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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

'Ad Astra': Stellar Search for Self
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
06:28PM / Friday, October 04, 2019
— Shakespeare   While I don't love director James Gray's "Ad Astra," a space cowboy adventure about an accomplished astronaut's (Brad Pitt) mission to locate his legendary astronaut dad (Tommy Lee Jones), previously presumed dead but perhaps gone rogue, I must extol its valuable subtext. You know how you might just be fantasizing about that dream house on a lake in Vermont and suddenly you start getting email advertisements on your phone about just such an abode? Well, per this highly prescient movie set "in the near future," the thought is we are just about there.   In this predicted tomorrow, that sort of mind intrusion has been honed to a


@theMarket: An October to Remember
By Bill Schmick,
04:30PM / Friday, October 04, 2019
October is certainly living up to its reputation. This week, we witnessed a more than 1,000-point decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average before recovering at the end of the week. Behind the volatility: worry over a slowing economy.   On Thursday morning (Oct. 3,2019), the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) announced that the non-manufacturing index hit a three-year low. This was on the heels of earlier negative news from the manufacturing sector. The Institute said that sector had experienced its worst contraction since 2009 with the index falling to 47.8 percent from 49.1 percent in September.   Economists and traders alike already knew that manufacturing was in a


Inauguration 2016
by Soapbox 02:00PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Kids 4 Harmony Provided The Music At The Inauguration Reception
by Soapbox 08:38PM / Monday, January 06, 2014

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
by Soapbox 04:10PM / Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Baseball in the Berkshires Opens New Exhibit Friday in Pittsfield
07:12AM / Friday, October 04, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- "Take Me out to the Ballgame! The Road to October," presented by Baseball in the Berkshires: A County's Common Bond, features baseball players with roots in Berkshire County who have experienced the Major League Baseball’s postseason.   There are 38 MLB players who were born or settled in Berkshire County. Come find out how many made it to the post season during the opening reception Friday, Oct. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m., during First Fridays Artswalk. There will also be a tools-of-the trade workshop beginning at 5, including the history of the baseball and the history of baseball gloves.   This exhibit is presented by Baseball in the Berkshires


Berkshire Regional Planning Tackles Rural Issues
By Jeff Snoonian, iBerkshires Correspondent
03:55AM / Friday, October 04, 2019
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rural communities and the unique challenges they present took a front seat on Thursday at the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's Executive Committee.   Thomas Matuszko, executive director of BRPC, presented the board with an executive summary of the 108-page Rural Policy Plan released Wednesday by the state's Rural Policy Advisory Commission.   "This plan looked at how rural communities, which are the majority of communities in Berkshire County, have different needs and different impacts," he said. "They came up with a list of strategies for each of the different sectors and what is really important for rural


New Voices Heard in Mount Greylock Turf Field Debate
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:09AM / Friday, October 04, 2019
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Rob Abel appeared before the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee to make a point that probably united everyone in a very crowded meeting room at the middle/high school.   "I want a grass field," Abel said. "Grass is better in so many ways. Grass is not controversial."   And then Abel got to the crux of his argument.   "Unfortunately, a grass field would be great for four months, and two of those months, school is not in session," he continued. "Even the best maintained grass in all of Western Massachusetts, right here at Taconic Golf Club, is not ready for play until late April or early May.   "I


The Independent Investor: Markets Bogged Down by Politics
By Bill Schmick,
06:32PM / Thursday, October 03, 2019
Recently, financial and economic events have taken a back seat to politics. Whistleblowers, United Nations speeches, White House tweets, and the on-going trade wars seem to be moving markets far more than unemployment or earnings reports. Is this simply a short-term phenomenon, or is something else happening that is becoming a longer-term trend?   As readers are aware, over the last three years, financial markets have been increasingly governed by what is happening in Washington. At first, markets keyed off big developments like the tax cuts and what they would or would not accomplish from an economic point of view. From time to time, markets would also focus on the possibility of


Veteran Local Banker Joins Pittsfield Cooperative Bank
04:07PM / Thursday, October 03, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Scott Cowlin has joined the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank as vice president/branch manager.

In this role, Cowlin is responsible for the overall operations, customer service, performance and profitability of the bank's main office, located at 70 South St.

Cowlin has more than 18 years of banking experience, most recently working for Berkshire Bank as the assistant vice president/branch officer. A graduate of Ashford University, Cowlin is active in the community, volunteering for the Pittsfield Girls Softball League, where he has been a coach, umpire and member of the board of directors.

Cowlin lives in Pittsfield with his wife and three


Pittsfield High School Names 45 AP Scholars
03:41PM / Thursday, October 03, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield High School's Advanced Placement (AP) program has 45 students being recognized by the College Board for their achievements.  

During the 2019 exam administration, 219 students took 392 exams in 21 different subject areas.  PHS has the largest AP program in Berkshire County and is also the only local high school offering the College Board's AP Capstone Program.

"We are very proud of our AP program at Pittsfield High School - not only of our AP scholars but also that our courses are open to all students," said Pittsfield High School Principal Henry Duval.

"We've been steadily expanding our course offerings and are


Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Oct. 4-10
01:47PM / Thursday, October 03, 2019
Friday, Oct. 4 is First Friday Artswalk and More! Enjoy 20 different art shows featuring work by more than two dozen accomplished regional and student artists in Pittsfield's bustling Upstreet Cultural District during the First Friday Artswalk and all month long!

In most venues, artists will be present from 5-8 p.m. A free guided tour begins at 5 p.m. at the Intermodal Center @ BRTA, 1 Columbus Ave.

The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will be hosting "The Road to October: Berkshire County Players in the Post Season" for


Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees Elects New President
01:15PM / Thursday, October 03, 2019

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Trustees of the Berkshire Museum elected new officers, and appointed four new board members, at its annual meeting on Sept. 23.

Ethan Klepetar, member of the board since 2011 and trustee vice president since 2015, is stepping into the role of president, a position previously held by Elizabeth McGraw. A trustee since 2008, McGraw will continue to serve on the museum's board as vice president alongside Trustee Vice President Melissa Scarafoni.

"This is an exciting moment in the history of the Berkshire Museum, and I am excited about partnering with our Executive Director Jeff Rodgers, the Board of Trustees, and the entire staff as we work together on


Perfect Fall Weather on the Horizon for Fall Foliage Festival Weekend
12:32PM / Thursday, October 03, 2019

A hint of color is creeping into downtown North Adams.

If the damp, cool week has got you worrying about the Fall Foliage Parade weather, have no fear: While there may be some clouds in the sky for the parade itself, the weekend looks to be crisp and dry.

In other words, a perfect fall weekend in the Berkshires to wrap up the annual Fall Foliage Festival.

The highlight of the festival, the parade kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday from Ocean State Job Lot and winds its way up Route 8, across Main Street and then down Ashland Street. Both Accuweather and the Weather Channel say it will be 63 degrees and cloudy on Sunday.

As for the events leading up to the parade itself, Friday night's


Lee Woman Receives Latinx Excellence on the Hill Award
11:54AM / Thursday, October 03, 2019

LEE, Mass. — Lee resident Eleanore Velez was honored by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus during a State House ceremony on Thuesday. She was one of 44 recipients of the Caucus’ 2019 Latinx Excellence on the Hill Award.

Velez was nominated for this recognition by state Sen. Adam G. Hinds.

"I know Eleanore to be passionate about education and her community," Hinds said. "When the MBLLC reached out seeking a nomination for this year's Latinx Excellence honors, she was the first constituent that came to mind, and in vetting her name with local stakeholders I received nothing but tremendous positive feedback.

"I'm proud that she is


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