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News
Friday, May 22, 2015


    (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)

 
FIRE IN NORTH ADAMS YESTERDAY 
 
A basement fire at a Windom Terrace home in North Adams yesterday burned up through the siding and into the roof before firefighters could finally douse the smoky blaze. IBerkshires.com reports that the fire was first reported as smoke coming from the basement shortly before 11:30 p.m. but a police officer who swung by immediately reported it as a structure fire. The wraparound porch on the single-family home at 25 Windom was in flames and smoke was pouring from the basement. The owner, Joanne Derose, was able to exit the building; three cats were also taken safely from the structure. The fire was contained by 1:30. The cause is still under investigation.
 
MEMORIAL DAY IS MONDAY
 
Monday is Memorial Day, and AAA projects that 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend. That's a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years. 33 million travelers will be driving to their destinations. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says travelers should expect high travel volumes now through Monday – and motorists should try not to travel between 1 and 7pm to avoid the heaviest traffic. Gasoline prices in the state sit at around $2.65 per gallon on average, up slightly from last week, but almost a dollar an hour less than a year ago at this time.
 
NORTH ADAMS HOUSING AUTHORITY WINS $250,000 FOR CAMERAS, NEW FENCE
 
The North Adams Housing Authority has won a $250,000 grant to improve its security systems and replace fencing. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday it has awarded the housing authority the maximum award allowed through its competitive Capital Fund Emergency Safety and Security Program, making North Adams one of only two Housing Authorities in Massachusetts to receive the funding. The money is expected to fund the installation of about an additional 40 security cameras, replace decades-old fencing at its Greylock Valley Apartment complex, and improve the servers and technology that supports the housing authority's security system.
 
MAN GETS PROBATION FOR THREATENING TO TORCH FAMILY'S NORTH ADAMS HOME  
 
A North Adams man has been sentenced to one year's probation for threatening to burn down the home he shares with his wife and children. The Berkshire Eagle reports that 32 year old Gregory Beliveau, of Dover Street, brought a gas can into the living room and threatened to burn their house down if his wife left with their children to stay at a friend's home, according to authorities. Beliveau admitted to sufficient facts on Wednesday to the charge of attempting to commit arson, in a case that was continued without a finding until May 20th, 2016. A charge of intimidating a witness was dismissed upon request of the commonwealth. Beliveau was ordered to abide by a restraining order and to maintain drug- and alcohol-free
 
MAN CHARGED IN KNIFE ATTACK AT NORTH ADAMS PIZZA PLACE 
 
A North Adams man is facing charges for his involvement in a stabbing incident at a local pizza place last month. The Berkshire Eagle reports that 31 year old Dante Francione, of Folsom Street, allegedly slashed a father and son during a dispute at Village Pizza about 2:25 a.m. April 12th, according to a report filed by North Adams Police Officer Trevor Manning. Francione pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Wednesday to two charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He will return to court on July 14th. 
 
LANESBOROUGH FINCOM WILL SUPPORT MOUNT GREYLOCK BUDGET REQUEST 
 
The Lanesborough Finance Committee is supporting Mount Greylock High School's budget, to the chagrin of the Selectmen. IBerkshires.com reports that selectmen previously voted to short the Mount Greylock budget about $16,000 because those funds were added after the town agreed to a lower amount.  The Mount Greylock School Committee presented one budget at the public hearing and then later added an additional $42,100 for a late bus and middle school staff team meetings. School officials say they heard at the public hearing the desire for those items at the hearings and that's why the members voted it in. The Selectmen, however, felt the town had already given enough of an increase. They voted to recommend the lower amount.
 
MEMORIAL DAY IS MONDAY
 
Monday is Memorial Day, and AAA projects that 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend. That's a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years. 33 million travelers will be driving to their destinations. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says travelers should expect high travel volumes now through Monday – and motorists should try not to travel between 1 and 7pm to avoid the heaviest traffic. Gasoline prices in the state sit at around $2.65 per gallon on average, up slightly from last week, but almost a dollar an hour less than a year ago at this time.
 
