Saturday, July 23, 2016 03:19pm
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Community Comes Together to Improve Russell Field
Corey Bishop, co-owner of Bishop West Real Estate, said after Atlantis Equipment donated and installed a backdrop fence on the softball field, he thought there was more to be done. "They bought the backdrop and I was standing out there while they were installing it," Bishop said. "I looked around and we had lights and a lit scoreboard but our buildings were deplorable. It was embarrassing."

SABIC Leaves 'Bittersweet' Parting Gift To United Way
By the end of the year SABIC may be gone. But not forgotten. Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corp.'s Innovative Plastics is leaving a legacy of philanthropy and community engagement behind with a parting gift of a $1 million endowment for the Berkshire United Way. The company has made major impacts in the city of Pittsfield over the years with donation to the Berkshire United Way, employees serving on boards and commissions, and volunteer efforts on a number of projects.

Williams Science Camp Serves Youngsters, Collegians
Learning went both ways at Williams College's Summer Science Lab this month. "One of my interns said this morning, 'The kids were my teachers this week as well,' " lab director Stephen Bechtel said last week.

Adams Movies Under the Stars Starts Friday
The town's Movies Under the Stars will return for the summer this Friday at the Visitors Center. Police Officer Gregory Charon, who also organizes Dana Labbee Summer Basketball, said that Movies Under the Stars will kick off this Friday with "Zootopia" at 7:30 p.m.

Pittsfield Celebrates 10 Years of Third Thursday
The city has had its ups and downs over the last decade but one thing has remained constant - Third Thursday. Put on by the city's Office of Cultural Development, the street fair is held monthly throughout the summer is still going strong. At July's event, the organizers celebrated the 10 year anniversary.

Pokemon Go Players Asked Not to Block Cheshire Fire Station
The Cheshire Fire Department is asking players not to hang around the station after players have been found blocking doors with their vehicles. "We have had numerous incidents lately where we have gone to our station to respond to an emergency call and have found vehicles parked in front of our apparatus bay doors," the department posted on its Facebook page on Thursday.

Adams to Pursue Medical Marijuana Bylaw
Weed is weighing heavy on the minds of some town officials. Although the Selectmen unanimously voted Wednesday to request the Planning Board to draft a medical marijuana zoning bylaw, some members were hesitant to start the process. Selectman Joseph Nowak was not among them. He has been urging his colleagues to pursue a bylaw that would allow a medical marijuana dispensary.

BRPC Hears Update To 'Last Mile' Broadband Plan
Finishing out the so-called "last mile" of broadband connectivity will take a flexible approach, giving towns an array of options to connect, according to Massachusetts Technology Collaborative implementation liaison Bill Ennen. Ennen was appointed to the role which serves as an middle man between the state's Massachusetts Broadband Initiative and individual towns in June at the same time former Pittsfield state Rep. Peter Larkin was appointed to chair the MBI board. The two are now heading t

North Adams Housing Authority Dedicates New Patio
The North Adams Housing Authority opened its new patio on Wednesday with a brief dedication and a cookout. Named for longtime Housing Authority director William M. Boland, the fenced in area off the main lobby offers a benches and umbrella tables for residents who'd like to dine al fresco or just watch the world go by.

New Report Highlights Pittsfield Renewable Energy Push, Urges More To Follow Lead
A new report being released in two weeks will highlight the city's efforts toward energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center will release the report in two weeks which aims to urged municipalities to boost their efforts in moving toward more renewable energies and urging the state to pass aggressive energy policies to move the entire state to 100 percent renewable.

North Adams Cemetery Volunteers Get Help for Heavy Lifting
A volunteer group has been doing some heavy lifting at Hill Side Cemetery for nearly three years. No more. A new tripod lift built by Deerfield Machine & Tool will aid members of Hill Side Restoration as they continue their work in resetting and repairing the hundreds of old gravestones in the historic cemetery.

Adams Looks at Columbarium For Cemetery
The Cemetery Commission is looking at the possibility of installing a columbarium for its cemeteries. Cemetery Commissioner Bruce Shepley told the commission last Thursday that he would like to explore the possibility of installing a columbarium, a facility that houses cremated remains.

