Tuesday, April 25, 2017 06:18pm
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Non-Binding Question Asks Lanesborough to Hike Retiree Health-Care Premiums
John Goerlach worked 20 years in the town's Highway Department so when he retired, part of his health insurance will come from the town's budget. Goerlach will be paying 15 percent of the premium with the town picking up the rest. Goerlach is now a Selectman, a decade after leaving the town's employment, and he's tasked with managing the finances. Because of conflict of interest laws, he cannot vote to increase the percentage retirees pay for benefits.

Williamstown Planning Board Candidates Participate in Forum
The two candidates in the only contested race on May 9's town election ballot made their case to the voters last week in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Incumbent Chris Winters is being challenged by newcomer Karen L. Shepard for his five-year seat on the Planning Board.

Adams-Cheshire Weighs Emergency Amendment for Cheshire School
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee will seek legal counsel to see how and if Cheshire can amend the district agreement to allow the town to fund Cheshire Elementary School on its own for one year. Cheshire Selectwoman Carol Francesconi on Monday asked the committee if it was possible for the town to increase its assessment and bypass the district agreement that would mandate a proportional increase to Adams.

Mount Greylock School Looking For Regionalization Vote This Fall
Full regionalization of the Mount Greylock School District is expected to go to a vote in the fall. Considerations of fully regionalize the district have been ongoing since 2013 and is eyed to bring efficiency to the administration of three schools. Currently, Williamstown Elementary, Mount Greylock Regional Middle and High School, and Lanesborough Elementary are all separate entities sharing a superintendent. The move would bring both elementary schools into the district, creating a pre-K to

North Adams Eyes Tax Title Sales For Tax Relief, Engineering
The city has a fairly good idea what the increase in its fiscal 2018 budget will be: 1.12 percent, largely driven by health insurance increases, pensions, the school budget and two new positions. But it doesn't yet know how much revenue will come in this year as it pursues some $2.6 million in liens, taxes and interest outstanding. The hope is to use some of those gains to offset taxes and prepare engineering for projects in anticipation of a debt drop-off in 2020.

Compass Rose to Be Painted at North Adams Airport In May
The Ninety-Nines, an international women's pilot group, will be flying in next month to paint a rose compass on the tarmac of Harriman & West Airport. Airport Manager Bill Greenwald told the Airport Commission last week that volunteers with the Ninety-Nines group are set to start painting on Saturday, May 20.

Muraca Buys Nuclea Assets, Starts New Company
Patrick Muraca is picking up where he left off with Nuclea Biotechnologies. The former CEO has started a new company and purchased the assets of the bankrupt Nuclea. NanoMolecular DX is now based out of Lee and is entering the commercial field with products developed under Nuclea, with many of the same investors, and some of the same employees.

Substance Abuse Prevention Part 2: The Efforts
Through grant funding the District Attorney's Office is now training educators on a specific curriculum to prevent drug use. The office's Community Outreach and Education Program is now teacher Life Skills, a three-pronged approach to help students make better decisions when presented with drug use. The curriculum is eyed to be rolled out into all schools and help prevent students from going down the path of drug use.

Adams Takes Action Against Duke's Sand and Gravel
Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco held an informational meeting for park and surrounding area residents Thursday to explain procedurally how the town will penalize John Duquette Jr., the owner of Duke's, who town officials say has broken town zoning bylaws by moving his operation into the buffer zone between the gravel pit and the mobile home park.

Williamstown ZBA Continues Hearing on Lehovec Property Hotel
The Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday decided to continue its hearing on issuing special permits to allow a 77-room hotel at 562 Main St. At the end of a marathon meeting marked by repeated concerns from neighboring residents, the ZBA voted to hold a site visit before its May 18 meeting, at which it hopes to conclude its deliberations.

Scholz Running Again Cheshire Select Board
E. Richard Scholz believes with his experience in business he is the right candidate to bring change to Cheshire. Scholz, who currently serves on the Advisory Board, has made two previous runs for selectman and heads his own telecommunications consulting firm. He has 20-plus years' experience in project management and consulting experience within the telecommunications industry.

Pittsfield Council To Hold Hearing On Capital Improvement Plan
The city is looking to spend some $23.5 million on capital projects next year. Mayor Linda Tyer has submitted a capital budget of $9.1 million for city projects and $14.4 million for water and sewer. The debt incurred from the $9.1 million would be paid for through the city's annual budget while the $14.4 million would come from the enterprise accounts. A public hearing is scheduled for the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Substance Abuse Prevention Part 1: The Data
Prevention is just one aspect of tackling the opioid problem in the county. So far signs show local efforts are working, but that local effort still have a lot of work ahead of them. Over the last 10 years data collected from the Berkshire United Way is showing a decreasing percentage of county students using alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco products. However, compared to the national average, Berkshire students are still using those substances at a greater frequency than national averages.

St. John To Make Run For Cheshire Select Board
Edmund St. John IV is running for selectman to advocate for Cheshire and help move the town forward. He said he decided to run because he wanted to be able to do more for the town he has lived in since the age of 10.

