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Guest Column: Bans on Plastic Bags Gaining Ground
By Rinaldo Del Gallo, Guest Columnist
09:24PM / Wednesday, June 22, 2016
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I am pleased to announce that at last night's town meeting (Monday, June 20), Adams banned single-use plastic bags. (Article 25). It was a remarkable unanimous vote by the members of the town meeting.
 
Recently, there have been a series of single-use plastic bag bans. There has been a ban in Lee, a ban in Lenox, and last night a ban in Adams. Lenox was done by the Board of Health. In Lee, the ban on single-use plastic bags was done by town meeting — where it won by a considerable margin. In a similar manner, Lee and Lenox banned the use of Styrofoam.
 
What is less commonly known is my role in these bans. The ban on Styrofoam and single-use plastic bags in Lee and

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Developer Proposes Scaled Down Solar Project On Churchill Street
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:28AM / Wednesday, June 08, 2016
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The Community Development Board added conditions to each solar project on Tuesday should each be approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The developers of a recently denied solar array on Churchill Street have returned with a new concept, which they say is some 25 percent smaller.   Aegis Renewable Energy had proposed a 2.6 megawatt array on a portion of the 60-plus acre property on Churchill Street early this year.   But neighbors fought it, claiming such a commercial use would be detrimental to the residential area. The Zoning Board of Appeals agreed and denied the plan in a 3-2 vote.   Now Aegis has returned with a second application,

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Residents Urge Attorney General to Appeal Pipeline Court Ruling
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:44AM / Friday, May 27, 2016
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Williamstown resident Sam Smith was one of many who urged the office to appeal.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Environmental advocates want the attorney general's office to appeal a decision allowing Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to start construction on a pipeline in the Otis State Forest.   The group 350 Massachusetts sponsored a listening session with representatives of the office on Thursday to discuss a wide range of environmental and energy concerns.   The intent of the two-hour session at the Ralph Froio Senior Center was for those staff members to hear the concerns of Berkshire residents.   One message was clear: the residents want to

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A Tree Grows in Pittsfield: 2,399 More to Go
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:18PM / Friday, May 06, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Reid Middle School students pitched in with state and local officials on Friday to set the first of some 2,400 trees that will be planted in targeted neighborhoods in the city as part of the state's "Greening the Gateway Cities" program.

The ornamental lilac tree will grow to be about 20 feet high, along with four other trees planted on the lawn in front of the school through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

"We can all appreciate how the beauty of trees enhances our neighborhoods and makes our environment a special place to experience," said Mayor Linda Tyer. "But trees are so much more than that. In fact,

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Second of Three Approvals Granted For Solar Project at Hancock Shaker
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:13PM / Thursday, May 05, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Development Board on Tuesday gave the OK for a new solar array at Hancock Shaker Village.   Syncarpha Hancock III, a partnership between Renewable Energy Massachusetts LLC and Syncarpha Capital, is developing the project in Pittsfield and in Hancock. The Conservation Commission had already approved the project and, with the Community Development Board's approval of the site plan, only the Zoning Board of Appeals is left to issue a special permit.   The group is looking to construct three photovoltaic arrays — two in Hancock and one in Pittsfield — for a total of 5 megawatts of electricity. The Pittsfield project is on about

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Pittsfield Highlights Chestnut Seed Orchard to Celebrate Arbor Day
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:38PM / Friday, April 29, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The American chestnut tree was so woven into the fabric of early American life that it was referred to as a "cradle to grave" tree: when a child was born, he was placed in a chestnut cradle and when he dies, in a chestnut coffin.   Between 4 billion to 5 billion of the trees crowded the Eastern United State's landscape and was used for construction and food for both humans and animals. It was economic for wood and nut harvesters. It was a fixture in the ecosystem for wild animals. Farmers used the nuts to feed livestock. Telephone poles, split-post fences, shingles, musical instruments, railroad ties were all built with the

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Riverfest Promotes Use of Housatonic; Cleans Up Pittsfield Park
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:07AM / Monday, April 25, 2016
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Various organizations brought out display tables to educate people about the ecosystem. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — To celebrate Earth Day the Housatonic Valley Association did what you'd expect: they cleaned up a city park and promoted use of the river.   The group held a river festival on Saturday, when dozens of volunteers and numerous environmental groups cleaned up Fred Garner park, provided information and education about the Housatonic River, and welcomed paddlers canoed all the way to the Long Island Sound to promote the river.   "We started out with about 21 boats yesterday. ... We expect to have 126 boats in total joining us. We'll get to Long Island

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Disc Golf Course Installed at Pittsfield's Kirvin Park
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:46AM / Friday, April 22, 2016
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Parks and Open Space Manager Jim McGrath updated the Parks Commission on Tuesday about the installation. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The disc golf course at Kirvin Park has been installed.   The nine-hole course is now established and the metal and chain baskets have been set up. In the next week or so a sign with a course map will be installed.    "With the sign, there will be a small trifold brochure box with a pull-out brochure which explains the rules of disc golf. It has a map on it," Parks and Open Space Manager James McGrath told the Parks Commission on Tuesday.    The course will be the first free one in the city and only the second course

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State Looking To Plant 2,400 Trees in Pittsfield
Staff Reports,
01:13AM / Friday, April 22, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state is looking to plant some 800 trees per year in the city of Pittsfield over the next three years.   Pittsfield was chosen as part of the Greening the Gateway Cities program through which the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation plants trees in urban environments. The program targets the 26 so-called Gateway Cities and will plant the trees in areas where there are currently low canopy levels.   "The Greening the Gateway Cities Program serves as an excellent example of a strong partnership between state government, local municipalities, and dedicated organizations working together to ultimately benefit generations of

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Kinder Morgan Suspends Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline Project
Staff Reports,
05:35PM / Wednesday, April 20, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Kinder Morgan has suspended the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project, which was planned to cut through the Berkshires.   The company released a statement Wednesday evening announcing the suspension of work on the $3.3 billion project.   "As a result of inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers, Kinder Morgan Inc. and its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, have suspended further work and expenditures on the Northeast Energy Direct Project," reads the statement from the company.    The project was announced in 2015 and the company said it had received a number of commitments from local gas distribution

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