Panel Discussion, Film Screening Sheds Light On Heroin Epidemic
Throughout Berkshire County 105 people went to the hospital after overdosing. That's on pace for more than 300 in a year. Last year there were 158, a sharp increase from the average of 40 to 60 in 2011 through 2013. There was 36 deaths in 2015 from overdose and so from in Pittsfield alone there have been nine. A total of 36 out of 800 babies born this year have been exposed to opioids while in utero.

Williamstown Conservation Commission OKs Clark Solar Project
The Clark Art Institute has the go-ahead from the town to install a solar photovoltaic installation on its property. The museum's partner, Framingham-based Ameresco, Inc., was before the Conservation Commission last week to explain the project and get its approval to proceed without a Notice of Intent, which would have triggered a much more rigorous review.

North Adams School Committee Welcomes Directors; Ratifies Contract
The city's new superintendent of schools is getting her team together for the start of the school year. Barbara Malkas, attending her first meeting of the School Committee since stepping into her new position earlier this month, presented the committee with two new hires in two new positions.

Cheshire Continues Storm Clean Up
Public Works Director Peter LeFebvre said the DPW will be busy cleaning up after Monday's storm for some time. LeFebvre updated the Selectmen on Tuesday about the tree limbs, brush and damage caused by the storm that left most of the town without power.

Barrington Stage Opens Headquarters on North Street
Barrington Stage Company is moving its headquarters into the newly opened Wolfson Theater Center at 122 North St. The 28,000-square-foot building will be the company's main headquarters and will house its administrative offices, which will all be under one roof for the first time since the company moved to Pittsfield.

Brien Center's Adult Day Health Program Provides Dignity, Respite
Three days a week, Jusino arrives at the center at 8:30 a.m. and enjoys coffee, tea and breakfast and companionship with other clients. That begins an active day that includes table activities, exercise, lunch, reading (the center has an audio book player) and special events like last week's "Christmas in July" party.

PERC Presents 31-Page Document Supporting Westwood Lease Agreements
Clairmont essentially put a halt to an ongoing debate over land leases at the Westwood Business Park on Monday night when he delivered a 31-page packet of documents outlining the history and supporting the agreements as they exist to the Airport Study Group.

Cooney's Clutch Hit Lifts Pittsfield Post 68 to Western Mass Crown
The Pittsfield Post 68 American Legion baseball team won the Western Mass tournament on Monday night.

Congressman Neal Hosts Heroin Documentary, Panel Discussion
The showing in the Koussevitzky Arts Center is free and open to the public. The event begins at 5 p.m. with brief remarks; a panel discussion about current efforts to reduce the drug problem in Berkshire County will follow the 77-minute film. It is expected to conclude by 7:45 p.m.

High Winds Cause Power Outage in Cheshire
Nearly the entire town is without power after a thunderstorm swept through the area bringing high winds and heavy rain.

Great Barrington Fire Wins Federal Grant To Replace Airpacks
The Fire Department is replacing its 11-year-old airpacks with more modern and safer ones. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal announced a $160,477 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase the 28 new units. The packs are used more than two dozen times a year to help firefighters breath in hazardous conditions.

North County Economic Forum Looks at Opportunities
There was a strong sense of optimism on Saturday as dozens of business and community leaders gathered to address North County's economic development. From hundreds of millions of dollars in current public and private investment to local entrepreneurs to a dropping jobless rate to ambitious plans for downtown development, the future seemed brighter than in years past.

North Adams Elementary Students Go to Summer Camp
Instead enjoying some off time in July, some 300 pupils are spending the month eagerly learning science at the North Adams Public School Science Summer Camp. This year's theme is "Kid Commotion to Save the Ocean." Noella Carlow, the school system's 21st Century site coordinator, said the children spend seven hours a day at Brayton Elementary learning about the ocean and leadership skills during the four-week program

Shire City Sessions Returns, Bringing Original Music To Common
The Shire City Sessions concert series has moved to the Common. Four shows will be played in July and August on Monday nights at the common featuring an array of original bands with regional or national draw. The series in its second year after last year hold three concerts in the parking lot of Shire City Sanctuary.

