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Berkshires Stands Against Proposed Eversource Rate Hike

State Sen. Adam Hinds knows the Berkshires has problems and he sought office in order to help "right the ship." But, he says Eversource's proposed rate increase threatens the county's economic stability. "We struggle with the impact of population decline every single day. We have schools that are closing now because of the lack of student enrollment. We have towns fighting about budgets and the tax burden continues to shift to the people who are staying. The median household income is in most

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Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing Represents Opportunity For Berkshires

Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing has a unique niche that has tremendous growth potential. And the owners are now hoping others will follow their lead and develop a "cluster" in the life science field of the Berkshires. Owners Shawn Kinney and Andrea Wagner led U.S. Rep. Richard Neal on a tour of their facility on Tuesday. The company specializes in manufacturing small scale injectable drugs for clinical trials but does so with an isolator which ups the quality of the clean room product.

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Governor Signs Re-Written Marijuana Bill

Gov. Charlie Baker signed updated marijuana regulations into law Friday. Voters had passed the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in November and since then lawmakers have been reworking the law, which included a six-month delay. After negotiations between the House and Senate, the Legislature passed changes to the citizen's referendum on July 20, which was then signed on Friday.

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State Council to Address Aging Holding Pittsfield Listening Session

Gov. Charlie Baker's Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts will hold listening sessions to hear ideas about how to make the commonwealth the most livable state for people of all ages. The council will meet in Pittsfield on Wednesday, Aug. 2, from 10 to noon at Elder Services of Berkshire County, 877 South St., Suite 4E.

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State Cuts Ribbon On Renovated Veterans War Memorial Tower

Two years and $2.6 million later, the renovation of the Veterans War Memorial Tower at the summit of Mount Greylock is complete. State officials cut the ribbon on the project to completely restore the 84-year-old monument to those armed forces members who were killed in war. The tower was last renovated in 1973 after it was closed for 11 years, and then in the 90s more repairs were done.

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MassDOT Secretary Praises Massive Road Reconstruction in Dalton

MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack says the massive $10.5 million reconstruction of East Housatonic Street is a perfect example of what the state wants to see. The project has been in the works for years and finally began construction March of 2016. It is on pace to be completed in October, with punch list items being completed in the spring.

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State Budget Includes $50K to Keep Preschool at Conte, Morningside

The School Department was close to closing all of its preschool classes at Morningside and Conte Community School, two schools that need it the most. But, between state legislators and the union, there will at least be a few. The state budget includes $50,000 to help fund those programs.

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Senate Chair on Global Warming Takes Input on Energy Policy

State Sen. Marc Pacheco was in Pittsfield on Monday to ask for the public's input and to help motivate people to get involved in the state's clean and renewable energy future.

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Senate President Gets Feel For Berkshires' Economic Future

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg sat in on a number of meetings in the Berkshire on Friday to discuss the county's economic future. The Amherst Democrat knows a lot of the issues already from prior meetings here and representing the rural Franklin County.

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Baker, Polito Highlight Broadband Expansion in West Stockbridge

Jim and Jennifer Hallock took ownership of the Shaker Mill Tavern Family Smoke House almost a year ago. They envision more of a family restaurant than the bar operations of the previous owners and even built out a children's area.

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Lt. Gov. Polito Praises Lee, Lenox For Sharing Town Administrator

On Saturday, Polito came to Lee to celebrate an agreement between the town and Lenox to share a town administrator

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Economic Development Sec. Ash Holds Summit On Workforce Development

The state has brought together local leaders to develop a "blueprint" for regional workforce development. Representatives from business, education, and community organizations met with Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash on Tuesday for a four-hour planning session. The session is part of seven Workforce Skills Cabinet meetings across the state with the hope to better align the education, workforce development, and economic development.

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AAA, RMV Partnership Expands Into Pittsfield

Renewing a driver's license or registration just got easier. The state Department of Transportation and AAA have teamed up locally to expand convenience of Registry of Motor Vehicle services. AAA members can now access all of those services from the branch instead of having to go to the RMV.

