Tuesday, January 23, 2018 12:47pm
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Adams-Cheshire Eyes Consolidation to Hoosac Valley Campus
The School Committee on Monday voted to apply to the Massachusetts School Building Authority in hopes of securing funds to allow the once four-school district to move to one campus.

Lanesborough Approves Plan to Hire EMTs in Highway Department
The employees would do work with the Highway Department but if there is a call, the worker would leave the job and handle the call as an EMT.

Williamstown Select Board Agrees to Not Oppose Medical Pot Dispensary
The proposal has been a main topic of conversation for the board for months, and last week it hosted a public forum to gauge community reaction to Joshua Silver's proposal.

Neighbors Raise Objection to Three-House Plan for Cole Avenue Parcel
Habitat for Humanity in December discussed with the Affordable Housing Trust subdividing the parcel to create a third lot, a division that would be easier under the commonwealth's Chapter 40B provision, which gives relief from local zoning to subsidized housing projects.

Pittsfield Crowne Plaza To Become Holiday Inn
The Crowne Plaza will transition into a Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites. General Manager Charles Burnick said the licensing agreement with Intercontinental Hotels Group to operate as a Crowne Plaza expired and the decision was made to renovate the entire building to become a Holiday Inn. IHG operates both Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands.

Bellevue Storage Facility More Expensive Than Anticipated
The Cemetery Commission finally received cost estimates for a possible storage facility at Bellevue Cemetery, however, all estimates are higher than the anticipated amount. Interim Town Administrator met with the commission Thursday with the EDM report in hand that outlined three possible building scenarios, however, all were well over the $100,000 former town administrator Tony Mazzucco said it would cost.

North Adams Holding Public Hearing on Marijuana Ordinance
Mayor Thomas Bernard made the development of the ordinance a priority, creating the working group in his first weeks as mayor and informing the City Council he expected to have a draft presented to councilors in February.

Adams Selectmen Approve Administrator Search Process
The Board of Selectmen approved the recommended town administrator search process that it hopes to have wrapped up by April. The Board of Selectmen’s personnel subcommittee brought forth its recommendations Wednesday and asked the full board to approve the process which could be completed within four to six months.

Cheshire Pledges Money Toward Housing Rehab Grant
The town is looking at putting $60,000 toward improving the town's housing stock. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Planner William Sikula met with the Selectmen Tuesday to go over the town’s Community Development Block Grant allocation and asked if the town would be willing to put up $60,000 in an effort to reel in $600,000 in grant funding.

Berkshire Groups Use Women's March Anniversary to Talk Next Steps
The fight to raise people up from poverty, provide economic equity, health care and education, and ensure safe and welcoming communities, has to start at the grassroots level and include the voices of those most affected. That was the takeaway from Saturday's forum sponsored by Indivisible Pittsfield.

1Berkshire President Discusses Economic Development With BRPC
It would be difficult for a Berkshire town to recruit a large biotech company on its own. 1Berkshire President Jonathan Butler knows that because he was a town administration. Now his focus is on countywide efforts to build the Berkshire economy by heading the region's designated economic development agency and tourism council. What he would suggest to towns is to get all of the little things in place to seize an opportunity should it arise.

McCann Junior To Compete Nationally in Office Competition
McCann Junior Justin Perry will compete in the Microsoft Office Specialist National Competition in Atlanta, Ga. this summer. Perry, a business tech student, will represent Massachusetts in June and compete against the best from each state in Microsoft Word.

Berkshire Money Management Shows Off New Art, New Offices
Berkshire Money Management mixed the new with the old Friday night. The company opened the doors to its new offices in the historic Model Farm property on Main Street. The company purchased the former Crane and Co. Mansion for $1 million last February and spent much of 2017 renovating the interior to fit its needs.

Adams Loses Out on Gas Station Property Next to School
Selectman Joseph Nowak shared his discontent about the recent purchase of the former O'Connell's gas station at the close of Selectmen's meeting on Wednesday. He wanted the town to purchase to the property to expand congested parking at Hoosac Valley Elementary School.   1 Comment

$74 Million Wastewater Plant Upgrades Heads to City Council
The mayor is asking for the authority to borrow $74 million for a major upgrade of the city's wastewater treatment center. The expense has been a long time coming, starting with the city seeking to renew its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit in 2005. The Environmental Protection Agency oversees those permits in an effort to keep waterways clean and had issued a permit in 2008 requiring significantly higher standards of phosphorus, aluminum treatment, and nitrogen removal.

Mount Greylock School Committee Decides to Post Superintendent Position
On a vote of 4-3, the committee decided not to offer the job to interim Superintendent Kimberley Grady, who stepped into the post on short notice when the then-Tri-District abruptly parted ways with Douglas Dias at the start of the second year of his three-year contract.

