Monday, May 30, 2016 02:49am
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Lanesborough Honors Fallen Soldiers At 2016 Memorial Day Ceremony
In 1765 King George's sheriff and five deputies stormed into Bakers Tavern on North Main Street looking to arrest two residents. But when they got there, they ran into an crowded bar after word of the planned arrest spread throughout the small town. The townspeople forced them out. Two years later, town meeting approved pushing ammunition to defend the town. And when the war broke out seven years after that a thousand of the town's 1,600 people enlisted in the Revolution.

Pittsfield Suns Return For Fifth Season On Thursday
The Suns rise again on Thursday. The Pittsfield Suns will return to Wahconah Park for its fifth season bringing the much of the same fan experience and then some. Last year the team ranked second in the league for attendance with an average of 1,654 people making it to the ballpark each game.

North Adams Airport Welcomes Drone Committee
The Airport Commission welcomed a steering committee to help inform residents about proper drone and unmanned aircraft use. Resident and hobbyist Stephen Roy came before the commission Wednesday and asked to form some sort of group that would work with the commission and the airport manager to better inform people about unmanned aircraft policy.

Brayton School Holds First Memorial Day Celebration
If there was a simple message for the youngsters at Brayton Elementary School on Friday, it was this: Remembrance isn't just for Memorial Day. Marie McCarron's fourth-grade class this year took up the mantle from the former Sullivan School, which held a pre-Memorial Day celebration every year organized by Anna Saldo-Burke and her third-grade class. The entire school, veterans organizations, local officials and the Richard A. Ruether Post 152 American Legion color guard filled the auditoriu

Student Art to Hang in Berkshire Family and Probate Court
For those needing to go to Probate and Family Court, it can be a traumatic time. But local students are able to provide a little bit of comfort. For the better part of the year, 15 pieces of student art will hang throughout the halls and in the courtrooms at Berkshire Probate and Family Court.

Residents Urge Attorney General to Appeal Pipeline Court Ruling
Environmental advocates want the Attorney General's office to appeal the decision handed down in May allowing Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to start construction on the pipeline in the Otis State Forest. The group 350 Massachusetts sponsored a listening session with representatives of the office on Thursday to discuss a wide range of environmental and energy concerns. The intent of the two-hour session at the Ralph Froio Senior Center was for those staff members to hear the conce

Preschool Issue Spills Over Into Mount Greylock School Committee
The politics of preschool officially graduated to high school on Tuesday night. The Side-By-Side special education program at Williamstown Elementary School became a topic for discussion at the monthly meeting of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee. The opening came when the Williamstown-Lanesborough Tri-District's Director of Pupil Personnel Services gave the committee a periodic updates on the special education program at Mount Greylock.

North Adams Continues to Struggle With Overtime, Aging Workforce
"We've got some guys who are getting older ... but we have a committed staff," said Mayor Richard Alcombright. "But they have a lot of time ... all you need is three to call in sick." Seniority-driven sick and vacation time, along with employees out with injuries continues to take a toll on overtime. "We have an aging workforce and our average age is 45, 47," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti. Police Director Michael Cozzaglio said his department is preparing for rash of retirements in t

Cheshire Selectmen Close Town Warrant
The Selectmen closed the warrant for town meeting on Tuesday after adding in two last-minute debt exclusion items. The annual town meeting is set for Tuesday, June 7, and will include requests for a new police cruiser and a Department of Public Works truck. The new cruiser is estimated at $40,000 while the DPW truck will run nearly $125,000.

Pittsfield City Council Supports Verizon Workers
It isn't about pay raises. It's about the 31 people who work on Federal Street losing their jobs or being shipped out of the region. The local Verizon workers have been on strike without pay for six weeks and while national news has triggered a lot of public debate over unions, the bottom line is that 95 families in Berkshire County are at risk of having their jobs shipped overseas or out of the region.

Adams-Cheshire Hires Interim Superintendent
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee has unanimously voted to hire Robert Putnam as its interim superintendent. The committee held a short meeting Wednesday to vote on hiring the former Central Berkshire Regional administrator.

Memorial Day Events 2016
All events are on Monday, May 30, unless otherwise noted.   1 Comment

McCann Senior Named U.S. Presidential Scholar
McCann Principal Justin Kratz said Dorwin is one of only four Massachusetts students to be named a Presidential Scholar this year, one of only 160 nationwide and only the third student in Berkshire County ever to receive the honor (according to the "unofficial official record-keeping" of local history buffs at McCann).

