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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Suzanne Bump Seeking Re-election as Auditor
By Andy McKeever,
03:22AM / Saturday, October 25, 2014
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Auditor Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington is running for re-election. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In her efforts to modernize the auditor's office, Suzanne Bump has found some $400 million in misspent taxpayer money.   Bump is now running for re-election so she can continue her efforts both through auditing various state departments and improving the auditor's office.   "We made a deliberate focus on the quality of our work and not the quantity. With the audits we've done, we identified an unprecedented amount of broken systems, misspending and potential fraud and abuse. In fact $400 million worth," Bump said on Friday.   Most notable of Bump's

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@theMarket: All Clear
By Bill Schmick,
04:09PM / Friday, October 24, 2014
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If investors needed proof that the market's bottom is in, this week provided it. It was the best week of the year in stock market gains and it looks like we have more on the way.

That's not to say we couldn't have another pullback, but it won't be to the levels we saw nine days ago. The S&P 500's 200 DMA is around 1.905. That would be the logical limit to a decline if traders wanted to do a little profit-taking, but I don't see much downside beyond that.

One catalyst that is providing support for the market is another good earnings season. Although there have been a few spectacular misses by some big technology companies, by and large, companies have beat

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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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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Oct. 24-30
12:46PM / Friday, October 24, 2014
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Friday: Arts Matter Day!

We're celebrating Arts Matter Day at the Office of Cultural Development on Friday and we invite you to join us by sharing why art matters to you and should matter in the upcoming election! Take the Arts Matter pledge and share your Arts Matter story with a photo or video. Whenever you're enjoying some arts and culture, snap a photo, post it to social media and tag it #ArtsMatterDay.  In the next few weeks leading up to the general election on November 4th, the candidates for state office will continue to discuss the strengths and challenges of the Commonwealth and debate how to strengthen the economy,

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Are We There Yet?: Halloween Is Just Beginning
By Rebecca Dravis,
12:18PM / Friday, October 24, 2014
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Get your Halloween on this weekend ... and prepare to party for a full week!

I admit, Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. It always seems to rain (or snow, a la 2012) and my daughter STILL has to go trick or treating. I suck it up and take her because I was not allowed to trick or treat when I was a child. (My mom had her reasons; I've gotten over it.)

Then there's the candy ... oh, all that candy. Who needs it? Well, ironically, my daughter kind of does. As a child with type one diabetes, she chooses to treat low blood sugars with candy. Did you know Smarties have the same chemical makeup as the official diabetic-friendly glucose tabs - but taste much better? So we

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U.S. Senate Candidate Brian Herr Fighting for Name Recognition
By Andy McKeever,
11:42AM / Friday, October 24, 2014
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Brian Herr, on the left, met with Republicans at Pittsfield campaign headquarters Thursday morning. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Brian Herr says U.S. Senator Edward Markey is disrespecting voters by dodging the campaign.   The Republican Herr is challenging Markey for the seat but the incumbent has done little to no campaigning. Only one debate between the two candidates has been held and the race has seen little interest across the state.    Herr says Markey's lack of a campaign is disrespectful because it doesn't give Massachusetts voters an opportunity to make up their minds. Markey's avoidance has also made it tougher for Herr to gain name recognition

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The Independent Investor: The Elephant in the Room
By Bill Schmick,
03:27PM / Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Mid-term elections are less than two weeks away. Issues, for the most part, have fallen by the wayside as pure politics runs amuck. No wonder voter turnout is traditionally so poor in this midterm madness.

Republicans are running against an unpopular president and are expected to sweep both houses of Congress. All they have to do is keep the focus on President Obama while mobilizing their die-hard base.  That strategy appears to be highly effective so why worry about mundane things like issues? After all, if voters don't care, why should they?

Both parties' campaigns are now dictated by whatever voters are worrying about on a day-by-day basis.  The fear of an ebola

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Pittsfield Schools Review Teacher Evaluation Process
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Staff
03:48AM / Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Morningside Principal Joseph Curtis explained the development of a teacher evaluation system to the School Committee on Wednesday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Morningside Community School Principal Joseph Curtis hailed a recently developed system for evaluating performance of educators in the district, in a presentation to the Public School Committee on Wednesday.   Curtis told the committee development of the evaluation process had begun several years ago, as he had worked with former Superintendent Howard Eberwein and teacher's union representative Scott Eldridge to establish a system that was palatable to both teachers and administrators.   The process stresses candid

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Pittsfield Expecting Heavy Usage at Renovated Common
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
08:36PM / Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Most of Phase 3 is expected to be completed by November; finish work, such as lighting, and the new basketball court will be done in the spring.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The renovated Pittsfield Common will be substantially completed within the coming month, and city park officials are already anticipating a volume of special event requests for the refurbished site.

Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath told the Parks Commission this week that the majority of the multimillion dollar redevelopment of the historic downtown gathering yard will be finished by mid-November, with the exception of a new enlarged basketball court that will need to be laid in the spring.

"Every time

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Pittsfield Granted $4.5 Million To Finish North Street Reconstruction
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:13PM / Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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North Street is in the tail end of a decadelong reconstruction. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city has the money to finish reconstructing North Street.   Gov. Deval Patrick announced Tuesday that $4.5 million in MassWorks grant funding will be awarded to complete the fourth and final phase of the project.    "We believe we should be able to finish the streetscape project. We are happy about that," said Mayor Daniel Bianchi of Tuesday's announcement.   "We're very pleased. This is going to go a long way in allowing us to fulfill the vision of a revitalized downtown."   That vision began in 2005 with the development of downtown master

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PEDA: Springfield Rail Car Contract Benefits Berkshires
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:17PM / Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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PEDA hoped the company who chose to do the final assembly in Pittsfield would be chosen but they weren't. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — While PEDA Executive Director Corydon Thurston is disappointed the William Stanley Business Park won't be the manufacturing site for the new Red and Orange Line cars, he says the plan to build them in Springfield will still be a benefit to the Berkshires.   "Obviously I am disappointed the company that was leaning toward Pittsfield didn't get selected," Thurston said on Tuesday, around the same time Gov. Deval Patrick was in Springfield announcing CNR Changchun is being recommended for the contract with the intentions to bring

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