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Berkshire Mayors Call for Action on Border Separation of Families

- 17 Comments

The mayors of Pittsfield and North Adams are adding their voices to calls to rescind a "zero-tolerance" policy decision by the U.S. Department of Justice that has resulted in the separation of children from families attempting to cross the border illegally or requesting asylum.

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Mount Greylock Weighs Dropping April Vacation Week from School Calendar

- 9 Comments

Acting on direction from the committee to try to end the school year earlier than this year’s snow day-induced June 25 release, Superintendent Kimberley Grady and her building principals developed a proposal that replaces the traditional week off in April with two long weekends.

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Colegrove Kindergarten Educator Named Kelley Teacher of the Year

- 8 Comments

The Kelley Award is given annually to the educator who most exemplifies the ideal teacher through dedication, teaching skills and understanding of children. Kelley was a longtime educator in the public schools, retiring as the principal of both the former Haskins and Johnson schools.

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Lanesborough Sixth-Graders Have Plan For Berkshire Mall

- 8 Comments

The pair had sat down with Assessor Kelly Tolisano, who explained to them that the mall is valued at $19.5 million, resulting in a tax bill of $417,000 — a number that is significantly down from the mall's heyday and one that the current owner routinely falls behind on and then catches up at the last moment.

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Public Official Removed from Contentious Lanesborough Town Meeting

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The committee that governs the recently expanded PreK-12 school district needed to make an amendment on the floor of the meeting to bring the town budget in line with the assessment made to the town. Lanesborough's Finance Committee had reduced the assessment by $112,000 in the budget it sent to the meeting.

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Mohawk Theater Ideas Run From Go-Karts to Arts Performance Training Center

- 6 Comments

Those ideas and more were part of the out-of-the-box thinking at a forum Monday night to gather community feedback on possible uses for the long vacant Main Street movie house.

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McCann Receives Almost $200,000 in Grant Funds

- 6 Comments

Superintendent James Brosnan was happy to tell the School Committee on Thursday that he recently visited Salem High School, where Gov. Charlie Baker awarded grant.

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Eagle Street Initiative Work Begins With Delivery of Parked Pocket Park

- 5 Comments

The manufactured pocket park built by B&B Micro-Manufacturing, a local tiny house construction company, takes up about two parking spots on the west side of the one-way street. It offers plenty of seating and counter space for eating and solar lighting for the evening.

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Retiring Clarksburg Teachers Recognized Like Royalty

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Mary Stred and Christina Duval have racked up enough years between them at Clarksburg Elementary School to qualify for a diamond jubilee. So the two retiring teachers were treated like royalty on Monday, complete with tiaras, a black limousine, throngs of admirers lining the roadway, and waves that would impress even the queen.

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Bellevue Cemetery Vandal May Be Groundhog

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A Huffington Post article from 2012 tells a similar story of when residents of Hudson, N.Y., were up in arms when flags were disappearing from one of their cemeteries. However, after setting up some surveillance gear, they found a groundhog was the thief.

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Lanesborough Ousts Reilly, Jones In Annual Town Election

- 4 Comments

Longtime moderator Robert Reilly and Finance Committee Chairman Ray Jones were both ousted from their seats in town government during Tuesday's election.

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Mount Greylock to Take Budget Request Directly to Lanesborough Voters

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The Mount Greylock Regional School Transition Committee on Thursday decided to take its case to the floor of Lanesborough's town meeting in order to secure the funding it requested from the town. At issue is about $112,000, the figure that Lanesborough's Finance Committee decided to unilaterally cut from the assessment the regional school district made to the town.

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North Adams Planners Approve Plans for Eagle Street Hotel

- 4 Comments

The vote to give Michael Gazal and Veso Buntic of Long Island, N.Y., operating as Eagle Street Holding LLC, a special permit for a change of use to convert the building into a contemporary 27-room hotel was unanimous, but it came with one contingency: that the hotel be responsible for preventing guests from double-parking while checking in.

