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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Two More Properties Added to Pittsfield's Demolition List
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:36PM / Thursday, December 06, 2018

The city secured the structure at 217 Robbins Ave. in 2017. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two more homes have been added to the demolition list.   The Board of Health issued orders of demolition for 33 Circular Ave. and 217 Robbins Ave. The two buildings were added to a list of homes the city demolishes because of unsafe conditions.   Senior Code Inspector Mark Blaisdell detailed each property to the Board of Health on Wednesday night. The two-family home on Circular Avenue has been vacant since 2011. It was still being maintained but that changed in 2016, he said, when it started to deteriorate.    The home dates back to the 1930s and Blaisdell said he had been in

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Home From Afghanistan, Mount Greylock Vice Principal Settling In
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Thursday, December 06, 2018

Schutz speaks to the young students about personal responsibility and the school climate. He says he's still acclimating to the new school.   WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Vice Principal Jacob Schutz welcomed the class of 2024 to the middle-high school on Wednesday, even as the Mount Greylock community continued to welcome Schutz back to the United States.   Schutz addressed the 120-member class of seventh-graders in a midday meeting in the school's gymnasium, on his third day back after serving a year in the National Guard.   "I've been at Mount Greylock for five or six years," he told the 12- and 13-year-olds by way of

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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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Berkshire Medical Center Shows Off New Technology
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:28AM / Thursday, December 06, 2018

  The newer model allows for greater use. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Medical Center is hoping to get people back to their everyday lives "quicker with the help of new technology.   The hospital recent upgraded its daVinci Robot to lessen the invasiveness of surgery and purchased a new EksoGT robotic exoskeleton to help patients who had strokes or spinal cord injuries learn to walk again.   On Wednesday, the hospital showed off the new equipment in its lobby, displaying all of the cool features the equipment has to offer.   The daVinci is a newer model of a piece of equipment the hospital purchased in 2010 and with which some 300 surgeries per year

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Letter: FCC Rule Endangers Existence of PCTV
Letter to the Editor,
05:00PM / Wednesday, December 05, 2018

To the Editor:

Over the last 30 years, Pittsfield Community Television has served a special role in our community, providing information, entertainment, sports, and access to cable subscribers in the area. These programs are not provided by any Albany or Springfield channels.

PCTV's unique programming includes coverage of local events such as the Fourth of July Parade, high school graduations and school concerts, School Committee meetings, City Council and dozens of other municipal meetings, press conferences, local high school sports events, Veterans Day parade and memorial service, programs by and for the elderly, faith-based programs, and a host of volunteer-driven programming

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Three Factors to Consider When Making Charitable Gifts
12:19PM / Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The holiday season is here, which means gift-giving is probably on your mind. In addition to making gifts to your family and friends, you also may be interested in contributing to charitable organizations. But before you donate financial assets, such as stocks, you will need to consider several factors, including taxes, your portfolio balance and the reputation of the charity.

Let's look at these areas:

Taxes: Your donations to qualified charities (those that are considered 501(c)(3) organizations by the Internal Revenue Service) can give you tax deductions – if you itemize deductions on your tax return. However, due to recent tax law changes, the standard deduction for 2018

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New Doctor Joins BMC Pulmonary and Critical Care Team
12:17PM / Wednesday, December 05, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems announces the appointment of Dr. David A. Oelberg, a board-certified and fellowship-trained pulmonologist, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the physician staff of Pulmonary Professional Services of BMC.

Dr. Oelberg is accepting new patients in need of pulmonary and sleep medicine services, and is partnered with Drs. Hafez Alsmaan, Kashif Aslam, Cynthia Callahan, Julio Miranda, Michael Mortelliti and Jack Ringler at Pulmonary Professional Services of BMC.

Dr. Oelberg is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary disease, critical care and sleep medicine. He received his medical degree from McGill University,

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Pittsfield Councilors Split on Water/Sewer Rate Increase
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The City  Council votes 6-5 in favor of the new rates on Tuesday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council is split on setting water and sewer rates for the next 18 months.    In a 6-5 vote Tuesday night, the council's Committee of the whole approved Mayor Linda Tyer's plan to raise water rates by 20 percent and sewer rates by 50 percent starting on Jan. 1.   However, the final decision has to be made next Tuesday and the council has requested more information before casting that vote.    David Russell from Russell Consulting presented an executive summary of a water and sewer rate study he recently conducted in determining where rates need to

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Cop on Top Raises $45K For Special Olympics
Staff Reports,
11:36AM / Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The torch, lit by a local athlete, burned throughout the event. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The ninth annual Cop on Top event raised $45,000 for the Special Olympics.   For two days local law enforcement officers camped out at the roof of Walmart in Berkshire Crossing while in the parking lot there were a number of raffles, sales, and giveaways to help raise money.   The officers fell quite a bit short of their goal of $55,000 but, nonetheless, are calling it a success.   "We didn't do quite as well as years past but I think the weather played a part," said Investigator John Bassi.    The event is put on by the Berkshire County

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Residents Unhappy With Mediation For GE River Cleanup
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Tim Gray, director of the Housatonic River Initiative, pushed for chemical and biological technologies to break down the PCBs in the river. LENOX, Mass. — Why is this even being negotiated?   That's what many of the residents along the Rest of the River corridor rhetorically asked Monday night in regards to the cleanup of PCBs in the Housatonic River.   Mediator John Bickerman has been brought in to help reach a compromise between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and General Electric regarding the final section of the river that needs to be cleaned up.   Bickerman led a public forum at Lenox Memorial Middle and High School on the matter in hopes to

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Berkshire Palate Opens in Williamstown
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
01:23AM / Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Sweet potato with kale, dried fruit, brown butter and pecans.     WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — It doesn't get much more local than Berkshire Palate, a family-run eatery that offers homegrown flavors.   Paul Brassard and his three sons Nolan, Aaron and Zach have had Berkshire Palate on the mind for some time now.   "Zach was making his own jams and spice rubs, so he was kind of outgrowing that," Paul said. "We always wanted a restaurant and once he went to culinary school then it went from 'it would be cool maybe someday' to 'when?'"    The Brassards looked at 13 locations but settled on 240A Main St. in the

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CHP Great Barrington Practice Wins Patient Experience Award
03:18PM / Monday, December 03, 2018

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Community Health Programs Great Barrington Health Center has been recognized by Massachusetts Health Quality Partners for excellence in the primary care patient experience, based on patient surveys.

The MHQP Patient Experience Awards is a new program introduced this year by MHQP, a nonprofit measurement and reporting organization that brings together providers, health plans and patients to improve the quality of patient care experiences in Massachusetts. MHQP conducts the only statewide survey of patient experience in primary care in Massachusetts, with feedback from more than 65,000 commercially-insured patients across the state.

Awards were given to the

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Paratransit Workers Vote Work Stoppage Over Contract
01:56PM / Monday, December 03, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The union representing paratransit drivers for the Paratransit Management of the Berkshires rejected a contract on Sunday, resulting in a work stoppage on Monday.   In a statement, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority said the paratransit service will not operate during the strike.   "BRTA has subcontracted with other chaircar vendors to perform essential paratransit trips. BRTA will operate limited fixed route service during the strike," the statement reads.    Starting Tuesday, Dec. 4, the updated limited fixed route service bus schedule is below:   Route 1 will operate 6:30, 7:30, 9:00 and 10:00 morning runs and

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