Berkshire Chamber, Visitors Bureau Merge Into 1Berkshire
After living together for three years, the Berkshire Visitors Bureau and the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce announced their engagement on Wednesday. The two organizations will become one as of July 1 as part of the 1Berkshire Strategic Alliance, joining Berkshire Creative and the Berkshire Economic Development Corporation and cementing a relationship the organizations have been growing for a decade.

Clarksburg Passes Fiscal 2017 Budgets, New Zoning Bylaws
Voters on Wednesday passed the bulk of the annual town meeting warrant with little or no discussion, including a school budget of $2,551,546 and town budget of $1,455,549.93 The adoption of a stretch building code and raising town clerk's salary generated the most talk, with the code passing handily and the salary being rejected.

Mount Greylock School Committee Member Charges Open Meeting Violation
A member of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee on Tuesday lodged an Open Meeting Law complaint against the committee's chairwoman and the chairs of the two elementary school committees that comprise the Williamstown-Lanesborough Tri-District. Richard Cohen alleges that Carolyn Greene, along with Williamstown School Committee Chairman Dan Caplinger and Lanesborough School Committee Chairwoman Regina DiLego have been deliberating and taking action in secret meetings in violation of st

Patience Pays Off as Ribbon is Cut at Williamstown's Cable Mills
It took 14 years to turn a decrepit hulk of a mill into 61 luxury housing units. The project was halted by, among other things, the economic crisis of 2008 and sometimes seemed like a victim of bad luck. But it was a stroke of good luck that sparked the Cable Mills project.

Berkshire Innovation Center Hitting Number of Funding Hurdles
The plans for the Berkshire Innovation Center have hit a number of financing snags. On Tuesday, the City Council was informed that the city did not receive a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Agency which was eyed to improve the gateway to the William Stanley Business Park and the Berkshire Innovation Center. The news is on top of a still dormant funding gap for construction, penned at $3 million, which delayed construction.

Lanesborough Looks to Join Berkshire Mosquito Control Project
Voters will be asked to join the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project at town meeting. The Board of Selectmen voted to add a warrant article asking voters to join the efforts to control mosquito populations after meeting with project Superintendent Christopher Horton. The project is state run and so far eight other Berkshire towns are part of the local effort - those are Clarksburg, Hinsdale, Otis, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sheffield, Stockbridge, and Tyringham.

Pittsfield Approves Extending Tax Breaks For Beacon Cinema
It was in 1997 when Downtown Pittsfield Inc. revealed a downtown master plan which called for a movie theater on North Street. City officials and DPI went searching high and low for a developer, from big chains to independent operators with little luck. Eventually they found Richard Stanley, who ran the Triplex in Great Barrington, and he too wanted nothing to do with the project.

Mister Tire Closing After 38 Years in North Adams
One sure sign that winter is coming has been for decades the spiraling line of vehicles leading to the doors of Mister Tire No more. After more than 40 years, Larry Davis is cleaning his hands of the tire business. Davis confirmed on Tuesday that Mister Tire will be closing its doors on June 4

Lanesborough Chief Sorrell Receives High Marks in Performance Review
Town Manager Paul Sieloff couldn't be happier with the performance of the police chief in his first year. The Board of Selectmen authorized a 2.5 percent raise for Chief Timothy Sorrell Monday after Sieloff's exceptional review. As part of his contract, Sorrell will be reviewed annually and pay raises will be based on performance.

Cheshire Planning Board Holds Off on Dollar General Permit
The Planning Board tabled a vote on Dollar General's special permit request on Tuesday and told the chain store to go back to the drawing board. Austin Turner with Bohler Engineering, the firm representing the discount chain store, provided the board with more specifications on the proposed store at a public hearing Monday.

North Adams Housing Authority Receives Favorable Audit
North Adams Housing Authority Executive Director Jennifer Hohn reported that the fiscal 2015 audit came back with no financial findings. "We have no financial findings which is the most important," Hohn told the housing authority commissioners Monday. "There are no questioned costs."

Adams-Cheshire Left With One Candidate for Interim Superintendent
The search for an interim superintendent took an unexpected turn Monday night when one of candidates declared the post was "not a good fit," thanked the committee and left. The departure of Christine Canning came at the end of a somewhat tense interview with the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee over the needs and expectations of the school district. At one point, she turned to fellow candidate Robert Putnam, shook his hand and said, "congratulations, you've got the job."

