The natural resources and scenic beauty of the Berkshires has always been a draw for those who enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking, skiing, and the like.
But now officials are becoming a little more intentional about that. Both local and state officials are now looking closely at the economic benefit that comes with building an outdoor recreational economy.
It was a unique concept in 2011 when state and local officials posed the question: is it possible to connect the downtowns of North Adams and Adams though both a scenic rail service and a bike trail.
Seven years later the answer is yes. It most certainly is possible.
As the climate becomes ever more volatile, storms have forced the evacuation of hospitals.
Massachusetts doesn't want to see that happen here. On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced $9.6 million in grant awards to nine hospitals to build "resiliency."
State Rep. John Barrett said he is in the mindset of at least making a little bit of progress at a time.
That's why he is disappointed there couldn't be some consensus at the statehouse on education and health care. Neither of those bills ultimately passed the legislature and Barrett said he wished at least something could have been done on each topic and then continued next year.
In the 100th years since World War 1 came to an end, state officials and veterans groups have rededicated the War Memorial Tower.
The Veterans War Memorial Tower is now designated as a national monument by the U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.
When the 2008 recession hit, the airport saw a significant decrease in users.
Its revenues were down. The number of planes housed there were down. The planes flying in and out were down. But a few years later, the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, and the city launched a $22 million project to expand the main runway.
Some 150 households in the Narragansett Avenue neighborhood depend on one single bridge to get in and out. It's their only access.
And as they commute over it, often they're slowing down and veering lanes to avoid the anglers who plopped down a chair in the lane. The narrow road didn't have much for parking, and that is where many with kayaks and canoes would park to get into Pontoosuc Lake. Anyone who was walking or bicycling had to share what was left of the roadway.
For the second time this week, small-town officials have stressed the need for relief from a mandate requiring two EMTs on every ambulance call to Lt. Gov. Polito.
After hearing it from Peru Selectman Ed Munch, she immediately turned to her staff to find out where in the process a bill to allow first responders to be the driver on a run and vowed to work with the legislature on the matter.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito vowed to work with town, state, and federal officials to find a way forward with the Stockbridge Bowl dredging project.
The $4 million project to restore the lake was stalled recently when an endangered snail was found to be located there and in only one other state lake. Board of Selectman Chairman Donald Chabon said the lake is in dire need of restoration and the species wouldn't survive if the lake's overall ecosystem isn't approved.
State Rep. Paul Mark is looking to create a Berkshire County opioid task force in the budget.
Mark has filed an amendment for $250,000 to start the task force with the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office, the Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Coalition, and a number of other organizations tackling the issue.
MEMA's Regional Manager Patrick Carnevale will lead the governor's western Massachusetts office.
Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Carnevali to run the Springfield office. There Carnevale will act as a liaison between the communities in western Massachusetts and the executive branch.
Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal are planning to join local officials at 10:30 a.m. Friday for the announcement.
Jay Ash, secretary of housing and economic development, visited a manufacturer making cords for heating train tracks, toured a coffee roasting facility, saw a demonstration of a high-tech training simulator for golfers, spoke with the owner of a photovoltaic company and popped his head into a small business that makes museum exhibition furniture.
But he didn't have to travel around North County to see them. All these businesses — and more — are within a few feet or a floor away from each oth
The funds were secured in the $29.7 million in capital spending authorizations for local projects in S. 2279, "An Act providing for capital facility repair and improvements for the Commonwealth," a bond bill engrossed by the state Senate.
About a decade ago, the city of Pittsfield became well aware of the impact that teenage pregnancy has on a community.
The city had reached a high in the number of births among teenage women and it brought on an array of challenges, from poverty to social issues to that child having trouble learning in school.
Two city firefighters were honored by the governor for meritorious conduct.
Lt. Michael D'Avella and Firefighter Robitaille were given awards for meritorious conduct on Tuesday by Gov. Charlie Baker, Public Safety Sec. Daniel Bennett, and Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.
Secretary Jay Ash last visited the former Cariddi Mill in May to hear about its potential; on Monday, he was back with a $1.72 million check from the state's MassWorks program to aid the project in completing its parking infrastructure.
Eight years ago Berkshire Gas donated a parcel of land on Deming Street to Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity.
The non-profit worked with White Engineering to design a condominium project featuring three buildings, with two units in each.
The state completed a $95,000 renovation of the town beach and boat dock.
The Department of Fish and Game's Office of Fishing and Boating Access spent this summer improving drainage, adding handicap access, creating fishing stations, and building a new dock for easy access into kayaks and other boats.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito assured local officials here that she's making sure small towns have access to funding for projects critical to their growth.
Polito was speaking at the completion of one of those projects — the million-dollar rehabilitation of Forest Street that was made possible by MassWorks funding specifically set aside for rural communities.
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
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.
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.
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.