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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Parks Light Up With Memorial, Holiday Events
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
05:14PM / Sunday, November 23, 2014
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The crowd gathers at the 2012 tree lighting at Park Square. This year's event is Friday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Downtown open spaces will be brightened with seasonal cheer and commemoration of loved ones at a variety of upcoming December events.

The city's 2014 Christmas tree will be installed in Park Square this Tuesday, to be followed by its annual lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m.

"The deadline was extended, but we did find a tree," Recreation Coordinator Rebecca Manship told the city's Parks Commission.

As in past years, Manship said the event will feature caroling by the Taconic High School chorus, with Santa and Mrs. Claus to

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Pittsfield Schools Grapple With Enrollment Drop
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
04:33AM / Saturday, November 22, 2014
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Superintendent Jason McCandless said enrollment at some Pittsfield schools is unbalanced, while the overall number of students in the district has dropped.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — School officials are mulling the implications of a new report that indicates the district has 170 students less than it had this time last year.

At a meeting of the Pittsfield Public School Committee on Wednesday, Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless presented data from an annual state enrollment report

"Our school-age population across the county continues to decline," said McCandless, who cited rising awareness of an overall population decrease throughout the region recently.

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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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The Independent Investor: The Pipeline Made Simple
By Bill Schmick,
08:00PM / Friday, November 21, 2014
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The U.S. Senate rejected passage of the Keystone Pipeline by one vote this week. The controversial energy plan will be back on the agenda, however, in January. For most of us, separating fact from fiction as both sides alter the facts is difficult at best, but here are some things we do know.

First, we can describe the project. The proposed Keystone XL project consists of an 875-mile stretch of pipeline and related facilities that will transport 830,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil from Alberta, Canada, through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It will then connect to existing pipeline facilities that flow through Nebraska, Oklahoma and ultimately down to the Texas Gulf Coast

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Friends of St. Mary's Tour Endangered Pittsfield Church
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
06:56PM / Friday, November 21, 2014
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Residents, elected officials and members of a group dedicated to saving St. Mary's toured the empty church on Friday afternoon. See more photos here.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new advocacy group met with community leaders on Friday to tour the vacant St. Mary the Morningstar Church in the hope of exploring options for redeveloping the historic Tyler Street structure.

"The committee's hope is to provide and access to all interested parties who would like to take an active role in finding a suitable purpose for St. Mary's," said Darcie Sosa, spokesman for the newly formed Friends of St. Mary's.

The Friends were joined by a smattering of local businesspeople,

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Cover for Retirement in Stages
By Wells Fargo Advisors, Submitted Content
02:35PM / Friday, November 21, 2014
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While summer vacations and national holidays typically provide a break for everyone who would be considered a member of the working public, there is one big break ahead that’s a priority on most everyone’s calendar — retirement. 

And while it may be closer for some than it is for others, everyone needs to make sure they are financially prepared when the time comes to take a permanent leave from the ranks of the employed.  Personal circumstances make planning for retirement different for each individual, but there are several considerations that apply if you break it down by the amount of time you have left until you retire.

If you have at least 10 years to go

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Nov. 21-27
01:32PM / Friday, November 21, 2014
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Shop Local This Holiday Season!

Shop Local. Eat Local. Spend Local. Enjoy Local.  You will notice these signs around Pittsfield.  As you begin to dive into the holiday shopping season, please keep in mind all that the retailers and restaurants and art galleries (see below) of Pittsfield have to offer.  Think outside the box this season and before you click "Buy Now" consider buying that item locally.  Happy shopping!

 

Friday-Saturday+: Pop Up Art Show at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts

Give the gift of art this Holiday Season!  Start your

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Superior Court Briefs: Nov. 17 - Nov. 19.
Staff Reports,
10:26AM / Friday, November 21, 2014
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, November 17.   Lois Aubin, 45, of Stamford, Vt. was found guilty of single counts of larceny over $250 and misleading a police officer or other person.   She was ordered to serve concurrent two to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Aubin took approximately $7,000 from Corner Market in North Adams on August 17, 2013 and was not truthful with investigations when telling them what happened.   Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, November 18.   Ernest Harvin, 38, of Williamstown pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, two counts of

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Pittsfield Councilor Files Petition To Restrict Mayoral Employment
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:00AM / Friday, November 21, 2014
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Councilor at Large Barry Clairmont has filed a petition to ensure a mayor is available while City Hall is open. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council is being asked to change city ordinances to ensure a mayor is available during working hours.   Councilor at Large Barry Clairmont has filed a petition that will bar the mayor from working for another employer while City Hall is open.   "I'm not going to say the mayor can't work another job, just that they can't work it during City Hall hours," Clairmont said on Thursday.   "If someone wants to go work at night, that's fine, as long as it doesn't affect the running of the

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Pittsfield Sets Fiscal 2015 Property Tax Rates
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:48PM / Thursday, November 20, 2014
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Connie Boyle told the City Council that the Berkshire Hills County Club has seen its taxes increase by 400 percent in the last decade. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After about an hour and half discussion, the City Council voted in favor of the administration's proposed tax classification.   The council set the tax rates for fiscal 2015 at $18.06 per $1,000 for residential properties and $36.62 per $1,000 of commercial.   The rates raise the taxes on the average single-family home by $131.05 per year.   The rate divides up the needed $73.5 million from taxes to balance the $148 million budget.    The city is once again going with a split tax rate —

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Man Involved in Shooting At Pittsfield Big Y Dies
Staff Reports,
04:38PM / Thursday, November 20, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A man shot in the Big Y parking lot earlier this week has died.   Anthony Gamache, 29, of Goshen died Wednesday, the district attorney's office confirmed on Thursday. Gamache had been shot Tuesday while in the Big Y parking lot on West Street. Police have charged an 18-year-old city man with firearm charges.   "We're waiting on the results of the autopsy," said Fred Lantz, of the district attorney's office, Thursday afternoon.    The autopsy will be performed in Boston to determine the cause of death.    Gamache was shot in the the leg and was driven by two others to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton to be

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