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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Authorities Say Arson in Olde Forge Fire
11:41AM / Monday, August 29, 2022
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A fire at the Olde Forge on Sunday was intentionally set by an employee, authorities said.    The investigation determined that it had been set using smoking materials. The man, who was not identified, will be summonsed to Central Berkshire District Court.   The investigation was conducted by Fire Chief Jeffrey DeChaine, Police Chief Robert Derksen, and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.   "I'd like to thank our firefighters and mutual aid partners for their work containing this fire and preventing even greater damage," said DeChaine. "The joint investigation with our local and state partners has identified the suspect as

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Fall Foliage 5K, Berkshire Half Marathon Set for Oct. 8-9
Community submission,
10:24AM / Monday, August 29, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- One finisher of the inaugural Berkshire Half Marathon will win a  brand new 2023 Subaru.   The half marathon will be part of a two-race weekend that kicks off with the first Fall Foliage 5K on Saturday, Oct. 8. The 13.1-mile race will be Sunday.   Berkshire Running Center owners Kent and Shiobbean Lemme; Race Directors of the MountainOne Steel Rail Races; have once again brought another weekend of running events to the Berkshires and the newly expanded Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.     The event is co-sponsored by Haddad Subaru, MountainOne, John’s Ace Hardware and UNICO. The races will be newly structured renditions of the

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BCAC Weatherization Readiness Pilot Program In Early Stages
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:41AM / Monday, August 29, 2022

CHESHIRE, Mass. — A pilot program through Berkshire Community Action Council aims to assist those deferred from free weatherization and heating repair services.

Jess Cooley, who is working with BCAC on the Weatherization Remediation Assistance Program, put it on the Board of Selectmen's radar on Thursday. She is trying to organize resources to get the program off of the ground.

While doing energy audits for people on fuel assistance, the organization found that many have fixable disqualifying factors for repairs through the Weatherization Assistance Program or heating service program.  

Ten households in Cheshire are currently deferred.
 
"About one in three

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Olde Forge Owner Says Restaurant Will Recover from Sunday Fire
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
12:25PM / Sunday, August 28, 2022

An image shared around Facebook shows the flames. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The popular Old Forge restaurant on Route 7 suffered severe damage in the rear of the building from a fire late Sunday morning.   There is damage in the salad bar and back of the building but owner Kirk Grippo said the eatery is going to be back open as soon as possible.   "I'm not sure exactly what happened," he said as firefighters checked the damage off the rear deck. "We're working on it already. I'm resilient. We're going to fix the damage to the end of the building, we've already been working together with the building inspectors, electrician, the insurance

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Barbalunga Seeks Fiscal Stewardship, Equity in Sheriff's Office
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
08:46PM / Saturday, August 27, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Alf Barbalunga wants to make sure the Berkshire County sheriff's office is fiscally responsible and equitable.

He's challenging incumbent Thomas Bowler's leadership over the past dozen years in the Democratic primary election on Sept. 6.

"It's been a dream of mine to run.  I first started thinking about it when I was 6 years old.  I was introduced to this sheriff at the time and I asked him, What do you do for work? And he told me he was the sheriff of Berkshire County and I said, 'What does that mean?' as a 6-year-old and he said, 'I'm in the business of helping people," Barbalunga said.

"So that

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@theMarket: Bad News from Jackson Hole
By Bill Schmick,
04:11PM / Saturday, August 27, 2022
Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jerome Powell set investors straight at the Fed's annual Jackson Hole symposium. He said the job of lowering inflation is not done, and that the Fed will continue to raise interest rates in order to slow the economy.   "We must keep at it until the job is done," Powell said, during his speech.   That was enough to send stocks lower after a few days of gains. At the same time, the U.S. dollar fell, as did interest rate yields, which is somewhat counter intuitive given Powell's hawkish statement. The inflation data released on Friday morning showed a little progress on the fight against inflation. The Personal Consumption Expenditure

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Q&A: Bowler Thinks Experience Sets Him Apart in Sheriff Race
By Brian Rhodes, iBerkshires Staff
01:55PM / Saturday, August 27, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Incumbent Thomas Bowler believes his experience sets him apart in the election for Berkshire County's next sheriff.

 

"I'm just looking forward to Sept. 6," he said. "And hoping that everything we've done up here for the 12 years for this community, the voters have recognized."

 

Bowler has served in the position since 2010 and has 37 years of law enforcement experience. Before becoming sheriff, he had spent 24 years working in the Pittsfield Police Department. 

 

He is running for re-election against challenger Alf Barbalunga, the current chief probation officer of the Southern Berkshire District, in the Sept. 6

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Dalton Finance Committee Backs Sewer Rate Increase
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
04:47AM / Friday, August 26, 2022
DALTON, Mass. — The Finance Committee agreed with the Select Board decision to approve the 19 percent sewer rate increase after an extensive discussion Wednesday night.    Although the sewer system is not in need of any immediate attention for repair, there are things that need to be done to be proactive.    As of this year, the town has $958,000 in sewer stabilization; the estimated cost of repairs is $759,000. If the budget is built up now, money will not have to be borrowed in the future and put it on taxpayers, said officials.   "I was pretty satisfied to see that we wouldn't have to borrow the money and put it on the taxpayers. That was really

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The Retired Investor: Consumers Get Price Relief on Beef
By Bill Schmick,
05:00PM / Thursday, August 25, 2022
Many consumers have changed their diets over the last two years consuming more chicken, pork, and fish and less beef. Driving this substitution have been the stratospheric increases in meat prices. The good news is that high-end beef cuts are now dropping in price.     As readers are aware, prices for food have been rising for months. On a personal basis, my custom of grilling outside at least once or twice a week is just not the same. The prices of steak — sirloin, rib eye, New York strip and steak tips — forced me to switch to chicken kabobs, hamburgers, hot dogs and maybe a cut of London broil.   Beginning in August, however, I noticed that some

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Interprint Plans Additional Expansion
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:06AM / Thursday, August 25, 2022
Editor's note: we have been informed that the information provided during the presentation may not be correct. This information was given during a public meeting recorded by PCTV and was the basis for an approved permit. This article will be updated or rewritten when as needed and marked as such when further information is provided.
The L-shaped plant will be filled in (see the yellow) with a 57,500-square foot addition. That area, below, is partially used for parking that will be pushed farther back.   

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Interprint is planning a fourth expansion of its Route 41 facility to increase production capacity.

Last week, the Community Development

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Pittsfield Man Sentenced to Prison for Domestic Violence
05:33PM / Wednesday, August 24, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield man has been sentenced to prison on multiple domestic violence charges.   Dominic Simonetta, 49, pled guilty to single counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, witness intimidation, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a household member, and two counts of threat to commit a crime.   The commonwealth requested four to six years in state prison, and the defense requested no more than two years and eight months. Judge Douglas Wilkins sentenced Simonetta to serve two to three years in state prison.   On the morning of Sept. 12, 2019, Pittsfield Police responded to an Onota Street address after

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Humane Society Shelter to Be Named for Late Veterinarian Dr. Reynolds
01:06PM / Wednesday, August 24, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Humane Society will rename its animal shelter the Dr. John C. Reynolds Adoption and Education Center in honor of the late veterinarian.    Dr. Reynolds died last December in a kayaking accident but his family announced on Tuesday that it will gift the shelter $500,000 in response its "Forever Family" fundraising campaign with a challenge to the community to match this amount.    The $1 million raised will secure rights to name the animal shelter at 214 Barker Road.   "We were blessed to know Dr. Reynolds as a veterinarian, Berkshire Humane Society Board of Directors member and a friend," said Executive

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