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South County's Becker Pond Dam Makes Priority Project List
04:22PM / Thursday, December 06, 2018
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MOUNT WASHINGTON, Mass. — Restoration of a mile of Schenob Brook and the removal of the Becker Pond Dam have been named as priority projects for the state.    The Baker-Polito administration made the designation on Thursday for Schenob Brook/Becker Pond Dam Removal Project along with 11 other river and wetland restoration projects across the commonwealth.   As priority projects through the Department of Fish and Game's Division of Ecological Restoration, they are now eligible for technical services, including data collection, engineering, design work, permitting, project management and grants.   "Ecological restoration is an important tool for local

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Solar Company Reassessing Array For Pontoosuc Lake Country Club
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:22AM / Friday, November 30, 2018
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Nexamp believes there is still a path to getting a solar array at Pontoosuc Country Club.   The Boston-based company was just recently denied by the Conservation Commission because of the access road to the proposed 6.5-megawatt array infringed on wetlands. The array was hotly contested among the neighbors, who mounted a coordinated opposition to the project at Conservation Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals meetings on it.   In the wake of that denial, Nexamp's business development manager Joseph Fiori asked the Zoning Board of Appeals to hold off on voting for that permit in hopes to reassess the project.    "We have our work

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Good Science at Work Inside Butterfly Magical Wings
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
04:57PM / Sunday, November 25, 2018
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  I walked down the road on Mount Greylock that leads to a parking lot for trekkers who want to traverse trails through the deciduous woodlands where the manifold wonders of nature unfold.   All around me were untold numbers of buds about to burst from their winter dormancy. Trilliums at ground level were showing tiny green leaves, not yet revealing their triad flowers so deep red or white, remindful of the three-cornered hats worn during Colonial days. Spring beauties were carpeting the forest floor with their jolly pink and white blossoms. And perusing the naked branches before the buds leaf out, I found a Cecropia moth's silken cocoon spun on a low-lying

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Pittsfield ConCom Says No Deal on Berkshire Flower Shop Plan
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:09AM / Saturday, November 17, 2018
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Narain Schroeder of BNRC has been pushing for the land to be conserved. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Conservation Commission has denied a proposal from Mazzeo's restaurant to use the Berkshire Flower Shop property instead of having it turned into conservation land.   The city reached an agreement with the Gordon Rose family to conserve the property located at 910 South St. back in 1997. The deal called for the land on the city's southern entryway to eventually be converted into conservation space.    The building was once one of the city's earliest fast-food restaurants, The Quarry. It had been occupied by the late Bridget Brown since she opened her

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Lanesborough Couple's Efforts to Keep Family Farm Continues
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:59AM / Monday, November 12, 2018
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — About a month ago Kristen Tool returned home to find a for sale sign in the yard.   Tool and her husband, Chris Wheeler, are more than a year and a half into an effort to keep the Olsen Farm. Wheeler's great-grandfather had established the farm in 1938 and it has been passed down through the generations.   But when Wheeler's father, Thomas Olsen, died in January 2017 he left no will but rather about $100,000 worth of debt on the property.   Tool and Wheeler turned their attention on taking over and re-establishing the farm. They planted crops, trees, have bees, and chickens there but they still need to come up with the money to purchase the

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Pittsfield ConCom Continues Solar Array Hearing For Another Month
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:02AM / Friday, October 26, 2018
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Conservation Commission needs more time before rendering its decision on a hotly debated solar array at the Pontoosuc Country Club.   The Boston-based solar developer Nexamp Inc. is proposing a 6.5-megawatt solar array on 25 of the course's 131 acres of land. But neighbors have been fiercely opposed to it and have been fighting it at every turn. The Conservation Commission needs to give its approval on a portion of the work that is in the wetlands buffer zone.   Nexamp first took it to the Conservation Commission close to six weeks ago and the commission opted to perform a site visit. On Thursday, the commission again opted to continue the hearing

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State Awards An Additional $400K Toward Removal Of Pittsfield Dam
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Thursday, October 25, 2018
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state has allocated another $400,000 to remove the Tel-Electric Dam on Mill Street, bringing the total money for it to over $2 million.    "This puts us in a much better position to feel confident that when we put this to bid we will have money for the things we want to do," Parks and Open Spaces Manager Jim McGrath said.   The project is the largest aspect of a broad vision city and state officials see for the West Branch of the Housatonic River. There have been a number of projects completed, and others in the cue, to improve the health of the river's eco-system and better interaction with the neighborhoods from Wahconah Park to

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Merlins Abide at Spruces Park
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
05:30PM / Tuesday, September 18, 2018
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Look aloft, for I hear wings stirring the air and the primeval cry of a falcon in the spruce!   Also known as pigeon hawk, a family of merlin falcons occupies a significant niche in the open meadow known for its tall Norway spruce, seeded when these 38 acres was formerly a thriving mobile home park.   While I was surveying this moist meadow for butterfly diversity, both resident and migratory, walking the dirt roads between weedy quadrants, I heard a deliberate outcry from above, and looked up to behold some large hawk-like birds swiftly flying between the tall spruces that punctuate the grassy meadow like solemn sentinels.    A

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Solar Array Planned For Pontoosuc Country Club
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Friday, September 14, 2018
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Joe Fiori outlined the plan to the Conservation Commission but also told the neighbors that the company will be before the Community Development Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and will hold a neighborhood meeting as well. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Ridge Avenue-area neighbors feel blindsided by a plan to construct a 6.6-megawatt solar facility at the Pontoosuc Country Club.   The Boston-based solar developer Nexamp Inc. is looking to take over 25 of the 131 acres on the course for a photovoltaic array. The planned array is located on the southern portion of the property — the Hancock Road side of the first handful of holes.    Nexamp's business

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Hidden Bio-Gem Discovered at Mountain Meadow
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
05:22PM / Sunday, August 26, 2018
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Another image of the northern pearly eye found at Mountain Meadows and enhanced by Erik Hansen. WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — As I walked up the grassy trail to Mountain Meadow Preserve, I was soon in for a big surprise.   Following a zigzag erratic flight of what looked like a common little wood satyr, a closer look when it roosted on a blade of grass before I could close the shutter, what flew off turns out to be a heretofore unlisted satyrid for Mountain Meadow, the multi-Argus-eyed northern pearly eye.   Enodia anthedon is hard enough to find on Cape Cod, my former home for more than 30 years, let alone here in the Berkshires.   Watch carefully the sylvan fringe where

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