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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

MCLA Green Living Seminar: 'The Myth of Progress'
08:25AM / Monday, January 30, 2023
NORTH ADAMS, Mass.— Tom Wessels, Terrestrial Ecologist and Professor Emeritus at Antioch University, will give a talk titled "The Myth of Progress" at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the MCLA Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, Room 121.    The presenter will attend via zoom.      As part of MCLA's Green Living Seminar series, this event is free and open to the public.    According to a press release:   The presentation will be a conversation about Wessels' book, "The Myth of Progress," which is a scientific critique of the failings of our current economic system. The book covers three

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Joanne Passing on Ownership of Elm Street Luncheonette
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:18AM / Monday, January 30, 2023

Evelyn Szelest and Joanne Longton on their last day at the Elm Street Luncheon. Longton joked that Szelest 'came with the place.'

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Joanne Longton's been behind the counter at her Elm Street diner for nearly a half century. But not after Monday. 

She's handing over her spatula and heading to retirement after 48 years. 

Joanne's Elm Street Luncheonette will be under new ownership but she expects it will stay much the same as the hometown eatery that has fed many Pittsfield residents from childhood to adulthood. 

Longton announced the news of her retirement over Facebook on Friday. 

"After 48 years in business, it's

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County Planners Seek Options to Limited Municipal Labor Pool
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
04:41AM / Monday, January 30, 2023
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has been having conversations on community sustainability, and workforce issues were one of the topics taken up by its Regional Issues Committee last week.    "It is no secret that the state of Massachusetts is having a hard time in all of the communities, finding town managers, town administrators and finance folks. And when I say finance, they're talking about your town accountant, your tax collectors, your assessors, anybody kind of in that realm," said Adams Selectwoman Christine Hoyt, chair of the Berkshire County Selectmen's Association.    "So it's probably been the

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Berkshire Residents Take Stand Against Police Brutality
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
07:32PM / Sunday, January 29, 2023

NAACP local President Dennis Powell says the police culture has to change. Roberta McCullough-Dews says she worries about her children. Change has to start with legislation and policies, she added.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Protesters on Sunday condemned continued police brutality following the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tenn. in early January.   Five Memphis officers have been charged in his death, which came three days after he was brutally battered during a traffic stop. The video of the incident released Friday by Memphis authorities was so disturbing that warnings were issued ahead of time.    "The culture of policing in America has got to

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Housatonic River Receives Wild and Scenic Designation
10:59AM / Sunday, January 29, 2023
NEW MILFORD, Conn. — The Housatonic River Commission announced the federal designation of the Housatonic River as a Wild & Scenic River for the 41 miles of the river from the Massachusetts border to the Boardman Bridge in New Milford.    "This federal Wild & Scenic designation of the Housatonic River will help to ensure the Commission's ability to carry through its management plan to maintain the river's unspoiled beauty and create solid accessibility to the many user groups who treasure the Housatonic River," William Tingley, chairman of the Housatonic River Commission said   This 41-mile section of the Housatonic River is now a member of the

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Healey Announces Executive Order Creating Housing Working Group
08:17AM / Sunday, January 29, 2023
BOSTON — At the Massachusetts Municipal Association's annual meeting last weekend, Gov. Maura T. Healey said she has filed an Executive Order creating a Housing Working Group.    The group will be chaired by Lt. Gov. Kimberley Driscoll and comprised of stakeholders, including housing developers, advocates, municipal leaders and others to be named at a later date.   The group is charged with guiding the structure of Healey's new housing secretariat and informing the process of filing an Article 87 to create the position. The governor has pledged to file legislation creating this new secretariat within her first 100 days.    "One of the single

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Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Extending Farther Into Pittsfield in 2024
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
06:18PM / Saturday, January 28, 2023

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail will extend to Merrill Road in 2024, bringing bike and pedestrian recreation farther into the city. 

Phase 2 of the extension along the abandoned Housatonic railroad line will be bid in the spring and completed next year. With a state and federally funded price tag of about $1.4 million, it includes a 10-foot paved multi-use path that runs from Crane Avenue to Merrill Road.  

The trail will eventually travel alongside the road to East Street and larger plans bring it through the whole county. 

On Tuesday, the City Council approved five temporary property easements to assist in the construction of the

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No Drought Conditions in Berkshire County
04:41PM / Saturday, January 28, 2023
BOSTON — Through the month of December 2022, the majority of the state experienced drought improvements and Berkshire County has remained at level 0: normal conditions.   This is not the case for the rest of the state.   Secretary Rebecca Tepper announced the following drought declarations: the Islands Region will remain at a Level 2-Significant Drought, the Northeast and Cape Cod Regions have been upgraded to a Level 1-Mild Drought, and the Connecticut River Valley Region will join the Western, Central, and Southeast Regions at Level 0-Normal Conditions. Rain and snow events during the previous month and a half have been well above normal, and conditions are expected to

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Celebration Focuses on Importance of Water as Critical Resource
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
01:03PM / Saturday, January 28, 2023

Organizer Leslie Gabriel says the fight for clean water means building a cultural connection with the critical resource.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — H20 was the theme of the night on Thursday as dozens of activists gathered at the Beacon Cinema for the first Berkshire Water Celebration.   "I think what's missing in the fight for water is connecting people to the culture of water and the consciousness of water, which includes music and art and spirituality and economics and science and the environment, not just the environment, not just politics, not just science, it's all of that," organizer Leslie Gabriel said.   "I think if we start to message

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National Grid To Provide Energy Bill Assistance to Mass Businesses
10:54AM / Saturday, January 28, 2023
WALTHAM, Mass. — National Grid announced it is partnering with four nonprofit business associations to distribute $1 million in grants to help businesses with their energy bills.   National Grid is working with the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA), the Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM), the Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA), and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce to distribute up to $250,000 each to their small business members in need.   "Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and the impacts of the global energy crisis are creating real challenges," said Stephen Woerner, President of National Grid, New

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FEMA Awards Over $3 M to Mass for COVID-19 Response Costs
08:01AM / Saturday, January 28, 2023
BOSTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be sending more than $3 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to reimburse the Executive Office of Health and Human Services for the costs of providing virtual triage services for hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The $3,056,275 Public Assistance grant will reimburse the commonwealth for contracting to provide virtual triage to reduce transmission that could occur if triage were to occur in crowded, in-person hospital settings between March 2020 and February 2021.   The contractor also provided dissemination of information to the public across Massachusetts regarding guidance about the individual's risk

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Owner of Abandoned Cats Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty
Staff Reports,
05:20PM / Friday, January 27, 2023
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A woman accused of abandoning more than a dozen cats during snowstorm a year ago has pleaded guilty.    Kelly Hathaway of Pittsfield pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of animal cruelty in Central Berkshire District Court as part of a plea agreement. Following the plea agreement, she was ordered to have a mental health evaluation and follow any after care as instructed by the court.   She was placed on two years probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. She is not allowed to possess any animals and was ordered to surrender any she has in her care. She is also prohibited from volunteering with any animal

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