|Williamstown ZBA OKs Williams Science Center
The Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday night granted a special permit for Williams College's science quad expansion.
The board declined a request from two residents to allow more time for review of 500 pages of supporting material presented with the request.
Williams Lego Challenge 'Bridges' Math, MLK, Charity
Last year it was a sturdy Star Destroyer, this year it was a fragile bridge across the massive fireplace in the Paresky Center.
The building of the Lego Bridge on Jan. 18 was one of the focal points of the Williams College Winter Study course "The Mathematics of Lego Bricks," taught by associate math professor Steven Miller. The course often includes a time challenge.
Dunkin Donuts Asks For Extension On Pittsfield's Styrofoam Ban
Dunkin' Donuts is asking for a year's extension to comply with the city's Styrofoam ban.
Attorney Pierce Haley, representing Dunkin Brands, asked the Board of Health on Thursday for the extension as the company waits on the development of a lid for 24-ounce containers. Haley said the company has been looking to transition away from the polystyrene containers but needs another year or else it won't be able to serve its larger beverage sizes.
Adams Continues Strategic Planning Process
The Selectmen have begun drafting a strategic plan document that will reflect the vision of the board and the community.
The Selectmen used Wednesday's workshop meeting to continue the process of whittling down thoughts from the community strategic planning sessions held this past summer.
Clarksburg Resumes Search for Town Accountant
Town officials are making a second try for a town accountant.
The Select Board on Wednesday interviewed three candidates — all with fairly extensive accounting backgrounds — but felt a key experience was missing for each one: Municipal accounting.
Old Country Buffet Abruptly Closes in Pittsfield
Employees were shocked to find a sign posted on the door of Old Country Buffet saying the restaurant was closing for good.
Handwritten on the post is information on an employee meeting to be held Thursday afternoon. Employees have reported that they were given no notification of the closure. It is unclear how many employees will be impacted by the company's decision.
Adams Boy Recognized For Saving Mother's Life
An 8-year-old local boy will get to be an "officer for a day" this month in recognition of his life-saving 911 call last November.
Cody Stojda had found his mother on the floor of their home unable to breathe and immediately called the emergency number to get her help.
Williams Science Center Project in Front of Zoning Board
The Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday evening will continue a hearing to consider Williams College's new science center.
The college and its consultants were before the board on Jan. 21 to discuss topics ranging from stormwater management to light pollution to the height of the new, 170,000-square-foot science center.
Economic Future Being Planned for Pittsfield's Tyler Street
Could Tyler Street become the city's food mecca?
That's one idea for the Morningside neighborhood. Planning and architecture firm Elan is transitioning from the fact-finding stage to developing actual strategies and goals for redevelopment in Tyler Street.
Pittsfield Board Suspends Lach's Lounge Liquor License
Licensing Board member Richard Stockwell was in Lach's Lounge on Jan. 23. He left at 10:30 p.m. because he knows that the crowd that arrives after 11 isn't for him.
A few hours later, James Dominguez was murdered in the parking lot next to the bar. Police determined Dominguez was at Lach's Lounge until closing that night and on scene officers say many patrons of Lach's Lounge had been over served.
Cheshire Takes Next Steps in Electrical Aggregation
The town will begin the process of choosing a preferably green electricity supplier through Colonial Power Group.
Mark Cappadona, a Colonial Power Group representative, told the Selectmen on Tuesday that the state Department of Public Utilities has approved the town's ability to join an electrical aggregation other than what National Grid provides. This will allow Cheshire to choose an electrical power supplier from the marketplace.
NBCC Director Adam Hinds Making Run for State Senate
Adam Hinds is tossing his hat in for state Senate.
Hinds, currently executive director of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition in North Adams, formally announced for the seat on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at the Hotel on North. 1 Comment
Pittsfield Council Recrafting Rules Of Order
Will the general public be allotted time during inauguration to speak on any item?
Currently, the City Council's rules of order say for 15 minutes at the start of the special meeting there will be an open microphone for residents to voice their opinions on anything from tax rates to conspiracy theories.
Pittsfield 4th of July Parade Theme Announced
“Our 2016 theme emanated from a combination of suggestions we received from the community, many promoting the idea that we should honor the Berkshires’ tradition of great summer music and dance venues." — Peter Marchetti
Village Ambulance Service Lands New Director
With more than 30 years of experience in emergency medical services and a resume that included extensive experience in administration, Mike Witkowski was having a hard time finding his next professional challenge.
