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Ask Not What Your State Can Do for You
By: Nichole Dupont On: 04:37PM / Saturday January 22, 2011
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Not happy with what's going on in your state government? Well, now's your chance to do something about it, and win a little cash (actually a lot of cash — $10,000 to be exact).

The Boston-based Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research is sponsoring its 20th annual Better Government Competition.

The competition is open to all U.S. citizens, including students, nonprofits, entrepreneurs and muncipal officials, but the winning proposal will be developed and implemented in Massachusetts. This year's theme is "budget busters," and according to BCG director Shawni Littlehale, couldn't have come at a better time.
 
"We're always cajoling and looking for new ideas," she said in a phone interview. "It's a great opportunity for citizens to have their voices heard."

Of the roughly 250 proposals she receives every year, Littlehale said at least 50 percent are from officials in state or municipal governments. In fact, last year's winner was the mayor of Sandy Springs, Ga. His proposal, under the theme of "budget management," focused on the reduction or containment of Medicaid costs by providing housing for the homeless. The crux of his argument was that housing is a "medical intervention" and that homelessness is very expensive for everyone.

You don't have to be a mayor or a retired CIA agent to participate in the competition. Littlehale said the institute is ready to bring good ideas to fruition by providing the resources that a winner or runner-up will need to bring the proposal to completion.

"We will help them with resources for research and writing and databases," she said. "What I want is something really innovative and interesting."

She's not the only one pushing citizens to dig deep into their civic awareness and lend an idea or two. State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, is also encouraging citizens to consider sending in "smart government reform initiative."

"I urge my constituents to participate in this year's competition by suggesting new and efficient ways for public programs to operate," he said in a press relase.

Still skeptical? That's fine, according to Littlehale, but skeptical does not mean unconcerned, at least not for previous applicants.

"A lot of these bureaucracies have stayed the same. They need an injection of something new," she said. "The people who submit proposals genuinely care about the way government works. Many feel that it's not working correctly and really believe that they can change that."

If you have a good idea for fixing programs that are draining the already-sparse budget, put in your two cents. It may end up being worth $10,000 for you and millions for the state.



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Adams Woman Wins $1M on Holiday Card
By: Mass Lottery On: 04:07PM / Thursday December 30, 2010
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The Massachusetts Lottery posted the winner of the Wonderland Game of Dough on its site on Dec. 13, 2010. If iBerkshires had known there was a winner, she wouldn't have wasted 20 bucks on those holiday scratch tickets.
Winner Lisa Nardin

Lisa I. Nardin of Adams took home $1 million for the holidays when she won a grand prize on the new Wonderland of Dough game from the Massachusetts State Lottery. Nardin, who selected the cash option on her prize, received a check for $650,000 before taxes today, Dec. 13,  at Lottery headquarters in Braintree.

She bought the lucky ticket at the Cumberland Farms on Ashland Street in North Adams. The store will receive a $10,000 commission on the sale.

Wonderland of Dough, one of four Holiday-themed games from the Massachusetts State Lottery, features five grand prizes of $1 million. Overall, there are more than 3.1million winning tickets in the game.

Nardin was the second Berkshire County million-winner in past five months. In August, Mark E. Feder struck green in another scratch ticket game, as posted on the Lottery site:

winner Mark Feder

Mark E. Feder of North Adams became the latest instant lottery millionaire when he won a $1 million grand prize in the 10X The Cash game from the Massachusetts State Lottery. The $5 instant game features six grand prizes of $1 million and more than 134,000 prizes from $100 to $10,000.

Feder selected the cash option on his prize and received a check for $650,000 before taxes today, Aug. 11, at Lottery headquarters in Braintree.

Feder selected the cash option on his prize and received a check for $650,000 before taxes today at Lottery headquarters in Braintree.



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Adams Lights Christmas Tree
By: Andy McKeever On: 05:29PM / Sunday November 28, 2010
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ADAMS, Mass. — With Thanksgiving tables now cleared, the Christmas season is here.

