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St. Joseph’s Cemetery was first established in 1853 with the purchase of farmland on Pecks Road.

Berkshires Beat: Pittsfield Catholic Parishes Launch Campaign for Cemetery Repairs

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Cemetery campaign

The Catholic community in Pittsfield, including all four parishes – St. Joseph, St. Mark, St. Charles and Sacred Heart – have joined together and launched a campaign titled "Joining Together to Honor our Past and Continue our Legacy" to raise $1.2 million to provide much-needed repairs and restoration work to St. Joseph's Cemetery.

St. Joseph’s Cemetery was first established in 1853 with the purchase of farmland on Pecks Road. Over the years, additional land was added, and the cemetery now consists of 225 acres and serves the entire Catholic Community in Pittsfield. The cemetery is the final resting place for approximately 37,000 people and has enough land to serve for many more years. It is owned and controlled by the parishes and overseen by a Cemetery Commission.

But while the cemetery is well-maintained and operated, serious water problems exist especially in the newer upper section. The clay soil and high water table there have led to flooding and icing of the roads and some gravesites after heavy rains. This often leads to problems during burials and visits especially in the winter and spring. The flooding and freezing of the roads have caused a number of the roads to severely deteriorate. While potholes are patched annually, most of the roads need rebuilding or repaving. New drainage lines and regrading are needed to correct the water and drainage problems.  This capital campaign will raise funds to permanently fix the drainage problems and to rebuild or repave all existing paved roads in the cemetery.

The "Joining Together to honor our Past and Continue our Legacy" Campaign is seeking $1.2 million in order to undertake the needed restoration work at St. Joseph’s Cemetery.  The work will be executed in three phases under the supervision of White Engineering, beginning in 2019. Phase 1 will see the installation of subsurface drains in select areas in the upper section and the lowering of catch basins. Phase 2 will include reconstructing the drainage along the main road from the lower section leading to the upper section of the cemetery to eliminate the flooding that takes place regularly in that lower area. And Phase 3 will reconstruct the most deteriorated roads first and then repave all other existing paved roads.

The campaign will run through spring 2019. Those interested in contributing or learning more about the Campaign can call the Cemetery Office at 413-499-1317 or visit the cemetery website.


Energy award

Southwestern Vermont Health Care's Director of Engineering William Hall was presented with Efficiency Vermont's Energy Leadership Award at the state organization’s Best Practices Exchange in Killington, Vt., last month. Efficiency Vermont's Manager of Account Management David Adams presented the award.

The work that led to the award includes capital and organizational improvements. The health system has built a new central boiler plant, exchanged pumps with variable speed units, repaired steam traps, and optimized their chilled water system. Altogether, the work is estimated to have saved the health system $115,000 over the past year.


Vendors sought

Zion Lutheran Church of Pittsfield is seeking vendors for its annual Winter Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church, located at 74 First Street in Pittsfield. The craft fair will be held in our recently renovated and fully accessible sanctuary.  Vendor applications are available on our website ( or by calling the church at 413-443-2535 and leaving a message with name and mailing address.


Veterans breakfast

The Civitan Club of the Berkshires and Boy Scout Troop 8 will team up for the 17th annual “Not Just a Pancake Breakfast” to be held on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, from 7:45 a.m. to noon at the St. Charles Church Hall on Briggs Avenue in Pittsfield. Everyone will enjoy pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, orange juice, milk and coffee.   

Tickets are available at the door for $8 per person, $6 for seniors, $5 for kids under 12 and free for kids under 3 In honor of Veterans Day, all veterans will be served breakfast free of charge. Family and friends are encouraged to bring veterans for breakfast.  Also, donors may sponsor a veteran's breakfast. To purchase tickets in advance or for more information, call Don Rochelo at 413-822-0535.


Veterans dinner

All Saints Berkshires Episcopal Church will be hosting a free veterans' dinner to all veterans and a guest on Friday, Nov. 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. in their parish hall, located at 59 Summer St. in North Adams. Immediately following dinner, there will be an Appreciation & Remembrance Service at 6 p.m.

Seating is limited and guests must call the All Saints parish office at 413-664-9656 to reserve their dinner(s). RSVPs are requested by Nov. 3.


Corridor Gallery

The Southwestern Vermont Health Care Corridor Gallery now features dozens of good holiday gifts and decorations. All are handcrafted and include, jewelry, knitwear, and hand-sewn items, among others. The exhibit is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Wednesday, Dec. 12. Pieces in this exhibit are for sale. Proceeds benefit the artists and the SVHC Auxiliary, which has given more than $1 million to support services and equipment upgrades to SVHC over the past 20 years.

In addition to the Corridor Gallery, the SVHC Auxiliary manages the hospital gift shop, Personal Emergency Response System operations, and independent vendor sales. For information about joining the SVHC Auxiliary, visit the website or call 802-440-6080.


Women's Center banquet

The seventh annual New Direction Women’s Center fund-raising banquet, held on Oc. 18, featured author Nina Fuller speaking on her choice to carry her daughter, Tess, to term after receiving the prenatal diagnosis of down syndrome. Addressing the audience of 150, Fuller, who later adopted another child with Down Syndrome, said Tess has been a blessing to the family and an inspiration to many people, starting with her brothers.

Because Tess was hospitalized for a lengthy period, Fuller said, she got to know the hospital staff. Soon they began calling her to meet with other parents who had just had a baby with down syndrome. She later started a support group for parents. In their home state of Indiana, Tess was the inspiration for the state bill prohibiting abortion for certain reasons, including disabilities like down syndrome.

New Direction Women’s Center is located at 98 Church St. in North Adams., and offers area women help with a crisis pregnancy in the form of pregnancy tests, material assistance, baby clothes, parenting classes, and limited obstetrical ultrasounds. New Direction has just started a post-abortion recovery group to help women heal if they are hurting after an abortion. Women may participate in the group or have one-on-one sessions.  A nutrition class is scheduled to begin in January. All services are free and confidential. For more information, call 413-346-4291.

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New Wahconah High Going Up Fast

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

School Building Committee co-Chairman Tom Callahan, left, with MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy. The old high school is in the background.
DALTON, Mass. — A traditional topping off ceremony was held on Thursday to mark the completion of the steel skeleton for what will be Wahconah Regional High School. 
School officials gathered to mark the milestone with the sounds of construction and sparks from welding giving proof that their vision was being made reality after a  long and arduous process. 
"As far as this building goes, the process by which to make it happen to get the vote was an arduous one," said Principal Aaron Robb. "I would say that this building was willed into existence. Absolutely 100 percent willed into existence."
Robb had only been principal three days when news came that the high school had been accepted into the feasibility stage with the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The four-year process to get to Thursday was fraught with division as the seven towns in the Central Berkshire Regional School District last year weighed the worth of the $72.7 million project.
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