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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

The Retired Investor: Can Neighborhood Ice Cream Man Keep Trucking?
By Bill Schmick,
04:13PM / Thursday, September 29, 2022
The demise of the neighborhood ice cream truck business has been predicted several times over the years. Higher costs, new delivery methods, and lots of competition from grocery stores and other sources threaten the business. But don't count them out quite yet.   Earlier this summer, The New York Times published an article, "Melting Profits Threaten the Ice Cream Man," which prompted me to delve a little deeper into this business on the local level.   Nationally, most ice cream vendors are individual entrepreneurs who lease their trucks from a regional company on a yearly basis. Many lessees also buy their ice cream products from the same company. They are on the

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BMC Renaming Cancer Center After Former President, CEO
11:44AM / Thursday, September 29, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems is renaming the BMC Cancer Center to honor former health system President and CEO David E. Phelps in recognition of his leadership in the development of the center and its membership in the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative.

The new name is the Phelps Cancer Center.

"Throughout Dave's nearly three decades at the helm of our organization, BHS overcame a seriously troubled financial outlook and weak quality performance to become an A-rated system financially and a nationally recognized performer in patient care, quality, and safety," said Darlene Rodowicz, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems. "One of

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Pittsfield Apartment Fire Contained to Dining Room
Staff Reports,
11:41AM / Thursday, September 29, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Fire Department put out a fire in a dining room early Thursday morning on First Street.   The report came in at 12:45 a.m. of a fire at 160 First St. with possible trapped occupants.    Two firefighter incurred minor injuries but no civilian injuries were reported.   Firefighters found smoke showing when they arrived to the multi-family building at the corner of Adams Street and assisted in evacuating the building. There are eight units apartments in the century-old structure. The fire was on the first floor in the 160 First St. unit.    An additional engine was requested at the scene for the Rapid Intervention

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Froio Center Volunteers Pack Monthly Brown Bags for Seniors
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:14AM / Thursday, September 29, 2022

The volunteers enjoy coffee after preparing nearly 200 bags for pickup and delivery.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An assembly line of volunteers quickly and efficiently packed nearly 200 bags of food at the Ralph J. Froio Senior Center last week.

This is done on the fourth Friday of each month through the Council on Aging's Brown Bag Grocery Program, which provides eligible seniors with a bag of groceries through curbside pickup and van delivery.

"It helps a lot of people," longtime volunteer Ann Menard said. "I think it's a great program."

Various nonperishables and refrigerator staples are provided by the Food Bank of Western Mass in Hatfield. On this day,

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Guest Column: Together, We Can End Hunger
By Tom Bernard and Duffy Judge, Guest Column
04:40PM / Wednesday, September 28, 2022
A recent survey from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission tells us one in 10 Berkshire County residents report rarely or never being able to afford healthy food. In a land of plenty, food insecurity is the heartbreaking reality for many of our friends and neighbors, colleagues and family members.   Hunger persists despite the interventions — including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children; and the National School Lunch Program that came out of the 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health.    The nonprofit Feeding America shares that more than 34 million people, including

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West Side Legends Sets Open House for First Development
02:24PM / Wednesday, September 28, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The West Side Legends is embarking on a multiphase initiative to "Buy Back our Neighborhood" by redeveloping the neighborhood.

On Saturday, the nonprofit group will celebrate its first development, 28-30 Daniels Ave., with an open house from 1 to 4 p.m.

The event will explain how the development was renovated from a rundown duplex into two modern condominiums.

Each condominium contains two bedrooms, one bathroom, and storage space. There is also room for future expansion on the property.

The initial investors, builders, and prospective owners all have West Side interests.

Partnering organizations include Greylock Federal Credit Union, The Crane

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BHS Adds Board Certified Pulmonologist
01:59PM / Wednesday, September 28, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems announces the appointment of Dr. Joseph L. Simonson, a pulmonologist, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the provider staff of Pulmonary Professional Services of BMC.

Simonson is accepting new patients in need of pulmonary care and joins Drs. Glenda Bowen, Cynthia Callahan, Wing Tai Kong and David Oelberg at Pulmonary Professional Services of BMC. Simonson is board certified in internal medicine and fellowship trained in pulmonary and critical care medicine by the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.

Simonson's clinical interests include interstitial lung disease, pulmonary hypertension

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Pittsfield Porch Blaze Causes $10K in Damage
Staff Reports,
12:36PM / Wednesday, September 28, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters quickly knocked down a porch fire on a Morningside multifamily on Tuesday night.

There were no reported injuries and the residents of the home were not displaced. The cause has not yet been determined.

Shortly before 8 p.m., the Fire Department was dispatched to 26 Dartmouth St. for a reported structure fire and found heavy flames showing from the front of the building.

A minute-long video provided by the Fire Department from an anonymous neighbor shows a blaze extending from the front left porch and crews extinguishing it while bystanders watched.

Four engines responded and the fire was extinguished within 30 minutes and before it could reach the

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Dalton to Hold Special Town Meeting Oct. 19
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
08:49AM / Wednesday, September 28, 2022
DALTON, Mass. — Dalton will be holding a special town meeting at Wachonah Regional High School at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, to vote on four articles.    Voters will decide whether to expand the scope of the Wahconah Regional High School project to include a new track at an added cost of up to $45,000 a year to the town.    The Select Board will also be meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11, to vote on whether or not it will support the track.    Article 2 will to see if the town will approve a transfer of funds from the General Stabilization account to the Police Outside Detail.    The Finance Committee will discuss on Wednesday, Oct. 12, whether

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Pittsfield Council Rejects Petition on Homelessness in City Parks
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:46AM / Wednesday, September 28, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Ward 2 Councilor Charles Kronick's second attempt to evacuate homeless encampments was shot down by the City Council on Tuesday.  

His request to postpone all of the Parks Departments' future funding requests and grant approvals until the prohibiting of camps in Springside Park is enforced failed 8-2 with himself and Councilor at Large Karen Kalinowsky voting in favor.

Instead, the councilors referred Ward 5 Councilor Patrick Kavey's petition asking for an update on the initiatives the city is undertaking to address homelessness to Mayor Linda Tyer.

"The purpose of my petition is to formally recognize the City Council as a legislative

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22 Years After Suicide Attempt, Kevin Hines Talks Prevention
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
07:33PM / Tuesday, September 27, 2022

DALTON, Mass. — Kevin Hines was just 19 years old when he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and immediately regretted the decision.

He survived because a phone call from a bystander and the help of a sea lion and has since dedicated his life to suicide prevention, becoming a best-selling author and a producer.

On Monday, Hines spoke to a crowd of about 60 people in the Wahconah Regional High School auditorium. The prior day marked 22 years since his suicide attempt.

There was complete silence as he detailed his early life of squalor, his adolescent years of masking emotional pain, and when he decided to take his own life.

Ninety-nine percent of people who have jumped off the

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Jury Finds Pittsfield Man Guilty of Assault
04:48PM / Tuesday, September 27, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield man has been found guilty of domestic violence for an incident last year.    Korey Laviscount, 37, was found guilty Monday by a jury in Central Berkshire District of single counts of assault and battery on a family or household member and strangulation.    The commonwealth recommended a one-year sentence. Defense counsel recommended six months. Judge Jennifer Tyne sentenced him to serve one year at the Berkshire County House of Correction.    On Nov. 11, 2021, Pittsfield Police responded to a home after a 911 hang-up. Upon arrival, officers heard yelling and observed an injured victim. Police determined that as the victim

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