|E-ZPass Website Overloaded With Applications Ahead of All-electronic Tolling
The Department of Transportation is overloaded with applications for EZ Pass transponders.
The all-electronic tolling goes into effect on Friday. On Wednesday, the state's website had become so overloaded with requests that it crashed. MassDOT is now setting up in-person locations to get people signed up.
Williamstown Elementary Surveying Families About Strategic Plan
Williamstown Elementary School plans is asking its families about their aspirations for the K-6 school.
The district is in the process of developing a strategic plan, and part of that process will be an electronic survey that is being sent to stakeholders, Superintendent Douglas Dias told the School Committee on Wednesday evening.
Chris Trapper to Perform at Drury High School
The Drury Performing Arts Management class will bring singer-songwriter Chris Trapper to the Drury auditorium this Saturday.
Boston-based Trapper is former front man for the late-'90s alternative rock band The Push Stars and his music has been featured on televisions shows and movies including "Malcolm in the Middle" and "There’s Something About Mary."
Adams Increases Age for Tobacco Sales to 21
The Board of Health has banned the selling of tobacco products to those under the age of 21 in town and updated its regulations.
The board heard no opposition to its proposals during a public hearing on Tuesday night and voted to put the new regulations in effect on Feb. 1, 2017.
Williamstown Website Seeking Town Funds
The Board of Selectmen on Monday heard pitches from two local nonprofits that promote the town — one that already receives financial support from the town and another that would like to.
Representatives from the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce and the website Destination Williamstown told the board what they are doing to help bring business — especially tourist business — to the Village Beautiful.
Pittsfield May Consider Dropping Speed Limits Throughout City
The City Council may be looking to drop speed limits throughout a majority of the city now that it has the authority to do so.
Previously roads in thickly settled or business districts were 30 miles-per-hour and the only way to lower that would be to petition the state. The state required a speed study done, paid for by the city, and the study would determine a speed limit based on actual speeds traveled by vehicles on the road.
Permit Granted For Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Pittsfield
Manna Wellness was granted a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals Wednesday to operate a medical marijuana facility, despite protest from a resident who lives nearby.
Julia Germaine of Manna Wellness said the company is looking to build a 3,200 square-foot facility on undeveloped land in the Cloverdale Business Park. The site is located next to Dollar General on outer West Housatonic Street and Ice River Springs.
Mountaintop Solar Array Draws Complaints in North Adams
A joint public hearing of the City Council and Planning Board on a proposed solar ordinance was highjacked by complaints about a large commercial solar array already under construction.
Two arrays by the Clean Energy Collective totaling 1.32 megawatts are being constructed on either side of the high tension wires on Reservoir Road and Furnace and Witt streets. The work just above what's commonly known as Coca-Cola Ledge can be easily seen from the east side of the city.
Allegrone Finishes Redevelopment of Historic Onota Building
Allegrone Construction has completed a $9 million renovation of the historic Onota Building on North Street.
The company held an open house on Wednesday to show off the 25 rental units, rooftop deck, and six retail spaces. Already more than half of the housing units have been leased with move in day just a few weeks away on Nov. 15.
North Adams Airport Commission Unhappy With Delayed Ramp Completion
The Airport Commission is unsatisfied with the delayed completion of Phase 2 of the airport's ramp.
Gale Associates representative Nick Ippolito told the commission last week that Phase 2 is largely complete except a few signs that need to be installed. He said they will have the signs by November.
Williamstown Students Celebrate Words With Costume Parade
Words and books of all shapes and sizes were on parade on Wednesday morning during Williamstown Elementary School's annual Words Are Wonderful costume parade. T
Pittsfield Council Adopts 'No On 2' Resolution
The City Council's oddest vote tally of the year came Tuesday night with 11 potential votes being split in five different ways on a resolution to oppose the ballot question to expand charter schools.
North Adams Council Gives Final OK on DPW Building Borrowing
The City Council on Tuesday approved the final reading to authorize borrowing of $1,498,550 to purchase and renovate the former Berkshire Anodizing building on Hodges Cross Road as a public service building.
The borrowing covers about $1 million for the property outright and another half-million for upgrades and interior construction to make the wide-open plant suitable for different departments.