PITTSFIELD TEMP TONIGHT A RECORD LOW  
 
It’s going to get darn right chilly overnight tonight in the Berkshires. The record low in Pittsfield for this time of the year is 33 degrees. The Berkshires is expected to get down to 30 overnight tonight, and that can make for a frosty morning. If you have any outdoor potted plants tonight would be a good night to bring them inside.
 
ALICES RESTAURANT 50TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW  
 
Arlo Guthrie performed his famed Allice’s Restaurant at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield last night. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the show kicked off the 50th anniversary of the year that Guthrie and a friend, Rick Robbins, were arrested for littering. The two young men had disposed of a van full of garbage down an embankment in Stockbridge after a 1965 Thanksgiving dinner at restaurant owner Alice Brock's home. Guthrie's arrest and "criminal" records made him ineligible for the draft at the time. It was all recounted in the 18-minute song, "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," which appeared on the album "Alice's Restaurant." The sold-out event was filmed for a PBS special to be aired on Thanksgiving.
 
HINSDALE ANNUAL TOWN MEETING TONIGHT  
 
After one real delay and another threatened one — and months of goings on that ranged from good to bad to ugly — Town Meeting voters tonight will decide on Hinsdale's budget and whether to hire a town administrator, and weigh the merits of a politically spicy parking bylaw. The Select Board lacked a quorum when it sought to finalize its fiscal 2016 budget figures on May 11th, necessitating a May 15th meeting. Therefore, the annual town meeting — originally scheduled May 20th — was postponed to tonight to accommodate the new timetable. The annual town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Kittredge School.
 
 STATE GAINS JOBS IN APRIL  
 
The state's labor office says Massachusetts gained jobs for an eighth consecutive month in April, and the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.7 percent. Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show the state picked up 10,100 jobs last month. The bureau also issued an upward revision of jobs growth in March, from the earlier estimate of 10,500 to 12,100 jobs.
 
TOWN OF OTIS GETS NEW BOND FOR WIND PROJECT
 
The Town of Otis is receiving a new Clean Renewable Energy Bond from the IRS for the construction of the Otis Wind Energy Project. The town applied to the IRS in March and was notified earlier this week that they would be getting the full amount they requested – slightly more than $6.3 Million. The Bond is a federally backed loan guarantee with an interest rate of from 1 to 2 percent for 24 years. Letters from the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Representative Richard Neal were submitted in support of our project.  The Otis Wind Energy Project will be funded by a revenue bond which has no impact on the tax rate. The wind turbine location is 1908 Algerie Road and is one of three locations offered by Ed Williams during discussions with the town about wind energy.
 
FAIRVIEW HOSPITAL RECOGNIZED WITH TWO AWARDS  
 
Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington has earned two prestigious national recognitions from Health-grades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Fairview was one of only three hospitals in Massachusetts, to be honored by Health-grades for both its 2015 Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ and its 2015 Patient Safety Excellence Award™. Health-grades evaluates over 3,000 hospitals nationwide that submitted patient surveys to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, covering admissions from January 2013 – December 2013, which measured hospital performance in specific areas. 


Thursday, May 21, 2015


    Mass MoCA will welcome a microbrewery to open on the campus next winter. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Jack Guerino)      
 
MICROBREWERY TO OPEN AT MASS MOCA NEXT YEAR  
 
The Mass MoCA Commission last week approved a microbrewery brewery and taproom in about 2,500 square feet on its ground floor off the main gate. IBerkshires.com reports that Orion Howard and Eric Kerns, founders of Bright Ideas Brewing, are planning to open it next year. Along with the higher-priced craft beer, Howard wants to make a good, local beer that can be sold in local taverns at the same price point as Pabst. Some 150,000 people visit Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts every year.
 
PAVING ON WEST STREET IN ADAMS TODAY
 
If your morning commute includes the town of Adams, you’ll want to be aware that there is a paving project taking place today. Director of the Adams Department of Public Works, Joseph Bettis, Jr., says that road crews will be paving West Road in Adams, from Marshall Avenue to Grant Street today. He suggests that motorists use alternate routes while the work is being conducted.
 