And when he saw the advertisement posted looking for someone to lead Village Ambulance Service, he was not overly optimistic.
Mount Greylock Advisory Council Seeks Summit-Cam Options
The Mount Greylock Advisory Council will look for creative ways to return the summit camera to the mountain.
Mount Greylock Supervisor Alec Gillman told the Mount Greylock Advisory Council last week that because of funding challenges, the summit cam has not been operational for several months.
North Adams Committee Recommends Keeping Winter Parking Ban
The Public Safety Committee is recommending no change in the winter parking ban despite pleas by two residents who have no place to park.
Aleksandr Lisser of Veazie Street had requested through City Councilor Joshua Moran that the city revise its winter parking policies, saying the lack of parking at his home makes the regulation impossible to follow.
Lanesborough FinCom Supports Greylock Project; Questions Mall's Tax Future
The Finance Committee is recommending voters approve the Mount Greylock Regional High School Project.
In a 3-2 vote, the committee supported the part-renovation and part-new construction of the secondary school. The project is will cost $64.8 million with the town paying about a third of the district's $32.3 million share with the state funding the rest.
Pignatelli Seeking Return To House; Not Running For Senate
None of the Berkshires' House of Representatives delegates are looking to move to the Senate.
On Tuesday, 4th Berkshire District Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli said he will not seek the senate seat being left vacant by Sen. Benjamin Downing, who is not running for re-election. Pignatelli will instead seek another term in the House of Representatives.
Clarksburg Pursuing Green Communities Status
The town is moving forward with policies that will allow it to become a state-designated Green Community.
Among the first steps is instituting an anti-idling policy for vehicles, doing an in-depth energy analysis of town buildings and updating zoning bylaws.
Greylock Mill Project Accepted Into State Brownfields Program
The Greylock Mill project has been accepted by Attorney General Maura Healey into the state's brownfields program, providing liability protection as the property is redeveloped.
Greylock Works LLC is proposing an $18 million revamping of the 140-year-old former textile mill on State Road. The property contains a number of additions and was used after the textile mill closed for other industrial concerns, including an aluminum anodizing plant and a machining company. A separate nonprofit proje
North Adams Fitness Center Offering Youth Boxing Program
Miner Combat's community outreach program will provide a new boxing experience for Northern Berkshire youth.
Miner Fitness owners Caleb and Becky Miner will bring youth boxing to their USA-Certified Boxing Club facility at 69 Union St.
Adams Puts Efforts Toward Greylock Glen
The Selectmen held a special workshop meeting Saturday morning with Director of Community Development Donna Cesan to discuss progress, next steps and new strategies for the long-awaited Greylock Glen project.
As part of that, Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco is planning to shift some positions and use Community Development Block Grant funds to push the project along.
Cesan said the proposed $40 million project is starting to really gain momentum.
Berkshire Health Systems Opens Williamstown Walk-In Clinic
Since sick days are not scheduled and not all illnesses are emergencies, Berkshire Health Systems has opened its second walk-in care facility, this one in Williamstown.
North County BHS Walk-In Care is for patients ages 2 and up who are not able to be seen by their primary-care physician but whose condition is not so urgent that they need to visit an emergency room.
Hoosac Valley Ski And Snowboarding Club Returns
There may not be any snow for the cross country skiers, but the Hoosac Valley High School ski and snowboarding club has found luck on higher ground.
For the past three weeks, Hoosac Valley snow enthusiasts have made their way up to Berkshire East in Charlemont.
Houghton Street Buildings Being Razed in North Adams
They lasted more than 170 years. But now the decrepit former mill houses on Houghton Street will soon be a memory.
Berkshire County Construction on Monday began the demolition of the four two-family units, 198-214 Houghton St., near the bottom of Houghton Street. A fifth building, a former corner store at the intersection of Liberty and Houghton, will also be ripped down.
Pittsfield Seeks Input on Public Conservation Properties
Four city conservation areas will be closely examined as part of a new three-month planning study looking at the nature of these properties and how they're utilized and impacted by residents.