New 'Winter Carnival' Planned at Springside Park
A new version of the winter carnival is set for Springside Park. The Springside Conservancy is hosting an array of children's activities - from ice skating to sledding to snowshoeing - at the park on Feb. 17. from noon until 4 p.m. The goal is to get families back into the park for a few hours of winter outdoor recreation.

Cheshire to Seek Interest in Reuse of School
The town formed a reuse committee after the regional School Committee voted last year to close the elementary school. The reuse committee does not intend to recommend selling the 62,000 square-foot building.

Medical Marijuana Company Plans Recreational Sales in Pittsfield
Berkshire Roots is positioning itself to be a recreational marijuana dispensary when permits are issued later this year. Berkshire Roots is now finishing up a massive renovation of 501 Dalton Avenue, a commercial building which formerly housed Jay's Custom Muffler & Auto, Casey's Billiards, and the Salvation Army store. Those three previously vacated the building to make way for a medical marijuana dispensary and renovations are nearly complete.

North Adams Airport Commission Down Two Members
With Gilman being removed late last year by former Mayor Richard Alcombright, this leaves only three members on the five-person commission.

Coffee Kiosk Eyed For First Street Common in Pittsfield
Todd Fiorentino is proposing opening Poseidon Coffee, a small kiosk to sell coffee and hot cocoa drinks during the morning hours at the park.

Waste District Scales Down District Survey
Blanchard had told the directors at their last meeting that the district could can apply for a grant to fund her time for a complete district survey in hopes of finding ways to increase funding through the Recycling Dividends Program.

Yon Will Continue to Chair Pittsfield School Committee
Katherine Yon will continue to chair the Pittsfield School Committee. During the re-organization meeting Wednesday the committee voted Yon back to the leadership position. Yon has served as chair since 2014.

Williamstown Residents Argue For, Against Pot Proposal
At issue is not so much the medical applications for the drug as the fact that Silver Therapeutics principal Joshua Silver makes no secret of the fact that he plans to seek a license from the commonwealth to operate a recreational pot retail operation at the same Colonial Plaza site where he wants to establish a medical dispensary.

North Adams Council Moving Hearing of Visitors to Back of Meeting
The amendments are at the request of Council President Keith Bona, who was elected to the post a the Organization of Government on Jan. 1. Each council president has the option of proposing modifications during their terms.

BMC Nurses Give Bargaining Committee OK to Call 2nd Strike
The local Massachusetts Nurses Association chapter has been at odds with management for nearly a year and a half of contract negotiations. In October, the nurses staged a one-day strike, which was followed by a four-day lockout. The two sides returned to the bargaining table shortly after and still have yet to come to a settlement.

Mall Loses Partial Power, Security Kicks Media Off Property
Berkshire Mall management had security escort an iBerkshires reporter from the property Wednesday afternoon. iBerkshires had heard reports that the mall had lost power. We attempted to call management to find out what happened by the phone was "temporarily unavailable." So, we drove there to find out.

SVMC Waiting Rooms Now Kid-Friendly Thanks to Bennington Bank
A "dingy" waiting room at the Women's and Children's Unit was brightened up with new wall colors and paintings, new seating and several interactive play areas with an underwater theme, all with a large window looking out at the Green Mountains. A similar makeover was done to the waiting area in the pediatrics practice but with a jungle theme.

Hillcrest Educational to Honor Sheriff Bowler, Officer Derby
Sheriff Thomas Bowler will be honored as Hillcrest Educational Center's Irish Person of the Year. Hillcrest will present the award at the 17th annual Robert "Bees" Prendergast St. Patrick's Celebration on March 15 at the Pittsfield country club.

Williamstown Community Preservation Committee Has Just Two Applicants
The combined $39,000 is less than 20 percent of the $196,501 sought by eight different applicants in January 2017. Ultimately, the CPC recommended all eight applications, some at reduced amounts, for an aggregate of $160,823; the eight were approved in separate warrant articles at town meeting.

Adams-Cheshire Hopes to Conclude Agreement Before Superintendent Retires
Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools Assistant Director Stephen Hemman recommended to the committee on Monday that it aim for a closer completion date to accommodate Putnam, who plans to retire at the end of the year.

Pittsfield Extends Lease For Offices at 100 North St.
Mayor Linda Tyer has no plans to move the city offices currently at 100 North Street back to City Hall. An array of city offices were moved from the basement of City Hall back in 2014 to the mezzanine level of 100 North Street. The move, under former Mayor Daniel Bianchi, caused consternation from some of the city councilors at the time because it didn't need council approval.

Alcombright Honored Following MLK Day of Service
Alcombright, surrounded by local leaders, the MLK Committee and members of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition on a stage in Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Venable Hall, said the recognition was "humbling, heartwarming and, at some level, deeply spiritual."

