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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Uncertainty Surrounds Dunkin' Donation of Pittsfield Church
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
12:59PM / Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Despite the withdrawal of a demolition plan, the fate of St. Mary's Church in Pittsfield remains murky. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — News of a possible reprieve for the former St. Mary the Morning Star Church caused a stir of reactions on Monday, but details remain opaque about the suggestion that the 72-year-old church building could potentially be donated to the city.   According to a press release sent out to local media by a publicist on behalf of Cafua Management Co., the Dunkin' Donuts franchisee is preparing a revised proposal for the Tyler Street property, which would maintain the main church building.   In this new proposal, which would presumably

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Gubernatorial Candidates Spar In Springfield Debate
By Andy McKeever,
12:29AM / Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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The candidates took to Springfield's City Stage on Monday in the first debate before the election. SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The five candidates for governor sparred in the first debate leading into the November general election.   In the only debate scheduled in Western Massachusetts, the five candidates fielded questions from Jim Madigan, the public affairs director from WGBY-TV.   The candidates are Republican Charlie Baker, Democrat Martha Coakley, and independents Evan Falchuk, Scott Lively and Jeff McCormick.   With a casino proposed for the city, Madigan kicked off the debate by questioning the candidates' opinions on the ballot question to repeal the

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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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Pittsfield Board Revokes Unused Liquor License
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
07:55PM / Monday, September 29, 2014
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The Licensing Board reluctantly revoked an on-premises license after years of encouraging its sale to keep it operative.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The number of alcohol serving licenses available in the city has shrunk by one, following a unanimous vote by the Licensing Board on Monday to revoke a license held by Willard Curtis, former proprietor of The Tavern on 4th Street.

While The Tavern closed its doors more than four years ago, uncertainty has surrounded the fate of its license, in a saga of postponed sanction that has occupied the board intermittently for nearly two years.

"I think the board has to wash our hands of it," said board member Richard Stockwell, motioning

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Dunkin' Donuts Withdraws Pittsfield Church Demolition Plan
Staff Reports,
01:55PM / Monday, September 29, 2014
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Cafua Management is withdrawing plans to demolish St. Mary's in Pittsfield for a Dunkin' Donuts drive-through.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Bowing to community pressure, Cafua Management says it will withdraw plans to demolish St. Mary the Morning Star Church.

In a communication released midday Monday, the northeast's largest Dunkin' Donuts franchisee said it was preparing a revised plan for its proposed drive-through on Tyler Street and that it was willing to donate the church building to the city.

Cafua's proposal to buy the St. Mary's campus from the Springfield Diocese earlier this month and raze the church caused a significant backlash within the community,

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Early Morning Fire Burns Down V's Doghouse
By Andy McKeever,
08:47AM / Sunday, September 28, 2014
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The Lanesborough Fire Department took this photo of the early morning fire.

The state fire marshal has ruled out arson as the cause of the blaze that destroyed V's Dog House early Sunday morning.

Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said there are two locations in the building that fire investigators are focusing on to determine the cause. He expected them to have an answer by noon Monday. 

The damage is estimated at $700,000, he said. The building (business was previously known as Zen's Dog House) was purchased by Edward L. Vella Jr. in 2009, according to documents in the Registry of Deeds.

Durfee also said the hydrants, owned by the Berkshire Mall, are maintained and

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Democratic Leaders Rally Support For Coakley, Party Slate
By Andy McKeever,
01:30AM / Sunday, September 28, 2014
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U.S. Rep. Richard Neal was one of the speakers at Saturday's grand opening of the Democratic campaign's Berkshire office. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A cadre of elected officials rallied supporters for the statewide Democratic candidates Saturday morning in the new Berkshire campaign headquarters.   The Democratic Coordinated Campaign held a grand opening of a Berkshire office on South Street in Pittsfield with an array of elected officials on hand.   "Over the last four years, led by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick and supported by the Democratic congressional delegations and Democratic elected officials up and down the ticket, we have put Massachusetts back in the

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Democrats, Republicans Open Berkshire Campaign Offices
By Andy McKeever,
06:07PM / Saturday, September 27, 2014
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The Republicans opened an office in the former Pizza Hut in Coltsville. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Both the Republican and Democratic parties have opened campaign headquarters in the city for the November general election.   On Friday,local Republicans held an open house at their new headquarters in the former Pizza Hut on Dalton Avenue and on Saturday, Democrats held a grand opening of their South Street office. Both offices will be the Berkshire headquarters for the statewide election.   "There will be anywhere from two to five [here] people at night. We'll be open every day from 9 until 5 on weekdays and on weekends by appointment," said Berkshire County

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Town Players of Pittsfield Staging Williamstown Native's Play
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
10:21AM / Saturday, September 27, 2014
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The Town Players of Pittsfield rehearse for a staged reading of Williamstown native Robin Rice Lichtig's play 'Gently Down the Stream.'

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — New York City playwright Robin Rice Lichtig's family had a lot of firsts during her childhood years in Williamstown in the 1950s.

Lichtig herself was the first girl to attend Williams College, taking classes there while still in high school, well before the college went co-ed in the 1970s. One of her sisters was in the first class to graduate from the high school after it became the regional school it is today in the early 1960s. And Lichtig was one of the first interns at the newly formed Williamstown Theatre

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@theMarket: Wash, Rinse and Repeat
By Bill Schmick,
08:20AM / Saturday, September 27, 2014
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The dollars running, stocks are falling, bond prices are jumping while commodities are tanking. Welcome to another week in the financial markets. Expect more of the same in October.

As September, the worst month of the year for markets, comes to a close (next Tuesday) volatility appears to be rising. Stay strapped down, however, because we are not through the woods quite yet.

Historically, the first two weeks of October can get pretty hairy. Some of us might recall October of 1987 as an example.

So many of us have nudged up our exposure to the equity markets this year in pursuit of more and more gains that any sell-off scares the bejesus out of us. The 1-2 percent pullbacks, like

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The Independent Investor: Is Wall Street Responsible for Climate Change?
By Bill Schmick,
10:57PM / Friday, September 26, 2014
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Monday's Wall Street sit-in by a few hundred radicals would lead us to believe that Wall Street is responsible for the present changes in the world's climate. Maybe so, but remember this, what Wall Street has done, it can also undo.

Readers know that I am no apologist for big business, the financial community or Wall Street. As for climate change, I am clearly on the side of those 300,000-plus people who participated in the People's Climate March on Sunday. The earth is in jeopardy today thanks to carbon emissions generated by fossil fuels.

The simplistic approach, preferred by this "Flood Wall Street" crowd, condemns Corporate America, Capitalism in general, and

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