Williamstown Rural Lands Adds 'QR' Codes at Trailheads
WRLF has posted at the trailhead of three of its trails a QR (Quick Response) code that will enable a hiker with a smartphone who simply scans the QR code to download a trail map and a trail description, providing information about the length of the trail and its degree of difficulty, and describing the natural features to be encountered along the way.

Pittsfield WILL Group Formed to Promote City; Dives Into Walmart Debate
For the last 10 years Evan Hickok has formed good relationships with many of his co-workers at General Dynamics. They are recruited from out of town, come to work as engineers, and the staff at the Pittsfield facility grows a friendship. And then the young professionals leave for what they see are greener pastures. They leave for the city life of Boston or New York envisioning a thriving social scene and nightlife. But more often than not, the workers find themselves taking a job in the subur

Williamstown Planning Board OKs Temporary Office, Labs on Stetson Court
The Planning Board on Tuesday approved the erection of temporary office and lab space on a Williams College-owned street. The college came to the board for a development plan review for 1,200 square foot of temporary space that will house offices and labs for the math and psychology departments during the construction of the new science center.

BRPC: Airfield Ruling Has Deep Implications to Zoning Laws
A recent appeals court ruling against the town of Sheffield may have impacts on zoning throughout the state. In May a Massachusetts Appeals Court decision sided with Sheffield Resident John Hanlon in a battle over a private landing strip Hanlon built and registered. The strip was just some 1,250-feet long in a field among some 38-acres of land he owns. The landing strip was registered with the state and sat in a mowed hayfield.

North Adams' Chase Hill Rabies Vaccination Clinic a Success
More than 200 dogs and cats from the Chase Hill neighborhood received free rabies vaccinations and microchip implants during the city-sponsored clinic. Because of a reported rabies-infected cat in the Chase Hill area last month, a plethora of animal welfare groups teamed up to provide free vaccinations to neighborhood pets on Thursday from 11 to 6.

North Adams Seeks Emergency Preservation Funds for Notre Dame
It will take an estimated $200,000 to repair the brick buttresses that began failing this past winter when water infiltration and freezing began to eat away at the mortar, particularly in the southwest and southeast corners of the vacant building. Loose bricks were removed on the southwest corner by city workers and the parking area behind the East Main Street church were blocked off for safety.

Adams May Look at Medical Marijuana Dispensary Possibilities
The Selectmen may look into bringing a medical marijuana dispensary to town. Selectman Joseph Nowak told the board during its workshop meeting on goals Wednesday that he would like to work on bringing a medical marijuana dispensary to town.

Pittsfield Accepts Grant For Food, Art Project in Morningside
A $75,000 grant is aimed to pave the way for more art, healthy eating, and helping start food businesses. The City Council accepted the grant from The Kresge Foundation Tuesday night which will craft plans to help entrepreneurs start food-based businesses, create murals and other public art projects, and promote community gardening and healthy eating. The grant hires a part-time manager to craft the project in the hope is for future grants to implement it.

Williamstown Planners Snub McCallum on Community Preservation Post
A divided Planning Board on Tuesday night decided to keep its current representative on the Community Preservation Committee in that seat. Last month, a benign request from Planner Ann McCallum to take on the task led to an emotional exchange when she learned that Chris Winters did not want to give up the post.

North Adams Councils OKs Transfers to Close Out Fiscal 2016
The city is finishing out the fiscal year under budget and with the anticipation of free cash in its coffers. Mayor Richard Alcombight on Tuesday night presented the City Council with some $615,815.51 in internal transfers to close out fiscal 2016, required by the end of this week.

Pittsfield School Approves First Read of New Transgender Policy
The School Committee passed the first reading of a new policy aimed to support transgender students. School Adjustment Councilor Kelly Shuff-Heck headed the effort which mirrors the bullying policies and adds a number of protections for transgender students including access to gender neutral bathrooms, ability to play sports on the gender specific teams the students identify with, and protects personal information regarding gender among the many provisions.

