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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Still Concerned About Police, Fire OT Budgets
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:11AM / Monday, February 11, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city will overspend on public safety overtime and snow and ice this year fiscal year.   The accounts have been on the watch list for Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood and by halfway through the year, the budgets for police and fire overtime are just about spent and snow and ice removal is overspent. Kerwood says the city will have to transfer money from other budget lines to cover those deficits.   "We will have to figure out where those additional funds will come from," Kerwood told the city's Finance Committee on Thursday.   The overtime budgets are easier to manage. The police force has struggled to find enough officers to fill

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Koperek Wins Gold at Bay State Winter Games
08:42PM / Sunday, February 10, 2019
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Yvonne Koperek of Christmas Brook Figure Skating Club earned a gold medal this weekend in the Bay State Winter Games at Williams College's Lansing Chapman Rink.   Koperek topped a field of 10 skaters in her group in the Excel Pre Juvenile Girls Free Skating division.   The Bay State Winter Games continue the first weekend in March with events in North Adams and Pittsfield.   The masters ice hockey tournament will be held at the Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Rink, March 1-3.   The inaugural Bay State curling competition will be held March 2 and 3 at the Pittsfield Boys and Girls Club. CurlBerkshires will host the

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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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In Pursuit of Beetle Happiness: Part 1
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
04:19PM / Sunday, February 10, 2019

Dogbane beetles feed on dogbane, a plant similar to milkweed.    Beneficial beetles belong.    In pursuit of beetle happiness, I can cast a note of optimism about the many beetles at large in museums and private collections, that may bring us a profound joy, allowing our sense of inquiry to thrive like a child set loose in New York's American Museum of Natural History.    Looking into my own remnant beetle collection, I see what remains of former halcyon grandeur, plus some foreign purchased papered specimens, acquisitions prepared without display pins in order to emphasize the extraordinary anatomy, namely jointed legs, frontal horns, and armored

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MCLA Softball Program Offers Youth Clinics
02:45PM / Sunday, February 10, 2019
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The MCLA softball program this winter will host a pair of clinics that will focus on skill development of a wide range of age levels.   The first clinic is for youth players aged 7-13 and will be held on Feb. 24. The second clinic is set for March 3 and will be for high school student-athletes.   Registration is required for both clinics. Registration is not complete without payment and the corresponding health forms above. All players must bring the consent form prior to participation.   The cost for each clinic is $50.   The youth clinic will run from 8 a.m. to noon on Feb. 24. It will focus on the following:   Skill

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Metal Affection: 'Iron Florist' Fabricates Lasting Love Tokens
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:30AM / Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Iron Florist started with roses primarily but has since expanded its offerings.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Matt McLaughlin left the Marine Corps a few years ago, he wasn't sure what to do.

He entered an auto mechanics program in Pennsylvania and, on the side, made some extra cash by welding bumpers, roll cages, or parts on off-road vehicles.

But he wasn't making a whole lot of money doing the jobs in his own garage.     Christmas was coming and he just didn't have extra cash so he got creative. He took his experience in welding and the lessons from his chassis fabrication courses and created flowers, steel roses to give as

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Harrington Chats Vision With Local NAACP
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:40PM / Saturday, February 09, 2019

Helen Moon, director of special projects, outlined the vision for a juvenile diversion program that is currently being developed by the office. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — District Attorney Andrea Harrington doesn't see her job as simply tossing people into jail cells.    Instead, she is seeking to create a culture and environment where causes such as drug or mental health problems are addressed in the community so the crimes don't happen again.    "My vision, and it is a big vision, is for structural change and to reallocate resources from a system of prosecuting people, processing through the courts, and incarcerating people to a system that is more of

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Barrington Stage Celebrates 25th Season With Four Premieres
01:01PM / Saturday, February 09, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The award-winning Barrington Stage Company marks its 25th anniversary season this year with four world premieres: A new musical from BSC's Musical Theatre Lab, "Fall Springs" by Niko Tsakalakos and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb; "America v. 2.1: The Sad Demise & Eventual Extinction of The American Negro" by Stacey Rose; "American Underground" by Brent Askari; and Ragtag Theatre's "Hansel and Gretel," commissioned by BSC.    "For our 25th season we are celebrating some of the brilliant undiscovered playwrights whose work is on the pulse of what's happening in America today," said Artistic Director

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Superior Court Briefs: Feb 5 - Feb. 7
Staff Reports,
05:03PM / Friday, February 08, 2019
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, Feb. 5.   Christopher Letalien, 34, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of a Class B drug with intent to distribute, his second offense.   He was sentenced to two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction with the last six months suspended for a probation period of two years.    Letalien sold Ritalin to a North Adams police officer on December 11, 2018 after accidentally texting the officer about the drugs.    Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, Feb. 6.   Brian Jones, 23, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of permitting bodily injury

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@theMarket: Markets Are China Dependent
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Friday, February 08, 2019
Profit-taking is a natural and expected part of the stock market. That's why no one should be surprised that this week we are witnessing a period of consolidation. It is actually a good thing.   Given that most investors need a reason to explain any market declines, this week's announcement that President Trump is postponing his meeting with Xi, his Chinese counterpart, was both a surprise and a disappointment. It shouldn't be.   Over the last few months, I have tried to reduce investors' expectations of an easy, one-shot, Chinese break-through on the trade front. The postponement is actually a positive, in the sense that both sides are taking the negotiations

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Pittsfield Resident Tapped to Holyoke Soldiers' Home Board of Trustees
03:31PM / Friday, February 08, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Carmen M. Ostrander of Pittsfield has been appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to serve on the Holyoke Soldiers' Home Board of Trustees.

State Sen. Adam G. Hinds forwarded Ostrander's name and resume to the governor's office for consideration after receiving an inquiry from his deputy chief secretary of boards and commissions last fall. The governor's office was seeking a qualified female Berkshire County resident, preferably with military experience, to consider for the appointment.

"Carmen has served our country and our region honorably for a long time," Hinds said. "She knows firsthand the health care challenges facing our veterans.

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Edgerton, Jackson Receive 'Black Excellence on the Hill' Award
03:20PM / Friday, February 08, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two Pittsfield residents were honored with a 2019 "Black Excellence on the Hill" award during a State House ceremony on Monday, Feb. 4.

Ty Allan Jackson, local author, literacy advocate, publisher and motivational speaker, and Shirley Edgerton, founder and director of the Rites of Passage and Empowerment Program, director of Youth Alive and cultural proficiency coach for the Pittsfield Public Schools, were honored by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus.

Jackson was nominated for this recognition by state Sen. Adam Hinds and Edgerton was nominated by state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier

The MBLLC celebrates Black History month and the

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Pittsfield Cumberland Farms Slapped With Tobacco Violation
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:27PM / Friday, February 08, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After two violations of its tobacco retail license, the managers from Cumberland Farms on First Street say tobacco products will not be sold at all unless the customer has identification.   The city is imposing a $350 fine on the convenience store but is holding the seven-day suspension in abeyance, meaning it will be enforced only if there is another violation.   Health Director Gina Armstrong said there was a violation in March 2017 and that in November 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ran a compliance check and found another violation. Lastly, the Tri-Town Health Department found a violation in January of this year.   Armstrong said the

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