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Berkshires Stands Against Proposed Eversource Rate Hike
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Wednesday, August 02, 2017
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The Department of Public Utilities received testimony from dozens of people at Tuesday's hearing at Berkshire Community College. It was the second local hearing the state has held on the proposal this year. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Adam Hinds knows the Berkshires has problems and he sought office in order to help "right the ship." But, he says Eversource's proposed rate increase threatens the county's economic stability.   "We struggle with the impact of population decline every single day. We have schools that are closing now because of the lack of student enrollment. We have towns fighting about budgets and the tax burden continues to

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National Grid Plans New Transmission Line Through Seven Towns
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:36AM / Tuesday, July 25, 2017
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — National Grid is looking to run another power line, mostly along the existing rights of way where lines exist already, through seven local towns.   Peter Kavanaugh, from National Grid, said the plan is to run a 600-megawatt line through Nassau and Stephentown, N.Y., cross the border into Hancock, Lanesborough, Cheshire, Dalton, and end at an existing substation in Hinsdale. The path is nearly identical to the one proposed by Kinder Morgan's Northeast Energy Direct Project, which would have been a natural gas pipeline if it hadn't been shelved.   "The primary source will be wind in upstate New York. That may be supplemented by a small amount

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Springside Park Volunteer Presutti Honored With Hebert Award
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:28AM / Saturday, July 01, 2017
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The family of the late William Carrigan accepted the Lifetime of Achievement Award from the Springside Conservancy. Carrigan was a longtime volunteer at the park. See more photos here. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — For Robert Presutti, Friday night felt a lot like he was a character in a Robert Frost poem, stopping by the snowy woods.    Except it wasn't snowy, it was rainy, and the woods was Springside Park as more than 100 people gathered for the annual Springside Park Gala. The event is a fundraiser for the Springside Conservancy, which is working to preserve and restore the park.    The gala was a night to relax and take a break from volunteering for Presutti,

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Eversource Plans Second Solar Array On Partridge Road
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Tuesday, June 27, 2017
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Eversource is backing out of building a solar array off North Main. Instead, the company is now pursuing a similarly sized project off Partridge Road.   The Planning Board gave its approval for a 6.6-megawatt array on Partridge Road, near the Pittsfield border and the Berkshire Mall road. The company is looking to lease land from Petricca Construction for the panels. The estimated $10 million project is going to be located near a 2.2-MW array on land Eversource owns in Pittsfield.   The company has approval from the state to build out 70 megawatts of solar, eight of which are already completed, by the end of the year. Locally, the company planned a

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Plan to Exclude Pittsfield Parks From Mosquito Spraying Rejected
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:07AM / Wednesday, June 21, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Parks Commission is deferring to the Health Department on whether or not the public parks should be sprayed for mosquitoes.   The Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project heads efforts to prevent mosquito-spread disease through a control program, using pesticides to limit the population. There is an option for property owners to exempt their land from being sprayed and Parks Commissioner Joe Durwin, a strong opponent of the use of the chemicals, proposed using that exemption for city parks unless there is a public health emergency.   "There is a lot of debate about the efficacy and the residue," Durwin said. "It was a very murky area

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Senate Chair on Global Warming Takes Input on Energy Policy
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:56AM / Tuesday, June 20, 2017
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State Sens. Adam Hinds and Marc Pacheco visit Seth Nash of Blue Q on Monday afternoon, before the hearing. Nash is one of the private-sector businesses to install a photovoltaic array to power his business.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Marc Pacheco has chaired the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture and thought he had heard everything about the environment.   Until 11 years ago, when he saw Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."   "I saw the reality come to life on a movie screen," Pacheco said.   He signed up to become a "climate messenger" and went to a training in Nashville, Tenn.

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North Adams Event Tries to Link Local Vendors with Anchor Institutions
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:07AM / Friday, May 12, 2017
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Last Friday's foul weather was just fine with Jeffrey Thomas.   "I've never hoped so hard for rain," Thomas said as the crowd filtered in to a Buyer/Supplier Meetup event he planned at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts' Club B10.   Thomas is the executive director of North Adams non-profit Lever, which seeks to foster entrepreneurship throughout the region.   On Friday, Lever hosted the first-ever event to try to form connections between small- and mid-sized businesses and the area's major "anchor" institutions, like Williams College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Berkshire Medical Center,

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State Drops Criminal Charges But Pipeline Protesters Demand Trial
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:05PM / Thursday, May 11, 2017
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Sixteen of the 24 protesters arrested fighting a natural gas pipeline being built on state forest land in Sandisfield showed up in court Thursday morning ready to proudly say they are not criminals.   The state agreed their actions didn't warrant criminal charges and entered a motion to convert those charges to civil citations. Those who were arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct then left the courtroom without an arraignment.   But the protesters say they were already treated like criminals through the arrests and being brought up on criminal charges in the first place. They want a trial on those original charges because

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Lanesborough Moving Forward With Solar Proposal On Town Land
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:08PM / Thursday, May 11, 2017
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Selectmen are telling the town's solar consultants to continue discussion with Ameresco to develop a solar array off North Main Street.   Beacon Integrated Solutions has reviewed the responses to the request for proposal to develop such an array on town-owned land and recommended that Ameresco is chosen to use up to 13 acres of land for the photovoltaic array.   However, the Selectmen are giving the consultant approval to continue negotiating with the Ameresco regarding the amount of money the town will receive from the lease and personal property tax.   "There are a couple of tweaks to it we could make to increase the amount of money

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Guest Column: Time for Pittsfield to Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags
By Rinaldo Del Gallo III, Guest Column
02:01PM / Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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The city of Pittsfield banned Styrofoam on Oct. 13, 2015, the result of a multi-year effort that began with a petition I filed on Dec. 6, 2012. Pittsfield followed Great Barrington to become the second Berkshire community to ban Styrofoam, as Great Barrington passed a ban 20 years earlier.

When my petition to ban Styrofoam first went before the Ordinance and Rules subcommittee of the Pittsfield City Council it lost by a 3-2 vote with a recommendation to file. It took a good deal of jockeying by Councilor Jonathon Lothrop to get it back to the full Council for a vote. I asked Councilor Lisa Tully to amend the ordinance, which she did, dropping the requirement that paper cups be made of

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