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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Berkshire Force 14s Open World Series With Two Wins
11:44PM / Friday, July 31, 2015
NEWBERRY, Fla. -- The Berkshire Force 14-and-under softball team opened the Babe Ruth World Series with a pair of wins on Friday.   In its opener, the Force scored six runs in the top of the seventh to earn a 12-6 win over Gainesville, Fla.   Brianna Clary went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs, and Tess Lyon doubled in two runs in the seventh-inning rally.   In its second win, Berkshire scored early and often in a 16-0 win over Gilchrist, Fla., that ended after five innings.   Mary Grace Lee went 3-for-3, and Abigail Santos hit a triple with an RBI to lead the hit parade.   Lee and Nicole Trova combined to strike out eight and scatter five hits over five


Pittsfield Offers Community Development Director to Florida Woman
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:37PM / Friday, July 31, 2015
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Janis Akerstrom has been selected to take over as the city's director of community development.   Akerstrom is the current housing and community development manager in Orlando, Fla. She would fill the position left by Douglas Clark, who resigned to return to his engineering business. James McGrath, the city's open space and parks director, is currently serving in the position on a interim basis and served on the committee to find Clark's replacement.   "I am very pleased to be able to bring on board a community development director with Ms. Akerstrom's qualifications," Mayor Daniel Bianchi wrote in a statement. "She brings a


Kids 4 Harmony Provided The Music At The Inauguration Reception
by Soapbox 08:38PM / Monday, January 06, 2014

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
by Soapbox 04:10PM / Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Look the city's Christmas Tree is bigger than a bus!
by Soapbox 10:10AM / Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'Southpaw': Winner by a Split Decision
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:02PM / Friday, July 31, 2015
Popcorn Column
by Michael S. Goldberger  
Weinstein Co. Jake Gyllenhaal steps into the ring to punch out a story told many times before and still lands a KO.

The stark realism of director Antoine Fuqua's emotionally charged "Southpaw" belies the fact that you've seen this classic boxing saga at least a couple dozen times before, if not more. Oh, they get changed up a little bit, depending on the era from whence they emerge, but the plot is inevitably familiar.

The protagonist, usually of little intelligence and bereft of an upbringing that might have prepared him for a more traditional occupation, grapples his way to


The Independent Investor: Supermarkets Evolve to Survive
By Bill Schmick,
03:29PM / Friday, July 31, 2015

We take our local supermarkets for granted. Like gas stations, there seems to one on almost every corner, at least in suburbia. With competition from a variety of sources, supermarkets have been forced to reinvent themselves and are doing a good job doing just that.

Historically, supermarkets are a low-margin business, barely eking out 1-2 percent profit margins annually. Even the "hot" areas of the grocery market, like natural. organic and gourmet food emporiums only command 3 percent to 6 percent margins but to the big store chains that's an attractive option.

In addition, the supermarkets industry is highly fragmented with the top 10 chains only accounting for 35 percent


Berkshire United Way Announces New Hires, Promotions
01:36PM / Friday, July 31, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire United Way has announced new hires and promotions that position the organization to expand its leadership role in the community and enhance fundraising efforts to create sustainable change in the community.  

Jennifer Kerwood has been hired as vice president of Development and Joey Esposito as coordinator of Marketing and Communications. In addition, the organization has promoted five: Nancy Stoll to vice president of Community Impact, Karen Vogel to Community Impact program manager, Jonah Sykes to Development manager, Erin Breen to Donor Database specialist and Valerie Schueckler to senior accountant.

Kerwood returns to Berkshire United Way after


Pittsfield Police Seeking Suspect in Fatal Tyler St. Shooting
By Andy McKeever,
01:29PM / Friday, July 31, 2015
Police are investigating a shooting on Tyler Street this afternoon that sent two people to the hospital.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Friday's shooting has been confirmed as a fatal with the death of 18-year-old  Keenan S. Pellot Jr.

Pellot, of Pittsfield, was one of two victims taken to Berkshire Medical Center after shots were fired outside Chewy's Barber Shop on Tyler Street early Friday afternoon.