TOWN OF ADAMS “BLINDSIDED” BY CUT OF CODE ENFORCEMENT JOB  
 
The Board of Health in Adams is demanding answers after being "blindsided" by the termination of the town's code enforcement officer. IBerkshires.com reports that the job will disappear on July 1st as part of a deal the Selectmen endorsed to fund an increase in the assessment to the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District. Two other full-time posts were targeted as well. The Board of Health, however, says it was not consulted and wants to know who will handle the inspector's myriad duties.
 
 WILLIAMSTOWN PASSES BUDGET  
 
Town meeting voters in Williamstown on Tuesday approved a roughly $7 million budget, adopted a resolution against the proposed natural gas pipeline through the Berkshires and cleared the way for businesses to display "open" flags. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the meeting drew 324 of the town's 4,584 registered voters for a turnout of 7 percent. Most of the 43 article warrant passed unanimously, although there was much debate before voters approved a ban on plastic bags and polystyrene containers.
 
PITTSFIELD CITY COUNCILORS CALL FOR ENGINEERING STUDY
 
A Pittsfield City Council subcommittee is calling for a comprehensive engineering study of City Hall with cost estimates. IBerkshires.com reports that the Public Buildings and Maintenance subcommittee accepted a report from Building Commissioner Gerald Garner and Director of Building Maintenance Peter Sondrini that outlined a series of capital needs on City Hall. The subcommittee now wants an engineering firm to assess and outline all of the capital needs so the city can craft a long-term plan to start addressing those concerns.
 
MAN STABBED AFTER ALLEGED ATEMPTED SEXUAL ASSAULT  
 
A Pittsfield man is facing charges for allegedly beating and trying to sexually assault his girlfriend, who then stabbed him, during a weekend dispute. The Berkshire Eagle reports that 36 year old Pierre Norris was found bleeding from a three-inch gash on his arm when Pittsfield police responded to a report of a stabbing just before noon Sunday at an Onota Street home. Norris initially told officers that a white man, who appeared to be drunk, tried to enter his girlfriend's apartment and stabbed.
 
PITTSFIELD AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ADVISORY COMMITTEE OKS ORDINANCE CONCEPT
 
The Pittsfield Affirmative Action Advisory Committee has endorsed the concept of a formal ordinance laying out responsibilities for implementing the updated Affirmative Action policy and plan adopted last year by the City Council. The Berkshire Eagle reports that despite a lengthy discussion yesterday with Assistant City Solicitor Darren Lee and representatives of the local NAACP chapter, which initially proposed a formal affirmative action ordinance, some language refinements in the ordinance drafted by Lee are expected.

    Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli led the request for more information about the building. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)
 
PITTSFIELD BOYS & GIRLS CLUB BUYS FORMER CATHOLIC YOUTH CENTER  
 
Two years after the building was closed due to its deteriorating condition, the Diocese of Springfield has sold the Melville Street structure formerly occupied by the Catholic Youth Center to the Pittsfield Boys & Girls Club. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the Boys & Girls Club, located next door to the CYC building at 16 Melville Street, purchased the 24,756-square-foot structure for $75,000, according to documents on file at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds. The structure, which was built in 1912, according to city records, opened in March 1913 and housed the CYC for 100 years. The CYC moved out in August 2013 because the building was judged to be in bad shape.
 
COAKLEY LAND BOSTON LAW-FIRM POSITION  
 
Martha Coakley, the former Massachusetts attorney general who also ran unsuccessfully for governor and the U.S. Senate, has joined a Boston law firm. The associated Press is reporting that according to a statement yesterday from law-firm, Foley and Hoag, Coakley will work in several areas including health care, education, energy, as well as government and internal investigations. The North Adams native served two terms as Middlesex district attorney and two terms as attorney general. She was the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor, losing a close race to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.
 
SENATE TAX PLAN ADDS COMPLEXITY TO STATE BUDGET TALKS  
 
In voting to freeze the income tax rate and offer a package of tax relief and tax credits to low-income workers, the Massachusetts Senate may have inserted language into its budget that the House objects to on procedural grounds. The State House News Service reports that the thorny area is in turn compounded by disagreement over a priority that the new Senate president highlighted in his inaugural speech and the prickly issue of further changing a voter-approved income tax cut. Taken together, the issues could complicate efforts to deliver a final budget to the governor in time for the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.
 
