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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Public Schools See 37 Student COVID-19 Cases
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
10:14PM / Wednesday, November 10, 2021

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There are currently about 37 student cases of COVID-19 in the Pittsfield Public Schools and Superintendent Joseph Curtis is stressing the importance of mitigation practices.

This case number is even higher than the district's rate during this time last year.

"We have an extremely high number of cases with our students and I would just indicate and stress that even more cases than we had during the pandemic at this time last year,"  Curtis said the School Committee on Wednesday night.

"And so, I want to emphasize that all of our health and safety practices are in place, sanitization that has occurred throughout the pandemic is still in

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Paving on Dan Fox Drive in Pittsfield
06:30PM / Wednesday, November 10, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There will be paving work on Dan Fox Drive beginning 7 a.m. through 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11.   No parking restrictions. The schedule is subject to change based on weather conditions.

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Pittsfield YMCA Launches $12.4M Renovation of North Street Facility
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:46PM / Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Executive Director Jessica Rumlow says the YMCA is always looking at how it can serve the community better.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Family YMCA broke ground Wednesday on its $12.4 million overhaul that expands its child-care program, improves the athletic facilities, and updates its facade.   "When we look at projects, and when we look at opportunities, it's always about the people the [YMCA] serves," CEO and Executive Director Jessica Rumlow said.   "How can we do better? How can we support more families and kids? How can we fulfill the [YMCA]'s mission of putting caring honesty, respect, and responsibility into programs that

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Pittsfield City Council Continues Vote on Tax Rate Classification
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
03:30PM / Wednesday, November 10, 2021

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Residents won't know the fiscal 2022 tax classification just yet.

The City Council on Tuesday voted to continue the tax classification hearing until the Nov. 23 meeting. Mayor Linda Tyer is proposing a split tax of $18.56 per $1,000 of valuation for residential and a commercial, industrial, and personal property tax rate of $39.90 

The motion passed 6-3 with Ward 3 Councilor Nicholas Caccamo, President Peter Marchetti, and Councilor at Large Peter White voting in opposition.

At-Large Councilors Earl Persip III and Yuki Cohen were absent.

With the proposed rates, the average homeowner would see their tax rate drop by almost a dollar from $19.25 in

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Lenox Resident Joins the BIC Board of Directors
02:14PM / Wednesday, November 10, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Giovanna Fessenden, an attorney at the intellectual property law firm Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds, has been newly elected to the Board of Directors of the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC).   "I am thrilled to be appointed to the Board of Directors of the Berkshire Innovation Center," Fessenden said. "These are exciting times of technological growth, expansion, and innovation in the Berkshires. As an IP attorney, I am fortunate to work at the forefront of technological innovation. As a Berkshire resident, I look forward to working with the Berkshire Innovation Center to help further cultivate a technological renaissance in the

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Hospice To Illuminate Building Green To Support Vets
12:03PM / Wednesday, November 10, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hospice of Western and Central Massachusetts announced that the entrances to their office building will be illuminated green for the month of November 2021 as part of the national 'Green Light A Vet' initiative.    A kick of ceremony will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021 from 4:30pm – 5:30pm with an outdoor presentation at 55 Church Street.   The Green Light a Vet mission is to show support for veterans. It also raises awareness about the challenges faced by many veterans and the resources that are available at the county, state, and federal level to assist veterans and their families.   "Illuminating our building with

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AGO Secures $1M for Students in Agreement With Mildred Elley
05:43PM / Tuesday, November 09, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mildred Elley School will provide more than $1 million in relief to hundreds of former students in an agreement reached with the state Attorney General's Office.    The New York State for-profit school, which has a campus in Pittsfield, is accused of using unfair recruitment and enrollment practices between 2015 and 2017.    Some of these allegations related to placement rates for graduates, with the AGO finding that, for example, placement rates for clinical medical assistant and paralegals was "materially lower" than the school's reported rates of more than 70 percent.   The school also allegedly failed to make certain

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Pittsfield Board of Health to Conduct Cell Tower Abutter Questionnaire
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:11AM / Tuesday, November 09, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Board of Health plans to conduct a questionnaire to quantify any symptoms that residents near the South Street cell tower say they are experiencing.   At the board's meeting last week, interim Director of Public Health Andy Cambi agreed to form the questionnaire including locations and symptoms after member Bobbie Orsi called for further documentation of those reporting effects from the Verizon tower.   "We're never going to show a direct causation, but it would be really interesting to know is it five people or is it 40 people?" she said. "And what are the kind of common symptoms, and I think it would just be good information

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Medical Examiner Confirms Suicide in Inmate Death
06:14PM / Monday, November 08, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities have identified the Berkshire County House of Corrections inmate who died Sunday as Stavri Yanka, 34, of Adams.   Yanka was found unresponsive in his cell at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Correctional staff called 911 and attempted lifesaving measures. County Ambulance transported Yanka to Berkshire Medical Center, where a doctor pronounced him deceased.   The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner took custody of Yanka's body and performed an autopsy on Monday and determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation and the manner of death as suicide, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's

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PCTV, WTBR To Hold On-Air Fundraiser
04:41PM / Monday, November 08, 2021
PITTSFIELD Mass. — Pittsfield Community Radio, 89.7 WTBR-FM, will be holding a one-day on-air fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 18, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.     All money raised during the on-air fundraiser will go towards continuing the mission of providing the community a non-profit, non-commercial radio station to present diverse local, entertaining, informative, and educational programming.   The on-air event will be anchored by former Pittsfield morning radio fixture and current Coordinator of Advancement at WTBR, Bob Heck, and Pittsfield Community Television's Executive Director Shawn Serre.  The day will also feature many local radio personalities who

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Pittsfield's Booming Housing Market Raises City Value by $256M
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:09PM / Monday, November 08, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The average homeowner will their tax rate drop by almost a dollar but their property tax bill will go up about $200 because of rising values.    Mayor Linda Tyer on Monday gave a preview of the presentation to be made at Tuesday night's tax classification hearing that includes news that the city's levy capacity has increased.    The city's levy ceiling is no longer under the constraints of the Proposition 2 1/2  for the first time since fiscal 2015.    "So we've reached a really significant milestone in the city's financial situation," she said, adding, "This is a big step forward for us, and

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Berkshire Health Systems Respiratory Therapy
08:36AM / Monday, November 08, 2021
The simple act of breathing in and breathing out is something that can be taken for granted. Most people go through life not thinking about it. When breathing becomes a challenge and requires medical attention, respiratory therapists are there to help.   "I didn't know what a respiratory therapist was until I was brought into the emergency room in an ambulance," said Joanna Hunt, Clinical Manager of the Respiratory Therapy program at Berkshire Medical Center.    Hunt said the compassionate care she received from the respiratory therapist during this visit to the ER was one of the reasons she decided to become a respiratory therapist herself.   Respiratory

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