New Gallery Drawn by North Adams' Air of Contemporary Art
A new art gallery in downtown North Adams is the result of the city's unique relationship with contemporary art as a lure to artists from other places. Gravity Gallery co-owners Lynn Richardson and Paul McMullan first became acquainted with the city in 2012 when both artists displayed work in Downstreet Art.

MCLA Makes It Official With Inauguration of President Birge
James F. "Jamie" Birge hadn't intended to become a college president. After interviewing dozens of presidents of colleges large and small, private and public, for his dissertation in leadership studies, he came away with the impression it was too difficult, too demanding and fraught with financial pressures.

Lanesborough to Walmart: Come Build Here
If Pittsfield doesn't want Walmart, Lanesborough will take it. The Board of Selectmen have asked Town Manager Paul Sieloff to reach out to Walmart officials and ask if they'd consider building the supercenter on the Berkshire Mall property instead of in Pittsfield.

Clarksburg Seeking Write-In Candidates for Empty Posts
That's the day of the town election and five offices will have blank spaces next to them on the ballot. Three are on the Planning Board, and if there are no write-in candidates, that board effectively won't exist on May 24.

Cheshire Wants to Brighten Up DPW Garage
The town will consider installing LED lights in the Town Garage to help save money and actually light up the facility. Newly hired Director Blair Crane said the situation is grimmer than just having efficient lighting and out of the building's 32 fixtures, only 20 operate correctly.

Clarksburg Country Club Owner Denies Accusation of Waste Dumping
The owner of the former North Adams Country Club is dismissing accusations that the property was used to dump contaminated waste. "I can't imagine why anybody would bring material in from somewhere else when we have 80 acres worth of material up there," Todd Driscoll told News10 on Thursday.

United Way Program to Provide Kindergarteners With Supplies
Every child entering kindergarten next year will have a backpack full of supplies. Berkshire Bank employees will be filling 1,200 backpacks with books, supplies, reading lists, and informational fliers as part of the Berkshire United Way's day of caring.

Few Candidates Take Out Papers For Lanesborough Election
There is little doing this election season so far. Only five candidates for office took out nomination papers as of Wednesday afternoon, four of which are incumbents.

Safety Officials Keeping Eye On Potential Pipeline Protests
Public safety officials are preparing for the worst case scenario when it comes to protests surrounding the Tennessee Gas Pipeline expansion The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently granted Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. approval to move ahead with a natural gas pipeline expansion through Otis State Forest. The ruling was issued last week approving the Connecticut expansion, which includes tree cutting and installation of the pipeline through four miles of pipeline through the Otis State

'Farm to Hand' Food Truck Wins MCLA's First Entrepreneur Challenge
Twenty-seven teams of two to five students entered the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge last fall, the first-ever competition held by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and funded by the Feigenbaum Fund and Jack and Susy Wadsworth. After months of research, planning, and guidance by mentors, four finalist teams stood to present their business plans.

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Extension Opening Celebration In May
The town will hold a ceremony on May 12 to mark the official opening of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Extension. Although many have been using the 1.2 mile extension from Hoosac St. to Lime St, former selectman Arthur "Skip" Harington came before the board of selectmen Wednesday and asked permission to hold an opening ceremony May 12 at 2:00 at the Adams Station.

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.

Mount Greylock Counselor, Lanesborough School Committee Member Draws Fire Over Facebook Post
A Mount Greylock Regional School guidance counselor and member of the Lanesborough Elementary School Committee said on Wednesday that he regretted a "crude joke" on social media that led to condemnation by alumni of the high school.

Lanesborough Selectmen Approve 1.5 Percent Raises to Employees
The Board of Selectmen approved giving non-union employees a 1.5 percent raise, which is a compromise with the town manager. The Selectmen had previously asked Town Manager Paul Sieloff to remove 2 percent raises for those town hall employees from the upcoming budget. Sieloff agreed but said he'd be asking the Selectmen once again to put them back later in the process. Later in the process came Monday night and the Selectmen ultimately agreed on 1.5 percent.

Pittsfield Parks Commission Endorses Dog Park at Burbank Park
Burbank Park has been identified as the best location for a dog park. The Parks Commission agreed and endorse the recommendation from a study group to use between one and two acres of land for the park. The dog park is eyed to be fenced in with separate sections for large and small dogs. The parks are areas in which pet owners can let their pups off leash, which isn't currently allowed in city parks.

Cheshire Makes Final Moves to Keep Elementary School Open
The town will vote to make an emergency amendment to the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District agreement that may allow it to alone fund Cheshire Elementary School for a year. Resident Jeremy McLain told the Selectmen on Tuesday that his group has a petition with more than 250 signatures asking the town's state representatives to find emergency funds to keep to school open. However, the Selectmen are putting an article on the annual town meeting just in case the state does not come through.

North Adams' Model Railroad Museum Eyes Sons of Italy Property
Thomas Kren's Extreme Model Railroad and Architectural Museum was planned to go into the long Building 4 at Western Gateway Heritage State Park. But since the initial press conference announcing the project nearly 15 months ago, the concept has grown beyond the tight confines of the existing historic park.