Adams Finance Committee Approves 2016 Town Warrant
The Finance Committee last week approved the town warrant but expressed some concern over articles that would appropriate money for the Adams Agricultural Fair and to make repairs to C.T. Plunkett School. The committee flew through most articles Thursday during its review of the budget hesitated on recommending an article that would appropriate up to $130,000 to make repairs to Plunkett's boiler room roof.

Licensing Board Considers Outdoor Restaurant Seating During Third Thursday
The Office of Cultural Development is considering letting North Street restaurants have outdoor seating during Third Thursday. Shiobbean Lemme of the Office of Cultural Development brought the idea to the Licensing Board Monday in hopes to find the best way to do it. The board said it liked the idea but wanted to see specific plans on how the alcohol service will be controlled by each restaurant.

Clarksburg Town Meeting, Election Set This Week
Voters on Wednesday night will decide a $4.3 million total budget for fiscal 2017 and whether to institute two new zoning bylaws. Town meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 25, beginning at 7 p.m. at the elementary school. The annual town election will be held Tuesday, May 24, from noon to 7 at the Clarksburg Senior Center. The full warrant and budget is posted below.

Tyer Calls For $1M Police Department Boost in Wake of Shootings
Mayor Linda Tyer is calling for an increase of nearly $1 million to boost staffing in the Police Department. The mayor was joined by an array of elected officials, community leaders, and law enforcement Monday in a press conference addressing increased gun violence in the city. Tyer said the fiscal 2017 budget calls for a $936,000 increase to bring on a half-dozen new officers and new equipment.

Pittsfield Airport: Increased Military Traffic Caused By Training Demands
"It's the sound of freedom" is how the assistant airport manager describes the increased activity of military helicopters at the airport. Residents may have recently noticed many military helicopters flying overhead recently. But don't be alarmed: it's just practice.

Berkshire Scenic Begins Summer Season Memorial Weekend
With several blasts of the train whistle, the Hoosac Valley Service's Budd Car 6126 moved along the backways of the city at a dignified 10 mph. The ride from North Adams to Adams on Friday night was a precurser of the scenic rail line's first full summer season in North County and a sneak peak for North Adams Chamber of Commerce members

North Adams Committee Mull Airbnb Impact on City
Lodging in Northern Berkshire is caught between feast and famine. There's no room to be found during the summer and high-traffic weekends; in the winter and shoulder seasons, rooms go begging. It's a conundrum that city officials are keeping in mind as they grapple with the growing shared services economy and proliferation of online room rentals, a topic at a meeting Wednesday at City Hall.

Parks Commissions Approves Improvements To Pellerin Field
The first round of improvements to the newly named Buddy Pellerin Field at Clapp Park is set for this summer. The Parks Commission gave the group heading the effort the Okay to order a scoreboard and to continue planning for a number of other additions and changes to the field. The group has already raised $20,000 and has set a goal of a quarter of a million to make four phases worth of improvements to the ballfield.

United Way Ends 'Day of Caring' With Dance Party
Hundreds of people shook it up on the dance floor at Hancock Shaker Village on Friday night. The dance party Friday night capped of the Berkshire United Way's Day of Caring during which dozens go businesses found ways to donated to the organization's childhood literacy efforts. Further, 50 book houses were installed all over the county as a mini lending library.

PHS Baseball Team Throws Cookout For Soldier On Veterans
At 18 years old many young men had found themselves in the midst of battles overseas. They returned with limited support, with post traumatic stress, chronic illness, and often living on the streets. Since then some of them found their way to Soldier On, which cares and helps pick homeless veterans back up and onto their feet.

Third-Generation Butcher Opening New Shop in North Adams
David Brazeau knows meat. The third generation butcher said he wants to provide the community with quality wholesome meat and cuts and fill a needed void. "My grandfather, my father, and myself have all worked for Price Chopper supermarkets," said the North Adams native and owner of Brazeau's Butcher Shop on 756 State Road. "Also, people are concerned about what they are eating and where it comes from.

Bishop Visits St. Francis Demo Site, Thanks Safety Officials
Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski visited the truncated St. Francis of Assisi Church on Friday to thank the city for its cooperation in the emergency demolition actions. "I came here today to see the progress that had been done so far this week but also to personally thank our police officers, our firemen and the people of the town of North Adams for all they did in cooperating to help alleviate this issue as fast as possible," Rozanski said.

