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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Singer Seeking IndiGogo Boost to Fame
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
05:33PM / Monday, September 22, 2014
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Sarah Elizabeth Rayner of Pittsfield is trying to raise funds to record an album.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A young Pittsfield singer songwriter has been given the opportunity to record an album in Los Angeles.

Sarah Elizabeth Rayner has been completely surrounded by music for most of her life and has been writing her own songs since she was 9. In somewhat of a fluke earlier this year, a talent scout from a Los Angeles-based music label discovered a video of her playing an original song and got in contact with her.

"It was kind of a spur of the moment thing; an hour after I bought my ukulele I wrote a song and ended up posting it on YouTube," Rayner said. "The next day a

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UCP Honors Volunteers, Staff at 53rd Annual Meeting
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:04PM / Monday, September 22, 2014
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Janie Ray, left, takes a break from recording the annual UCP meeting to receive the Life Without Limits Award from friend Pat Sheely, who also was honored for her 24 years of service on the UCP board. See more photos from the evening here.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Christina Embry's faced some challenges in her short life, but she hasn't let them hold her back.

Embry was honored last week for her achievements in both her working and personal life at United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County's 53rd annual meeting.

"Christina is a young woman who represents what our agency stands for," said Leigh Uqdah, director of Individual and Family Support. "A life

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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

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Downtown Pittsfield Construction Update, Sept. 22-26, 2014
Downtown Inc.,
12:48PM / Monday, September 22, 2014
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CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
September 22 - 26, 2014

Construction update September 22 - 26, 2014 in downtown Pittsfield on North Street between Madison and Tyler Streets; and on the pedestrian plazas at the corners of Columbus and Eagle Streets at North Street.

PLEASE NOTE: All businesses will be open and accessible.

STREETSCAPE PHASE 3
North Street – between Madison Avenue and Tyler Street  The contractor will continue work in front of Berkshire Medical Center and the island in the roadway between Burbank and Tyler Street. Sidewalk work will continue on the west

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Pittsfield Celebrates Fire Safety Week With Open House
11:15AM / Monday, September 22, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Working smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a fire. That’s the message behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!"

Along with firefighters and safety advocates nationwide, the Pittsfield Fire Department is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5-11, to remind local residents about the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home and testing them monthly.

According to the latest NFPA research, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of

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Nuclea Biotechnologie Taps New CFO
10:42AM / Monday, September 22, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Nuclea Biotechnologies has hired Bern Whitney as its chief financial officer.

Whitney brings more than 30 years’ experience to his position at Nuclea. He has served as CFO, and as senior financial management, in numerous fast-growth companies ranging in size from pre-public entities to billion-dollar multinationals. During that time, he raised over $650 million of capital in initial public, follow-on, and debt offerings.

Highlighting the depth of his experience, Whitney’s previous responsibilities have included controllership, treasury, manufacturing and site operations, business development (mergers and acquisitions), corporate communications,

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Pittsfield Schools To Hire New Cultural Proficiency Liaison
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
10:23AM / Monday, September 22, 2014
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Superintendent Jake McCandless informed the School Committee last week that a new part-time position would focus on connecting with the city's youth.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A newly created position meant to improve the school district's cultural competency and underaddressed diversity issues will have a big impact on school attendance rates, according to Superintendent of Schools Jason "Jake" McCandless.

McCandless told the School Committee at last week's meeting that he has worked with Mayor Daniel Bianchi to hammer out an agreement to establish a year-round, part time position to address social and other aspects of Pittsfield schools, such as bullying, that

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Patricks Thank Berkshire Supporters
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:42AM / Monday, September 22, 2014
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The Patricks attended a reception in Great Barrington to thank supporters.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The coalition built around Gov. Deval Patrick's two terms in office hopes to continue once he leaves office this January.

The governor and his wife, Diane Patrick, mingled with 40 or 50 potential "Friends of Deval Patrick" gathered on Saturday afternoon at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds.

The Patricks were there to thank supporters for their efforts and input over the past eight years.

"You've really been with us through the highs and the lows, and there have been lots and lots of highs and some lows," said Diane Patrick.  

The governor thanked

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Habitat For Humanity Dedicates 27th Home
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:07PM / Sunday, September 21, 2014
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Shamika Mungin and her son, Camryn, cut the cake at Saturday's dedication ceremony. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Shamika Mungin achieved the goals she set for herself some years ago — to have a college education and own a house.   Just a few years ago, Mungin and her 6-year-old son were living in subsidized housing and she wanted a home of her own. But she wasn't quite sure how.    She enrolled in Berkshire Community College — and is now a licensed phlebotomist — and began taking the homeowner classes through the Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity.    In what state Sen. Benjamin Downing said is the part of the story that makes him

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Legislative Q&A: State Sen. Benjamin Downing
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:58AM / Sunday, September 21, 2014
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Sen. Benjamin Downing in his Pittsfield office. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Benjamin Downing says reducing poverty remains his top focus.    In the last legislative session, the state has raised the minimum wage, made adjustments to the unemployment system and passed new laws for drug abuse and mental health treatment.   But, that is only the start of what Downing sees as an overarching conversation about poverty. And in the next session, he is hoping the state focuses even more attention on improving the economy for everybody.    With the formal session concluding at the end of July, we sat down with Downing in his Pittsfield office to recap what has

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Steepleview Realty Expands Into Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:13AM / Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Chris Lipa, Paul Segala and Jennifer Segala of Steepleview Realty and Kristine Hurley of Downtown Pittsfield Inc. cut the ribbon on the new location Friday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — For years, Jennifer Segala sold real estate through other agencies and a list grew in her head — a list of what not to do.   Sixteen years ago that list became the core mission of Steepleview Reality. She started her own company focused first on customer service in an attempt to shed the "sleazy salesmen" reputation some real estate companies had been gaining.   On Friday, Segala and her husband, Paul, held a grand opening on their third location, which will continue to build on

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