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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

The Independent Investor: Cost of Caregiving Keeps Climbing
By Bill Schmick,
07:05PM / Thursday, May 30, 2019
If you thought the nation has problems with Social Security and Medicare, you ain't seen nothing yet. Today, more than two-thirds of Americans assume they will be able to rely on a family member to meet their long-term care needs if needed. My advice: don't count on it, and here's why.   As it stands today, one-third of all U.S. families provide long-term care for a disabled or elderly family member. You may have guessed that two-thirds of those caregivers are women, although why it should be deemed a woman's task alone is beyond me.   If you want to look at the upside to care-giving, you could say that caring for a loved one who needs our help, is a chance to pay

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Pittsfield City Hall Lit Up With Kinetic Lights
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:49PM / Thursday, May 30, 2019

City Hall and the Dunham Mall are complete and now the focus is on Park Square. Private building owners in the downtown are also considering lighting projects. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City Hall is the latest to be lit up with multi-color lights by Berkshire Lightscapes. And more of downtown is on deck.   Berkshire Lightscapes privately raised more than $50,000, which was matched by a state grant, to install kinetic lights in Dunham Mall, City Hall, and Park Square. Concurrently, downtown building owners are working on joining the effort to light up their own buildings with the Shipton Building expected to be lit in in the coming weeks.    "We're not just

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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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'Aladdin': Wishful Thinking
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:07PM / Thursday, May 30, 2019
Three wishes. It sure seems like a lot. One would think you could solve all the world's problems as well as a few of your own if a genie granted them to you. But after mulling director Guy Ritchie's adaptation of the "One Thousand and One Nights" Arabian folktale Disney first treated us to in 1992, I'm still not certain how I'd proceed.    Are you sure you can't wish for more wishes? Yeah, I know, I know. That's the way it has to be. You see, it's all part of a built-in lesson about hopes, aspirations and the human condition, brought to the silver screen here in fine fettle.   Rated PG and boasting a bevy of positive beliefs, with special

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Pittsfield Council Accepts Grant For Tel-Electric Dam Removal
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:26AM / Thursday, May 30, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council accepted a $1.5 million state grant to take down the Mill Street Dam.    The project has been years in the making and is now out to bid. The city is hoping to have work start in late June or July and be completed before the winter.    "We need to take advantage of the low flow period of the river," Parks and Open Spaces Manager Jim McGrath said.   The dam is being removed for a number of reasons — public safety, water quality, removing contaminants behind, it and connecting the river for more public use. The river will essentially be piped around the worksite for three to four months as the contractor

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Letter: Why We Should Not Name Holidays After Real People
Letter to the Editor,
03:00PM / Wednesday, May 29, 2019

To the Editor:

In January of 2018, in a column that was not to be published, I wrote:

"The Pittsfield School Committee has renamed 'Columbus Day' 'Indigenous Peoples Day.' Frankly, I think we should do away with the practice of having holidays for any individual. There are three people that have federal holidays named after them: Martin Luther King Junior, George Washington, and Columbus. All three were great in their own respects, but all had faults too egregious to actually give a holiday to them." I had argued, "'Martin Luther King Day' should be 'Civil Rights Day.' 'Washington's Birthday' should be 'Democracy Day.'

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Revised Working Group Formed to Re-Assess Tyer's At Home Program
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Wednesday, May 29, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The mayor's proposed At Home in Pittsfield program may see a new life.   The City Council shot down the mayor's plan to provide zero-interest loans to residents who make repairs to the exterior of their homes with a particular sticking point being the source of funding: the GE Economic Development funds. Tyer originally said she had exhausted all avenues for other funding mechanisms and didn't have much interest starting back at the drawing board.   The contingent of four councilors who voted the program down, and who have routinely opposed the mayor's plans, then came back with a petition calling for a working group consisting of

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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Hillsmen Take Home Awards
11:22AM / Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Berkshire Hillsmen compete

The Berkshire Hillsmen, the Pittsfield chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, participated in the Western Regional Competition of the Northeastern District of BHS in Lake George, N.Y., on May 3 and 4. The Berkshire Hillsmen were awarded the 2019 Mountain Division Small Chorus Championship Trophy as a result of their performance. Berkshire Blend, the chapter’s quartet entry, won the 2019 Mountain Division Novice Quartet Championship.

The Northeastern District (NED) is made up of five divisions. The competition that took place in Lake George was for the Mountain and Yankee Divisions. The Mountain Division comprises of Western Massachusetts, New York from

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Strong Towns Founder Brings Community Development Strategies to Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:02AM / Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Mill Town Capital organized both a large presentation at Barrington Stage in the evening and a small one for those involved in local community development. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Charles Marohn believes that humans are basically wired to highly value the immediate positive while discounting long-term negatives.   That's a well recognized and documented psychology. It explains why many people will eat poor food and sit down in front of a television rather than go to the gym.   But Marohn's specialty isn't psychology. He's a civil engineer. So why was he talking psychology in a room full of government officials and city planners?   "This is a

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Berkshire County Reflects On Memorial Day
Staff Reports,
04:45PM / Monday, May 27, 2019

North Adams' ceremony featured the reading of the Gettysburg Address and the presentation of the George O. Angeli Award. More photos can be found here. NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city observed Memorial Day with the traditional parade from American Legion Post 125 to the Veterans Memorial with police and fire vehicles, veterans organizations, Boy and Girl Scouts and the Drury High School marching band.    Master of ceremonies was Senior Vice Cmdr. Mitchell Keil of Post 125; parade marshals and non-speaking dignitaries included Joseph Zustra Jr, VFW; Dennis St. Pierre,  American Legion; Edward Denault, VVA; Louis Floriani, AMVETS; Matthew

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Lanesborough Honors Memorial Day With Parade, Ceremony
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:19PM / Sunday, May 26, 2019

Andrew Gibson was the keynote speaker. More photos can be found here. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — In World War 2, Lt. John Fox was directing the fire as the Americans were under attack from the Germans.   He kept changing the directions as to where to fire until he called for heavy firing directly on his location.    "When told this, Fox simple confirmed that he knew what he was doing by saying fire it. Those salvos stopped the Germans in their tracks, gave the Americans a chance to counter-attack and retake the town," said Andrew Gibson, a history teacher at Mount Greylock Regional High School.    Fox's body was found alongside hundreds of

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Pittsfield's Commissioner of Public Services Retiring
Staff Reports,
04:51PM / Saturday, May 25, 2019

  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Commissioner of Public Services David Turocy is retiring after a 30-year career.   Turocy joined the city in 2015 as commissioner of public services, filling a job that had been created four years earlier but never filled. He came to Pittsfield after serving 11 years as commissioner in Newton. In 2017 his role expanded to take on the role of commissioner of public utilities as well.   The commissioner said on Thursday that he will retire in October and will remain in the area.    "My wife retired two years ago, so it's a good time to go out and relax," Turocy said.   Turocy began his career in Lexington in March

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Pittsfield Strengthen Rules On Contractors Following Hydrant Issues
Staff Reports,
01:46PM / Saturday, May 25, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Contractors must get written approval from city officials before shutting off the water to a hydrant from now on.   In fighting the blaze on Tyler Street on Thursday, firefighters were unaware that the contractor hired by the city to upgrade the water line on Plunkett Street had turned off the valve. Firefighters hooked up a hose but no water came out. They, joined by citizens, police officers, and emergency medical technicians, had to run the hose 500 feet down Tyler Street to tap into another hydrant instead.   The delay may not have been too impactful given that the fire was already towering when firefighters arrived but it was a delay nonetheless and

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