STOCKBRIDGE ANNUAL TOWN ELECTION RESULTS FROM TUESDAY  
 
The town of Stockbridge held its annual town election on Tuesday night. The two contested races were for a three year term on the Board of Selectmen and for the job of Tree Warden. Ernest Cardillo Jr. was the top vote getter in the selectmen’s race with 334 votes. Deborah McMenamy finished with 282 votes. In the race for Tree Warden, Peter Curtin defeated Mark Faber by a tally of 372 to 206. The $6.3 million town budget passed – a 10 percent increase over last year. The budget included Police Department appropriations of $1,041,476. The 47 item agenda took roughly five hours to get through.
 
ALFORD HOLDS ANNUAL ELECTION TUESDAY
 
The town of Alford held its annual town election on Tuesday. Ray Wilcox defeated Bill Shein 88-51 for a seat of the town select board. There were three contested races in all. 143 of the towns registered voters turned out at the polls, which according to officials in an excellent turnout.
 
MAYFLOWER II BACK IN PLYMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS, FOR SUMMER (
 
A replica of the Mayflower is back at home in Massachusetts for the busy summer tourist season. The ship has been undergoing renovations at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut since December as part of a multiyear plan. Officials hope to have the ship repaired by 2020 — the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower crossing of the Atlantic.
 
AARON HERNANDEZ TO BE IN COURT ON WITNESS INTIMIDATION CASE  
 
Ex-New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is expected to be in a Boston courtroom today facing a charge of trying to silence a witness in a double murder case against him by shooting the man in the face. Prosecutors say Hernandez shot the witness in 2013 in Florida after the man made a remark about a 2012 double slaying. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    Much of the exterior work is completed on the west side with windows in. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)


COLEGROVE PARK ELEMENTARY WON'T BE READY FOR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL  
 
The North Adams Colegrove Park Elementary School will not be completed in time for the first day of school. The Berkshire Eagle reports that construction delays have moved the "substantial completion" date from July 22nd to August 16th, and an opening date in the fall has yet to be determined, according to Mayor Richard Alcombright. The August date will not give enough time for crews to furnish and test the building's facilities before the school year starts on September 2nd. But the project remains on target financially, and a delayed opening won't delay a redistricting plan that school officials approved earlier this month, according to Alcombright. 
  
WILLIAMSTOWN PASSES PLASTIC BAG BAN BY-LAW  
 
Town meeting in Williamstown has passed bylaws to ban the distribution of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene food containers at retail establishments. The Berkshire Eagle reports that vby a vote of 205-81, town voters passed Article 41 on the annual town meeting warrant that called for the ban on single-use bags and a mandatory fee of 10 cents per paper bag distributed by local retailers. Voters then passed a companion bylaw aimed at polystyrene packages by a voice vote. But first, town voters rejected a proposal by the Board of Selectmen to refer both of the proposed bylaws to committee.
 
SAVOY LINES UP MONEY FOR ROAD REPAIR  
 
Hurricane Irene may be slowly fading from memory in many Berkshire communities, but not for the residents of Savoy.  The Berkshire Eagle reports that the August 2011 storm, which dumped more than 9 inches of rain on the town, wiped out a section of Black Brook Road — a key route connecting Route 2 with Savoy center and neighboring areas. The road has been closed for nearly four years now, and officials say they've finally lined up enough funding to rebuild it.



 
    Mayoral candidate Eric Rudd says he has creative solutions to some of the city's woes. 

MAYORAL CANDIDATE RUDD HAS CREATIVE VISION FOR NORTH ADAMS
 
Well-known North Adams artist and developer Eric Rudd says he has the solutions for the city's woes. IBerkshires.com reports that Rudd believes his experiences as an artist, traveler, author, real estate developer, teacher and nonprofit leader will gel well with the needs of the city. There is process and regulations, he said, but he's sure he can make dramatic changes in the way North Adams operates right out of the gate. He's already grabbed the web address of  www.northadamsmayor.com for his campaign.

