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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Dalton to Set Special Town Meeting for Wahconah Track
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
02:33PM / Wednesday, September 14, 2022
DALTON, Mass. — The Select Board voted to hold a special town meeting to decide whether to expand the scope of the Wahconah Regional High School project to include a new track at an added cost of up to $45,000 a year to the town.   It has not yet set a date.    During last month's meeting, the board informed residents that on Aug. 22 the School Building Committee recommended expanding the scope of the project because the project is $2 million under budget.    Central Berkshire Regional School District leaders attended the meeting Monday night to present why they believe expanding the scope is necessary and opportune.   The reason they did not include

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Pittsfield City Council Rejects Public Hearing on Homeless Encampments
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:12AM / Wednesday, September 14, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A majority of the City Council on Tuesday shot down a councilor's attempt to have a public hearing on homeless campers in the city.

In a 3-8 vote, Ward 2 Councilor Charles Kronick's petition requesting the Committee of the Whole host a hearing to address the impact of homelessness in the community failed with no conversation.

Kronick, Councilor at Large Karen Kalinowsky, and Ward 1 Councilor Kenneth Warren voted in favor.

In his petition, the councilor claimed that residents and business owners are demanding through him that the council act on homeless encampments, describing a "universal decline in neighborhoods, houses of worship, and businesses

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Lenox Principal Resigns, Was Fired in 2008 Over Conduct With BArT Student
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
09:11PM / Tuesday, September 13, 2022
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — One week after iBerkshires.com reached out to the Lenox Public Schools  regarding 14-year-old suspicions of an inappropriate relationship with a minor by the man who was hired as the district's middle-high school principal this summer, the district announced late Tuesday that Salvatore Frieri had resigned.   "Mr. Frieri's resignation is especially upsetting and disappointing after LMMHS had such a joyful opening to the 2022-2023 school year," Superintendent Marc Gosselin wrote in an email sent to the school community. "Still, this decision is ultimately best for Mr. Frieri and his family and our LMMHS students and

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New Lanesborough Fire ATV Paid for With Donated Cans
By Brian Rhodes, iBerkshires Staff
03:48PM / Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The new ATV, a Can-Am Outlander Max XT, will replace the department's current one, a civilian model Polaris ATV which has been in service for about two decades. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — To pay for its new emergency response all-terrain vehicle, the Fire Department sorted and recycled about 217,000 cans donated by community members.    The Lanesborough Fireman's Association bought the $15,000 vehicle, a Can-Am Outlander Max XT, entirely with money from its Cans for Lives program, which helps fund the purchase of emergency equipment and vehicles. After sorting, members bring the cans to a facility in Vermont, getting 7 cents for each

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Sewage Spill in Housatonic River
02:36PM / Tuesday, September 13, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The public is asked to avoid contact with the Housatonic River for about two days after an untreated water spill at the treatment plant.

A notice was sent out through the city's CodeRED alert system this morning after a discharge of untreated wastewater was discovered at the Waste Water Treatment Plant on Holmes Road.

The discharge was caused by "biologically digested sludge overflow" from the blend tank because of a failed pump shutdown. It began at about 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday and stopped at 6:45 a.m.

The estimated discharge duration was an hour and 15 minutes and at the time of the notification, the discharge volume was unknown. Possible

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Dalton Looks to Tighten Tobacco Products Regulations
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:05AM / Tuesday, September 13, 2022

DALTON, Mass. — There appears to be no pushback to the town updating its tobacco ordinance.

The Board of Health's public hearing Monday on the topic generated no participation from residents or storeowners.  

The main proposed changes include potentially capping the number of tobacco permits, not allowing official smoking bars, minimum packaging of cigar products by price, mandated retailer training, and a blunt wrap ban, and a possibility of restricting other non-tobacco-related products.

The town's current ordinance is 11 pages long and the new proposal is 18 pages. 

Notices were mailed to vendors and were posted in the local newspaper as well as the

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Pittsfield Health Board Continues to Tackle Tobacco Regulations
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:43AM / Monday, September 12, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Board of Health is closer to ending its review of the city's tobacco ordinance that has not been amended since early 2019.

The panel deliberated a revised policy for the third time last week and expects to have a final draft at its next meeting. Following an affirmative vote, the draft will be subject to a public hearing. 

Tri-Town Health Department Director James Wilusz came to the board in May to give an update on tobacco control, warning the panel that products can slip through the state's regulations without specific guidelines.

The department has been administering a tobacco awareness program since 1994.

He gave the panel a slate of

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21 Years Later, Veterans Mark 9/11 at Pittsfield Monument
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:58PM / Sunday, September 11, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — On the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, local veterans gathered around the city's Iraq and Afghanistan War Memorial to honor the "true one percenters" who answered the call to fight for their country in a time of great need.

"Today, it's been 7,665 days since that terrible day," Mark Pompi, who served in the Army as a sergeant, first class, said to a crowd of around 50 community members and veterans.  

"In direct relation to those attacks, these men and millions more answered the call and volunteered to fight back against terror. They were all Army, they were all volunteers, they all left behind family and

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Pittsfield Sets Special Meeting for Deming Park Improvements
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
02:02PM / Sunday, September 11, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Parks Commission will hold a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 19, on the proposed parking improvements to Deming Park that have sparked concern from abutters.

It will be held at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria at Sacred Heart Church on Elm Street, which is across from the park.

In June, the commission gave the city the OK to move forward with a project to address parking concerns at Deming Park, recognizing that it has been a long-standing issue during Babe Ruth and Little League baseball season.

The city received funding for the Public Services Department this winter to hire engineers Fuss & O'Neill to survey the situation. Stakeholders within the park and

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Pittsfield 'Dunks' for Childhood Cancer
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
07:31AM / Sunday, September 11, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Signs of survivors, fighters, and fallen angels from childhood cancer lined the parking lot of Walmart as community members gathered to "dunk" their peers in an effort to raise funds to fight the illness.    Two local moms, Christen Simmons and Stephanie Maschino, whose lives were greatly affected by childhood cancer collaborated with local organizations to gather funds for their cause.   Saturday's event included a informational booths, music, food, children's activities and a chance to drop various civic leaders into a dunk tank for a good cause.   All donations are going to the pediatric oncology departments at the

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'I Am Water' Billboard Exhibit Speaks to Environmental Issue
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:22PM / Saturday, September 10, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — H20-themed billboards across the city — and one in North Adams — aim to start a conversation about water issues.

As a part of the "I Am Water" exhibition by ecoartspace and Our Humanity Matters, five billboards featuring artwork that speaks to the power of water will be featured in Berkshire County and one over the state border in New Lebanon, N.Y. 

The works address water conservation, quality, flooding, and scarcity.

It is an appropriate time for the narrative, as the state and county has been in a drought this summer and, last month, the city of Pittsfield implemented mandatory water restrictions.

"'I Am Water' is the

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Pontoosuc Lake Algae Bloom a Health Hazard
01:21PM / Saturday, September 10, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Board of Health is advising people and their pets not to swim in Pontoosuc Lake.   Recent algae test results have confirmed the presence of a blue-green algae bloom at Pontoosuc Lake that may present harmful health effects for users of the lake.   Health Director Andy Cambi said in a statement on Saturday morning that the water poses a risk for people and animals and that warning signs have been posted around the lake.  Do not swim. Do not swallow water. Keep animals away. Rinse off after contact with water. Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, occur naturally in lakes and ponds throughout Massachusetts. These microscopic

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