Mark Eyes Leadership Roles In Fourth House Term
In this last term state Rep. Paul Mark was appointed the vice chairman of both the house rules committee and the joint rules committee. That position doesn't get a lot of hype or publicity. But whomever has that role is appointed to no other committee because the work is so vitally important. It determines how bills move through the legislative process.

Cheshire to Revamp Town Salary Structure
The Selectmen and the Advisory Board trudged through the fiscal 2017 budget this week and pledged to revamp the town's salary structure next year. They met with department heads Tuesday to review the draft budget that is 2.5 percent higher than this year's budget and currently reflects a $11,000 to $12,000 levy limit buffer.

Bishop to View St. Francis' Church Demolition
Eagle Street was fully opened to pedestrian traffic on Thursday afternoon as another section of the steeple on St. Francis' Church was removed. Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski will be in the city on Friday to review progress on the demolition and thank members of both the diocesan and city teams that have worked together responding to this emergency situation. The bishop will meet members of both teams starting at noon at the site of the demolition on Eagle Street.

North Adams Cemetery Commission To Review Regulations
The Cemetery Commission is looking to revamp the city's outdated and often contradictory cemetery regulations. Commissioner Roger Eurbin said last week that he has asked the city solicitor to review the rules and regulations, which he felt were littered with contradictions. "They don't agree," he said. "One says one thing and the other says something else."

Hinds Tours Local Businesses, Stumps On Economic Development
Seth Nash initially scoffed at the idea of paying a consultant to come in and look at his business operations to find more efficiencies. The owner of Blue Q, which occupies most of a large warehouse on West Housatonic Street, was presented with the idea of hiring a lean consultant, a business process eyed to eliminate wasted time, space, and capacity. He said no because of the cost. His wife, however, is a grant writer and - with his approval - submitted an application to the state. Blue Q wa

Adams Town Warrant Approved
The Selectmen on Wednesday approved the warrant for the annual town meeting in June. Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco presented the complete warrant, which contains an article asking town meeting to allocate $130,000 to replace the C.T. Plunkett School boiler room roof. The number was originally $100,000, but after consulting with roofers, the town administrator found that would not be enough.

Williamstown Honors Greene, Turnbull at Town Meeting
The League of Women Voters bestowed on Debra Turnbull its Outstanding Town Employee Award. A town committee recognized Carolyn Greene with the inaugural Scarborough Salomon Flynt Community Service Award.

Pittsfield Board Weighs Historic Demolitions
Three more antiquated residential properties in the city will soon be demolished, along with a well-known business that thrived throughout most of the 20th century. Having reviewed hundreds of such demolition requests on aging buildings over the past decade, the Historical Commission is ready to revise the ordinance language under which it performs its primary function.

Williams College Honors Pittsfield Police Chief
The Williams College Regional Association of Berkshire County awarded alum and Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn with its first regional Purple with Purpose Award. The presentation to Wynn, class of 1993, was made at the Williams College Faculty House. The award is given to nominated alumni who have made a substantial impact in their communities.   1 Comment

Airport Study Group Debates Depth Of Research Charge
How in-depth should the citizen study group assembled to do a cost-benefit analysis of the airport go? That question was hotly debated Monday night when the group met. The group was formed after three city councilors petitioned the mayor for the group. The intent of the councilors were to look at all options of management and operations to stop the $100,000 or so each year the city spends to supplement the budget

Polito Signs Community Compacts With Pittsfield, Hinsdale, Cheshire, Williamstown
The city is facing some significant financial challenges in the next few years and the state is helping to overcome the hurdles. On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito signed a community compact agreement with the city which will give the city $25,000 to work with the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management to develop long-range financial planning.

Williamstown Voters Pass Waubeeka Hotel Bylaw
Voters on Tuesday approved a zoning bylaw that creates an overlay district that would allow the creation of a hotel on the Waubeeka Golf Links property.

Williamstown Town Meeting Passes School Budget With Protest Cut
Town meeting on Tuesday night approved the elementary school's requested fiscal 2017 budget- after cutting it by a symbolic $27. There had been concerns that the $6 million budget would be "held hostage" by constituents angry at the reductions made to the school's Side-By-Side special education preschool program. But opponents expressed their displeasure with an amendment that cut the school's funding by $1 for every year that Side-By-Side has existed.

 
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