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A bald eagle was sighted on Beaver Street on Thursday.
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Bald Eagle Sighted Over the Hoosic River in North Adams

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A number of nesting pairs of the raptors have been sighted or confirmed in South and Central County. It's not clear if this bird in North Adams has a mate. 

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Photographer Rick Duteau, who helps cover sports at iBerkshires, caught images of a bald eagle on Thursday taking a break above one of the American flags that have been hung over the Hoosic River. 

The eagle has been seen recently in this area, just above the Eclipse Dam off Beaver Street. It apparently drew a crowd on its most recent siting.

Bald eagles were re-introduced into Massachusetts in the early 1980s. According to Massachusetts Audubon, the last presumed nesting of these birds of prey had been around the turn of the 20th century. The species was endangered by the use of DDT, which softened or eliminated the baby birds' shells. Since the banning of DDT in 1972, the nation's symbol has moved from the "endangered" list to "threatened" status.

Haliaeetus leucocephalus is a scavenger that prefers carrion but will seek small prey, especially fish. It is the largest raptor in the state with a wingspan up to 7 feet. Bald eagles have also been sighted in recent years along Cheshire Reservoir. Audubon's most recent bird listing (no date given) shows confirmed and possible sightings mostly in Central and South County and one block that appears to be Cheshire Reservoir. 

About 30 bald eagles were counted in Vermont in 2017, but that was in the northern and northwestern part of the state along Lake Champlain and as far south as Lake Bomoseen. 

On the other hand, MassWildlife in 2018 counted 76 pairs of bald eagles in the state, a more than 20 percent increase over 2016. The state agency is looking for information on nests or nesting birds, including "adults carrying sticks or nest lining material are of special interest." Observations can be sent to State Ornithologist Andrew Vitz at MassWildLife has more information on the birds here.

Tags: birds,   eagles,   

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MCLA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge Announces Three Winners

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Although this year's MCLA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge, held May 4-8, was a virtual affair, the college community still came together to view and vote for the three finalists' pitches.

The finalists, all seniors who pitched their business ideas via video, were David Flight, Kimberly Granito and Sierra Lamonde. The students were coached through a series of deliverables — determining the solution to the problem, developing a budget and business plan as the roadmap for the project or business, and presenting before a panel of judges.

Granito’s "Detailing Dream" won first place, which came with a $7,500 award. Lamonde's "Pyrography Crafts" placed second, for a $5,000 award, and Flight's "Settling the States” won the $2,500 third-place award. The startup funding awards aim to cover inventory, equipment, and marketing costs for the three new businesses.

While this year's challenge was different than past events, Granito said the vollege made sure everyone had a good experience nonetheless. The sociology major, with minors in criminal justice and women, gender and sexuality studies, admitted to being a little intimidated going into the challenge because she wasn't a business major, but stressed that anyone could do it.

"It takes a lot of time to put a business plan together, but it was possible with the mentorship the challenge offers," she said. "It's such a great opportunity, even without the prize money, just learning the ins and outs of putting a plan together."

Her winning business, Detailing Dream, is a car detailing service meant to cater to people who may think they don't have the time or money for such a service. Granito's packages include lower-cost options that other companies don't offer because they usually cater to luxury cars. Unlike most of her competitors, Granito's business would also include a mobile option where she would come to the customer, so they could take advantage of the service without leaving their home or office.

"I was trying to cater to single women, single moms, and parents with kids who might be too intimidated to go to a big shop with all men," she said. "I'm a female in a very male-dominated career — society has deemed cars a man's hobby. It was empowering to be a female jumping into a male-dominated area."

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