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A New New Berry for Pittsfield

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Central Block's getting a new tenant in New Berry Place, a sweets and gift shop moving into the front window on North Street.

The name should be easy to remember since it recalls the long-gone J.J. Newberrys that carried about everything you can imagine and lunch, too.

We ran into owner Joseph Mele as he stopped in to see how construction was going. Mele once owned Joe's Lunchbox and operated a corner market in Pittsfield. He thinks the location and the variety of merchandise will fit well on this end of North Street.

Mele's prime ingredient will be Gifford's Ice Cream, a premium Maine brand that won for World's Best Chocolate at last year's World Dairy Expo. Mele says the ice cream is available at Harry's Supermarket locally so it has name-brand awareness among Pittsfield residents.

He's not depending on ice cream to get him through the cold months. The shop will also offer wide range of gift items at less than $20 and greeting cards. It will also stock some convenience items such as toothpaste and Kleenex, making it easier for residents and visitors alike to grab dessert and necessities after a night at the nearby Beacon or Shiro's.

New Berry is expected to open by spring. The space had been used by Richmond Networx, which has relocated to an interior office in the Central Block.

Tags: ice cream, Pittsfield, Central Block      

Pittsfield Gains Jobs But Unemployment Still Up

Tammy Daniels

BOSTON — The state's unemployment rate went up from November to December (8.3 to 91) but Pittsfield was one of three areas to see an increase in the work force and showed the highest over-the-month percentage increase in jobs.

However, the area's unemployment rate (not seasonly adjusted) jumped nearly a point, from 8.0 to 8.9 percent. In December 2008, the rate was 6.5 percent. The number of jobless increased by nearly 400, to 3,404. In the North Adams area, the jobless rate rose fro 9.1 to 10.2 percent.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that unemployment rates were higher in December than in November in all of the commonwealth's 22 labor-market areas. Statewide, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate increased from 8.3 percent in November to 9.1 percent in December.

Job gains were recorded in three of the twelve areas for which unadjusted job estimates were published. In addition to Pittsfield, the Framingham and Springfield areas added jobs. Over the year, all of the labor areas recorded increases in unemployment rates and job losses.

Statewide the seasonally adjusted December 2009 unemployment rate, released last week, rose from 8.7 percent in November to 9.4 percent in December. Statewide, the seasonally adjusted jobs estimate for December showed 8,400 jobs lost over the month. The unadjusted unemployment rates and jobs estimates for the labor markets may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.

NOTES:  The January 2010 unemployment rate, labor force data and survey of jobs for Massachusetts will be released on March 4, 2010; local unemployment statistics will be released on March 9, 2010.  Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi. See the January, 2010 Media Advisory annual schedule for complete listing of release dates.

Tags: Pittsfield, unemployment, statistics      

It's All Talk in Pittsfield

Tammy Daniels

Bill Sturgeon

"Talk Berkshires" on WBRK 1340-AM is expanding its lineup with "Midday Live" hosted by local radio personality and Berkshires native Bill Sturgeon.

"We are excited about Bill coming onboard. He is the epitome of local talk radio and this is really good for WBRK and the community," said Sherman Baldwin, host of "Talk Berkshires," which launched in May and quickly became one of the more active media outlets in the region.

Baldwin says the "immense success" of "Talk Berkshires" made expanding an obvious next step in local talk show format.

Sturgeon's a criminal justice consultant, working with various divisions of the U.S.
Department of Justice for more than 25 years. His areas of expertise include management,
operations, training, security, emergency management, special operations and first-line supervision. He's also been an instructor and expert witness, and has written widely on security, terrorism, correctional
management, and emergency management. He is co-author of "No Time To Play: Youthful Offenders in Adult Corrections" and "Recess is Over: Managing Youthful Offenders In Adult Systems."

He's been hosting an open mike show on Mondays and Tuesdays on WBRK over the past year. Now he'll be heard five days a week from 10 to 1.

The addition of another block of three-hour local talk ("Talk Berkshires" runs from 3 to 6 p.m.) points to the committment of Baldwin and WBRK President Chip Hodgkins for local news coverage at a time when many stations are turning to canned music or nationally syndicated talk shows.

"We're bucking the trend by adding more local talk. It is an investment into our radio station and
the community," said Hodgkins.

Sturgeon also writes a blog at corrections.com.

Tags: Sturgeon, Baldwin, radio, Pittsfield      

Old Country Store Getting New City Sister

Tammy Daniels

Bill and Carrie Wright, owners of the Lenox Old Country Store, are opening a sister store, Emporium, at 431 North St. in Pittsfield. The new shop will contain much the same eclectic mix of merchandise as the Lenox store.

The grand opening celebration on Saturday, Nov. 28, will include a showing of contemporary paintings, mixed media and collage by four Pittsfield artists.The exhibition, "431/413," will feature pieces by Michael Carty, Jennifer Kimball, Edward Pelkey and Tony Sadowy. Work by all four will be available for purchase and the show will run through Dec. 31.

Opening reception will run Saturday from 7 to p.m.; regular hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 to 5, Friday and Saturday from 10 to 7 and Sunday from noon to 4. Find out more at the new blog for both stores.

Tags: Pittsfield, North Street      
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