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Bigg Daddy's Cheesesteaks Opens Downtown Pittsfield Location

- 4 Comments

There is no longer a need for people in Pittsfield to drive down to the city of brotherly love to get Geno's or Pats or Tony Luke's cheesesteaks. Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks are now available right on North Street. Xavier Jones opened Bigg Daddy's Philly Steak House in Crawford Square on Friday. It is his second location since starting what he envisions will be a local franchise last January.

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Pittsfield OKs $159M Budget Appropriation; $10M In Capital Projects

- 3 Comments

The City Council is reviewing the mayor's proposed $167.6 million spending plan. The budget reflects a $2.8 million, or 1.8 percent, increase from the current year. The city's appropriation will be $159.9. The proposed operating budget is requested to be $148,465,621, which is $3.4 million more than last year, and the enterprise account budgets are eyed to be $11,531,024, which is a $154,529 increase. Those account for the $159,996,645 the City Council needs to appropriate.

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Pittsfield Schools Considering Future Consolidations

- 3 Comments

The most recent high water mark for enrollment in the Pittsfield Public Schools was 7,000 students in 1996. That number is down to 5,491. Schools like Morningside had 658 students then and now have just 374. Conte had 540 and now has 367. Reid Middle School had 803 students compared to 552 today.

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Rooted in Responsibility, Mount Greylock Grads Go Forth

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Grounded in their education from Mount Greylock Regional School, the 80 members of the Class of 2018 received their diplomas on Saturday morning at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Amsler Campus Center Gymnasium.

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Two Men Arrested In Connection To Shooting In Pittsfield

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Two men were arrested after a shooting on Elm Street. Police say Trevor Pemble and Marchenne Hanson were each charged with single counts of assault and battery by discharging a firearm and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling. Hanson is also being charged with a single count of unlicensed possession of a firearm.

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Popular Music Scene Awakens in the Berkshires

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You can look forward to this column as a tip sheet about upcoming shows. I won't review them; I will preview them, and I'll try to persuade you to attend a concert or show that is either in your musical comfort zone or that expands your musical horizons.

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Four Berkshire Women Celebrated as Unsung Heroines

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Two Berkshire County women were honored as members of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women's 2018 class of Unsung Heroines during a State House ceremony on Wednesday.

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Teachers' Union to Mount Greylock: Honor Existing Contracts

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Educators in the regional school district are asking the Transition Committee to honor existing contractual wage increase, which officials have decided not to honor as three separate contracts are merged into one. Mount Greylock Educators Association Vice President Marty Walter said the teacher's unions feel it is "unacceptable" not to honor those wages and accused school administrators of being unwilling to negotiate.

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BRPC: Chapter 90 Spending Trails at Least a Year Behind

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BRPC has found that towns tend to act conservatively with Chapter 90 funds for road work because of uncertainty around the program. Senior Transportation Planner Eammon Coughlin, of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, had taken on a study on the use of Chapter 90 in the Berkshires and found that there is at least a year delay between when the state funds are allocated to the towns and when they are actually spent.

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Selectmen to Skyline: Events Are Getting Out of Control

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The Selectmen has a message for the Skyline Country Club: the parties are starting to get out of hand. Skyline owner Jim Mitus has been leasing the clubhouse to a local event organizers Mad Crew three or four nights a year for the last few years. During each of the last three events, however, police had to respond to an array of issues. Town officials had somewhat of an intervention on Monday as they asked Mitus to keep a closer eye on those parties.

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TurboProp Owner Pulls Donation Over 'Turmoil' at North Adams Airport

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The airport's largest business is threatening to pull funding for a planned administrative building and file suit against the city over "turmoil" caused by convicted rapist Alex Kelly.

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Cheshire Town Meeting Votes Down New Plow Truck

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Most of the 17 town meeting articles flew by Monday night, however, the more than 100 voters pushed back on the proposal to buy a new highway truck that would require the town to borrow $230,000.

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North Adams Airport OKs Hangar Space for Kelly

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The commission agreed to give Taconic Aviation owner Alex Kelly, a convicted rapist, permission to continue using the office space but after the vote, attendees railed against the commission and Kelly.

