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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield Licensing Board Considering New Processing Fees
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:09AM / Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lenco President Leonard Light said he is the only one to blame for an issue between his company, the Fire Department, and the Licensing Board and he took action to correct the violations. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Licensing Board is looking to add on a processing fee for alcohol license holders who make changes mid-year.   The fees would be tacked on to such transactions like changing of hours or changing of managers that are done outside of the annual renewal. Or the board is looking to up all of the annual renewal fees.   According to Licensing Board member Dianne Pero, none of the fees have been changed in nine years so a group began to compare them with neighboring


Commission Listens to Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:01AM / Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Margo Chevers, the Western Mass representative on the commission, said custodial grandparents had to get vocal to make change happen.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Margo Chevers remembers the night she was called to take in her two granddaughters, once almost 10 months, the other 23 months.

She wasn't prepared for the physical and emotional toll or the financial needs. It was, she said, a wake-up call.

"I dropped $50 just to get through the night," Chevers said of the supplies she had to get - diapers, food, pajamas. And there was the "mental calisthenics of how I'm going to get through the day."

Within two years she was facing a major health crisis, and saw


Inauguration 2016
by Soapbox 02:00PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016

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

Middle East Refugee Plan Outlined to Overflow Pittsfield Crowd
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:28PM / Monday, September 26, 2016

Deirdre Griffin said the project is a public-private partnership. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An overly packed library auditorium heard an overview of the organization looking to resettle 50 Syrian and Iraq refugees in the city's plans.

But representatives did not field questions much to the distaste of many who attended.

The meeting only lasted an hour with more than 300 people, in standing room and overflowing into the back, with Jewish Family Services providing an overview of the program.   The plan will bring the 15 or so Arab-speaking families from the Middle East to Pittsfield and volunteers and the JFS will work closely with them to help them become


Berkshires Beat: Fall Foliage Week Has Arrived
01:16PM / Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall Foliage Festival extravaganza: It's Fall Foliage week, and with that comes lots of news, notes - and pleas for help.

First, the pleas: The North Adams Chamber of Commerce is in need of six cyclists to help power its human powered vehicle for the Oct. 2 parade. Email Phil Sellers at Remember, the parade kicks off at 1 p.m. from the Ocean City Job Lot parking lot. All of this week's events can be found online.

Now, some news: Before the parade, Greylock Federal’s Fall Classic 5K Road Race will begin at noon at the top of Main Street near the North Adams Public Library and travel west down Main, then south on (Route 8) State Street before


Unistress Volunteers Build Shelter For Dogs At Sonsini Shelter
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:01PM / Monday, September 26, 2016

The shelter will be finished next weekend. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There are some cool dogs at the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter thanks to local businesses.   Some 30 Unistress employees were at the volunteer-run shelter this past weekend to build a cover to protect the dogs from the elements. The project allows the dogs to be outside without overheating from the sun that beats down onto the kennels.   "This is going to be a structure to provide shade and protection from the elements for the dogs when they are outside," said Krista Wroldson Miller, chairman of Sonsini's board of directors.   "It is has been a project we've been working on for


Biz Briefs: Lee Outlets Expand Before Holiday Season
11:30AM / Monday, September 26, 2016

Outlet additions: Popular apparel retailer Guess has opened a factory store at the Lee Premium Outlets, and Toys 'R Us Express and Ten Thousand Villages are open at the center through the fall and holiday shopping seasons.

Guess offers a full range of denim, apparel and accessories for women, men and kids and, with a presence in over 80 countries, is a truly global brand that will appeal to the shoppers from far and wide who visit Lee Premium Outlets. The store is located on Main Street at the center, between Johnston & Murphy and Lindt.

Ten Thousand Villages, open through Dec. 31, showcases handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture, textiles, serveware and personal


End of Session Review: William 'Smitty' Pignatelli
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:47AM / Monday, September 26, 2016

LENOX, Mass. — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli said despite a slow start to a short session, the Legislature was able to make some progress on big issues.

