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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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Eversource Plans Solar Projects In Pittsfield and Lanesborough
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Wednesday, December 07, 2016
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Amy Voisine-Shea said the two projects are part of a more than a dozen throughout the state as the company aims to develop 62 more megawatts of electricity statewide. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Eversource is now in the permitting stage for two solar projects, tallying some 6.2 megawatts in central Berkshires.   That's one-tenth of the total 62 MW it hopes to develop statewide.   The electric company is looking to build a 2.2-megawatt facility on land it owns on Partridge Road in Pittsfield and another 4-megawatt array on Route 7 in Lanesborough. Both projects are on plots of land the company already owns and is considered "underutilized."   "The

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Downing's Next Step Is Solar Energy Firm
04:43PM / Monday, November 14, 2016
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BOSTON — Benjamin B. Downing, who has championed renewable energies during his 10 years in the state Senate, will join a solar energy company at the end of his term.

Nexamp Inc. announced on Monday that the Pittsfield Democrat, who did not stand for a sixth term, would be the solar contractor's new vice president of new market development.

"Ben's long history of public service will complement Nexamp's expert team of local development professionals," said Zaid Ashai, chief executive officer of Nexamp, in a statement. "He joins us at the most exciting juncture in our company's young history, and his ability to effectively communicate promising

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Pittsfield Retailers Mistakenly Still Violating Polystyrene Ban
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:33AM / Tuesday, October 18, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Board of Health is discovering that many vendors may be inadvertently still using the banned polystyrene food containers.   The Green Commission was updated on the Styrofoam ban Monday night in which member Jim McGrath reported that many businesses have swapped out the white clamshell Styrofoam containers in the favor of clear plastic containers. However, those clear plastic containers are still polystyrene, which is banned.   "They all are made of essentially the same material," McGrath told the Green Committee. "Retailers made the switch to what they thought was a responsible, acceptable product."    The Green

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BNRC Releases Plan For Countywide Hiking Trail Network
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:29AM / Tuesday, October 04, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Natural Resources Council envisions a day when one can walk through a network of trails to each and every town in the Berkshires.   The organization has been working for the last couple years to do just that. The organization has raised $4.25 million toward the creation and maintenance of such a network.    "It is sort of a counterpart to the Appalachian Trail," President Tad Ames said, explaining that the network will allow someone to travel on foot the length of Berkshire County, stopping in at towns, staying a local hotels, while not having to carry food for a long trip.   The concept is something that's been done

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