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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

State Education Commissioner to School Districts: Go In-Person or Face Audit
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
11:08AM / Tuesday, September 22, 2020
BOSTON. — Continuing a pressure campaign against local school districts that began over the summer, the commissioner of education this week sent multiple districts a letter requesting "further information" of those who are beginning the school year with remote instruction.   In a letter dated Friday, Jeffrey C. Riley told more than a dozen districts, including Pittsfield Public Schools, Hoosac Valley Regional and the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School, that they have "very low COVID-19 transmission" and that he is "concerned" that their school committees have elected to keep most students remote to start the academic

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Berkshire United Way, Miraval Offer Getaway to Essential Worker
04:11PM / Monday, September 21, 2020
LENOX, Mass. — Berkshire United Way and Miraval Berkshires have teamed up to honor an essential worker or first responder on the front lines of relief efforts in Berkshire County during the COVID-19 pandemic.   Berkshire United Way, which has helped provide relief grants to nonprofit organizations helping the most vulnerable populations throughout the pandemic, has created an online nomination form here. Self-nominations will be accepted and individuals may also request a nomination form by emailing info@berkshireunitedway.org.   Nominations are currently open and the deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. Submissions will be pooled together and one

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Pittsfield Street Improvement Project Schedule: Sept. 22 and Sept. 24
03:39PM / Monday, September 21, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass — Work is scheduled on Crane Avenue on Sept. 22 and 24 as part of the City of Pittsfield's 2020 Street Improvement Project.   On Tuesday, there will be loam and seeding behind the curb, followed by top paving on Thursday.   Interruption to traffic is expected during this paving work.   The schedule is subject to change based on weather conditions..  

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SBA Hosts Virtual Event to Honor America's Small Businesses
01:35PM / Monday, September 21, 2020
WASHINGTON — Jovita Carranza, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the kickoff for National Small Business Week.   National Small Business Week honors the nation's small businesses, many of which are veteran, women and minority-owned, for their achievements and dedication to their communities.    "I am thrilled to host SBA's virtual National Small Business Week ceremony and provide this opportunity to recognize inspiring entrepreneurs from across the country for their innovation, and in many cases this year, resilience," SBA Administrator Carranza said. "This year, we will spotlight America's outstanding small

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SVMC: COVID-19 Update Sept. 21
01:12PM / Monday, September 21, 2020
  September 18,

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RMV Renews Over 163,000 Licenses And IDs Online During REAL ID Promotion
09:13AM / Monday, September 21, 2020
BOSTON, Mass. — The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) continues to encourage all eligible customers to renew their Standard Massachusetts driver's license or Massachusetts ID card online at Mass.Gov/RMV in order to qualify for a free upgrade to a REAL ID credential in 2021.    This promotional opportunity, authorized and extended by Executive Order, will remain in effect until Massachusetts' State of Emergency is lifted to provide customers more time and flexibility to conduct transactions and to support the RMV's ongoing efforts to implement social distancing protocols while limiting in-person service center visits to keep customers and staff

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CPA Committee Outline Upcoming Grant Cycle
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
12:40AM / Monday, September 21, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Preservation Act Committee agreed on a schedule for the next grant cycle.   The committee spent the bulk of its meeting last week discussing the next cycle and agreed to keep a similar agenda to how it planned to move forward during this past cycle.   "We have been trying to feel this out, but this makes it easier for people in the community to track what is going on if we have some kind of level of general consistency," City Planner CJ Hoss said.   The CPA recently wrapped up a grant cycle delayed and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With uncertainty over if members could actually meet to review applications, they held off

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Smoking Materials Believed Cause of Pittsfield Fire
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
09:25PM / Sunday, September 20, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters rescued several pets from a house fire on Sunday afternoon..    Deputy Chief Daniel Garner said the report of a structure fire at 46 Brenton Terrace came in at 3:30 p.m.    "Upon arrival, Engine 1 found heavy fire showing on the front porch beginning to extend to the inside of the three-story, wood frame, single-family dwelling," Garner wrote in his report. "All occupants were accounted for and fire personnel rescued two dogs and one cat during operations."   The response included the Engine 1 crew extinguishing the fire, Engine 3 providing the water supply, Tower 1 ventilating the building, Engine 6

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Q&A: Pothier Tickled Pink To Still Be Wearing Blue
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports
07:00PM / Saturday, September 19, 2020
DALTON, Mass. — After 3,000 games and tens of thousands of judgment calls, Rich Pothier is a fixture on Berkshire County baseball diamonds and a walking advertisement for the recruitment of young umpires.   Moments before stepping behind the plate for his milestone 3,000th career game on Saturday, Pothier sounded as enthusiastic as ever and not the least surprised that career has lasted this long.   "Strangely enough, yes," Pothier said when asked whether he thought he would be umpiring well into his fifth decade. "Because I've loved it right from the first day I did it. I could envision myself doing it.   "I didn't have any talent as a

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Pittsfield COVID-19 Cases Trending Down
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
06:21PM / Saturday, September 19, 2020
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — COVID-19 cases in Pittsfield are trending downward to rates that have not been seen since the middle of March.   Mayor Linda Tyer said during her regular update Friday on Pittsfield Community Television that the city's positivity rate has dropped to 0.44 percent in the past 14 days.   "This is certainly excellent news, and it reflects our effort in keeping each other safe," Tyer said. "Although we think we may have conquered COVID, we know better. We cannot let our guard down and reverse course."   In Tyer's last address earlier this month, she said rates were increasing toward levels seen in early

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Soares' Celebrity Golf Event to Benefit Veterans Grows in Second Year
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
05:22AM / Saturday, September 19, 2020
MASHPEE, Mass. — With more sponsors, more celebrities, more than double the number of golfers and a bigger venue, the second annual Wayne Soares Celebrity Golf Tournament to Benefit Homeless & Disabled Veterans promises to build on the success it enjoyed in year one.   But there is one thing Soares will miss from 2019's inaugural event.   "We won't be having a post-tournament reception," Soares said, noting one of the concessions that organizers have made to the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm really bummed out because last year, we recognized two World War II vets, and they received a thunderous ovation for two or three minutes.   "Gen.

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@theMarket: Investors Face a Rollercoaster Ride
By Bill Schmick,
03:56PM / Friday, September 18, 2020
Volatility returned to the stock market this week as the level of uncertainty increased on several fronts. Unfortunately, there won't be any definitive answers to what concerns investors for at least two months.   It is September, after all, and this month is notorious for inflicting pain on investors. Historically, October is not much better, and in a presidential election year it can be worse. While the financial media will provide their thoughts on just why stocks drop or rise on any given day, it is not much use to you.   The real reason for "why" will only be known after the fact. This week, the excuse for Thursday's and Friday's decline had to do with

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