This research, conducted by students of the Conway School of Landscape Design, is separate to an upcoming update to the city's overall Open Space & Recreation Plan but will supplement that process, according to Parks, Open Spaces & Natural Resources Manager James McGrath.
Adams Board Of Health Updating Tobacco Regulations
The Board of Health agreed to update all tobacco regulations during the process of increase the legal age of buying tobacco from 18 to 21.
The Board of Health decided Tuesday at a workshop meeting that the tobacco age increase would not be a new regulation, but an amendment. However, while working with Tri-Town Health Department it may be a chance to make sure all of their tobacco regulations are up to date.
Williams Students Teach Biology in Elementary School Classes
This month, fourth-graders in Lanesborough and Williamstown have traded in four square for Punnett squares.
Genetics is just one of the lessons being taught by the nationally-recognized science program BioEyes, which returned this winter to Williamstown Elementary School and made its first stop at Lanesborough Elementary.
Pittsfield Councilors Weigh in on Snow and Ice Removal Plan
When the snow storms hit, Commissioner of Public Services David Turocy has a plan in place to keep the roads safe.
"Public safety is really what is going to drive our decisions," Turocy said. "At the end of the day, public safety is No. 1 for us."
America Legion Riders to Law Enforcement: Thank You!
The American Legion Riders hold two motorcycle runs every year to raise money to support veterans and have never had an accident.
Part of the reason is because law enforcement in a number of towns are there to perform traffic control, allowing the bikers to get through an intersection safety in under a minute. On Friday morning, the riders had a simple message to those officers: Thank you.
Lanesborough Elementary Earns State Commendation For MCAS Results
The elementary school was one of just 45 schools in the state to receive commendations from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The state's 2015 accountability data gave the school scores of 98 out of a 100 in closing proficiency gaps for all Lanesborough Elementary School students and a score of 100 for those with high needs. Both of those calculated scores are above the state's target of 75. The school is again ranked a Level 1 — the highest the state ranks — because
Tyer Voices Support For Homegrown Businesses at Chamber Event
Anyone who has seen Petricca Industries transport concrete from its Cheshire Road location, through Park Square, and off to the Massachusetts turnpike can see the challenge.
"They've now became one of the largest employers in the city of Pittsfield and it is a privileged that that homegrown business has had the success that its had," Mayor Linda Tyer said Thursday night. "Yet, it is still challenged in the way it is able to transport its product through out community."
Cheshire Water Users Vote to Buy Truck for Superintendent
The town's water users are recommending the purchase of a new three-quarter ton pickup truck with a plow for the Water Department at a cost of nearly $35,000.
The advisory vote took place Wednesday night after a lengthy and often heated conversation with the water commissioners. Those who attended the informational meeting at the Community Center overwhelmingly agreed to the purchase of a bigger truck with a plow.
Lanesborough Elementary Considering Opening 14 School-Choice Spots
Superintendent Douglas Dias is asking the School Committee to open up a total of 14 school choice spots for the upcoming year.
"Where there is excessive space, we should open choice," Dias said. "Taking in students to a class that is half full doesn't add to the monetary weight."
BHS Dealing With Malware Threat
Berkshire Health Systems is trying to heal some sick computers after they were infected with malware during the past week.
"No patient health or payment information was compromised during this event and that information is protected by a sophisticated and secure system," said BHS spokesman Michael Leary in response to an inquiry by iBerkshires.
Farley-Bouvier Will Not Seek State Senate Seat
State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier will not run for state senate.
The Pittsfield Democrat said she considered running for the seat being vacated by state Sen. Benjamin Downing, who opted not to run for re-election, but instead will seek re-election to the House of Representatives.
McCandless Rebuts Critics To Start Budget Process
Superintendent Jason McCandless is kicking off the budget season by addressing three of the most criticized items: school choice, per-pupil expenditures, and teacher salaries.
In comparing those items to other districts in the county, McCandless says Pittsfield is right in line, if not better, than the city's peers. The districts ranks 10th out of 16 local districts in teacher salaries, sends a lower percentage of students to other districts through school choice than many others, and spends
Pine Valley Park Owners Looking For Rent Increase
The owners of Pine Valley Mobile Home Park are asking the town for a 57 percent rent increase.
Town Administrator Mark Webber presented the Selectmen on Tuesday with a memorandum of questions to ask Morgan Management, the park owner, about its proposed rent increase of $256 a month to $401.