Kroboth RBI Gives Pittsfield Americans Dramatic Tourney Win
The Pittsfield American League All-Stars rallied for a walkoff win in the Little League District 1 Championship on Wednesday night.

North Adams Board Tells Package Store Owner to Get a Manager
The License Commission is putting the brakes on an alcohol license transfer after the proposed new owner of Ed's Variety failed to find a local manager. Will Patel of Westwood had appeared before the commission last month with paperwork naming himself as manager and an assistant who would take over but who was not a U.S. citizen.

Williamstown-Lanesborough Schools Reallocate Funds for Office Staff
The Superintendency Union 71 Committee on Monday moved to streamline support staff for special education by creating two new positions that will be shared between Lanesborough Elementary School and Williamstown Elementary School.

Adams Will Take Former Curtis Paper Mill for Half-Million in Back Taxes
The town's had enough of chasing a local business down for deliquent taxes. The Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday voted to revoke MJD Real Estate's operating permits after the company accumulated more than $477,047.40 in unpaid real estate and personal property taxes.

North Adams Council Wants More Data on Parking Lot Changes
An unconvinced City Council on Tuesday referred a proposal to restore parking meters to the Center Street parking lot to committee. The lot has had a parking-ticket kiosk for a number of years, but it's been broken for at least four. Police Director Michael Cozzaglio had approached the Traffic Commission about restoring the meters last month, saying it was impossible to enforce parking limits in the short- and long-term areas.   1 Comment

Pittsfield Council Calls For Early Audit Next Year
The City Council is hoping to get next year's audit done earlier to help guide budgeting. The Council approved asking the mayor to call a joint meeting with the City Council, School Committee, and the auditor as soon as the audit is completed. The Council also asked Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood to ask for the audit to be done earlier in the year.

North Adams' Eagle Street Beach Party Set For Friday
The Eagle Street Beach Party returns for its 18th year of building sand castles on the historic byway; and for the seventh year, the adults-only Mexican Fiesta takes over the party for an evening of margaritas and volleyball. This year's event is Friday, July 15, with a rain date of July 22.

Pittsfield Babe Ruth 14-Year-Olds Earn Berth in World Series
The Pittsfield Babe Ruth Baseball 14-year-old All-Stars Tuesday clinched a berth in next month's national championship.

Northern Berkshire United Way Names New Executive Director
Collier most recently served as the executive director Berkshire County Kids’ Place & Violence Prevention Center in Pittsfield and before that was the Program Officer of the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center and Executive Director of Girls Incorporated of the Berkshires.

Williamstown Selectmen Begin Process to Evaluate Town Manager
The Board of Selectmen on Monday discussed how it plans to evaluate its first-year town manager. The board hired Jason Hoch a little more than a year ago to replace retiring Town Manager Peter Fohlin. On Monday, Chairman Andrew Hogeland reminded his colleagues that they had not been through the evaluation process in a few years.

Mister Tire Property to Reopen Under New Ownership
The Mister Tire property will reopen for tire service this August under new owners Vianor Inc. The Planning Board approved a special permit request Monday for the change of ownership of Mister Tire, located at 558 Curran Highway. "We are excited, and we have big shoes to fill," said Vianor President Jason Phelps.

Lanesborough Selectmen Expecting Electric Bill Decrease
The town looks to see a $7,500 or so savings by switching electrical generators. The Board of Selectmen authorized the town manager to sign a contract with Engie Resources, LLC. for the power generated for town buildings. The contract is expected to be around 2 cents per kilowatt hour than the town previously had when Eversource purchased the energy elsewhere. Eversource still delivers the power; that's their business. But the by picking a new source from where the power is purchased from the

North Adams Gas Station Approved by Conservation Commission
Plans to redevelop the corner of Canal and North Eagle streets passed its first hurdle on Monday night. The Conservation Commission accepted the Notice of Intent submitted by Thomas Frawley of Summit Distributing LLC, based in Lebanon, N.H., for a new convenience store and gas pumps at 140 Eagle St.

 
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