McCann Tech Gets $15,000 From Haas Foundation for Scholarships
Scholarships, tools, recertification programs. Those are some of the ideas being taken up for a $15,000 grant made to McCann Technical School's machine technology program by the Gene Haas Foundation. This is the second Haas grant to a local school; last week, Taconic High School's manufacturing program received $10,000 toward scholarships.

Solid Waste District Uncertain How to Dispose of Refrigerators
Refrigerators and propane tanks can be a nuisance to get rid of, even for the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District. After getting feedback from the Department of Environmental Protection, the regional organization unsure how to properly dispose of them.

Community Involvement Discussed at Coalition Forum
At the April forum on Friday, the focus was not on those jobs, or what those people do from "9 to 5," but rather, on what they do from 5 to 9 p.m. when they are not working.

Adams Bag Share Challenge Hits Half Way Point
A steady flow of children and parents partook in the initiative to create reusable grocery bags out of recycled materials. With a plastic bag ban in effect, multiple groups have signed on to the challenge to help make a bag for each resident.

Bushey Running for Adams Board of Selectmen
Political newcomer Elizabeth Bushey wants to bring balance to the Board of Selectmen and bring all voices to the table. Bushey, who is originally from a Sunderland, Vt., and has a background in human services, said she decided to run because she wanted to make a difference.

Berkshire Bank Donates $10K to Soldier On
Soldier On scored a goal with an assist from the Berkshire Bank Foundation. Berkshire Bank passed over a $10,000 donation to the non-profit on Monday, a donation part of the foundation's eXciting assist program. For every assist tallied by the Boston Bruins between October 13, 2016 and December 7, 2016, $100 was donated to Soldier On.

World War 2 Veteran Shares His Story With Reid Students
It was like pins and needles. That's what Bill Weigle, a World War 2 pilot, told the Reid Middle School eighth-grade class of his flights during the war. He never knew when or if a German fighter would appear near him and shoot him down. "I did not come here to tell you I'm a hero because I'm not. But we were on pins and needles the whole time," Weigle said.

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski: Easter Homily
Where just a few weeks ago a snow storm reminded us that winter does not give up easily, we now can behold buds on the trees, daffodils and forsythia blooming and enjoy the warmth that permeates the air. Spring does beckon us to new life!

Cheshire Students Earn Right to Throw Pies at Principal
If the challenge of 1,500 books was met, the top 15 students would be able to throw a pie in Bachli's face at the school's "Book Blast Ceremony."

Williamstown Conservation Commission Green Lights Water Street Project
Representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation were in front of the commission for permitting on the road project, which is expected to go to bid this fall for construction in 2018 and '19.

North Adams Dog-A-Thon Raises Over $1,000 for Eagle Street
After going over the universal signal for choking and strategically placing a barf bucket near the table, competitors Benjamin Lamb, Gege Wylde, Mike Walker, Annie Rodgers, Nathan Rodgers and Piper Jacobs, 8, loaded their plates.

North Adams Skateboard Park Construction Under Way
The park will take shape next week where the Modern Liquors building used to be. Pieces of the $676,000 skate park, funded by a state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant and local match using Community Development Block Grant funds, will be put in place next Tuesday by crane.

North Adams to Pursue Mass Historic Grant For Library
The city has applied for a Massachusetts Historical Commission grant to make structural repairs to the library.

Adams May Create Volunteer Cemetery Restoration Group
The Cemetery Commission may try to create a volunteer group to help clean up Maple Street Cemetery and stand fallen stones. The Cemetery Commission visited both Maple Street and Bellevue cemeteries Thursday to survey the conditions of the Harrington and Plunkett mausoleums but were more concerned about the downed stones at Maple Street.

Pittsfield Airport Study Group Presents Findings To Council
When all is said and done, the Airport Study Group determined that the airport operations doesn't cost the city money. It brings in money. The study group was formed to perform a cost-benefit analysis of the airport. Each year the city allocates additional funding to the operational budget of the airport when it should be self-sustaining. A group of councilors called for a study to find out if it would be better off for the city to privitize the operations.

North Adams Reaching ADA Compliance Under DOJ Agreement
The city reached the agreement in 2012 with the federal agency under Project Civic Access, the department's initiative to ensure compliance of the ADA that prompts the DOJ to survey state and local government facilities, services and programs nationwide. The audit occurred the year before, sparked by a complaint related to the Police Station.

Pittsfield City Council Supports Capitol Marquee Restoration
The City Council is supportive of efforts to restore the historic Capitol marquee outside of the senior center. The structure of the 1928 marquee is structurally failing and Barry Architects have estimated a $142,030 cost to fully restore it. The city is considering allocating $50,000 from federal Community Development Block Grant funds and funding the rest through the capital budget.

New Cheshire Highway Superintendent Off to Good Start
The new Highway Superintendent Blair Crane has hit the ground running after two days on the job. Crane provided his first superintendent report to the Selectmen on Tuesday and said things are going well.

Pittsfield Residents Oppose School Budget Cuts at Public Hearing
Ava Mungin is who children come to when they need help. When they are hungry, they go to Mungin. When they are sick, they come to Mungin. When they want to get off drugs, they come to Mungin.

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