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Mount Greylock Awards & Scholarships 2018

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Mount Greylock Regional School presented the following awards and scholarships to the Class of 2018.

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Adams Town Meeting Opts For Higher Administrator Salary Range

- 1 Comment

During Monday's annual town meeting, the 104 present members out 150 passed the bulk of the 25 articles in the first few minutes of the meeting that lasted just over an hour. However, they pumped the brakes on Article 6, the town administrator salary, which narrowly passed with 17 votes.

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Pittsfield Looks to Hold Tax Lien Auction This Fall

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The city will look at holding another tax lien auction later this fall. According to Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood, the city intends to host the auction in late fall to recoups some back taxes. The auctions essentially sell off liens on delinquent taxpayer properties to the highest bidder, which then takes over the rights to collect from the property owner.

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Cheshire Town Meeting Will Decide Budget, Bylaw Changes

- 1 Comment

Voters will decide 17 warrant articles, including a fiscal 2019 spending plan of $6,090,255, at the annual town meeting on Monday, June 11, at 7 p.m. in the Cheshire School auditorium.

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Cheshire Considering Moving Town Hall to Vacant School

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Selectwoman Carol Francesconi, who also serves on the committee, said the group considered housing, satellite classrooms, commercial kitchen use, day care and even a small café in the facility. She said the town released a request for expressed interest and only received a response from a day care and a dance studio.

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Pittsfield Council In Favor of $8.8 Million Capital Plan; Rejects Enterprise

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The City Council is in favor of the proposed $8.8 million capital budget for the city. But, the required supermajority wasn't in favor of a $4 million capital budget for the enterprise accounts. The enterprise capital plan, which is for sewer, wastewater, and water, was shot down by four City Councilors. Councilor At Large Melissa Mazzeo questioned a $675,000 item for upgrades to the wastewater treatment center and $2.4 million for sewer pipe repairs prior to the start of the $74 million upgr

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Donna Todd Rivers Hired as 'Berkshire Workforce Czar'

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There are agencies, companies, and organizations throughout the county focused on workforce development. Each of them has their own set of offerings to job seekers and employers. Donna Todd Rivers is now eyed to become the person who knows them all and gets them all on the same page. Rivers has been hired as Berkshire County Regional Employment Board's Berkshire recruiter - or as state Sen. Adam Hinds has dubbed it, the "workforce czar." The position was created through state funding and is

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State No Longer Interested In Cheshire Dam

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Town Administrator Mark Webber presented a letter from DER to the Selectmen on Tuesday that stated although DER is not opposed to working with the town in the future, the removal of the decommissioned dam on West Mountain Road is no longer a state priority.

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Yola Esther Developer Settles With State, Asks Pittsfield to Accept Roads

- 1 Comment

The developers of the Yola Esther subdivision are again asking the city to accept the three streets - Kara, Giovina, and Karen - after reaching an agreement with the state Architectural Access Board.

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Pittsfield Warns of Increased Tickborne Illnesses

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The department has been ramping up a public education campaign to help inform people the best ways to protect themselves. The effort is in response to an increasing number of tick-borne illnesses being reported.

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North Adams Elks, Veterans Office Host Picnic for Veterans

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But the attendees were also taking away more than just food and conversation. This first annual picnic was offering a "goodie bag" of wellness supplies and a gift certificate for each veteran who attended.

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Williamstown Elementary School Committee Holds Final Meeting

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After dispensing with the business, a couple of members closed the meeting with their thoughts on the committee's work, which included helping lay the groundwork for November's town meeting votes in Lanesborough and Williamstown that accomplished full regionalization of the PreK-12 region.

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Adams Sees Greylock Glen's Future With Reveal of Outdoor Center.

- 1 Comment

Officials on Friday unveiled the design for the Nordic ski and outdoor center for the 1,063-acre glen at the foot of Mount Greylock. The $6.5 million project is expected to go to bid next spring with a projected opening in fall 2020.

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