Hundreds of people gathered at the town common on Sunday to usher the season in with caroling, carriage rides and a visit from Santa Claus, who lit the town's tree.

Girl Scouts caroling and lines for the horse-drawn carriage (only one carriage this year) began to form at 2 p.m. At 3:30, the Fire Fepartment escorted Santa Claus, who had a long line of children waiting. Led by Santa, the crowd counted down and the town's was lit with thousands of multicolored bulbs. Santa also lit a second tree on Summer Street.

Photos clockwise from top: People pose in front of the tree; Santa arrives; the wagon ride was popular; the tree.

 



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Pittsfield Trys To Turn Black Friday Plaid
By: Andy McKeever On: 06:34PM / Wednesday November 24, 2010
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Cultural Pittsfield is hoping those long lines outside of major retail stores on Friday will be just a little shorter and instead of rushing around and fighting angry mobs, the group wants people to stroll down Main Street dressed in plaid and buy locally.

The city has joined the Plaid Friday movement that began last year in Oakland, Cali. and has spread thoughout cities across the nation. The movement promotes shopping at independently and locally owned stores, restaurants and cafes to invest in the local economy. Supporters will be wearing some sort of visible plaid and enjoying downtown as an alternative to the hussle and bussle of Black Friday.

Local businesses Carr Hardware, Chapters Bookstore, The Emporium and Dottie's Coffee Lounge are recognizing the day with special deals.

Cultural Pittsfield is promoting to "the diversity and creativity of independent businesses" and is joined by another Massachusetts city: Somerville. As a long-term goal, the nationwide movement hopes to become a resource to link shoppers with local businesses in every city.
 



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Pittsfield Wins Arts Video Challenge
By: Staff Reports On: 01:06PM / Friday November 19, 2010
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Congratulations to the city of Pittsfield for winning the Massachusetts Cultural Council Mayor's Art Challenge. The three-minute video of "The Art of Revitalizing a City" will be showcased at the State House this coming February at the Commonwealth Awards, the state's highest honors in arts and culture.

The awards are presented every two years and, in 2009, the city was recognized as the state's most Creative Community for its efforts in using arts and culture to advance its goals as a vital community.

Pittsfield was one of 16 videos entered in the contest and features Mayor James M. Ruberto talking about the city's revitalization from a booth in Dottie's Coffee Lounge. The video's racked up more than 2,700 views to date and garnered 219 "likes" on YouTube. That seems a small amount, but voters had to have a YouTube account to vote. It still outpaced the larger cities of Lowell and Melrose (both with 186) and Haverhill (132). See all 16 videos here.

These four top vote-getters were reviewed by a panel at MCC and Pittsfield declared the winner.

Berkshire County's other city, North Adams, also vied in the challenge but couldn't come up with enough votes for the final. Featuring North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, the Steeple City's video picked up 72 likes and more than a 1,000 views. See that one below.

The Pittsfield video will be also be shown next year to the U.S. Conference of Mayors as part of the Americans for the Arts annual presentation. The video was created by Jennibeth Gomez, and AmeriCorps-VISTA intern in the city's Office of Cultural Development.

 



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Page 13 of 29... 8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18 ... 29  
News Headlines
North Adams Board OKs Home-Rule Petition for Liquor License
Mount Greylock to Again Take Up Regional Expansion
Adams Cemetery Commission Seeking to Raise Rates
Mount Greylock to Again Take Up Regional Expansion
Pittsfield Big Y Plans To Add Gas Station, Convenience Store
Williamstown-Lanesborough Superintendent Retiring Dec. 31
Pittsfield Commission Concerned About Accessibility in Parks
Poets Crawl Pittsfield's Downtown at WordXWord
North Adams ZBA Holds Off on Cab Request, OKs Studio Plans
North Adams Community Development Panel Backs Historic Districts

 




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