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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield's Places Annual Christmas Tree in Park Square
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:00PM / Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The tree is escorted to Park Square from Euclid Avenue. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city's Christmas tree arrived in Park Square on the eve of Thanksgiving.   Standing about 35-feet tall, the Colorado blue spruce was donated to the city by Timothy and Susan Rapkowicz of Euclid Avenue.   Susan Rapkowicz said the couple planted the tree in their yard when they first moved into the home more than 30 years ago.   "I always wanted to put lights on it but it wasn't an option. Now it will be a very special Christmas tree because it will now have lights on it and will be in memory of our family members who have since passed away," she told city

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Frigid, Blustery Weather on Tap for Thanksgiving 2018
11:00AM / Wednesday, November 21, 2018

People spending time outdoors during Thanksgiving Day into Black Friday may face some of the coldest conditions on record in the Northeast for late November: https://t.co/H4jbKuRbZd pic.twitter.com/yMeaioqjgV

— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) November 20, 2018 Mother Nature is preparing a one-two punch for the Thanksgiving holiday.   Intense snow squalls will move through the region Wednesday afternoon and wind-chill factors could make Thanksgiving Day one of the coldest on record.    Snow squalls are currently moving across New York State and will enter the Berkshires around mid-afternoon. The National Weather Service is warning of "rapidly changing weather and

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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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Tyer Releases Rate Plan to Pay For $74M Wastewater Project
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Wednesday, November 21, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer is introducing a plan to raise sewer rates over the next seven years to pay for the $74 million wastewater treatment project.   The sewer rate increase will be particularly front-loaded with a 50 percent hike at the start of 2019, should the City Council approve the plan. That would raise the current rate to $362.34 per year -- an increase of $114.65 per year for a household with two toilets -- effective Jan. 1, 2019.   There is no proposed increase in fiscal 2020, a 15 percent increase in FY21, no increase in FY22, 12 percent in FY23, and then calls for no increases in FY24 and FY25.   By the end, the total bill for a household with

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Pittsfield Subcommittee Supports Mayor's Beacon Plan
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:20AM / Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Michael MacDonald recapped the history of the project and the terms of the deal. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After meeting for 3 1/2 hours with the prospective buyers of the Beacon Cinema, at least five city councilors are on board with the mayor's proposal to forgive $1 million in loans immediately and $1.5 million over 10 years to help facilitate a sale.    Pheonix Theatres is offering to purchase the Kinnell-Kresge building on North Street and the assets of the Beacon Cinema. The group is planning to continue running a cinema out of the historic building and hopes to fill currently empty office space.    According to Pheonix owner Cory Jacobson, the company

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How Should You Respond to Wild Swings in Financial Markets?
Submitted by Edward Jones,
07:01PM / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What's going on with the financial markets? Specifically, what's behind the price swings of the past several weeks? And, more important, how should you, as an individual investor, respond?

To begin with, the recent volatility was not really all that extraordinary. The daily drops pushed U.S. stocks down about 10 percent from their recent record highs, although they have regained some of that ground. A 10 percent drop represents a “correction” – not a crash – and historically, corrections have occurred about once a year.

So what seems to have caused these market jitters? Here are the key culprits:

* Anticipated slowdown in economic growth and corporate

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WMass Technical Rescue Team Honored for Meritorious Conduct
04:15PM / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In a particularly moving moment, Montgomery Fire Chief Stephen Frye, who died responding to a fire on Dec. 6, 2017, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Chief Frye’s widow Laurie, their children Caitlyn and Matt, and current Chief Galipeau accepted on his behalf. #LODD pic.twitter.com/z5YJq4ETkI

— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) November 20, 2018 WORCESTER, Mass. — The Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team and Montgomery's late longtime fire chief were among honorees at the 29th annual Firefighter of the Year Awards.    They were among the 91 individuals from 13 departments and teams recognized for heroic acts of bravery.    The event

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Unified Sports' Growth Evidenced at Western Mass Jamboree
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports
02:32AM / Tuesday, November 20, 2018
CHICOPEE, Mass. — Eight years ago, Special Olympics Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association teamed up to offer Unified sports.   Seven high schools statewide started track and field teams.   On Monday afternoon at Chicopee Comp, eight schools in Western Massachusetts alone fielded teams in the state's second Unified sport, basketball.   "We knew that it would come," Special Olympics' Kathleen Lutz said as the season-ending Western Mass Unified Basketball Jamboree went on around her. "Once school districts see it, it's just an amazing offering for their whole student body.   "To bring this experience,

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Lach's Lounge Shutting Down For Good
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:18AM / Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Police Capt. Michael Grady asks for Lach's Lounge's liquor license to be revoked. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lach's Lounge is shutting down after three troubling years with violence.   The bar on Fenn Street will remain closed following yet another hearing with the Licensing Board.   Owner Michael Kruger told the board that he plans to shut down and the Licensing Board approved an indefinite license suspension to allow him to sell the license to someone else.   "This bar is in the heart of our downtown and in reality, there has been a toxic mixture of alcohol, drugs, and violence in and around that establishment," said Thomas Campoli, who chaired

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Beacon Cinema: From Blockbuster Hopes to Roll Credits?
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:05PM / Monday, November 19, 2018

Downtown was in rough shape when city officials set their minds to rehabilitating the former Kinnell and Kresge building on North Street. The result was the Beacon Cinema, which opened with high hopes of being a downtown destination that would draw up to 200,000 annually to North Street. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — At midnight on Nov. 20, 2009, the "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" began its bite into the box office records.   The midnight showing across the country reeled in $26.3 million and the movie went on to shatter the single-day record — and hold it for another two years until "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."   It was a great

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Berkshires Beat: CATA's North Adams Exhibit Features A.R.T. Technique
02:28PM / Monday, November 19, 2018
Works of A.R.T.

Community Access to the Arts presents an exhibit of artwork by visual artists with disabilities at the MCLA Window Gallery at 49 Main St. through Dec. 2 that features a series of large-scale paintings created by artists from BFAIR (Berkshire Family and Individual Resources) using the innovative Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.) technique. The paintings will be accompanied by an installation of three-dimensional, hanging "CATApillars," which were constructed by Berkshire county students with disabilities.

The paintings in this exhibit were created by North County artists with disabilities using Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.). This adaptive

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Storm Could Dump a Few Inches of Snow on Berkshires
01:19PM / Monday, November 19, 2018

So apparently we are just in full-blown winter now.

After Friday's measurable-but-not-menacing snow, and Monday's nuisance inch or so, comes a winter weather advisory for 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20. Snow will start by midnight.

Accuweather and the National Weather Service are predicting total snow accumulations of 2 to 6 inches, with the higher totals over the southern Green Mountains of Vermont and northern Berkshires. The hazardous conditions will likely impact the Tuesday morning commute with snow-covered roads and reduced visibilities. Snowfall rates could approach a half an inch to an inch per hour during the morning commute, according to the advisory.

What say our

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Get Covered, Stay Covered: It's Open Enrollment Time
11:43AM / Monday, November 19, 2018

Community Health Programs is offering in-person assistance during the Massachusetts Health Connector's open enrollment period, which began Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 23, 2019.

"Health insurance renewal is not automatic for people covered through the MAHealthConnector, and you still need to review if your current medical plan is adequate or your circumstances have changed," said Octavio Hernandez, senior enrollment specialist at CHP Great Barrington Health Center. "And anyone seeking help to purchase medical insurance for the first time should get the process started in November."

CHP enrollment specialists can assist income-eligible residents who are renewing

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