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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

@theMarket: Memorial Day Markets
By Bill Schmick,
03:48PM / Friday, May 22, 2020
As we begin the Memorial Day weekend that usually launches the nation's summer season, investors are anxious to discover if Americans will ignore CDC warnings, and go back to their old ways of celebrating the holiday. And if they do, will new cases of COVID-19 spike?   The re-opening of much of America this week had been met with some celebratory gains in the stock market, but as I predicted, it has been an up and down week, despite the gain. The S&P 500 benchmark Index actually "kissed" 3,000 before falling back the following day. It was a first tentative probe of that level since the March declines.   However, if the S&P 500 Index can get through that

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Pittsfield School Committee Accepts Fiscal 2021 Budget
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
04:03AM / Friday, May 22, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee has accepted a fiscal 2021 budget that is level funded  at $65,113,700 but fears further reductions in Chapter 70 could cause more cuts.   The School Committee saw a more detailed budget on Wednesday and Superintendent Jason McCandless noted that further reductions in state education funding could be a reality.   "Really the only option is to roll up our sleeves and join with ... those who care about kids," he said. "A cut to Chapter 70 of that magnitude is simply not acceptable and the city and the commonwealth will not stand for it."    With COVID-19 all but resetting the state budget, Pittsfield

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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 Eliminates Community Assessment Increases
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
02:35AM / Friday, May 22, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission accepted an amended budget Thursday with no increases to community assessments.   The Committee voted to rescind the assessment increases to member communities in response to the financial impacts COVID-19 will surely have throughout Berkshire County.   "The situation has changed dramatically since January and understanding the fiscal challenges that our communities are going to be facing over the next year and possibly longer," BRPC Executive Director Thomas Matuszko said. "It is a recommendation to roll back that increase."   Originally in January, the commission voted to implement a

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: May 22-28
05:35PM / Thursday, May 21, 2020
Welcome to Cultural Pittsfield's weekly guide featuring online classes, virtual events, information, and more. If you are a Pittsfield business and would like your event listed, please email us at cultural@pittsfieldch.com. Thank you and be well!     RESOURCES   Please visit the City of Pittsfield's COVID-19 webpage for updates and helpful resources. 1Berkshire has also compiled a list of online sites where you can find information on a number of topics. Plus... Council on Aging Brown Bag Program | Centers for Disease Control &

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The Independent Investor: Chinese Checkers
By Bill Schmick,
05:15PM / Thursday, May 21, 2020
If you are wondering why China is suddenly back in the news on various political and economic fronts, look no further than the November elections. America needs a scapegoat for all the pain and suffering we have endured during this pandemic. The world's second-largest economy is an easy target.   There is no dispute; if we want to cast blame on the country that originated the coronavirus, we know it originated in Wuhan, China. At the time, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the federal government, the White House, and the world at large, all applauded China's efforts to contain the virus. Back then (a few short months ago), President

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Berkshire Music School Hires New Executive Director
11:35AM / Thursday, May 21, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Berkshire Music School has hired Natalie Johnsonius Neubert as its new executive director, to replace Tracy Wilson, who is retiring in June after a nearly 17-year run in that position. 

The search committee, headed up by BMS trustee Christine Condaris, received applications from individuals across the country, and the selection was made in mid-April. Neubert will begin in early June, to work with Wilson during that month, ensuring a seamless transition in leadership.  

"The board is thrilled to welcome Natalie to the BMS family and looks forward to working with her," Board President Paul Houston said.

"The Berkshire Music School is an invaluable

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Independence Day Road Race Canceled for 2020
10:09AM / Thursday, May 21, 2020

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Following the announcement that the 2020 Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade has been cancelled, the organizers of the BMC Independence Day Run, a very popular 5K run held just before the parade kicks off, have decided to cancel the event.

This would have been the 35th anniversary of the Independence Day Run, which raises funds to benefit Berkshire Medical Center.

Organizers of the Independence Day Run cite the ongoing caution surrounding COVID-19 and the continuing need for social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus in the Berkshires.

The event is being planned for 2021 and it is hoped conditions at that time will allow for the continuation of this

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Holiday Hours: Memorial Day
09:00AM / Thursday, May 21, 2020

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army Arlington National Cemetery is the nation's first federal military cemetery. A ceremony is held each Memorial Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Memorial Day is being celebrated Monday, May 25. It is a federal holiday observing the sacrifices of the nation's servicemen and -women. It started as a day to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers, particularly in the South, and many states adopted the day as Decoration Day to commemorate all U.S. soldiers after World War I.

Memorial Day was established as a federal holiday in 1971 by Congress. It falls on the last Monday in May.

Closed:
Federal, state and local offices; no mail

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Pittsfield Road Projects to Be Completed This Season
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Thursday, May 21, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city will convene road paving and other projects as planned in the coming weeks.   Public Services Commissioner Ricardo Morales told the Committee on Public Works on Tuesday that some road work has already begun.   "We have started work in the first work area and today in work area two," he said.   Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio put forth a petition requesting a list of street projects to be conducted this season. His main concern was that some projects would not take place because of the pandemic.   "I just want to make sure that we have some kind of list," he said. "If they are anticipated to be done on time or

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Mount Greylock School District Narrows School Choice Spots for 2020-21
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:03AM / Thursday, May 21, 2020
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee last week decided to cut down the number of new school choice slots open in the district in response to uncertainty about the coming academic year.   In fact, the district will offer just two slots at one of its two elementary schools in order to allow the younger siblings of two existing pupils to enroll in kindergarten.   Generally, the administration asked that the committee cut back from the 13 choice slots that the committee discussed earlier this year.   "We submitted what our proposals would have been back in March had we had a discussion on what school choice would look like for us with

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Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Canceled
10:53PM / Wednesday, May 20, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Fourth of July Parade has been canceled for the first time since 1977, a victim of the novel coronavirus pandemic.   Parade officials say it is not possible to put on the parade within the social distancing guidelines of staying 6 feet apart.   The parade brings thousands of people to the city's downtown as participants or as viewers who line the streets from the Colonial Theatre to historic Wahconah Park to watch the marching bands, floats, balloons and units.    "We have been following the current situation and believe it would not be prudent to have a gathering the size of the parade under the current conditions," said

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Baker: Socialization Sacrificed for COVID-19 Safety
Staff Reports,
03:49PM / Wednesday, May 20, 2020
BRAINTREE, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker says he spends less time with the lieutenant governor these days yet they talk far more often.    It's an example of how the state will have to navigate this new normal — giving up the physical and social elements of teamwork but keeping remote contact.   "It's the loss of the socialization issues, and the sense of team, and the sense of community that comes with those opportunities to sit together and talk about what's going on with your family or what's going on with your work and what's going on generally that we're going to have to deal with," he said at Wednesday's briefing. "And

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