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Activist Protest Pipeline As Court Case Over Easements Begin
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:49PM / Friday, April 15, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A court case with the potential for massive long-term repercussions regarding natural gas pipelines began to play out Friday.

Outside of Berkshire Superior Court, around a hundred activists gathered to protest Kinder Morgan's plans.

The Texas-based pipeline company has two proposed routes cutting through Berkshire County. The Connecticut expansion is eyed to cut through Sandisfield and has become the subject of a lawsuit in which the corporation is seeking the ability to cut trees to begin construction on land the state constitution protects.   The company is seeking a two-mile easement through the Otis State Forest and believes under the

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Pittsfield Board Seeks Greener Power From Aggregation Plan
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Correspondent
12:43AM / Monday, April 11, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Green Commission wants an increase in more "local" renewable energy sources to be part of the the city's emerging power aggregation plan, though the primary focus of the new energy-buying compact will be to try to reduce costs for residential and commercial customers.

Under the new aggregation plan, Pittsfield ratepayers will be able to opt into a system by which their buying power is pooled in an attempt to secure lower supplier rates for end users. In most respects, the draft Municipal Aggregation Plan is comparable to those of other communities in the commonwealth, but has been slightly modified to incorporate a number of comments received

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Lanesborough Selectmen Ask Board of Health to Limit Backyard Fowl
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:01AM / Wednesday, March 30, 2016
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — After town meeting tabled a vote to implement new regulations on backyard fowl, the Board of Selectmen are asking the Board of Health to adopt such a measure.   The Selectmen approved on Monday sending two new regulations to the Board of Health, which will not need town meeting approval. The first would limit the number of animals on a property less than one acre and the other would call for owners of fowl to register with Town Hall.   "The main focus of it is, people who are on lots of less than one acre," Town Manager Paul Sieloff said.    The Board of Health only needs a public hearing and a vote to approve the new policies. If

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USDA Conservation Stewardship Program Accepting Applications
02:10PM / Tuesday, February 09, 2016
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AMHERST, Mass. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has $150 million in funding available for agricultural producers across the country through the Conservation Stewardship Program, a federal conservation program that helps farmers voluntarily improve the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to add an estimated 10 million acres to the rolls of CSP during fiscal 2016.

"The Conservation Stewardship Program helps farmers boost soil and air quality, conserve clean water and enhance wildlife habitat," said Christine Clarke, NRCS state conservationist. "With this investment, we'll enable

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Dunkin Donuts Asks For Extension On Pittsfield's Styrofoam Ban
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:37AM / Friday, February 05, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Dunkin' Donuts is asking for a year's extension to comply with the city's Styrofoam ban.   Attorney Pierce Haley, representing Dunkin Brands, asked the Board of Health on Thursday for the extension as the company waits on the development of a lid for 24-ounce containers. Haley said the company has been looking to transition away from the polystyrene containers but needs another year or else it won't be able to serve its larger beverage sizes.   "I don't think we are going to need anything more than one extension. They've been working hard to do this for a while," Haley said.   Those members attending took no action

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Pittsfield To Update Parks and Open Space Plan
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:37AM / Friday, January 22, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is looking to use $25,000 from the governor's Community Compact program to update its parks and open spaces plan.   The seven-year plan expired in 2015 and needs to be updated so the city is eligible for state grants to make improvements to parks.   Previously, the plan called for improvements to Wahconah Park, which saw upgrades to the sound system and lighting, and the First Street Common, which has been completely renovated with state funds. The updated plan will identify new priorities for state funds.   "It is something we would be looking to engage in this spring and early summer," Parks and Open Space Manager James

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Berkshire County 4-H Holds Awards & Recognition Event
Community Submission,
09:52PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 100 people gathered at the  Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires on Dec. 6 for the Berkshire County 4-H Community's annual awards and recognition event.  

The candy factory-themed night was to celebrate achievements by 4-H members. Opening remarks were given by Linda Horn, assistant director of the Massachusetts 4-H Youth Development Program, University of Massachusetts Extension in Amherst.

The highest award given in Berkshire County 4-H is the Top H Award, which can only be won by a 4-H'er once as a junior member and once as a senior member. The nominees are selected by a judging committee using their 4-H records; those nominated

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County Ambulance Offers EMT/Basic Training Program
02:11PM / Monday, January 04, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — County Ambulance will be offering an EMT/Basic Training program from Jan. 11 through April 9.

The program covers the National Emergency Medical Services Educational Standards and prepares the student for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians practical and cognitive testing. Upon completion of the program and successful certification with the National Registry of EMTs, students will be able to apply for certification by the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services.

Lead instructors have more than 100 years of experience to best prepare students for a successful training experience.

Classes will be held at County Ambulance

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Congressman Neal Delivers Brownfields Grants To Pittsfield, BRPC
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:01PM / Friday, October 30, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is helping the city complete an assessment of the pollution at the former Stetson Dry Cleaners.    On Friday, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal joined officials from the EPA to present a $350,000 check to the city for the work. The EPA awarded the grant back in May.    The building, which once sat behind City Hall, was abandoned by the owner and had fallen into disrepair. The city used Community Development Block Grant funding to demolish the building and now the federal grant will complete the second phase of environmental assessment. Perchlorate, a pollutant linked to health problems, was found a block away from

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