Curtain Closing on Movie Gallery
There can't be many days left for the Movie Gallery. The shop stopped renting videos a couple days ago and the shelves are beginning to thin out as the price keeps dropping on used videos.
The store still has quite a few half-price games and new videos. If you're looking for a bargain better hurry down; a sign at the register warns "it may not be here when you come back."
The closure, part of a nationwide shutdown for the bankrupt company, ends a chapter in the local entertainment economy. Netflix, Redbox and similar services have closed a lot mom-and-pop and chain rental stores. Movie Gallery was the last major video rental service in the city. Another Movie Gallery closed in the Stop & Shop plaza some years ago. Another rental service operated out of 85 Main St. in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Hollywood Video in Pittsfield, also part of the Movie Gallery chain, was among the first round of closings after the company declared bankruptcy in Feburary.
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Flag Flying Season
Bob Upton of the city's Wire & Alarm Division hangs American flags along Main Street on Wednesday.
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Insurance Agreement on Horizon?
A press conference has been slated at City Hall on Thursday with city and union officials on what is likely a mutual settlement of the insurance premium debacle.
The city's seven public unions claimed last year that they've been paying more than the 30 percent in contracted insurance premiums because the city was failing to fully fund the Medical Insurance Trust.
A report commissioned by incoming Mayor Richard Alcombright found that North Adams hasn't been putting in its 70 percent share for at least the last three years. The underfunding added up to more than $1.1 over two years; the city is expected to spend another $500,000 to fully fund the account this fiscal year.
Alcombright had vowed to work with the unions, particularly the teachers' union that has been the most vocal and did the most research on the issue, to come to an amicable settlement. Union officials have indicated they are aware of the city's current fiscal difficulty.
A advisory from the mayor's office states: "The press conference is for the purpose of a joint announcement by Mayor Alcombright and the Public Employee Committee with regard to a settlement of the issues surrounding the Medical Insurance Trust Fund."
iBerkshires will be covering the press conference at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday in the City Council Chambers.
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Alcombright Plans Monthly TV Show
Just got word that Mayor Richard Alcombright is planning his own form of fireside chat on Northern Berkshire Commmunity Television with "Corner Office Connection."
The new show premieres tonight (Wednesday, March 24) at 8 p.m. on Channel 17. North Adams attorney Richard Taskin will sit down with Mayor Alcombright to discuss issues of the city and surrounding area.
Henceforth (sayeth the mayor) there will be a new show on the last Wednesday of every month at 8 p.m.
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New Cure for the Winter Blues?
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Winterfest returns to the city on Feb. 27 but it won't be at the St. Elizabeth's Parish Center — this time it's heading back to downtown.
The City Council's new Community Development Committee is taking a hand in the annual event that, to put it kindly, had degenerated into a chowder contest. Everyone sort of stood around in the hall eating chowder. When it was gone, they left.
Oh yeah, there were llamas at the library. Great for kids but, well, eh for many people. And there was a wagon ride — if you were willing to stand out on an often frigid Main Street to wait for it. Oh, and the Mayor's Skating Party down at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink. Again, nice, but late in the day and cut off from anything happening nearly six hours earlier.
The whole affair was a bit discombobulated
This year, there's a concerted effort to focus (like a laser beam) on bringing as many of those scattered activities as possible in close proximity to stimulate pedestrian traffic along the main drag.
The main event returns from noon to 2 but in two locations — 49 Main St. in the former Mohawk Gift Shop ( and Hudson's Antiques) and at 77 Main St. in the former Moulton's General Store. No standing around slurping up chowder; attendees will have to walk between the locations. It's good exercise!
To keep up participants' energy in between the chowder stations, there'll be marshmallow roasting on the sidewalks. Kids' activities will be going on at 107 Main St., which will also offer a place to warm up in-between carriage rides being sponsored by Hoosac Bank from 1 to 3.
Persnickety's Picky the Penguin will do a walkabout with other characters. At least one venue will be pouring hot chocolate.
The llamas will still be at the library for story time from 10 to 11; a tad further out, but still walking distance, will be a "Winter Shadow" light show and children's presentation being offered at 2 p.m. at Western Gateway Heritage State Park.
And, of course, the free skating party runs from 7 to 9 and the Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe tramps the Main Street Stage at 7:30.
Did we mention the ice? Yes, ice sculpting will be happening on Main Street with whichever artists want to get involved. More stuff, too, will be announced in the coming weeks.
Organizers are urging businesses and shops along Main Street to get in on the action. Want to be included? Let Rod Bunt at the Mayor's Office of Tourism know if you've got anything special planned at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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