Lanesborough Approves Large Increase In Tax Rate
A significant decrease in value of the Berkshire Mall and the onset of the bills for construction of the new Mount Greylock Regional Middle and High School are leading to nearly an 8 percent increase in tax bills.
The Board of Selectmen adopted a single-rate of $20.89 per thousand of assessed property value on Monday, which is a $1.53 increase over the previous year. The increase is mostly driven by a $12 million decrease in value for the Berkshire Mall plus another $360,000 or so for
Adams ZBA Backtracks to Approve Asian Cuisine Restaurant
The board had latched onto a problematic clause in the bylaws that allowed it to dismiss a special permit if approving it would lead to "deterioration of properties" because of a saturation of similar commercial activities. But on Tuesday, it unanimously approved the special permit for Xing Li to operate a restaurant at 131 Columbia St. — a building away from a similar proposed eatery.
Taconic High Construction: Precast Concrete Begins; Steel Going Up
The first precast concrete beam for the vocational shops at the new Taconic High School was placed on Tuesday.
Construction has been ongoing since March. It began with site work by J.H. Maximillian, who leveled the area, set up drainage, and blasted out rock ledge. Once that was completed, the foundation work started.
Health Connector Launches Insurance Enrollment Drive in North Adams
Health Connector officials are urging citizens to explore their health insurance options during this enrollment season.
Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31. With expected rises in health insurance premiums under the federal Affordable Care Act, it behooves people to look over their plans and update their accounts.
The word from the Health Connector is it's the time to shop for the best plan.
Mexican Restaurant Planned For Former Baba Louie's Pittsfield Location
A new Mexican restaurant is looking to open in the former Baba Louie's location on Depot street in the next month or so.
Jose Luis Verde is looking to open Tito's, a new restaurant of a chain with establishments in Ohio and Tennessee. Verde received approval for the liquor license on Monday and as soon as the Okay is given by the state's Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, the restaurant is ready to open.
Adams Historic Society to Have New Exhibit Space
The Historical Society will install exhibit space in the back wing of the library using memorial funds donated in the name of a local woman Jean Marie Beauchemin.
The library trustees approved the Historical Society's request during a meeting last week to make modifications to the library's back right hallway so the society can have a more visible and accessible exhibit space.
Senate Candidates Handle Slew of Questions During Debate At BCC
Most of the questions at Monday's state senate debate were on the ballot questions, which each of the two candidates taking slightly different views on them.
Republican Christine Canning-Wilson and Democrat Adam Hinds are both seeking election to the state Senate seat being vacated by Benjamin Downing. The two faced off at a debate Monday night sponsored by the Pittsfield Gazette and Berkshire Community College and moderator Dan Dillon said while the ballot questions are going to voters, the
Connell, Farley-Bouvier Trade Barbs in State Rep. Debate
Christopher Connell wants people to think of the "three Ps" when it comes to his campaign for state representative: "performance, priorities, and Pittsfield."
But, incumbent Tricia Farley-Bouvier added one more: part-time.
Sand Mill Road Bridge Repair Project Going Out to Bid
The town plans to put the Sand Mill Road Bridge repair project out to bid after the Conservation Commission's final review on Nov. 4.
Town Administrator Mark Webber said last week that the plans are almost bid ready and the board must decide if it wants to put out the project out to bid this fall or in the spring.
State Fire Marshal Offers Halloween Safety Tips
More children are injured by cars than fire on Halloween, so it’s important for children to learn and practice pedestrian safety and for drivers to use extra caution. Drive more slowly and watch for children who may forget to cross at corners and use crosswalks.
PopCares Annual Dinner Draws Hundreds to Bounti-Fare
Created in honor of the late William "Pop" St. Pierre by his family nearly four years ago, PopCares has disbursed some $175,000 to more than 400 people just like the Dabrowskis, helping them with the day-to-day items and acts of kindness so they can focus on getting better. Some 295 tickets alone were sold to Saturday's annual dinner, one of the nonprofit's biggest fundraiser.
Adams-Cheshire Residents See More Regionalization as Answer
The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District is facing a decision: Consolidate and get small, join another district and get big.
That seemed the takeaway from Saturday's community forum at Hoosac Valley High School hosted by the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management. The center, based at the University of Massachusetts, was hired by Adams to identify and analyze alternatives to reduce costs for the district.