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North Adams, Clarksburg Among Newest Green Communities

North Adams has received a Green Communities Grant of $194,580 that will help it save that and more in energy costs every year. The city was one of five communities presented with certificates, big checks and signage proclaiming them the newest members of the state's Green Communities program by Judson and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.

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Large Public Hearing Turnout Opposes Eversource Rate Increase

There were a lot of numbers being thrown around Monday night at the public hearing for Eversource's proposed electrical rate increase. Seventy-three is the number of teachers the city is already planning to lay off while $6.1 million is the salary of Eversource CEO James J Judge. The figure of $708,336 is how much the mayor says the proposed Eversource rate increase would add to the city budget. The electric company shut off power to 10,903 homes in 2015. One dollar and 30 cents per credit w

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Secretary Ash Tours Greylock Works Project

Greylock Works received a $2,176,341 MassWorks grant last fall to redo the entry and parking lots on the east and south side of the sprawling structure. Part of that grant was a 10-year easement for the city to allow use of the parking for the adjacent Alcombright Athletic Complex.

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Polito Announces South County Bridge Funding, Tours Pittsfield

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito toured the downtown Thursday afternoon before announcing grant funding for two Southwestern Massachusetts bridges. Polito had spent the morning signing a Community Compact agreement with Lanesborough and Windsor. She later joined Mayor Linda Tyer for a brief private meeting at city hall. She left the offices and proceeded to the Onota Building with the mayor, City Council President Peter Marchetti 1Berkshire CEO Jonathan Butler, Downtown Pittsfield Inc. President Jesse C

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Polito Signs Community Compacts With Lanesborough, Windsor

For small towns it is difficult to bring in special expertise so the state is stepping in to help. Lanesborough wants to focus more on economic development and that long-range planning is significantly helped along by a professional economic development planner. In Windsor, town officials want to secure long-term financial stability but doesn't have the professional expertise and time to craft a careful long-term plan.

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Guest Column: Massachusetts Stands For Civil Rights, Civil Liberties

Over the last week, I have heard many heart-wrenching stories about children and adults expressing their sadness and fear based on the results of the national election. It is natural to feel sad and disappointed when your candidate doesn't win. It is not typical, though, in our country, to feel fearful at the end of an election. But because of the repeated expression of bigoted views about women, racial minorities, people of both the Jewish and Muslim faiths, immigrants, members of the LGBT comm

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State Awards Grant to Finish Berkshire Scenic Railway

The state has awarded $2.6 million to make the final mile connecting the town to North Adams by rail a reality.

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Secretary Jay Ash Presents Award To Apex, Discusses Manufacturing

Apex Resource Technologies, an injection molding company who found a particular niche in the medical devise manufacturing business, is just one example of the manufacturing that Massachusetts stills has, and wants to grow. Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash joined state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier Tuesday to highlight the company's efforts with the presentation of the first annual Massachusetts Manufacturing Caucus Award.

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Zogics To Senate President: Lack of Skilled Work Force Biggest Setback

The way technology is, a company can basically operate from anywhere. So can employees. The current workforce wants more out of life than the traditional jobs. They want to find ways to combine their lifestyles with a career. That's the angle Paul LeBlanc has taken when building Zogics, an e-commerce company based out of a small office in the Valley Industrial Park.

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End of Session Review: Benjamin Downing

State Sen. Benjamin Downing is happy with the state's new energy bill but feels it doesn't go far enough. Just before the July 31 end of the formal legislative session, the state passed an omnibus energy bill which increases hydro-electricity, off-shore wind, and raises the net metering cap for solar, among the many provisions. Downing headed the state's Telecommunication, Utilities, and Energy Committee and spent a lot of time during the two-year session on it. He filed a bill which was

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Guest Column: Shared Services Are the Future

After nearly a year of preparation, and just a few short months since 17 South Berkshire communities came together in a historic Community Compact signing, we are starting to see the successful work of so many coming together.

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MDAR Commissioner Lebeaux Visits Adams Agricultural Fair

The state's agricultural commissioner is making the rounds of local agricultural fairs as a way to contact with local farmers. Commissioner John Lebeaux visited the Adams Agricultural Fair for his first time Saturday and was not disappointed.

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