NORTH COUNTY CARES COALITION ADDRESS NORTH ADAMS COUNCIL ON AGING
 
North County Cares Coalition members will be speaking at the North Adams Council on Aging/Mary Spitzer Senior Center this morning. The event comes as the debate continues over the need for and access to appropriate health care services to meet the needs of the residents of Northern Berkshire County following the closing of North Adams Regional Hospital. The event will feature a presentation by Nykole Roche, a researcher and associate director with the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The presentation will detail the findings of a comprehensive report on the disparities in health needs in Berkshire County, the impact of the closing of the hospital on meeting those needs and the data and rationale to support restoration of a full service hospital at Berkshire Medical Center North.  The event begins at 10am at the center on Ashland Street.
 
TAX FORGIVENESS FOR INNOVATION CENTER APPROVED
 
A property tax forgiveness agreement for the planned Berkshire Innovation Center won unanimous approval yesterday from the Pittsfield City Council's Finance Committee, which sent the recommendation on to the full council. The Berkshire Eagle reports however, that the committee tabled several other requests related to the center, pending final approval from state officials on lease and other agreements for the facility. City Community Development Director Douglas Clark said the agreements are essentially complete but final reviews are in progress and some language changes are expected.
 
BUFFIS CASE UNDERWAY YESTERDAY  
 
The federal case against former Lee police chief Joseph Buffis on extortion, money laundering and wire fraud was scheduled to begin with jury selection yesterday. Buffis is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a holiday toy fund over a 12-year period for his personal use. Prosecutors say that between January 1999 and December 2012, Buffis removed about $120,000 from the Edward J. Laliberte Toy Fund and later lied to investigators about it.
 
PARTS OF LEE AND LENOX LOSE POWER
 
A severe thunderstorm packing high winds, heavy rain and hail, knocked out power to some 500 customers of Eversource in Lee and the Lenox Dale section of Lenox last night. The Berkshire Eagle is reporting that the storm quickly blew through the area, knocking down tree limbs and power lines in parts of both towns. Eversource officials expected all power to be restored by midnight. Meanwhile local police in Pittsfield, Great Barrington and other Berkshire communities reported some heavy downpours, but no severe weather which was confined to Southern Berkshire and the Northwest Hills of Connecticut.
 
DRUG CHARGES, THEFTS NET 2 1/2 YEARS IN JAIL FOR HINSDALE MAN
 
A Hinsdale man was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail yesterday for a series of theft and drug-related crimes committed in 2013 and 2014. 29 year old Jeffrey Paris of Washington Road, was arrested on April 30 after a major drug investigation, collaborated on by federal, state, and local authorities over a span of several months, turned up evidence that he was a frequent buyer of heroin and cocaine, according to police. Paris also pleaded out on four other open cases against him, all of which revolved around a larceny or theft between 2013 and 2014.  
 
RICHMOND ANNUAL TOWN MEETING  
 
Annual town meeting voters in Richmond tonight will act on a $6.4 million town and school budget at 7:30 p.m. May 20 at the elementary school. The total includes a more than $2.9 Million budget for Richmond Consolidated School, reflecting a 0.7 percent increase over the current fiscal year. Included in the town budget are 3 percent pay increases for several town officials, including the town clerk, town secretary, town accountant, town treasurer, assessor clerk, cemetery superintendent, board of health agent, police chief, zoning enforcement officer and tax collector. Town Administrator Matthew Kerwood will receive a 12.8 percent increase, to just short of $71,000, reflecting provisions of a new three-year contract. He is in his sixth year as town administrator. Voters also will be asked to approve a new highway department dump truck, at $260,000.
 
 SANDISFIELD VOTERS OK BUDGETS, BALK AT HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT TRUCK
 
After passing both the municipal and school budgets at Saturday morning's annual town meeting, Sandisfield voters balked at a funding plan for a new truck for the highway department. The Berkshire Eagle reports that a total of 133 of the town's 554 registered voters, or 24 percent, participated in the election. The meeting lasted about three hours.
 
STOCKBRIDGE VOTERS NARROWLY APPROVE BUDGET WITH SPENDING HIKES  
 
Town meeting voters in Stockbridge challenged rising town spending, including a proposed one-officer expansion of the police force and ongoing litigation expenses, during a highly charged debate before narrowly approving $10.2 million in municipal spending on Monday night. The Berkshire Eagle reports that a standing-room-only crowd of 300 residents filled the Town Offices gymnasium, representing 18.6 percent of the 1,610 registered voters. It took five hours for all 45 warrant articles to meet their fate. By the time the marathon meeting adjourned a half hour before midnight, nearly all of them had won approval.
 