Williams College Adding Capacity to Children's Center
A mini population explosion brought Williams College before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday.
The college asked the town to approve a temporary modular addition to the school’s children’s center on Whitman Street.
Mount Greylock School Maintains Level 1 Ranking
Mount Greylock Regional School has maintained its Level 1 rating, but it would have dropped down if the spring standardized tests had been counted.
For the first time last spring, some Mount Greylock students were tested using the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) standardized test, while the rest took the traditional MCAS exam.
Williamstown ZBA Makes Hard Choices at Marathon Meeting
Thursday's meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals was a study in irony.
The board members rejected a request from a resident they clearly appeared to want to help and approved a special permit under a bylaw about which several members clearly have reservations.
CYC Basketball Program Continues With YMCA Administration
The Berkshire Family YMCA has taken over administration of the Catholic Youth Center, keeping the programs operating the same as they always had.
In July, the CYC and the YMCA reached an agreement in which the YMCA will handle the business end of the programming from program registration to managing the finances. The YMCA has put the CYC staff on its payroll to continue the youth sports programming the center has offered for years.
New Mural Unveiled on Adams Wastewater Treatment Plant
The Adams Arts Advisory Board unveiled a new piece of public art on the wastewater treatment plant during a ride on the Berkshire Scenic Rail.
On the train ride Friday afternoon, artist Bill Riley said he was proud to be able to display his piece "Mountain Pool" in Adams.
Adams Harvest Fest This Weekend
The Harvest Fest will come to Bowe Field for the first time this Saturday.
Organizer Annmarie Belmonte said the idea for the event was to give people something to do this fall.
"Basically is there is not much to do around here, and, I hosted Hi-Jinx that went off without a hitch, so I thought I would try something else," Belmonte said.
Community Build Starts On New Playground at Durant Park
It was almost a year ago exactly when Eddie Taylor went before the Parks Commission and said the renaming of Pitt Park was "reigniting a fuse."
Rosemary and Rev. Willard Durant had inspired community and were a positive inspiration to many on the west side and a packed room last October of supporters rallied behind changing Pitt Park's name to honor the former AME Price Memorial Church pastor. The name change for those in support was not just a name, it was the start of a movement.
Brayton Students Enjoy Free Supper Program
Kids in North Adams have another reason to hang around after school: Dinner.
The hot meal program was introduced this year at Brayton Elementary School as part of its slate of after-school activities.
Pittsfield's Highland Park Renamed For Christopher R. Porter
Highland Park will now be renamed after the late Christopher R. Porter.
The Parks Commission approved the renaming after a hearing on Tuesday. Porter owned and operated C.R. Porter Builders, working on many of the city's parks, and was known in the community for his philanthropy and voluntarily maintaining the park. He died last December at age 54.
Clarksburg Building Committee Seeking More Funds for Study
Funds set aside for a feasibility study of Clarksburg School are coming up short.
The School Building Committee voted on Wednesday to kick a request for another $45,000 to the School Committee. The study is the first step in determining construction options for the 50-year-old school.
St Joe Strong: The Crusaders Won't Go Down Without A Fight
Unless Pope Francis himself says nothing can be done, the crusaders will be strong.
In the wake of the Diocese of Springfield announcing last week the closure of the 120-year St. Joseph Central High School parents, students, and alumni have joined together to appeal the closing of the county's only Catholic high school. The "St. Joe Strong" effort kicked off in earnest Thursday night when dozens of people rallied at Park Square as the fight to keep the school open began.
House Candidate Connell Calls On State To Address Bel-Air Dam
House candidate Christopher Connell says if elected he'd look the earmark money to address the failing Bel-Air dam on Wahconah Street.
Speaking at the site of the privately-owned dam on Thursday, Connell warned that a failure could cause significant property damage and is a safety hazard for those living downstream. And yet, the state has been unable to fund repairs or demolition of the what the Department of Conservation and Recreation has deemed a "high hazard" dam.
Adams Police Welcome New Officer
The Selectmen appointed Officer Dakota Baker on Wednesday as a full-time patrol officer.
"He has got a good head on his shoulders, and he takes a great pride in being a police officer," Police Chief Richard Tarsa told the board. "It is with great joy that I to welcome Dakota Baker to the ranks of the Adams Police Department."