The second victim, a 17-year-old Pittsfield man, is undergoing surgery for multiple gunshots wounds, according to a statement from the district attorney's office. He is expected to survive.

The first responders found the two men with what appeared to be multiple gunshot


Superior Court Briefs: July 27 - July 30
Staff Reports,
12:48PM / Friday, July 31, 2015
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 27.   Gabrielle Garzone, 21, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: trafficking in heroin, and conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: trafficking in cocaine.   She was released on $2,500 bail. Garzone is accused of conspiring with others to sell cocaine and heroin in Berkshire County between January 20, 2015 and March 6, 2015.   Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, July 29.   Joseph Lamb, 29, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of armed robbery.   Lamb robbed Harte's Package Store in Pittsfield on


Cultural Pittsfield This Week: July 31-Aug. 6
12:14PM / Friday, July 31, 2015
Office of Cultural Development | City of Pittsfield    

Friday- Saturday: Tag Sale With Something For Everyone To Benefit the Berkshire Carousel


Hundreds of items to choose from and something for everyone at this tag sale for the Berkshire Carousel. Friday and Saturday, July 31 and August 1, continuing the following weekend August 7 -8. Please call 413.499.0457 for more information. Contact person:


Friday- Saturday, July 31 - August 1 | 8am-4pm | 641 East


Lawmakers Override More Than Half of Gov.'s Budget Vetoes
Staff Reports,
10:50AM / Friday, July 31, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lawmakers have restored more than half of Gov. Charlie Baker's $162.8 million in vetoes to the state budget.

Over the last week, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed overrides worth $97 million. State Sen. Benjamin Downing's office released some highlights of the 87 or so vetoes overridden by lawmakers.   Locally, that includes $100,000 for Barrington Stage's Playwright Mentoring Program, $100,000 for the Berkshire Youth Development Project, $100,000 for regional EMS services, $75,000 for Gallery 51, $55,000 for regional libraries, and $23,000 for Berkshire Community College. All of those were specific earmarks local legislators


Elms College Bringing Human Services Degree Program To BCC Campus
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:51AM / Friday, July 31, 2015
BCC President Ellen Kennedy and Elms College President Mary Reap sign an agreement on Thursday to bring the Elm's bachelor's degree program in human services to the BCC campus. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two years ago, Berkshire Community College and Elms College signed an agreement to bring a bachelor's program to Lee.   On Thursday, the two colleges brought the human services degree program right to the BCC campus to make it easier for BCC students to make the transition into the higher-level degree.   "It just seems like a next step and a natural transition," said Elms College President Mary Reap. "The benefits for the students just goes without

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Biz Briefs: Mr. Tire, Tax Holiday, Business Directory
Staff Reports,
05:27PM / Thursday, July 30, 2015
Don't worry, Mister Tire will still be here when the snow flies.

Tired of Rumors

Larry Davis of Mister Tire in North Adams is assuring his many, many patrons that the 38-year-old family business is definitely not closing.

"It's come to our attention that the rumor about town has us closing our doors, or being sold to the highest bidder. We'd like to take the time to assure the community that neither of these things are true," the company posted on its Facebook page.

Rather, Davis will be spending less time at the shop, with his children Matt, Mike, and Tori, and general manager Scott taking over more of the operation.

"Larry's children will continue to


Advocates Call For Expanding Medicare On Anniversary Of Bill Signing
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:14PM / Thursday, July 30, 2015
Advocates held a 'birthday party' for Medicare outside of the Silvio O. Conte Federal Building.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Dr. Charles Wohl says the United States ranks 37th in the world in health outcomes.

But ranks first in per capita spending.

"That is terrible," Wohl said.   "We have a highly inefficient health-care system. Twelve to 30 percent of health-care spending goes down the drain for administrative costs."   However, with the Medicare system, only 3 percent of the total expenses are for administration. The rest goes directly to keeping the elderly and those with disabilities healthy.   That's why Wohl joined with others on


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