SENATE FREEZES TAX RATE, HIKES EARNED INCOME CREDIT
 
The Massachusetts Senate has voted to freeze the state's income tax rate at the current 5.15 percent while gradually increasing the earned income tax credit for low-income working families. The Democratic-backed amendment, approved yesterday on a 29-11 vote, was added to the state's $38 billion state budget for the next fiscal year. It would still need the backing of the House.
 
SENATE REMOVES INSURANCE SURCHARGE FROM HEADLIGHTS LAW
 
The Massachusetts Senate has voted to join the House in softening the impact of the new state law that requires motorists to turn their headlights on whenever they are operating their windshield wipers. 
Under a state budget amendment unanimously approved by senators on Tuesday, those who violate the law will not be subject to a surcharge on their auto insurance premiums. The law itself would remain in effect and violators could still be ticketed with a $5 moving violation.



Monday, May 18, 2015 

     (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)
 
MCLA GRADUATES CLASS OF 2015  
 
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts awarded 417 degrees and certificates on Saturday at its 116th commencement. IBerkshires.com reports that the crowd in the Amsler Campus Center shouted and applauded as the graduates took to the stage to receive 366 bachelor's degrees, 26 masters of education, nine Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies and 16 Professional Masters of Business Administration degrees.
 
NORTH ADAMS ARTIST, BUSINESSMAN ERIC RUDD RUNNING FOR MAYOR
 
Now that he has officially announced his campaign to run for mayor of North Adams, Eric Rudd is making it clear that he doesn't want to take sides. The Berkshire Eagle reports that he says he has nothing against current North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, although he admits he would have done — and will do — a number of things differently. He says the same about former Mayor John Barrett III.
 
MOUNT GREYLOCK BUILDING COMMITTEE SEES POTENTIAL DESIGNS
 
The Mount Greylock Regional School Building Committee on Thursday looked at the pros and cons of nine different scenarios to create a more functional junior-senior high school. IBerkshires.com reports that as a June 4th deadline looms to submit a short list of finalists to the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the committee heard a presentation from its architect and received feedback from members of the community who attended the session in Mount Greylock's meeting room.  
 
CLARKSBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE ACCEPT BUDGET  
 
The Clarksburg School Committee on Thursday accepted the school budget of $2,487,736 for fiscal 2016. IBerkshires.com reports that the budget reflects a 2.6 percent increase from this fiscal year. Both the Selectmen and the Finance Committee approved the budget and the number will go to town meeting.
 
NBCC BEGINS SEARCH  
 
The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition has begun the search for a new leader to succeed longtime Executive Director Al Bashevkin. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the board of directors, staff members and a consultant created a "position profile" and posted the open position online, according to board President Courtney Shapiro-Van Dusen. Bashevkin, who founded the coalition and has served as its only executive director since its incorporation, will step down at the end of June after 29 years.
 
DALTON WOMEN INJURED IN ONE-CAR CRASH ON PECKS ROAD  
 
A Dalton woman was injured following a one-car crash on Pecks Road in Pittsfield around 6:40pm yesterday. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Melissa Keegan had gone off the road and slammed her 2010 Nissan Rogue into a utility pole, while traveling eastbound heading toward Wahconah Street.
The 35-year-old was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. As of late Sunday night she was still being treated in the BMC Emergency Department, according to hospital officials. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
 
BUFFIS TRIAL STARTS TODAY
 
The federal case against former Lee police chief Joseph Buffis on extortion, money laundering and wire fraud charges gets underway today in U.S. District Court in Springfield. Buffis is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the Laliberte Toy Fund over a 12-year period for his personal use. A separate charge of mail fraud, alleging Buffis added personal cell phone lines to Lee's town account for his family and incurring charges of more than $5,000 will be taken up in a separate trial.
 
