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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

George Lucas Buys Rockwell's 'Shuffleton's Barbershop'
Staff Reports,
04:52PM / Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Lucas Museum will loan the painting to the Norman Rockwell Museum for up to two years.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The under-construction $1 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles has identified itself as the buyer of "Shuffleton's Barbershop."   Don Bacigalupi, director of the nonprofit museum, founded by George Lucas, told the The New York Times on Tuesday that the Norman Rockwell painting will be "one of the anchor works of our museum."   "As a museum dedicated to celebrating visual storytelling, we are honored to become the public steward of this major work," Bacigalupi said in a press statement. "Norman


Pittsfield Police Dog to Receive Protective Vest
12:40PM / Wednesday, April 11, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Police Department's K9, Jango, will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from the nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s.

Jango's vest is sponsored by fundraiser hosted by Heather McKibben of HeatherFest in Norton, Mass., and will be embroidered with the sentiment "Donated by HeatherFest in memory of Bill McKibben." Delivery is expected within eight to 10 weeks.

Jango is a 2-year-old German shepherd who joined the Pittsfield Police Department in September 2017. He completed Patrol and Narcotic Detection schools and is currently working with his handler, Officer Sondrini, on day

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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

Strategies for Your Investment 'Garden'
12:17PM / Wednesday, April 11, 2018

If you're a gardener, your busy season is at hand, as April has been designated National Garden Month. But could the skills you deploy at gardening be transferred to other areas of your life – such as investing?

Here are a few ideas for doing just that:

* Establish a timeline. As a gardener, you typically follow a well-defined timeline. You need to get the soil ready a few months before you want to plant, and you need to plant at different times, depending on what plants you choose. You even need to set up a schedule for watering, feeding, weeding and other garden care.

As an investor, you may also need to observe a timeline. During the early and middle stages of your career,


Pittsfield Finalizes Local Marijuana Ordinance
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Steven Goldman would like to open a marijuana manufacturing facility at the former Notre Dame Church but it is too close to the Boy's and Girl's Club. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Christopher Swindlehurst and Crispina ffrench first saw the former Notre Dame Church on Melville Street, they loved it.   That was back in 2012. They turned it into a maker's space in Shire City Sanctuary.   It has a commercial kitchen. It is a screen shop. It has a sewing lab. And artisans and small businesses used it to make their goods. But Swindlehurst said the couple doesn't have the resources to provide the upkeep it needs.    "It requires a lot more love and


Dozen Pittsfield Projects Vie For Community Preservation Funds
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:21AM / Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Michael MacDonald has been working on the BCC turf field project for four years. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A total of $823,026 was requested of the city's new Community Preservation Act funds.   But, the panel overseeing the funds will only able to expend less than half that amount.   The Community Preservation Act Committee will have somewhere between $370,000 and $390,000 for recreation and historic preservation projects.   This week, proponents of the dozen applications are making their cases for their requests and recommendations are expected to go before the City Council during the budgeting process.   The state law was adopted at the polls in 2016. It

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Pittsfield's Carnevale To Lead Governor's W. Mass Office
Staff Reports,
02:20PM / Tuesday, April 10, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — MEMA's Regional Manager Patrick Carnevale will lead the governor's Western Massachusetts office.   Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Carnevale to run the Springfield office and be a liaison between the communities in Western Massachusetts and the executive branch.   "Our Springfield office serves as an important connector to support our constituents, local leaders and municipalities in western Massachusetts," Baker said in a statement. "With almost two decades of public service and his role in overseeing emergency management for western Massachusetts, Patrick is uniquely qualified to lead the office and we are proud to welcome him


Challenger Amatul-Wadud Dismisses Neal's Seniority Argument
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:37AM / Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A crowd of about 50 or so attended the Indivisible Pittsfield meeting at the Berkshire Athenaeum on Monday evening. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Tahirah Amatul-Wadud doesn't put too much stock in U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's seniority.   The talk around the sitting congressman is that if the House of Representatives turns in favor of the Democrats, then he'd be elected the chairman the Ways and Means Committee. The Springfield Democrat is currently the ranking member on that committee.   Amatul-Wadud is challenging Neal for the 1st Massachusetts District seat in the Democratic primary.   She says the district wouldn't be seeing anything special happen if he was


How Important Is Local News to You?
03:15PM / Monday, April 09, 2018

Dear Readers, is ready to grow again but we need some help from our readers.

If you like us, you can help support the work we're doing for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

What began 18 years ago as a community billboard has now become the go-to news source for the Berkshires.

How did this happen? In three words: We show up.

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires, community events, parades. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about the pivotal events that can affect their communities and their lives.

We do it because we feel it is our


Berkshire Athenaeum Kicks Off 'Food for Fines' Campaign
02:30PM / Monday, April 09, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — As part of its celebration of National Library Week, the Berkshire Athenaeum will offer a modified fines amnesty now through Saturday, April 14. During this time the library will accept non‑perishable food items in lieu of paying fines for overdue books.

"While overdue fines are supposed to encourage people to bring their library books back on time, sometimes the system doesn't work, and things don't get returned," said Cathy Congelosi, supervisor of Adult Circulation.

The food-for-fines program, now in its 23rd year, is the library's attempt to create a more positive feeling about getting overdue library materials returned, and to


Biz Briefs: Berkshire Bank Pays Veteran's Mortgage for One Year
01:45PM / Monday, April 09, 2018
How exciting

Keith Cosimini of West Springfield, Mass., was the winner of the Berkshire Bank Exciting Rewind Mortgage Giveaway for veterans. Cosimini spent much of his career as an Army specialist. As the winner, he will be awarded $12,000 to pay his mortgage for the year. The giveaway was extended to active military members and eligible veterans, serving as an extension of the dedication of Berkshire Bank to the servicemen and servicewomen of our country.
When asked of how he felt about winning the Exciting Rewind giveaway, Cosimini said, "I couldn't believe that I won when I got the call. I had recently opened an account with Berkshire Bank and saw the contest on


Berkshires Beat: Berkshire OLLI Set to Kick Off Spring Semester
01:16PM / Monday, April 09, 2018
Lifelong learning

OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, offers almost two dozen varied courses this spring throughout the Berkshires. With no tests, no grades, and no prerequisites, OLLI classes are designed for those who enjoy learning, meeting interesting new people and exploring the Berkshire and beyond. To register for classes, call 413-236-2190 or go online. OLLI courses are designed especially by and for people 50 years and older, but everyone is invited to join and attend.

Weekly classes are held in Pittsfield, Lenox, Great Barrington and Williamstown this semester. Highlights include:

* The Fight to Vote: Kit Dobelle, former White House Chief


Former Sonsini Employees Describe 'Toxic' Work Environment
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:07PM / Sunday, April 08, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It would only take one look and Kimberly Wilson's family would tell her, "you need to quit that job."   Wilson was hired as a staff member for the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter in September and quit a few months later because of what she says was a poor work environment.   "It was constant fighting. It was constant backstabbing ... It was taking a huge toll on all of us," Wilson said on Thursday.   Wilson recounts a story that doesn't stray much from other employees who resigned around the same time. The former Sonsini staff members describe a "toxic" work environment.   "It is devastating. It is about


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