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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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Lanesborough Couple Fighting to Save Historic, Family Farm
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:39AM / Sunday, April 30, 2017
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Thomas Olsen grew up on a farm in Norway.   In 1923, he and his wife, Randi, immigrated to the United States, landing in New York. But the city life wasn't for him. He told his wife, "it's no way for a man to live" and every week he'd stash money aside in hopes to move to the country.   The Depression or some other factor would hit and he'd lose the savings and build it back up. And every week he'd stop at the bank and browse the real estate listings.   In 1938, one of those listings intrigued him. He hopped a train to Pittsfield and soon found himself in love with 95 acres in the town of Lanesborough. Without

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Pittsfield Highlights Westside Riverway Park For Arbor Day
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:52PM / Friday, April 28, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It may seem like an odd setting to celebrate Arbor Day: an active construction site where some trees have been removed and soil dug up, resting alongside a river historically known for pollution.   But the celebration wasn't about what the site off of Dewey Avenue is now. It is what it will be — the Westside Riverway Park.   The site of former blighted homes will eventually feature a number of new trees, access to the river, a walking bridge, and sitting areas as the city's newest park.    "If you had been here 18 months ago what you would have seen are 10 separate parcels. There were two houses along this stretch

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Local Environmentalists Oppose Policies Supporting Natural Gas
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:00PM / Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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DALTON, Mass. — Dicken Crane has a large solar array on his Holiday Brook Farm. He has a forest management program to harvest timber to burn in a wood furnaces.

He doesn't need more natural gas.

Crane is one of some 500 businesses that have signed onto a petition against Gov. Charlie Baker's push for access to more natural gas.    Baker has been supportive of new natural-gas infrastructure and had previously introduced a proposal to allow electric utilities to levy a tax on users to pay for infrastructure, particularly the price to build new pipelines, but that was rejected by the Supreme Judicial Court.   Proponents of natural gas have long said it

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Engineers Looking To Increase Water Flow Below Cleveland Reservoir
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:14AM / Monday, March 13, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Engineers have gotten approval to try a new way to alleviate environmental concerns related to a maintenance project at the Cleveland Reservoir, the main source of the city's drinking water.   The project plan is to clean out the diversion pipes in both Cady and Windsor Brooks, which feed into the reservoir. The two inlets had been collecting sediment for decades, and that has then been flowing into the reservoir. In 2012 the project to clean out the aqueduct system was proposed. But, some concerns were raised about the creation of an access road, which would take away wetlands habitats for animals, and ongoing dredging of the river.   Doug Gove from

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'Roots Rising' To Provide Pittsfield Teens Work In Food Industry
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:09AM / Sunday, March 12, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — For five weeks this summer 10 city teens won't just be learning about the food economy, they'll be living it.   Berkshire Botanical Gardens and Alchemy Initiative have teamed up to launch "Roots Rising," a program paying teenagers to work on farms, in food pantries, at markets, and learning everything it takes to go from farm to table.    "It's an agricultural based youth development program," Berkshire Botanical Garden's Director of Youth Outreach Education Jamie Samowitz said on Friday.   "They are doing what we call meaningful work."   The teens, ages 14 to 19, will work five days a week

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Eversource Receives Special Permit For Pittsfield Solar Array
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:15AM / Monday, December 12, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Eversource was granted the special permit to construct a 2.2 megawatt solar array on 10 acres of land on Partridge Road.   The project is just one of two in the utility company is seeking to build in the Berkshires this coming year - the other being in Lanesborough — and one of more than a dozen throughout the state. The state is allowing utility companies to own and operate 35 megawatts of solar energy and between Eversource's two companies, it can own up to 70 megawatts   The company owns 36 acres of land on Partridge Road and is looking to use 10 of that for the some 6,000 panels and two or three equipment pads. The closest panel will be

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