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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Health Board Says 'No' to Chicken Permit Responsibilities
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
06:34PM / Monday, February 06, 2023

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Board of Health does not agree with putting chicken permitting under its purview just to reduce the cost.

For months, Councilor at Large Karen Kalinowsky and resident Melissa Corbett have been trying to move the permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals to the Health Department because of permitting costs. Keeping six chickens currently clocks in at more $500 and the petitioners say it could be a $25 fee under the Health Department.

Director of Public Health Andy Cambi and Health Board members are concerned that this new responsibility would overtax the department and do not see cost as a valid reason to make the change. This was restated on

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Senator Paul Mark Talks Legislative Priorities with NAACP
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:50PM / Monday, February 06, 2023

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Paul Mark joined the Berkshire NAACP's first meeting of the year last week to talk about his legislative priorities for this term.

He detailed the importance of advocacy for Western Mass, justice in the criminal legal system, and civic education among other regional and statewide issues.

"You can be the greatest speaker and you can have the best education but if you aren't able to go to the State House, get together with your colleagues, get to know them, convince them why your area matters and make sure that you heard the messages from the people you represent and that you're sharing that with your colleagues. The great speeches

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Pittsfield 2024 Annual Action Plan Input Session
08:07AM / Monday, February 06, 2023
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city of Pittsfield's Department of Community Development is sponsoring a public hearing and input session at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, as part of the preparation of its 2024 Annual Action Plan.   The hearing will be held virtually via Zoom. A registration link can be obtained at: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QZjXgjt3ScGVXSUE7j84Kg   The purpose of the public hearing is to obtain public comments and suggestions on how the city's federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds should be used to improve the quality of life in the community. Those attending the public input sessions will be given the opportunity to speak

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Pittsfield Community Group Wants to Actualize City's Potential
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:56AM / Monday, February 06, 2023

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Community Design Center is connecting the community with planning concepts in hopes of making Pittsfield a vibrant, easily accessible, pedestrian-friendly place.  

The group, spearheaded by "The Pittsfielder" blogger Nicholas Russo, is a non-city affiliated effort with four main goals: promote placemaking, demystify the city's transportation infrastructure, take direct action, and establish a physical location for the group.

"I really want to have a group of people in real life looking at Pittsfield and thinking about ways to make it more pedestrian/bike friendly, more inviting to be out in public spaces like how to

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FEMA Awards Over $3.5M to Mass. for COVID-19 Operating Costs
04:04PM / Sunday, February 05, 2023
BOSTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be sending more than $3.5 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to reimburse the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for the cost of steps taken to protect its staff and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The $3,534,633 Public Assistance grant will reimburse MASSDOT for the cost of purchasing plexiglass sneeze guard barriers and signage, disinfection supplies, medical supplies, storage, and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks, respirators, and face shields between April 2020 and March 2022.   The department also contracted for services to disinfect facilities and

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Pittsfield School Subcommittee to Tackle Safety, Social-Emotional Learning
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
03:18PM / Sunday, February 05, 2023

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A school subcommittee focused on social-emotional learning and school safety will meet for the first time on Tuesday. Its creation is fueled by the prevalence of national issues such as school shootings. 

The panel, chaired by Dr. Vicki Smith, a local pediatrician, includes School Committee members Daniel Elias and Alison McGee. Aside from its focus on the safety of students to and from school, it will consider added physical security measures in schools as well as enhancing the complex social-emotional learning environment.    "The understanding of what constitutes school safety has shifted over the years. When the Transportation and Safety

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Department of Public Utilities Approves Reductions to Winter Gas Supply Rates
10:47AM / Sunday, February 05, 2023
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved reductions in gas supply rates for most gas customers across the Commonwealth. On average, the decreases will result in a monthly bill decrease of about 4-5 percent for a typical residential heating customer.     Beginning on Feb. 1, 2023, customers served by The Berkshire Gas Company, Liberty Utilities, Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company d/b/a Unitil, Boston Gas Company d/b/a National Grid, and NSTAR Gas Company d/b/a Eversource Energy can expect lower winter gas supply rates, which will be reflected in the utility bills that customers receive in March. The decreases, which are

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Pittsfield's Bates Wins Age Group at Snowshoe Nationals
08:25AM / Sunday, February 05, 2023
McCALL, Idaho — Pittsfield's Allan Bates placed 33rd on Saturday in the 10-kilometer race at the 2023 U.S. National Snowshoe Championship.   Bates, 74, covered the course in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 53 seconds, the best time in his age group and in the middle of a 53-racer pack.   The event was won by 39-year-old Gary Joseph of Colorado Springs, Colo., who finished in 40:59.   Bates was one of two New Englanders in the field.   Readsboro, Vt.'s, Denise Dion, 64, finished in 1:41:43, placing her sixth in the 60-69 age group.

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Governor Extend Deadline for Portrait Essay Contest for Students
08:00AM / Sunday, February 05, 2023

BOSTON — Governor Maura T. Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kimberley Driscoll are extending the deadline for their portrait essay contest until 11:59 pm on Feb.10, 2023 to allow time for more students to participate. 

Submission guidelines and instructions can be found here. 

It’s a tradition that each new Governor and Lieutenant Governor select a portrait of a former Massachusetts Governor to hang in their offices at the State House. Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll are asking Massachusetts students to research and suggest a former Governor who inspires them and should be

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Governor Signs Proclamation Recognizing Black History Month
04:04PM / Saturday, February 04, 2023
BOSTON — Governor Maura T. Healey signed her first proclamation as Governor, recognizing February as Black History Month in Massachusetts and urging all residents to join her in honoring the history and contributions of Massachusetts' Black community.    "Black history is American history. It's filled with moments of pain, perseverance, overwhelming joy and profound love. This month, and every month, I hope Massachusetts residents will join me in honoring Black changemakers and innovators of the past and present," said Governor Healey. "As Governor, I'm committed to building an administration that sees the dignity and worth of every person. We will

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FEMA Awards Funds to Mass for COVID-19 Homeless Quarantine Costs
10:46AM / Saturday, February 04, 2023
BOSTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency will send more than $4.3 million to Massachusetts to reimburse the Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance for the costs of setting up a quarantine shelter for homeless populations who were infected during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The $4,345,945 Public Assistance grant will reimburse the commonwealth for contracting to convert the shuttered medical facility at the former Newton Pavilion in Boston into a non-congregate quarantine facility between March and June 2020 for homeless individuals who had tested positive for coronavirus.   This includes $1,787,791 for general contractor services; $1,493,693 for heating,

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Governor Files $282 Million Supplemental Budget
08:00AM / Saturday, February 04, 2023

BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll Administration filed a $282 million gross / $154 million net Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) supplemental budget to address needs across the state's family emergency shelter system.

Currently the system is at capacity and facing elevated levels of demand by families facing homelessness.

"Our administration is committed to ensuring that families in Massachusetts have access to the shelter, health care, education, food assistance and other services they need, and that our communities have the resources to provide them," said Governor Healey. "The bill that

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