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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

BCC To Host Registration Day
08:06AM / Friday, January 14, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College (BCC) invites all interested in applying for the spring semester to attend a free registration day on Saturday, Jan. 22 from 8 am to 12 pm.    Prospective students can walk in without an appointment and be instantly accepted to the College after applying. The spring 2022 semester begins Monday, Jan. 24.     Academic advisors and financial aid counselors will be available to help guide students through the process. Participants are also invited to join the One Stop virtual window for questions and answers at www.berkshirecc.edu/financialaid.    Participants should enter through the Welcome Center in the

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Lanesborough Finance Committee Weighs in on Special Town Meeting Articles
By Brian Rhodes, iBerkshires Staff
04:10AM / Friday, January 14, 2022

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Finance Committee reviewed the warrant articles submitted for the upcoming special town meeting at noon on Saturday, Jan. 22.

The town meeting, slated to be at the Lanesborough Elementary School, will allow residents to discuss and act upon 15 warrant articles. The contents of these warrant articles are available on the town website.

The board voted to recommend each of the warrant articles discussed. Several of the articles, including articles one, two, three, five, seven, eight and 12, involve the use of free cash, totaling $584,737.26.

Article 2, the most significant free cash expense at $335,000 if approved, would be used to replace the sidewalk and

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Hinds Announce $ 7.5M in ARPA Funds for Summer Storm Damages
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:05PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022

State Sen. Jo Comerford, who represents the city of Northampton and 23 towns in Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester counties, says the storms put pressure on already strained budgets in her communities. CHESTER, Mass. — Western Massachusetts communities will be eligible for funding from a $7.5 million American Rescue Fund Act bill to aid regions affected by the July 2021 storms.   State Sens. Adam Hinds and Jo Comerford, together representing the counties Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, and Worcester, were at Chester Town Hall on Thursday morning to announce the availability of funds for Chester and 75 other areas that sustained significant damages from the storms.   The

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The Retired Investor: No-Shows Threaten Economy
By Bill Schmick,
04:18PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022
Last week, economists calculated that almost 5 million workers failed to show up at their jobs. Given the present upsurge in cases of the Omnicom variant, that should come as no surprise. However, it clearly has Wall Street economists reducing their estimates of first quarter 2022 GDP.   Slower economic growth normally has a negative impact on everything from the stock and bond markets, interest rates and employment. How this will ultimately affect the economy in the months ahead is a question worrying every trader and portfolio manager in the financial markets.   The first warning sign that this wave of coronavirus infection was impacting business came during the holidays.

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College Notes: Winter 2022
03:57PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022
Alex White of Dalton is the recipient of the Chancellor Scholars scholarship award at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, where he is studying physics. The college distributed $2.4 million in scholarships to students this academic year.      Two Pittsfield residents were among the Lasell University students who shared original research and projects, and engaged with core competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers at recent the annual Career Readiness Symposium. The Newton college's symposium takes place every fall.   Mike Maruk shared a video special on behalf of Lasell Community Television, a program in which students

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Letter: Support Voting Rights on MLK Jr. Day
Letter to the Editor,
03:30PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022

To the Editor:

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s family has requested that there be "no celebration" on the upcoming weekend in his honor until the federal voting rights legislation is enacted.

A group of concerned citizens, in an effort to honor Dr. King's memory, met to discuss what to do. We represent a number of organizations across Berkshire County.

As a collective, we are sincerely concerned about the recent attack on the rights of citizens to vote. Voting rights are the cornerstone of Dr. King's legacy. To truly honor that legacy, we agreed that it is time to rise up to "make some good noise" to protect and strengthen our democracy by doing all

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Holiday Hours: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
02:02PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Rev. King waves to the hundreds of thousands gathered on the Washington Mall in 1963 when he gave the 'I Have a Dream' speech.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated Monday, Jan. 17. It is a federal holiday to commemorate the birthday of the civil rights activist born Jan. 15, 1929. It is observed on the third Monday in January.

King, a Baptist minister, led the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s by espousing nonviolent protest. His best-known address, the "I Have a Dream" speech, was given in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to a crowd of 250,000 who participated in the March on Washington. The 1964 Nobel Prize winner was

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New Pittsfield School Committee Meets for the First Time
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
08:48AM / Thursday, January 13, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The new School Committee met for the first time on Wednesday with two fresh faces.

In line with tradition, the committee appointed its organizational positions for the term. In unanimous votes, William Cameron was elected as the chair, Daniel Elias as vice chair, and Mark Brazeau as the clerk.

"I would like to thank the School Committee for selecting me to chair this body," Cameron said.  "Election for the position of chairperson is an honor."

New members Sarah Hathaway and Vicky Smith were welcomed to the committee. Hathaway, a former Pittsfield mayor, thanked the district's staff members, students, and families for their resilience

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Pittsfield Con Comm OKs Barkerville Conservation Area Parking Lot
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:19AM / Thursday, January 13, 2022

The lack of parking sometimes means Eversource's access to its nearby substation has been blocked. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city will be adding a parking lot to the Barkerville Conservation Area so that nature lovers will have better access.

Last week, the Conservation Commission approved an application for the construction of a grass-on-gravel parking lot on the property located at 320 Barker Road. The work is to occur in a riverfront area, triggering a need for approval from the commission.

"This is an important project for the city," Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath said.

"It will prove access tremendously for those

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Pittsfield Hospitalization Rates Not Spiking During Omicron Surge
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
02:52PM / Wednesday, January 12, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The omicron variant has presented a historically high spike in cases but hospitalization rates are not so far surging in response.

During a COVID-19 update at Tuesday's City Council meeting, Director of Public Health Andy Cambi reported that there are 25 people hospitalized at Berkshire Medical Center for the virus and that a large number of these patients are unvaccinated.

"While we have seen the rise in cases tremendously with omicron, the hospital census has remained in the lower end compared to what we saw before," he said, comparing the current rates to those at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Cambi displayed a chart that compared

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Wildlife Tracking with Richard Greene
02:00PM / Wednesday, January 12, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Richard Greene will speak at the Pittsfield Green Drinks January meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. via Zoom.    Greene will talk about his experience with wildlife tracking and the many places it has taken him.   Greene has studied track and sign, as well as wildlife biology, with Keeping Track, Cybertracker, and Mass Audubon's Field Naturalist Program. These interests have taken him throughout New England, Canada, and South Africa. Although Richard spends most of his time nowadays at his home in southern Berkshire County, he has also presented many talks on the use of trail cameras in wildlife study.   As part of the discussion, Greene

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State Launches COVID-19 Digital Vaccine Card Tool
12:15PM / Wednesday, January 12, 2022
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration announced a tool that gives residents a new way to access their COVID-19 digital vaccine card and vaccination history.    The new tool, called My Vax Records, allows people who received their vaccination in Massachusetts to access their own vaccination history and generate a COVID-19 digital vaccine card, which would contain similar vaccination information to a paper CDC card.    The COVID-19 digital vaccine cards produced by the system utilize the SMART Health Card platform and generate a QR code that can be used to verify vaccination.  The Administration is not requiring residents to show proof of vaccination to enter

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