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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

The Retired Investor: U.S. Veterans Gaining Jobs
By Bill Schmick,
03:26PM / Friday, November 18, 2022
The unemployment rate for veterans in the U.S. is 2.5 percent. That is a level that is 1.2 percentage points lower than the national unemployment rate. Much of this declining jobless trend can be attributed to the success of hiring, training, and education programs of businesses and the government.   Today, veterans account for 7 percent of the civilian population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so that's good news for the overall economy. Granted, the tight labor market and demand for workers after the COVID-19 pandemic, have helped everyone seeking a job find one.   In the case of veterans, they have had some extra help from the U.S. military, the Department of

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PHS and Taconic Evacuated Due to Floor Refinishing Fumes
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
02:35PM / Friday, November 18, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Students and staff got an early start to their weekend when both of the city's high schools were evacuated on Friday due to floor varnish fumes.

Contractors were supposed to refinish Pittsfield and Taconic high schools' gym floors while school was not in session but, instead, began during the school day.

"The Pittsfield High and Taconic High School gym floor was scheduled to be refinished while the school was NOT in session. Unfortunately, the contractors proceeded to start the project while school was still in session," the district posted on Facebook around 11 a.m.

"As a result, we will need to dismiss all students and staff as soon

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Pittsfield to Recognize Remembrance Day for Pedestrians & Bicyclists
12:43PM / Friday, November 18, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city of Pittsfield joins MassBike on Sunday, Nov. 20, in observing "World Day of Remembrance," which honors the victims and families of pedestrian and cyclist traffic crashes.    City Hall will be among several downtown buildings lit in yellow from Sunday through Saturday, Nov. 26.   "We recognize that these unfortunate incidents and near misses require proactive action from transportation stakeholders," said Public Services and Utilities Commissioner Ricardo Morales. "In the last five years, five people were killed on streets throughout Pittsfield in traffic crashes in which they were either walking or

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Pittsfield Committee Supports $50K for Saw Mill Acquisition
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:40AM / Friday, November 18, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is seeking a $50,000 boost from Community Preservation Act funding to acquire over 50 acres of conservation land along the southwest branch of the Housatonic River.

The Community Preservation Committee on Wednesday supported an out-of-cycle application for the saw mill property acquisition, which would fill a gap needed for the $400,000 transaction.

By owning these properties, the city aims to remove the threat of haphazard and misguided development, develop a greenway of protected land, and allow the community to use it for recreational purposes.

"These parcels are undeveloped and primarily forested and they represent kind of a rare tract of land

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'Be a Santa to a Senior' Returns for Holiday Season
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:19PM / Thursday, November 17, 2022

'Be a Santa' trees are located in all three Stop & Shop stores in North Adams and Pittsfield, as well as Wild Oats in Williamstown and the Plant Connector in North Adams. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The "Be a Santa to a Senior" program has returned to Berkshire County, giving residents a chance to provide a customized gift to an older adult who could use some holiday cheer.  

Last week, trees went up in five retail locations with ornaments that have a name and wish list on them.  To be a Santa, shoppers can return an unwrapped gift to the location with the ornament attached.  

Ornaments will be available until Dec. 5 so that the presents can be

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Ward 3's Kevin Sherman Not Seeking Re-Election in 2023
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
01:51PM / Thursday, November 17, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Ward 3 Councilor Kevin Sherman has decided to step aside in next year’s municipal election and leave room for new leadership.

"I am not going to seek re-election," he announced on Thursday, a year out from the city's next election.

"I threw my hat in the ring when [former Ward 3 Councilor Nick Caccamo] got out last year and wanted to try to help the city as we pull out of the COVID era and thought my experience on the council would be helpful and have had a great time being the councilor for Ward 3."

Sherman said he had a lot of available time when he decided to run which has since evaporated, explaining that there is just not

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City of Pittsfield Seeks Proposals for Human Services
11:00AM / Thursday, November 17, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city of Pittsfield announced that applications are now available for funding to provide human services to benefit Pittsfield residents.    Funding is for the program year July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024.   Annually, the city undertakes a process through its Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC), an 11-member volunteer committee, which reviews the proposals and submits its recommendations to the mayor. Applications can be obtained from the Department of Community Development via email request to njoyner@cityofpittsfield.org.    The application due date is Jan. 6, 2023.   Last year's recommendations resulted in 22 human service

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Pittsfield Rebounds From COVID Surges in Time for Thanksgiving
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
08:45AM / Thursday, November 17, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is recovering from the two COVID-19 surges that occurred this fall and is on the low end of the red incidence rate.

"Right now what we're experiencing is the downfall of the two searches that we had this fall," Director of Public Health Andy Cambi reported to the City Council on Tuesday.

Cases are now on the lower end of the "red zone," with 15.9 daily cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 5.8 percent on Monday. There are about 30 estimated actively contagious cases in the city.

In mid-October, there were nearly 40 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 13 percent.

To reach the yellow transmission rate, a community must

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BCC Partners with Wayfair for Free Training Program
04:00PM / Wednesday, November 16, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Be Mass Competitive Program (BMCP) is now accepting applications for a specialized training cohort at Berkshire Community College (BCC) and Wayfair in Pittsfield.    The joint initiative includes free classes at BCC to learn the skills needed for a service consultant career with Wayfair, as well as professional job coaching throughout training and into employment.   The month-long training at BCC covers computing and communication skills for the workplace and will strengthen participants' administrative and technical knowledge. Participants will receive stipends during BCC classroom training, plus paid on-the-job training and placement as a

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Berkshire Cultural Institutions Welcome New Leadership
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
12:00PM / Wednesday, November 16, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire cultural leaders gathered at Barrington Stage Company's Wolfson Center to welcome the new leaders of three of Berkshire County's cultural venues on Tuesday night. 

"As you can see, there are so many amazing things for us to look forward to. Sometimes when I think about the city of Pittsfield, it's almost hard for me to believe that in our little city we have these amazing art and cultural institutions right here but also the Berkshires overall," Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer said. "It's just a phenomenal place to experience art and culture. It's a privilege to be part of it."

Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire

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Sand Piles Available for Pittsfield Residents
08:16AM / Wednesday, November 16, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass.— The Department of Public Services (DPS) announced that sand piles are available at three locations around the city for residential use.   These include the following sites:   • Highway Department front parking lot, 232 West Housatonic St. • Engine 5 Fire Station, 54 Pecks Road. • 37 Elm Street (intersection of Deming and Elm streets).   Sand will be available for pickup by Pittsfield residents for their own personal use throughout the winter season. Residents are requested to limit their pickups to 50 pounds (one 5-gallon pail) per visit.   Users of these piles are requested to report suspected abuse (loading of pickup trucks,

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Pittsfield Tax Rate Drops, Tax Bills Rise for Fiscal 2023
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:19AM / Wednesday, November 16, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It took the City Council less than an hour on Tuesday to approve a split tax rate that will see the average homeowner's property tax bill increase 8 percent.   The residential rate for fiscal 2023 is $18.32 per $1,000 of valuation and the commercial, industrial, and personal property rate of $39.21.   This is a 24 cent decrease from last year's residential rate of $18.56 and a 69 cent decrease from the commercial tax rate of $39.90.   Despite the lower rate, average tax bill for a single-family home will increase by about $420. The rise if value is primarily due to housing sales in 2021. The average single-family home was valued at more than

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