"It was an interesting session. We have two-year legislative sessions and it was a slow start to the session mainly because of the change in leadership in the Senate and we had a lengthy discord that is still going on about the rules and the joint rules of the Legislature," Pignatelli said. "That slowed our process down a little bit. ...

"But the second year was productive. There were a lot of things we left on the table because it was a short session."

The Lenox Democrat says his focus


Busy Weekend for Local Collegians in Village Beautiful Sports,
12:29AM / Monday, September 26, 2016
It was homecoming weekend of sorts for local graduates in Williamstown this weekend.   Cross country’s Purple Valley Classic and golf’s Williams Fall Invitational each attracted schools that feature Berkshire County alumni on their rosters.   At Taconic Golf Club, the Williams Fall Invitational included Salem State senior Chad Alibozek and an MCLA team that featured four locals.   Drury alumnus Matt Lawrence carded rounds of 83 and 85 to tie for 65th place in the field along with MCLA teammate Quinn McCormick. The pair were joined at the two-day event by Nick Bator (Drury), Josh Fortier (Pittsfield) and Liam Nolan (Pittsfield).   Salem State senior Alibozek


Annual Fall Run Fundraiser Returns For 35th Year
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
05:13PM / Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bikers make their way down Park Street for the annual Fall Run benefit for Shriners Children's Hospital. See more photos here.

ADAMS, Mass. — The rumble of engines echoed through Adams on Sunday morning as more than 1,000 motorcycles queued up at Bowe Field for the 60-mile Fall Run motorcycle ride.

Mike Roberts, owner of Custom City Cycle Shop and co-founder of the annual fundraiser, said although the 35 years marks a milestone for the run, it almost marked the end of Bike Night.

"The biggest issue we had this year was there was no Events Committee in Adams, they disbanded recently," he said. "They helped organize Bike Night and that was a big hit to

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Lanesborough's First New Firetruck in 20 Years Has Arrived
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:58PM / Saturday, September 24, 2016

The department start training on the new truck Saturday. LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Fire Department's first new truck in 20 years has arrived.   The brand-new 2016 Emergency-One Typhoon was delivered to headquarters on Friday and will serve as the new frontline vehicle for the volunteer Fire Department.   The engine replaces a 29-year-old E-One, which will be sold. The town had stashed some of its free cash aside for the last three years to make a large down payment and financed the remainder. The truck cost $475,500.   "The town has been putting money away, putting money away, putting money away to come up with three-quarters of the money to buy it and

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Buddy Walk Unites Families — And Athletes, Too, This Year
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:36PM / Saturday, September 24, 2016

DALTON, Mass. — The 10th annual Buddy Walk of the Berkshires was bigger than ever. And thanks to a high school sports scheduling quirk, its reach was a little broader than ever. 

The Saturday morning walk, organized by and for the support of Berkshire County families living with Down syndrome, drew about 1,000 participants who gathered at Craneville Elementary School for the annual walk up and down Main Street. 

That group included the girls soccer team from Westfield High, which had a game scheduled for 1 p.m. against Dalton's Wahconah Regional. Problem was, many of the girls on the Wahconah team are long-time Buddy Walkers, going back to their days as Craneville

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@theMarket: The Same Old Song
By Bill Schmick,
06:16PM / Friday, September 23, 2016

Investors have been waiting all year for that elusive interest rate hike promised by our central bank. September proved to be another false start. Once again, markets rallied on the news, the dollar fell, and investors were happy. So what's new?

As we have written so many times in the past, investors and markets are fixated on a Fed rate hike. Now everyone's attention is on December. Janet Yellen, the Fed chieftain, indicated that she could see at least one rate hike this year — if the data warrants it. The problem is the economic numbers are, at best, inconclusive.

Even the central bank, in this last go-around at the FOMC, lowered its forecast for the future, long-term,


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