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Pittsfield ConCom Approves Plans For Former Itam
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:48AM / Friday, March 09, 2018
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The new owners of the former Italian American Lodge have revised their plans to handle environmental concerns about its redevelopment.   Eric Taylor purchased the Sons of Italy property for $1.1 million in January and is intent on transforming the aging building into a wedding destination. He received a building permit to renovate the facility and has been seeking approval to expand parking, build an addition, and install a patio area. That, however, took place in the wetlands buffer zone and needed Conservation Commission approval.   Neighbors raised concerns about the impacts from the removal of dozens of trees, an extension of the building, additional

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Mass Delegation Calls on Pruitt to Uphold Rest of the River Plan
Staff Reports,
01:16PM / Friday, February 09, 2018
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The region's congressional delegation is pushing Environment Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to uphold the EPA's 2016 order that contaminated material in the Housatonic River be "shipped off-site to existing licensed facilities for disposal."   U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal have sent a letter to Pruitt calling on him to ensure General Electric lives up to its commitments in the $613 million "Rest of the River" cleanup.    Keeping the contaminated soil and sediment in the county would save GE roughly $250 million.    GE, once a powerhouse in Pittsfield,

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Richmond Celebrates Renovation of Town Beach, Boat Dock
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:02AM / Tuesday, November 07, 2017
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The work included a new station to place a boarding dock for easier access to kayaks and other boats. RICHMOND, Mass. — The state completed a $95,000 renovation of the town beach and boat dock.   The Department of Fish and Game's Office of Fishing and Boating Access spent this summer improving drainage, adding handicap access, creating fishing stations, and building a new dock for easy access into kayaks and other boats.    "It is a heck of an upgrade. It is nice to have the platform that allows folks on and off the water in a safe fashion," Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon said on a rainy Monday when state officials celebrated the

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State Asking For Input On Outdoor Recreation Plan
Staff Reports,
04:08PM / Thursday, October 05, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — What type of outdoor recreation would you want to see created?   That's what the state is asking right now. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is updating its Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, which makes it eligible for about $2 million per year from the federal government.    The National Park Service's Land and Water Conservation Fund program has been ongoing since 1965 and has paid for a number of outdoor recreation projects in the county. Locally, the money has purchased land along the Appalachian Trail and at Onota Lake. North Adams received a quarter of a million dollars to build a park on River

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Commercial Solar Array Planned For Outer East Street in Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:18AM / Thursday, October 05, 2017
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A public hearing will be held next Wednesday on the proposed 1.9-megawatt solar array. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Some 11 acres of heavily vegetated land on East Street is eyed to be cleared to make way for a commercial solar array.   BVD Solar is seeking a special permit to construct a 1.9-megawatt array on a 73-acre percent near Winesap Road — the parcel just to the west of the Yankee Orchards.   Of that 73 acres, 20.6 will be cut off from the parcel for the solar array installed and 11 acres of that will need to be cleared.   "This is what you call outer east street," City Planner CJ Hoss said. "There is quite a bit of vegetation on that parcel

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Grant Helps Spread the 'Bee Friendly Williamstown' Buzz
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:30AM / Friday, September 29, 2017
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town has received a $9,120 grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at University of Massachusetts at Lowell to further its efforts to become "Bee Friendly Williamstown."

Last May, Williamstown residents approved a non-binding resolution declaring the town a pollinator-friendly community. The resolution seeks to change residential and institutional landscaping practices by promoting ways to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides that scientists believe are killing bee populations.

Building on that, the town has partnered with several local organizations - Caretaker Farm, the Clark Art Institute, Images Cinema, Sam and Elizabeth Smith,

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Dalton Shows Lt. Gov. Polito Progress With Green Grants
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:21PM / Friday, September 08, 2017
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Polito also informed town officials about the opportunities available through the Community Compact Program.  DALTON, Mass. — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito delivered a $12,500 grant to Dalton on Thursday to help it continue to build on its Green Communities work.    "I want to thank you for not only reducing your carbon footprint here but for contributing to the commonwealth goals for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions," Polito said in handing the ceremonial check to Town Manager Kenneth Walto. "You are contributing not only for your community but for the larger good and we appreciate you doing your part. ...     "I know you will

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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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