Gubernatorial Candidate Warren Talks Opioids In Pittsfield
Gubernatorial Candidate Setti Warren says five people a day are dying from opioid addiction. "In 2014, Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency around opioid addiction. We were the first state in the country to do so. Since then, 6,000 people have died of opioid addiction in our state, 250,000 are living with addiction in our state right now and that number is growing. Over five people a day are dying from opioid addiction or are sick. This at a cost of $10 billion annually," Warren s

North Adams Library To Host 'Look Up' Film Series Dedicated To Cariddi
Starting Thursday, Jan. 18, the library will host a "Look Up" movie series based on the cosmos using some of the $7,500 left by Cariddi's estate, earmarked for astronomy, after she passed in 2017.

Pollinator-Friendly Events Planned in Wiliamstown This Spring
Last May, town meeting adopted a non-binding resolution declaring Williamstown a pollinator-friendly community and encouraging landowners to adopt management practices to protect the bees, butterflies and insects that are critical to the ecosystem and the, specifically, our food supply.

Pittsfield Schools Considers Using Indigenous People Day, Not Columbus
The School Department may join the growing movement behind switching our Columbus Day with Indigenous People Day. School Committee member Cynthia Taylor suggested the school change the name when written on the school calendar. The change may be small but the gesture is part of a growing movement to use the weekend to celebrate Native Americans instead of the person who invaded their land.

Old Country Buffet Expected To Be Razed To Make Way For New Restaurant
The plaza owners Brixmor Property Group received the OK from the Conservation Commission to take down the restaurant. The plan is to construct a new, 5,500 square-foot restaurant in its place.

Reynolds Receives Adams-Cheshire Superintendent Award
She plans to attend Bentley University and double major in early childhood and elementary education.

Ice Jam Overflows Route 8 in Cheshire
The flooding over South Street came without warning on the heavily used north/south connector. Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said she'd been told one motorist had crossed the bridge immediately north of Lanesborough and had seen the wave of water and ice in his rearview mirror.

Pittsfield Bids Farewell to Veteran Police Officer
The highly decorated officer received numerous honors including the Terry Donnelly Police Officer of the Year in 1998 and received an Honorable Service Unit Citation for supporting the U.S. Secret Service when First Lady Michelle Obama visited the city in 2013.

Clarksburg School Officials Vote to Continue Talks With Stamford
Superintendent Jon Lev was informed just hours before Thursday's meeting that $25,000 was available to pursue research on merging or aligning with Vermont's Stamford School.

Williamstown Elementary Asks Parents of Preschoolers to Note Them on Census
The town this week mailed out the annual Street Listing Form. The data collected from that survey helps inform the elementary school about how many children to expect in each year's incoming kindergarten class.

Pittsfield Health: Flu Has Rapidly Increased In Last Two Weeks
In just the last few weeks there has been a 44 percent increase in flu symptoms. Public health nurse Kayla Donnelly-Winters said this year there have been 32 total cases of influenza confirmed in Pittsfield since Oct. 1. That is compared to just 15 in the same period of time last year. But the numbers had jumped in the last few weeks.

Clarksburg Readies Fee Schedule for Marijuana Locations
With the successful passage of a retail cannabis bylaw, town officials are now starting to look at a fee structure for all the licensing and inspections that will need to happen.

Street Closures Set for Pittsfield Police Lt. Winston's Funeral
A large contingent of law enforcement officers, fire personnel, and emergency medical personnel from throughout Berkshire County and beyond will be in attendance to pay their respects. A marching and vehicle procession will take place to transport and accompany Winston from the funeral home to the church at 89 Briggs Ave.

Taconic Principal Plotting Use, Scheduling of New High School
On Valentine Road more than 100 tradesmen have been on and off the site of the new Taconic getting the structure ready. And inside the current building across the road, Principal John Vosburgh has been doing the same. Vosburgh has been meeting with faculty, staff, and parents to devise a plan on how to layout and schedule operations in the new building

Adams to Post Town Administrator Job
Town Accountant Mary Beverly said the advertisements should be posted at the end of the week and that the advertising is being done in more places than in 2014.

Labor Shortage May Force Change in Mount Greylock Building Schedule
But the district's owner's project manager said Tuesday night that a potential move-in delay may not push back the planned end date for construction on the middle-high school campus.

Pittsfield Approves Incentive For St. Mary's Church Development
The City Council can’t wait for the St. Mary’s renovation. The council opted against fleshing out a tax increment exemption at the subcommittee level and approved it Tuesday night to help move the project along. The agreement would exempt developers CT Management from paying on any increased value caused by the renovation of the four structures into 29 market-rate housing units for four year.

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