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Williamstown Zoning Board Weighs College's Hotel, Parking Lot Plan
The Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday continued its hearing on Williams College's applications for special permits to allow construction of a new inn and the reconfiguration of the public parking lot at the bottom of Spring Street.

Lanesborough School Chair 'Re-Energized' By Task Force Vote
School Committee Chairwoman Regina DiLego participated in 32 meetings of the Berkshire County Educational Task Force over two years. And it was exhausting. But as the group voted last Saturday to recommend a single school district for all of Berkshire County, she's become "re-energized."

Adams Officials Discuss Filling Vacant Selectman Seat
Town officials are considering whether to hold an election for the vacant seat on the Board of Selectmen. Town Clerk Haley Meczywor told the Selectmen last week that the Nov. 7 special election to fill the seat of the late state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi could be coupled with a town election.

Adams Hi-Jinx Night Postponed to August
Hi-Jinx Night has been cancelled for Monday because of the threat of thunderstorms. It has been rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Shire City Sessions Returns to Pittsfield on Monday
The Shire City Sessions are back. The weekly concert series takes place over the next three Mondays at the First Street Common. The concerts bring original live music to the Berkshires, and fills up what tends to be an uneventful night of the week. "There is a little bit of a hole in the cultural scene when it comes to original music," said Alan Bauman, who founded the concert series in 2015 to bring in national and regional music talent to tackle that issue.

North Adams Wins Battle of 'Good Kids' in La Festa Opener
The La Festa Baseball Exchange got under way on Saturday night in North Adams.

Zion Lutheran Church Opens 1892 Time Capsule
When the Zion Lutheran Church was built on First Street in 1892, the congregation placed a time capsule in the cornerstone. And it sat there for 125 years. Current Pastor Timothy Weisman knew there was one somewhere in the building's structure, but wasn't sure where. Seven months ago, the church embarked on a $1.2 million renovation and the mason dug around the northwest corner of the building and found it. The time capsule was placed there on July 13, 1892.

Unpaid Bills Are Starting to Pile Up For Berkshire Mall
The Berkshire Mall bills are piling up. The mall owner, Kohan Retail Investment Group, under Berkshire Mail Realty Holdings, not only owes close to a half million in taxes to the town and to the Baker Hill Road District $230,000 for the road district and $209,000 to the town.

Adams Gets CDBG Funding for Visitors Center Parking Lot
Adams has received $800,000 in 2017 Community Development Block Grant funds to reconfigure the parking lot at the Adams Visitors Center. Adams was one of 58 towns and cities receiving $30.5 million in CDBG funds announced on Thursday. Also receiving grants are Becket, Buckland and North Adams.

Williamstown Planners Looking at Possible Bylaw Amendments
The board hopes to have at least one proposal ready to go in time for a prospective special town meeting in November to decide whether to expand the Mount Greylock Regional School District to include Williamstown Elementary and Lanesborough Elementary.

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.

Pittsfield Man Fined For Illegal Asbestos Removal
DEP has fined a city man for illegally removing asbestos from a home on Circular Avenue. The Department of Environmental Protection fined Robert Clum $27,100 for removing the material from 65 Circular Avenue in August of last year. The work, removing and disposing of asbestos pipe insulation, potentially exposed the residents to asbestos fibers, DEP says. Clum does not have a contractor's license to the work nor did he notified the state regarding it.

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.

Cheshire May Look At Recreational Marijuana Bylaw
The Selectmen are debating whether to begin the process of crafting a medical marijuana zoning bylaws. With the likelihood of the state adopting recreational marijuana regulations, Town Administrator Mark Webber asked the board on Tuesday if officials would be interested in creating a bylaw.

Rubber Duck Derby Raises Funds for North County Family Center
The ducks in their jaunty sea caps were a fund raiser for Family Center of Northern Berkshire County, a program of Child Care of the Berkshires, to raise funds to pay for playgroups, family support, parent education and early literacy programs.

Mass MoCA Architects Propose Redevelopment of Windsor Mill
Simeon Bruner of Cambridge Development Corp., and principal of Bruner /Cott Architects, has offered $465,000 for the historic mill with the pledge to invest a minimum of $400,000 on facade and capital improvements within the next three years.

Mount Greylock 'Highpoint' of Club's Annual Convention
More than 200 members of the Highpointers Club will be hiking, biking, driving or otherwise finding their way to the top of Mount Greylock this weekend. The annual convention of the club gathers at the highest peak in a selected state. Massachusetts was chosen as this year's location, bringing club members to the 3,491-foot summit on the Mount Greylock State Reservation.

