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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Superior Court Briefs: March 31 - April 5
Staff Reports,
12:42PM / Friday, April 07, 2017
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, March 31.   Jason Pennell, 28, of Holyoke had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and conspiracy to violate drug laws.   He was ordered to be held at the Hampden County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant in Williamstown on January 18, 2017.    Terry Martizna, 26, of Lanesborough pleaded guilty to single counts of illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device, armed career felon, illegal possession of a firearm, and possession of ammunition without a firearm


Cultural Pittsfield This Week: April 7-13
11:35AM / Friday, April 07, 2017

  VIEW DAY-BY-DAY CALENDAR       April 7 - April 13,


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

Kindergarten Registration Dates Scheduled Around County
11:29AM / Friday, April 07, 2017

Schools across Berkshire County are holding registration days for next year's kindergartners. Schools can submit their information to be added to this list to

* Adams: St. Stanislaus Kostka School is now registering for the 2017-2018 school year. Openings are available in grades pre-kindergarten through grade eight. Financial aid is available for qualified applicants. Schedule a shadow day at 413-743-1091.


* Clarksburg: Kindergarten registration has begun for the Clarksburg Elementary School. Call the school at 413-663-8735 to register your child for the fall. Children must be five years of age by August 31, 2017.


* Florida: The Gabriel Abbott


Attorney General Healey to Testify at Eversource Rate Hearing In Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:02AM / Friday, April 07, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Attorney General Maura Healey will be at the library on Monday to do what her staff has been doing all across the state — opposing the electrical rate increase proposed by Eversource.   The electric company has asked for steep increases in rates throughout the commonwealth — 10 percent in Western Massachusetts and 7 percent in the eastern portion of the state. The company claims that it needs to raise the revenue to maintain profits for shareholders at 10.5 percent and to upgrade the system's infrastructure.   "We are here to watch the bottom line and make sure they are not overcharging the customers," Healey said in a


Area's Collegians Well into Spring While Fields Back Home Soak Sports,
02:23AM / Friday, April 07, 2017
While Berkshire County high school student-athletes spin their wheels in the gym and watch the rescheduled and postponed game count grow, area alumnae are well into their spring seasons, most of which started on spring break trips to warmer climes.   The Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team started its season with a one-goal loss at Bates up in Maine back in early March but went on to play four games in Florida on its way to an 8-1 record.   Senior Hank Barrett, a graduate of Mount Greylock, has appeared in three of them. The 13th-ranked Cardinals extended an eight-game winning streak with Wednesday’s 17-13 win over No. 11 Amherst and hosts Williams on Saturday


The Independent Investor: Don't Let Romance Blind You to Finances
By Bill Schmick,
04:08PM / Thursday, April 06, 2017
Don't let romance blind you to the financial downside of living together. Unmarried couples need as much, if not more, financial and estate planning than those who are married. Without it, one or both partners may lose everything they have committed to the relationship. Here is a primer on what steps you should take.   Over 6.7 million unmarried couples are co-habitating in America at last count. Over 90 percent of them are heterosexual, in case you're wondering. As such, these couples, regardless of sexual orientation or length of the relationship, are considered and classified as unrelated individuals in the eyes of the law.   And the rights of unmarried couples are


Three Dog Night Concert Being Planned For Wahconah Park
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:03PM / Thursday, April 06, 2017

The idea would be to put the stage in left field. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three Dog Night could be bringing joy to historic Wahconah Park this summer.   The Parks Commission on Thursday approved a request from Berkshire Radio Group Vice President Peter Barry to use the park on Saturday, Aug. 26, for the concert. Barry is in the "exploratory phase" of possibly putting on the concert and needed to secure the city's permission to use the field before booking the band.   The company puts on concerts throughout the year, ranging in size from the Live on the Lake and Party in the Park series to smaller venues at the Colonial. But Three Dog Night is a level up in


Pittsfield Considering Cutting 73.5 Jobs In School Department
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:34AM / Thursday, April 06, 2017

Superintendent Jason McCandless is holding firm on a $500,000 expenditure to change out curriculum materials. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — School Committee member Daniel Elias was at the bank the other day when he ran into two school employees, both of whom could be among the dozens of workers to lose their jobs this upcoming year.   "We can't lose sight of the faces that are attached to these numbers," Elias said.   Elias is just one vote on the School Committee that was presented a budget on Wednesday which calls for the elimination of 73.5 full-time equivalent positions.   Those are 29.4 teachers or 5.1 percent of the district's entire teaching staff.


Berkshire, Bennington Cultural Institutions Create 'Art Country'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:50PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Mass MoCA Director Joseph Thompson talks about the ArtCountry collaborative on Wednesday morning.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Joseph Thompson's been talking for years about creating a destination in North County that will keep tourists longer than a day.

The director of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is convinced that trading up day-trippers for overnights, weekends or longer will cause a seismic shift in not only the way Northern Berkshire is perceived but exponentially increase the cultural economic impact on the region.

On Wednesday morning, Thompson was joined by the directors of four other major cultural institutions in launching, a collaborative


Pittsfield Student Arrested For Threatening to Blow Up School Bus
Staff Reports,
03:26PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A middle school student was arrested for allegedly threatening to blow up a school bus.   Police say shortly before 1 p.m. on Monday three calls were made by a 15-year-old to a School Department employee's cell phone saying, "I'm going to blow up 126 today." The "126" reference was the bus number the employee was assigned to work.    At the time, the bus was in the School Bus Operations Center on Merrill road after completing the morning routes. Authorities worked with the School Department to remove all other buses from the yard and the Pittsfield Fire Department relocated the 126 to a remote and isolated


Payless Shoe Store to Close at Berkshire Mall
Staff Reports,
01:57PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Payless ShoeSource at the Berkshire Mall is slated for closure, the latest hit to the struggling shopping center.

Payless joins a number of national brands closing brick-and-mortar storefronts in the face of declining sales and the rise of online shopping. Two weeks ago, J.C. Penney, a founding anchor at the 30-year-old Berkshire Mall, announced its store there would be one of 140 nationwide slated for closure.

Best Buy and Macy's left within the last 18 months and Sears, also a founding anchor, this quarter said, "substantial doubt exists related to the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

Payless filed Chapter 11


BArT Charter Public School Announces New Executive Director
01:05PM / Wednesday, April 05, 2017

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Trustees of BART Charter Public School has named James "Jay" C. White II as the school's executive director, starting June 19.

Trustee Chair Charles Swabey said White will bring to BArT more than 30 years of teaching, administrative and fundraising experience in a variety of settings, including middle and high school, colleges and universities, and national and international nonprofit organizations.

White currently serves as provost, dean of the college, and professor of physics at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vt., which he joined in 2015.

Swabey said White was inspired to apply for the executive director position by a visit to


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