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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

New Pittsfield City Council Has Brief First Meeting
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
08:30AM / Wednesday, January 12, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The new City Council went through 10 agenda items on Tuesday in less than an hour during its first meeting as an elected body.

The councilors accepted a nearly $100,000 grant for free public Wi-Fi infrastructure, approved two orders from Mayor Linda Tyer to execute historic preservation restrictions for two Community Preservation Act projects, and approved the assignment of subcommittees.

The items yielded little conversation from the panel, which includes five new faces and six returning councilors.

A $99,750.00 Community Compact Cabinet's Information Technology grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance was officially

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Dalton Select Board Supports Town Pay Raises
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:45PM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022
DALTON, Mass. — The Select Board is in support of raising town salaries to be more desirable for recruitment and for retaining existing employees.   On Monday, the board voted to endorse a new pay plan that would cost about $58,000 to implement. The plan, which can be utilized for union and non-union employees, will be reviewed by the Finance Committee before a final decision is made in the next couple of weeks.   If approved, it will take effect on July 1, the start of the 2023 fiscal year.   Since September, consultant Carol Grandfield of Municipal Resources Inc. has been working with Town Manager Thomas Hutcheson on a study that resulted in this recommendation. The

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Five Local Women-Owned Restaurants Receive Grant Funding
04:12PM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Five women-owned restaurants in the Berkshires received $5,000 each grant support from the Massachusetts Conference of Women.    Frankie's Ristorante Italiano in Lenox; Freight Yard Pub and Renee's Diner in North Adams; Truc Orient Express in West Stockbridge, and Crisp in Williamstown were among 80 eateries statewide awarded $400,000 total in grants.    The Massachusetts Conference for Women is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing women in the workplace. This is the second year that it has provided grants.   "We are proud to support these hard-working women entrepreneurs," said Gloria Larson, board president and former

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BUW Names Former North Adams Mayor Bernard as New President
03:06PM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Former North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard has been named president and chief executive officer of the Berkshire United Way.    He replaces Candace Winkler, who stepped down in August after about 18 months in the role. Winkler took a positoin with a nonprofit in Washington, D.C.   Bernard finished up two two terms as mayor of North Adams at this end of 2021, declining to run for a third term. He begins his new post on Jan. 24.    "I'm thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career as part of the Berkshire United Way team," Bernard said in a statement announcing his new position. "The organization's mission is clear and

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State Orders 26M Rapid Tests, Changes Guidance on PCR Testing
Staff Reports,
10:15AM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022
BOSTON — The state has ordered 26 million rapid-result tests over the next three months with a priority on public schools and day care settings.   Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday morning said the iHealth tests for COVID-19 will be received in rolling shipments with amounts that will vary according to production schedules.    This new order is on top of the 2.1 million iHealth tests distributed in December to 102 communities before the holidays and the 200,000 for educators after the winter break.   The announcement comes in tandem with an advisory from the state Department of Public Health affirming the accuracy of the rapid-result antigen tests and

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BCC to Host Virtual Nursing Info Sessions
07:58AM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Community College (BCC) will offer three virtual information sessions for students interested or enrolled in the Fall 2022 Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program.    One-hour sessions, held via Zoom, will be held Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 12 pm and 5 pm and Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 12 pm. To register for an info session, visit www.berkshirecc.edu/nursinginfo and scroll down to the "ADN Info Sessions Details & Sign up" for a list of Zoom registration links.   Completing an information session is mandatory for all ADN students. The sessions provide an opportunity for prospective nursing students to learn more about BCC's programs,

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Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Plans to Query Gubernatorial Candidates
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:20AM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Regional Planning Commission wants to communicate with candidates of the 2022 gubernatorial election to see where they stand on issues in Western Massachusetts.

Executive Director Thomas Matuszko asked BRPC's executive committee on Thursday how it feels about having a more active role with the candidates as a way of bringing attention to the western part of the state.

There are currently six candidates so far running for governor: Democrats Danielle Allen, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Scott Donohue and Orlando Silva; Republican Geoff Diehl, and independent Dianna Ploss.

Four candidates are so far running for lieutenant governor, one of whom is state Sen. Adam

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School Mask Requirement Extended to Feb. 28
04:44PM / Monday, January 10, 2022
BOSTON — The requirement for face coverings in public schools has been extended through Feb. 28.   The requirement for masking had initially been approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last August to expire on Oct. 1; that was extended to Nov. 1 and then again to Jan. 15.    DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley on Monday alerted school districts that that masking would continue to at least Feb. 28 and possibly beyond that, pending changes in pandemic guidelines.    "The mask requirement remains an important measure to keep students safe in school at this time," the extension announcement stated.    Schools that meet the 80

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BRPC Berkshire Benchmarks Survey
04:00PM / Monday, January 10, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) announced the 2022 Berkshire Benchmarks Survey.    BRPC, working with the Berkshire Leadership Impact Council and numerous organizations around the county, developed the survey to better understand the issues affecting county residents.   Postcards are being mailed to all county residents with the survey link. Survey participants may also go directly to www.surveymonkey.com/r/Berkshire22 or to www.surveymonkey.com/r/Berkshire22_Spanish for a Spanish language version.   The survey asks a range of questions, such as "How much are you able to save for retirement?", "How welcome do you

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MFBF Launches New Website
02:35PM / Monday, January 10, 2022
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) has launched an enhanced version of website.   The website presents the latest news and updates about MFBF's programs and activities.    "The new website showcases MFBF's commitment to its farmer members," said MFBF President Warren Shaw. "It was built to be user-friendly with easy to find content. We hope this upgraded website will assist our membership find the information they are looking for in a timely manner."      New and updated features include: An upgraded look that is allows for uninterrupted viewing on smartphones, tablets and large projector

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Berkshires Headed Into the Deep Freeze
12:49PM / Monday, January 10, 2022

The U.S. National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., has released a wind chill advisory for Berkshire County and surrounding regions from midnight tonight until 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Mount Greylock Regional Schools will be closed Tuesday.

A missive from Superintendent Jason McCandless said the reasoning for the closure is that a two-hour delay is not expected to result in improved temperatures and that classrooms and buses have had to keep windows open for airflow. "We are especially concerned about bus stop waits and students who walk to school," he wrote.    All afternoon activities at the elementary schools are canceled and a decision will be made later

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Homelessness Advisory Committee Sends Recommendations to Mayor Tyer
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:18AM / Monday, January 10, 2022

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Homelessness Advisory Committee last week approved a memorandum that recommends that Mayor Linda Tyer outlines the panel's thoughts and recommendations after one year of collaboration.

In the near future, the committee wishes to see efforts to establish centrally located public restrooms and lockers, a centralized source of resources to assist those who are homeless or housing insecure, communication with service providers about the importance of trauma-informed care, and increased employment or other opportunities for the "less fortunate" in downtown.

The communication also calls out deficiencies in affordable housing and support services

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