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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

'I Feel Pretty': And So Will You
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires film critic
06:40PM / Thursday, April 26, 2018
It has long been said by altruistic philosophers, and famously iterated in 1966 by no less authority than David Ruffin and The Temptations, that "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep."    But alas, anyone who has spent any time on this planet chock full of monuments to physical splendor, and who has perhaps had the lesson harshly impressed in middle school, knows that all that well-meaning claptrap goes out the window when one is confronted with a comely face or a well-turned ankle.  There is no expression, "The great personality that launched a thousand ships."    Thus, even we really good looking people must commiserate with Amy Schumer's Renee Bennett

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The Independent Investor: The Opioid Effect
By Bill Schmick,
06:29PM / Thursday, April 26, 2018
Opioids are killing us. Both literally, as well as from an economic point of view. The economy has already suffered over $1 trillion in lost potential and those losses appear to be growing by the hour.   Last year, 62,000 Americans fatally overdosed on some form of opioid. It is getting to the point that almost every one of us knows someone who is either addicted or died from these drugs. However, while death is a tragedy, we tend to ignore how much this problem is costing our society.   "You can't put a price tag on the death of a loved one," we say, but actually we can. It's called the "value of a Statistical Life," or VSL. Federal agencies routinely

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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

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Polito Signs Community Compact With Peru
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:46PM / Thursday, April 26, 2018

Town officials, representatives from Rep. Paul Mark and Sen. Adam Hinds' office, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito gathered at town hall on Thursday to sign the agreement. PERU, Mass. — For the second time this week, small-town officials have stressed the need for relief from a mandate requiring two EMTs on every ambulance call to Lt. Gov. Polito.   After hearing it from Peru Selectman Ed Munch, she immediately turned to her staff to find out where in the process a bill to allow first responders to be the driver on a run and vowed to work with the legislature on the matter.   "You should have the flexibility. If there are communities that want to have two, that's

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Pittsfield's Capitol Marquee Bids Come In High, Council Still Supportive
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:34AM / Thursday, April 26, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The bids to repair the Capitol Theatre marquee are higher than anticipated. But, the City Council feels it is worth it.   "In my opinion, the marquee is a jewel," said Ward 7 City Councilor Anthony Simonelli.   The City Council had approved borrowing $150,000 to repair the aging structure. But, after a closer examination of the condition, the bids ultimately led to the project increasing to $273,400. The City Council approved on Tuesday increasing its borrowing authority to $223,500, and $50,000 of the cost will be paid from federal Community Development Block Grant funds.   "The real shortfall was in the costs that exceeded estimates

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Take Steps to Control Your Investment Taxes
03:17PM / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tax season is finally over. Of course, how much you pay in taxes depends on a variety of factors, many of which you can't control. But you might give some thought to how you can manage your investment-related taxes.

Here are some suggestions to consider:

* Contribute to your employer's retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or similar plan, such as a 403(b) or 457(b), contribute as much as you can afford. The more pre-tax dollars you put in to your retirement plan, the lower your taxable income. Your employer also may offer a Roth 401(k) option, under which you invest after-tax dollars, so your annual income won’t be lowered and your withdrawals will be

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Taconic Construction Hits Home Stretch, Plans Laid For Move
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:42AM / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Dave DeForest led the School Building Needs Commission on a tour on Monday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Gilbane Construction is scheduled to finish the new Taconic High School on June 29.   From there, a moving company will be contracted to bring all of the equipment being kept at the current school over to the new one. Teachers will be asked to box up their classrooms and whichever moving company wins the bid will make the transition.   John Benzinger of Skanska USA, the project consultant, said the moving contract is out to bid and that he expects the work to start in early June. The plan is to have the new building fully moved into by Aug. 1.   A group of staff and

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Pittsfield Approves $74 Million Wastewater Upgrades
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Wednesday, April 25, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Begrudgingly, the City Council approved a $74 million upgrade to the wastewater system that is estimated to more than double sewer bills within the next three years.   The city has been under an administrative order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lower the levels of phosphorous and aluminum in the water coming out of the plant. The project proposed by the consultants, Kleinfelder, also called for a nitrogen optimization process as well.    The issue dates back to 2008 when the city went to renew the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The EPA issued a permit with the higher levels to meet Clean Water Act

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VFW Post 448 Donates 10K To 'Operation Copsicle'
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:48PM / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

VFW Post 448 Commander Arnie Perras presented the check to Officer Darren Derby. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Police Department's efforts to purchase an ice cream truck took a significant step forward on Tuesday with a $10,000 donation from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 448.   "This Copsicle operation the Police Department has established and trying to get funding for this truck is a very worthwhile cause. That's why the membership voted to contribute $10,000 toward this operation," VFW Commander Arnie Perras said.   "They're planning on going around to areas of the city where the youth may be at risk and build friendships."   Officer

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State, Federal Officials to Showcase Housatonic River Projects
05:16PM / Tuesday, April 24, 2018
LENOX, Mass. — State and federal environmental officials will host an open house on May 1 to showcase restoration projects funded as a part of the first three rounds of the Massachusetts Housatonic River Watershed Restoration Program.    The open house will also include a discussion of the anticipated fourth and final round of funding for restoration projects to compensate for natural resources that were injured or lost as a result of the release of hazardous materials from the General Electric facility in Pittsfield into the Massachusetts portion of the Housatonic River watershed.    The Massachusetts Subcouncil of the Housatonic River Natural Resource Trustees

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Stockbridge Officials Share Concerns With Lt. Gov. Polito
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:44PM / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Chabon and Cardillo spent about an hour with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito talking through issues. STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito vowed to work with town, state, and federal officials to find a way forward with the Stockbridge Bowl dredging project.   The $4 million project to restore the lake was stalled recently when an endangered snail was found to be located there and in only one other state lake.   Board of Selectman Chairman Donald Chabon said the lake is in dire need of restoration and the species wouldn't survive if the lake's overall ecosystem isn't improved.   "This is not preserving our species. This is just destroying our lakes.

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Pittsfield Airport to Have Runway Repaved; Solar Array Installed
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:32AM / Tuesday, April 24, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The airport is expected to be shut down for 85 days this spring for the reconstruction of the main runway.   The City Council's Finance Subcommittee voted affirmatively on the borrowing to repave both of the airport's runways. The total project will cost $6.9 million, which is 95 percent paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration. The city's cost will be $349,735.   "We are required to authorize the entire project amount and that is reduced by any grants that come in to support the project," Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood said.   Airport Commission Chairman Tom Sakshaug said the airport will be completely shut down on

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ArtWeek to Launch Across Massachusetts
02:39PM / Monday, April 23, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center, ArtWeek will present its largest season lineup ever.

The award-winning creative festival will offer more than 500 events from April 27-May 6 — more than double the size of the 2017 festival. For the first time, ArtWeek events will take place across the commonwealth, with a presence in 155 neighborhoods and towns across all six regions of the state.

The festival aims to provide participants with new ways to get creative and make art and culture more accessible to everyone. This season, more than 70 percent of all ArtWeek events are free. Visit the website to view the full calendar of

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