BMC, Nurses Return to Bargaining as Strike Hangs Over Head
In the middle of a strike authorization vote and the union filing charges against the hospital with the National Labor Relations Board, the Massachusetts Nursing Association and Berkshire Medical Center return to the bargaining table Thursday in hopes to come to an agreement on a new contract.   1 Comment

Cariddi's Top Legislative Aide Seeks to Fill Out Rep's Term
Kevin Towle knew that the Monday right after Gailanne Cariddi had died, she'd want her staff reporting to work. And they did. The top legislative aide for the late Cariddi pulled the staff together, hung a white board and listed every piece of legislation, local projects, and budget priorities on it and the group began planning for the next steps. For days, Towle reported to work and looked at that white board with fear that everything the staff has worked on for the last year would all be fo

Williamstown Planning Board OKs Inn Project; Zoning Board Next
Williams College's plans for a new Williams Inn on Spring Street cleared one regulatory hurdle on Tuesday and face another test on Thursday at Town Hall. The Planning Board on Tuesday gave its blessing to the 64-room inn, which the college hopes to have online by the spring of 2019.

Williamstown Road Work Scheduled on Sand Springs, Bridges Roads
The Town of Williamstown will be repaving Sand Springs Road and Bridges Road beginning Thursday.

MCLA, BCC Agreement Bolsters Early Ed Degree Programs
Heather Thompson started going to college in 1998. And then found out she was expecting a child. She returned home to Berkshires and six months after giving birth, enrolled at Berkshire Community College.

Cemetery Commission Seeks Engineer Study of Bellevue Garage
The town will use an engineering firm to gather cost estimates for expanding the Department of Public Works facility at Bellevue Cemetery. The Cemetery Commission was asked to use funds to either replace or add on to the existing garage and after a tour of the grounds Monday, commissioners agreed to start moving the project forward.

Williams College to Shut Down Electricity Three Days This Summer
Williams College's campus will undergo a total blackout for three days this summer while the school installs two large generators.

Pittsfield's Clapp Park Could Be Next To See Major Upgrades
Clapp Park could see a major upgrade in the coming years. The city has partnered with the Rotary Club and the Buddy Pellerin Field Committee on a state grant to complete a major park renovation.

Proposed Renewable Energy Line to Run Through Cheshire
A proposed renewable energy utility line may pass through town adjacent to existing electricity lines. The project will be bid as part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy request for proposals that was created by the Clean Energy legislation that passed last July. The legislation forces energy companies to distribute specific amounts of energy from different renewable sources by 2022.

Moulton Making Second Run for North Adams Mayor
The mayoral race is beginning to get crowded with the appearance of a fourth candidate in Robert M. Moulton Jr. The city councilor pulled papers last Friday for a second run at the corner office.

Berkshire County Education Task Force's Single-District Solution Surprises Its Chair
The chairman of the Berkshire County Education Task Force says he was as surprised as anyone when the group voted to recommend a single school district for the county's 30 towns and two cities. But John Hockridge is convinced that the proposal makes sense for students and taxpayers alike.

North Adams ZBA Approves Special Permit for Porches Project
Porches Inn was given a special permit and waivers that will allow it to begin process for a new building on Veazie Street. Attorney Jeffrey Grandchamp of Grinnell Partners LLC, representing the inn, said two of the structures 10 and 18-20 Veazie would be demolished to make way for a standalone building largely for use as a breakfast or gathering location.

Pignatelli Takes Over Cariddi's Chairmanship of Environment Committee
State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli will take over the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture for the late Rep. Gailanne Cariddi. Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo appointed Pignatelli to the seat which was previously chaired by his former Berkshire delegation colleague, Cariddi, who died earlier this year. The dean of the delegation will likely be removed from his current committees to focus solely on the chairmanship.

Lanesborough FinCom Looks to State For Help With Retiree Health Care
With support from the last election, Finance Committee Chairman Ray Jones is now calling on the state legislature to allow the town to increase the percentage retirees pay for health insurance. Jones had requested a ballot question on the town election to "change the health insurance premium contribution rate for eligible town retirees from town's share 85 percent and retirees' share 15 percent to town's share 70 percent and retirees share 30 percent."

Cheshire Passes School District Budget by Comfortable Margin
Cheshire voters on Monday agreed to fund the regional school budget, ending months of mounting anxieties over the consequences of not having a school budget in place. The second time was the charm at Monday's special town meeting scheduled solely to vote on the town's $3.1 million assessment to the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.

Adams Conservation Commission Wants Vehicles Off Glen Trails
The Conservation Commissioned is concerned with motorized vehicles on the developing Greylock Glen trail network. The commission had only good things to say about the new trail system currently under development by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, however, it noted that all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes have been damaging the trails.

School Officials: Plunkett Name Won't Disappear From Hoosac Elementary
The official name of the elementary school may have changed, but the markers designating it as C.T. Plunkett School will remain in place. School officials say they have no intention of erasing Plunkett's history from the school. Rather, the name was changed to Hoosac Valley Elementary as a way to unify the regional school district with the closure of Cheshire School.

