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News and events in Pittsfield, Mass.

Lanesborough FinCom OK With Police, Fire, Highway Budgets
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:50AM / Tuesday, March 01, 2016
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Finance Committee is OK with the proposed budgets for Police, Fire, and Highway Departments.   The committee reviewed the three budgets as it begins to pick through Town Manager Paul Sieloff's proposed $10.5 million budget. The Police Department budget is eyed for a $15,800 decrease; Highway is proposed to see around $27,000 increase and another $8,000 increase for winter roads; and the Fire Department is looking at a $5,600 increase.   Most of Monday's conversation centered on the Highway Department, with committee members querying the expenses for a number of lines. A new line to clean infiltration tanks on National and Profile streets


Hot Dog Ranch Plans Move To Former Jimmy's Location in March
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:01PM / Monday, February 29, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Hot Dog Ranch is expected to open in the former Jimmy's Restaurant building in mid-March.   Manager Craig Benoit told the Licensing Board on Monday that the Linden Street restaurant will close on March 13 and as long as the certificate of occupancy is approved for the West Housatonic Street location, the Hot Dog Ranch will open there on March 17.   "We already had a number of pre-inspections," Benoit said.   Attorney Thomas Martin said a significant amount of renovations were completed. The new location has an occupancy of 99 people, a significant upgrade in space from the Linden Street location. Jimmy's closed in March of


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

Berkshire Tidbits: Leaping Into Spring
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
04:34PM / Monday, February 29, 2016

Maple trees are waking up all around the Berkshire area. At this point, this changeable but pretty warm winter, everybody is already tapping in the sugarbushes. Sap is running intermittently and being boiled into gallons of syrup.

Most producers have syrup to sell. Some producers have already made hundreds of gallons.

This is past weekend all the sugarhouses that serve sit-down meals opened up to serve their fresh syrup. Most of them like to have visitors come watch the syrup being made in the sugarhouse, too.

Here's who's open for you to eat homemade pancakes and waffles and "anything you can put maple syrup on!" as Tom McCrumm of South Face Farm at the


Hillary Clinton Visits Western Mass on Eve of Primary
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
12:10PM / Monday, February 29, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Hillary Clinton wowed a small crowd of supporters in Springfield on Monday morning before heading off to a larger rally in Boston just a day before the state's primary.

"I will work as hard as I can every single day. ... I will get up and to go to work for you and fight for you," the Democratic presidential candidate said, asking for their votes on Tuesday. "I want us to make progress again. I am a progressive who likes to make progress."

The former secretary of state took aim at the candidates on the right, saying the Republicans left are "still peddling the same snake oil" that trickle-down economics will work.



100K Gift Helps Brien Center Expand Youth Substance Abuse Program
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:23AM / Monday, February 29, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — B. John and Rosaleen Miller lost their son to a drug overdose.   Their response 20 year ago is helping prevent that tragedy occurring to other families. Jim Mucia of the Brien Center says, "if we can get one kid off of heroin it is worth it."   Mucia heads the Patrick Miller Youth Substance Abuse Program at the Brien Center. The program brings counselors into schools all over Berkshire County, provides intervention programs and holds forums and presentations, all with a focus of keeping students away from drugs and alcohol.   "The best way to reduce the opioid problem, which is obviously become huge, is to not start. Once an addict


Greylock, Boys Club Win Youth Basketball County Titles
iBerkshires Sports,
07:36PM / Sunday, February 28, 2016
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Cole Wojtkowski scored 28 points on Sunday afternoon to lead Greylock to a 53-42 win over the Boys Club Black team in the Berkshire County Youth Basketball seventh- and eighth-grade championship game.

Toby Foehl scored 13, and Mitchell Jezouit added six for Greylock, which topped the Boys Club Black squad for the second time in 10-team double-elimination tournament.

Boys Club hung tough early, using 3-pointers by Nick Taylor, Laqeuin Brown and Zak Bernardo to take a 13-10 lead after one quarter.

But Greylock used its transition game — often with Wojtkowski on the finishing end — to take a 25-19 half-time lead.

