40th year!

Before that, Pittsfield's community gardens were near the old Burgner's turkey farm,


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

Countywide Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 30
02:34PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

This spring, community coalitions from across the county have joined forces to host the biannual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at eight locations within Berkshire County.

The process of dropping off medication is anonymous and quick, and it has potential life-saving benefits. Anyone with unused, unwanted and expired prescription, over-the-counter and controlled medications should stop by to dispose of them safely. Personal needles are also accepted in puncture proof plastic containers. Please note that the following items will not be accepted: thermometers, IV bags, blood or infectious waste, nebulizers and oxygen tanks.

Locations include:



Williamstown Resident Joins Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees
02:29PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Joan B. Hunter has joined the Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees as its newest member.

Hunter, a Pittsfield native and Williamstown resident, brings a wealth of experience as a dedicated volunteer in the cultural community here in the Berkshires as well as her professional expertise in the field of education.

The trustees and staff of the museum are currently engaged in a long-range strategic master planning process, making this an exciting time to join the governing board for the Museum. The goals of the master plan are to create a sustainable, relevant institution that continues to provide high quality experiences for its participants in the 21st


Critical Care Specialist Honored With Patient-Centered Award
01:40PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A highly respected BMC Pulmonary and Critical Care specialist has been recognized with the 2016 Patient-Centered Physician Award, presented annually to a physician who exemplifies the philosophy of patient-centered care at BMC.

Dr. Hafez Alsmaan was awarded the honor during a special ceremony on March 30, National Doctors Day.

“Dr. Alsmaan has brought a powerful spirit to the hospital, and his heart and soul belong to his patients, their families and his colleagues at BMC,” said Diane Kelly, RN, BMC's chief operating officer. “He is the kind of physician who leaves a lasting mark on all who are in his care. It is his life’s work, his


'Money School' Workshops to be offered in Great Barrington, Pittsfield
01:26PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Elizabeth Freeman Center’s financial independence series for people impacted by domestic or sexual violence will be offering two new series starting the last week in April.

“Money School” is a five-week series for survivors that offers financial workshops, income resources, one-on-one financial coaches from local banks, and more. The workshops cover topics like: rebuilding credit, accessing the benefits you deserve, building supports, getting by now, and building toward your financial future.

One series of five workshops will run on Tuesday evenings, April 26-May 24, in Great Barrington, and another series of five workshops will run on Thursday


Berkshires Beat: Crafters Needed, Pittsfield Hydrants Being Flushed
01:13PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

Vendors are being sought for the popular Otis Craft Fair.

Call for vendors: The Otis Library Summer Crafts and Country Fair seeks artists, craftsmen and other non-food vendors for their annual fair on Saturday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (rain or shine).

The fair is held on the lawn in front of the Otis Town Hall on Route 8 in Otis center. The popular event attracts tourists, second homeowners, Berkshire county residents and their guests.  The fair features about 55 quality vendors from throughout the nNortheast.  

Space is available on a first come-first served basis and sells out fast.  The cost is $40/space (bring your own table) before June 1 and $45 after if


Biz Briefs: Berkshire United Way Celebrates Volunteers
12:50PM / Monday, April 25, 2016

Local leaders and award recipients gather following the Berkshire United Way Live United Community Celebration, incuding Perri Petricca, CEO of Petricca Industries; Kristine Hazzard, president & CEO Berkshire United Way; C. Jeffrey Cook, the Robert K Agar Jr. Volunteerism award recipient; Susan Driscoll, the JC Penney Employee Campaign Coordinator award recipient; Brenda Petell, the Daniel C. Dillon Helping Hands, Caring Heart award recipient; and Christopher Mathews, chairman of Berkshire United Way Board of Directors.

Volunteer shout-outs: Berkshire United Way’s LIVE UNITED Community Celebration was held on Tuesday, April 12, at Berkshire Hills Country Club, where 300 members

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Riverfest Promotes Use of Housatonic; Cleans Up Pittsfield Park
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:07AM / Monday, April 25, 2016

Various organizations brought out display tables to educate people about the ecosystem. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — To celebrate Earth Day the Housatonic Valley Association did what you'd expect: they cleaned up a city park and promoted use of the river.   The group held a river festival on Saturday, when dozens of volunteers and numerous environmental groups cleaned up Fred Garner park, provided information and education about the Housatonic River, and welcomed paddlers canoed all the way to the Long Island Sound to promote the river.   "We started out with about 21 boats yesterday. ... We expect to have 126 boats in total joining us. We'll get to Long Island


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.)

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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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