"Wow to say the very least," Chairwoman Carol Francesconi said. "What planet are they living on?"
Pittsfield Councilors Seeking Review of Airport Management
Three city councilors are asking for a review of airport management.
Councilors Donna Todd Rivers, Christopher Connell, and Melissa Mazzeo filed a petition asking Mayor Linda Tyer to form a study group review options for airport management and perform a cost analysis.
North Adams Redevelopment Authority Pays Lawsuit Settlement
The Redevelopment Authority has finally settled a lawsuit with Freight Yard Pub.
Berkshire Bank has agreed to loan the authority $160,000 to make good a settlement agreed to last year with Bay State Hospitality Group LLC, the operating name of the restaurant in Western Gateway Heritage State Park.
WCMA Artist Facilitates Unusual Museum Perspectives
The Oakland-based, socially-engaged artist Lexa Walsh creates experiences for her audiences, and that's exactly her current mission at Williams College on multiple fronts.
With her winter study program "Mapping The Museum," Walsh has worked with students to take over the Williams College Museum of Art for a night, in addition to creating two upcoming projects with her brother, painter Dan Walsh.
MSBA OKs Mount Greylock Building Project Budget
As expected, the Massachusetts School Building Authority on Wednesday gave the green light for the Mount Greylock Regional School addition/renovation project.
The MSBA Board of Directors unanimously approved a grant of $32,491,074 for the project, Mount Greylock School Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Greene reported in a Facebook post.
Williamstown Planning Board Tables Waubeeka Overlay Proposal
The Planning Board on Tuesday night voted to table an idea to create an overlay district to allow a hotel in South Williamstown — effectively ending the chance the body will bring a bylaw change proposal to annual town meeting.
The board had an agenda item to continue refining a bylaw it drafted along with Town Planner Andrew Groff to address a request by the owner of Waubeeka Golf Links.
Hoosic River Revival Offers North Adams Council Update on Plans
The South Branch of the Hoosic River should be largely restored to a natural state by 2020.
That's the goal of the Hoosic River Revival, which updated the City Council on Tuesday on the status of the $21.4 million project. The state has so far put aside nearly $9 million toward the effort that could directly employ 250 people.
HRR's founder Judith Grinnell and Nick Nelson of Inter-Fluve Inc. reviewed the preliminary plans released last year by Inter-Fluve Inc. and Sasaki Associates.
Lanesborough Sets Debt Exclusion Vote For High School Project
Voters will decide the fate of the Mount Greylock building project at the ballot on March 15.
Despite being urged to hold the debt exclusion vote on March 1 in conjunction with the presidential primary, the Board of Selectmen Monday opted in a 2-1 vote to hold a completely separate election just for the building project.
Improper Demolition Procedure Could Mean Trouble For Adams
Two town boards are expressing concerns over what they say was the improper demolition of two outbuildings on the Hoosac Valley Coal & Grain property.
Conservation Commissioner Thomas Robinson told his commission on Thursday that a citizen had called him about the building on Cook Street the town took for back taxes.
North Adams' Blackmer Elected to Top Post in Mass Municipal Association
North Adams City Councilor Lisa Blackmer will lead the Massachusetts Municipal Association this year, the first city resident to do so.
She's also the first from Western Massachusetts to hold the office of president in more than two decades. Blackmer is hoping that through her leadership, she'll be able to ensure that Western Mass communities will have a strong voice in Boston.
"I think it puts us back on the map, I think people will start realizing, 'oh yeah, Massachusetts exists west of
Pittsfield Board Seeks Delay For Convent Demolition
The city's Historical Commission voted unanimously on Monday to recommend a six-month delay to be placed on a proposal to demolish the former St. Joseph's convent at 350 North St.
"The reason for the demolition delay is so that we can allow the public a chance to weigh in on structures of historical significance when they're up for demolition," summarized Commissioner Kathleen Reilly.
Williamstown Dog Park Proponents Withdraw Proposal
The Board of Selectmen on Monday opened its meeting by announcing the close of a debate that has snarled another town body this winter.
"Several things here, not the least of which is the South Williamstown Community Association has graciously decided to withdraw its proposal for a dog park at [the former Little Red Schoolhouse]," Chairwoman Jane Patton said.