Luke Hescock scored 14 — 10 in the


Pittsfield, Hoosac Valley Win Cheer Championships
iBerkshires Sports,
07:12PM / Sunday, February 28, 2016
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Pittsfield and Hoosac Valley earned divisional titles at Sunday's Berkshire County-PVIAC cheerleading championships at Hoosac Valley Middle and High School. 

Pittsfield captured the Division 3 crown, and Hoosac finished first in Division 4.

Five Berkshire County teams competed, and all but one qualified for next week's regionals in central Massachusetts.

In addition to Hoosac and Pittsfield, the regional qualifiers were Drury, which finished fourth in the co-ed division but first in the county in that class, and Mount Everett, which placed second in the Game Day division.

Wahconah’s squad also competed at the regional qualifier.


@theMarket: Odds High That markets Will Continue to Climb
By Bill Schmick,
02:22PM / Sunday, February 28, 2016

The S&P 500 Index broke through an important technical level this week. It is an encouraging sign and could mean that over the next few days that index could move even higher.

There are all sorts of technical levels that traders study. In the intermediate term, they usually look at the 50-day moving average. For the first time since the beginning of the year, we have broken up and through that level at 1,954 on the S&P. For those less inclined to worry about the charts, all you need to know is that traders are becoming bullish.

As I suggested in my last column, it was a week where markets first consolidated, and then climbed higher, supported by an oil price that refused to drop


Neal Rallies Support For Clinton Campaign in Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:36PM / Saturday, February 27, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is hoping the Democratic presidential primary is "put to bed" on Super Tuesday with Hillary Clinton sealing up the nomination.   The congressman joined local supporters in Clinton's Pittsfield campaign field office Saturday to rally support for the former secretary of state. Clinton is going up against Vermont's U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in seeking the nomination.   "We have a change to elect one of the most accomplished women in the world. I've known her forever and I've known Bill Clinton. A reminder: 23 million jobs, four balanced budgets, economic growth that surpassed 100 percent in some quarters,


Cheshire Author Uncovers Ancient Goliaths
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
08:17AM / Saturday, February 27, 2016

CHESHIRE, Mass. — A new book by a local author guides readers to some of the more mammoth and interesting boulders in Massachusetts, many of which sit in Berkshire County.

"There are some big rocks out there," said Christy Butler, coauthor and photographer of "Rockachusetts" a hiking guide focused on notable boulders in the state.

The Lynn native and Cheshire resident rambled throughout Massachusetts mapping and researching more than 150 boulders. One third of these are in Berkshire County.

Butler, a visual artist who has been involved in publishing, photography, and filmmaking, teamed up once again with writer and licensed hiking guide Russell Dunn, but


'Race': Takes the Silver
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
06:04PM / Friday, February 26, 2016

If only we were as proficient at correcting our social sins as we are at chronicling them. My case in point is director Stephen Hopkins' "Race," a dutiful but dramatically average telling of the heroic odyssey that made Jesse Owens a worldwide sports legend. We, in the more enlightened nooks and hollers, are properly abashed at the stumbling blocks  Owens had to hurdle on his way to glory in the 1936 Berlin Olympiad.

Yet, beneath our conceit, we shiver in the knowledge that there are still cave dwellers in those intolerant areas loath to celebrate humanity's égalité. So we watch respectfully, basking in this one victory, a steppingstone that etched


Pittsfield Juvenile Arrested On Gun Charges Following Alleged Shooting
Staff Reports,
05:51PM / Friday, February 26, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A juvenile was arrested on weapons charges Friday afternoon following reports of gunshots at the intersection of Francis and Danforth Avenues.   Police say at 3:04 p.m. dispatched received a 911 call reporting the shots fired and that several subjects were seen leaving the area by vehicle and on foot. One of the Police Department's patrol units arrived on scene and found a juvenile man fleeing on foot on Daniels Avenue.   The juvenile was found in possession of a handgun. He was arrested and charged with possession of a loaded firearm without a license and possession of ammunition without a license.   Shortly after the arrest, a juvenile man went


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