Mount Greylock School Committee Passes Anti-Charter School Resolution
A divided Mount Greylock Regional School Committee voted Tuesday to join a long list of school committees around the commonwealth voicing opposition to a November ballot initiative that seeks to raise the cap on charter schools.
Teacher Lyndon Moors asked the committee to endorse a resolution drafted by the Save Our Public Schools campaign that urges voters to vote no on Question 2 on Nov. 8 — or when early voting gets under way in their town.
Adams-Cheshire Holds Public Input Meetings This Weekend
The public is invited to Hoosac Valley High School this weekend to participate in a study to identify and analyze cost-saving alternatives for the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.
"It's to learn, to listen, to provide background, to receive information and to share," School Committee member," Edmund St. John IV said. "It is a chance to partake in the conversation about the future of the district."
Waterstone Makes $20K Down Payment On Pittsfield Walmart Project
The developers of the proposed Walmart Supercenter at the William Stanley Business Park has put down $20,000 toward the purchase of the land.
The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority extended the letter of intent with Waterstone Retail Development until the end of December, making more time for the two sides to reach a purchase and sales agreement. In good faith, Waterstone has put down a $20,000 non-refundable deposit toward the purchase.
Lanesborough Elementary Retains Level 1 Ranking
The elementary school has again scored a top level ranking from the state.
The scores from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers have placed the school as Level 1. While the school has consistently ranked Level 1 in recent years, what stands out about this year's results is that PARCC was a pilot program which had a clause allowing schools to be held harmless in state accountability.
Founding Director Bowen Leaving BArT at End of School Year
The founding director of Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School will leave at the end of the school year.
Julia Bowen informed the BArT community by email on Wednesday afternoon that she was departing after 13 years guiding the region's first and only charter school.
PEDA Claiming $10K Loss in Nuclea Bankruptcy Filing
PEDA is looking to recoup some $10,000 in losses from Nuclea Biotechnologies, Inc, which has filed for Chapter bankruptcy.
Nuclea had rented office space the from the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority on Kellogg Street for a number of years. That lease agreement was until the end of October this year.
Pittsfield Buildings Need Significant Repair
The city-owned buildings are in deplorable condition.
Director of Maintenance Dennis Guyer presented an overview of the current conditions of schools, fire stations, the senior center, city hall, and the library, most of which have long lists of work needed but few funds to do it.
"For the past 30 years the city of Pittsfield has made the decision to deprioritize and underfunded its building maintenance operations," Guyer said.
Massachusetts Commission Hears Testimony on Women's Issues
Affordable health care and family leave are the "forefront" issues for Raya Kirby.
Balancing her 4-month-old daughter on her hip, told the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women on Tuesday how she accumulated sick and personal time by not taking any time off for 10 months and her family stocked away every penny, to ensure they could pay bills during her maternity leave.
Local Painter Presents Cheshire Mammoth Cheese Painting To Town
Local artist Leonard Stomski has gifted an oil painting of the Cheshire Mammoth Cheese to the town.
Stomski and his wife, Doris, presented the Selectmen with the image depicting the famous cheese wheel being sent off President Thomas Jefferson in 1802.
DA, Doctor Advocate Against Legal Marijuana at United Way Forum
Dr. Jennifer Michaels says every patient she sees struggling with serious addiction began by smoking marijuana at a young age.
Michaels, the medical director at the Brien Center, joined District Attorney David Capeless Tuesday in a forum at Berkshire Community College urging a no vote on the referendum to legalize marijuana, which will be on the ballot in November. Michaels outlined her belief that the legalization will lead to more issues with addictions while Capeless said public safety wou
Williamstown Restaurant Closed for Building Code Violations
The town Friday ordered the temporary closure of a Main Street restaurant after an inspection revealed the business' failure to address previously identified violations of the building code.
Town Manager Jason Hoch told the Board of Selectmen at its Monday night meeting that Chopsticks Restaurant was found to be in violation of several parts of the building code — some of which first were identified a year ago.
ACRSD To Look At Why Students Leave District
The Adams Cheshire Regional School District will look into why students school choice out of the district.
Interim Superintendent Robert Putnam told the School Committee Monday that 327 Adams-Cheshire students this year will attend other schools such as McCann Technical, Berkshire Arts and Technology Public Charter and St. Stanislaus Kostka schools.