BLUE MASS HONORS FIRST RESPONDERS  
 
Those dedicated to spiritual healing honored the police, fire and emergency medical technicians devoted to protecting the public’s physical well-being yesterday evening. The Berkshire Eagle reports that area priests, led by Monsignor Michael Shershanovich, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Pittsfield, gathered at the North Street house of worship to conduct a Blue Mass. The Catholic service attended by dozens of Berkshire County law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMTs paid tribute to public safety personnel active, retired and who died in the line of duty.
 
SELECTMEN DISMAYED BY PARKING VOTE  
 
Selectmen in Lenox are putting last week's failure of a parking bylaw down to a paucity of voters and the failure to convince residents of its importance to the town's business economy. IBerkshires.com reports that town officials had made information available on the proposal to lift parking and loading requirements within a designated Village Center Parking Overlay District through every possible outlet: online, mailings, TV, and word of mouth. The bylaw would have made it much easier for new businesses to take over at least 10 vacant storefronts that now require parking access.
 
WASHINGTON INCUMBENT WINS NEW TERM  
 
James Huebner has again defeated Rose Borgnis for a seat on the ton of Washington Select Board. The Berkshire Eagle reports that by a count of 112-56, local registered voters returned Huebner to the board for another three-year term during Saturday's annual town election. Three years ago, Huebner won his first term as a selectman by beating Borgnis, who had served on the three-person panel from 2008-2011.
 
THREE SOUTH BERKSHIRE TOWNS GO TO THE POLLS TODAY
 
 The towns of Tyringham, Lee and Sandisfield go to the polls today for their annual town elections. The polls in Tyringham are open from noon to 6 p.m. at Town Hall. Voters will see contested races for selectmen and town clerk highlighting the balloting. In Lee, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the gymnasium at Crossway Village. Voters have a Planning Board contest and a non-binding referendum regarding road repair to consider there. In Sandisfield, voters have a pair of selectmen's races to consider. The polls open there from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the old town hall. Three candidates are vying for a regular three-year term on the board while two other selectmen hopefuls square off for a one-year unexpired term.
 
NEW SOUTHERN BERKSHIRE REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT PRINCIPAL NAMED
 
The Southern Berkshire Regional School District this week will welcome its new elementary school principal. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Stacy Burgess, of Ludlow, currently the assistant principal at West Street Elementary School of the public Southbridge School District was named to the position on Friday, and will officially begin her new role on July 1st. The new principal will visit Southern Berkshire schools on Wednesday to tour the outlier elementary schools during the day before participating in a "Meet & Greet" from 4 to 6 pm in the Undermountain Elementary School cafeteria. Burgess will then be attending the evening's regularly scheduled school committee meeting at 6:30.
 
CHESTERWOOD CELEBRATES NEXT WEEKEND  
 
Chesterwood, in Stockbridge, will hold a season's opening party this coming Saturday, May 23rd. The festive event is a fundraiser to support this National Historic Landmark, its events and programs. The celebration, running from 6 to 9pm, will also mark the launch of Chesterwood’s upcoming undertaking to rehabilitate and preserve the exterior of sculptor Daniel Chester French's former summer residence.
 
POLICE ARREST MAN ACCUSED OF MAKING THREATS AGAINST OBAMA  
 
A Massachusetts man has been arrested by police and the U.S Secret Service after they said he made death threats against President Obama. Mansfield police and Secret Service agents Friday went to the West Village apartments on West Street in Mansfield to speak with the man who they say made threats to kill the president. Police say a search of his apartment did not find anything that appeared to be a public safety hazard and the man was taken to a hospital to be evaluated. Massachusetts State Police and the Secret Service are investigating the matter. Mansfield police say criminal charges may be filed.
 
USS CONSTITUTION PREPARES MOVE TO DRY DOCK FOR RESTORATION  
 
Preparations are underway for the USS Constitution's move to dry dock for major restoration. The world's oldest commissioned warship still afloat will begin undergoing three years of repairs at the Charlestown Navy Yard historical park in Boston starting tomorrow. The project could cost the Navy as much as $15 million. It will include re-coppering the hull, replacing worn rigging and old planks and making general repairs to the stern, bow and captain's cabin. The ship will be open to visitors during most of the work, beginning in June.
Mike Garland
 
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