Williamstown Conservation Commission Reviews Culvert Project
The Conservation Commission on Thursday began its review of plans for a larger culvert to carry the Christmas Brook under downtown and into the Green River. Williams College is proposing to replace the existing, undersized culvert with a precast box culvert that is at least 5 feet by 12 feet, the top of which will sit 5 to 7 feet below grade.

Adams Dance School Competes In Disney World
Dancecapade School of Dance was one of 10 dance schools in the world that recently competed in the first Walt Disney World Dance Competition. The school brought home four bronze medals and the girls also performed in the Magic Kingdom parade.

'Morningside Up' Sees Food To Revitalize Neighborhood
Food is not just sustenance for the human body, but can be for an entire neighborhood. That's what a group of community organizers in the Morningside area believe. The Morningside Up initiative is what has came out of a $75,000 planning grant from the Kresge Foundation and those involved are now patiently waiting for the fall to see if another round of funding will take their plans and turn them into reality.

State Senate Approves Naming Lanesborough Bridge After War Hero
The state Senate approved naming the Miner Road bridge after a local Vietnam hero. Now it goes to the House of Representatives. The bridge was rebuilt in 2012 and the Board of Selectmen petitioned the state to name it after Sgt. Gregory Aloysius Noonan. After three consecutive legislative sessions, the bill finally received approval from the Senate on Thursday and it will need approval from the state House of Representative and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Pittsfield National League All-Stars Win District Crown
The Pittsfield National League All-Stars defeated their rivals from the Pittsfield AL in the district final on Saturday.

State Budget Funds Office to Increase Employee-Owned Businesses
Adam Vartikar grew up in a family-owned business in Brookline and now his parents are looking to retire. But he, nor any of his siblings, want to run it. Vartikar has a close relationship with the employees and doesn't want to see his parents close the doors or sell out to an company which will move it away. So he thought he'd help sell the business to the workers. He found out it is not that easy.

Pittsfield Election: More Than A Dozen Qualify For Ballot So Far
With 10 days to go, less than half the possible City Council and School Committee candidates who took out nomination paper have returned them.

New Pan-Asian Restaurant Opens in North Adams
The new Meng's Pan-Asian Restaurant opened quietly on Tuesday in the Berkshire Plaza after two months of renovations in the former China Buffet space.   1 Comment

Chenaille Neighborhood Unhappy With North Adams Bike Path Plans
Residents of the Chenaille Terrace cul-de-sac remain unconvinced that changes on the proposed bike path would ensure their privacy and security. More than a dozen neighbors walked the roughly outlined pathway that skirts their back yards on Thursday with city and state officials.

Clarksburg Select Board Raises Water Rates for Briggsville
Users of the Briggsville Water District will see a significant rate increase beginning in November. Select Board, acting as the water commissioners, voted on Wednesday to raise the annual rate of $200 per household to $300, effective Nov. 1. Users on the line will be billed $75 quarterly.

Mount Greylock Building Project Coming in on Budget
The Mount Greylock School Building Committee on Thursday got its clearest picture yet of the cost for the addition/renovation project at the junior-senior high school. And the news continues to be good.

Kelly Osbourne Brightens Up Local, Bullied Youth's Day
After being teased by a grown man about the color of his hair, 8-year-old Jacob Shelsy received support and encouragement from none other than Kelly Osbourne. Jacob had died his fair pink and cut it into a mohawk in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Last week he and his older sister were at a Pittsfield car repair place in Pittsfield while his sister had work done on the vehicle. But there, the mechanic allegedly teased Jacob because of his hair and taunted him by calling him "Mary" on the wa

North Adams Annual Eagle Street Beach Party Delayed to Saturday
The annual Eagle Street Beach Party has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 15, in light of daylong thunderstorms and showers predicted for Friday. The times of the events remain 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. for the family portion, and 7 to 10 p.m. for the adult fiesta. Volunteers are needed to help spread the sand at starting at 1:30 p.m.; shovels provided, just show up.

Williamstown Housing Trust Puts Questions to Habitat for Humanity
The board of the town's Affordable Housing Trust on Wednesday gathered information from the lone respondent to a request for proposals to develop housing on two parcels owned by the trust.

McCann Students Bring Home Gold, Bronze From SkillsUSA Nationals
McCann Technical School students brought home a gold medal from the automated manufacturing technology competition and a bronze medal in dental assisting from the SkillsUSA National Competition.

Duke's Gravel Owner Appeals to Adams ZBA
The gravel operation at 101 Grove St. has been cited for clearing trees within a 100-foot buffer that has caused particulates to litter surrounding homes and Pinnacle Park in violation of zoning laws. Duquette issued a ceased and desist order in late March.

 
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