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News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

    
Seth Ginsberg of Apis Energy Group LLC goes over the conditions and screening plans for a solar array on East Road at Tuesday's Planning Board meeting. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino)

ADAMS PLANNERS APPROVE BOND, SCREENING FOR EAST ROAD ARRAY

The Adams Planning Board has approved financial surety and planting buffers for the controversial East Road private solar array despite continued questions of its legality by abutters. IBerkshires.com reports that planners met on Tuesday with Seth Ginsberg of Apis Energy Group LLC, developer of the 1.5-megawatt array, to discuss conditions put on the project by the Zoning Board of Appeals, as outlined by the Community Development Office. The board accepted a performance bond of $100,000, which will be released upon the completion and approval of the solar array. It also approved a surety of $30,000 for the removal of the solar array in the future.

STUDENT HELD ON GUN CHARGE

A Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts student was being held without bail after police found him intoxicated and carrying a loaded handgun in a campus building on Tuesday. Campus police used pepper spray to take an allegedly belligerent and intoxicated 25 year old Christopher LaFrance into custody in the Amsler Campus Center shortly before 6pm on Tuesday.

CLARKSBURG SENIORS HAVE DEADLINE FOR CABLE DISCOUNT

The Clarksburg Selectmen on Wednesday signed a long-term contract with Time Warner Cable. The regional agreement's for 10 years - but seniors only have two days to apply for a monthly discount included in the contract. In other business, McKinney said the town is looking into a dumping area off East Road. The town's Board of Health, Conservation Commission and police have been working on a resolution for cleaning up the area, which is on private property. Officials are also working toward an anticipated special town meeting in early December. Should free cash be certified by that time, voters will be able decide on outstanding bills from last fiscal year.




     The Board of Selectmen approved the contract on Monday. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)

LANESBOROUGH CONTRACTS WITH PCTV TO RUN TELEVISION BROADCASTS

Pittsfield Community Television will be contracted to run the town of Lanesborough's local access station. IBerkshires.com reports, the Board of Selectmen approved Monday of a six-month contract with PCTV to film and air a few meetings a month. Town Administrator Paul Sieloff says the first six months will be "low risk" period to see how well the new relationship will. PCTV staff will do the filming and broadcasting for Lanesborough's channel for $25 an hour. The town also wants to eventually improve equipment. Sieloff said PCTV staff will help the purchasing of items in the future.

LANESBOROUGH SCHOOL COMMITTEE DELAYS VOTE ON SUPERINTENDENCY UNION

The Lanesborough School Committee yesterday put off a decision on whether to end its affiliation with Williamstown Elementary School. Robert Barton and James Moriarty, who forced a special meeting of the committee to vote on the dissolution of Superintendency Union 71, agreed to wait until a recently formed ad hoc town committee conducts its study of options for superintendency services for the pre-K through 6th grade district.

UPDATE ON PARK STREET PROJECT

The Park Street reconstruction should be completed by mid-November in Adams. IBerkshires.com reports that Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan updated the Selectmen yesterday on the streetscape project. She said the sidewalks on Park Street are almost complete, and they are preparing the street for paving. She said paving will most likely take place November 6th, depending on the weather. Line painting should take place the week after. Cesan said Park Street will be closed down during the paving and there will be a detour.

DRIVER SERIOUSLY INJURED IN CRASH WITH DUMP TRUCK IN DALTON

A Lanesborough man was hospitalized with serious injuries yesterday morning when the small SUV he was driving collided with a dump truck on Main Street in Dalton. The Berkshire eagle reports that Derek Murphy was traveling westbound in his 2012 silver Toyota RAV4 around 9:30 a.m. when he collided with an eastbound truck driven by Michael Biagini of Cheshire. Biagini was behind the wheel of a 1987 Mack dump truck belonging to Sinopoli & Son of Lanesborough. The RAV4 smashed into the guardrail and was totaled, trapping the driver inside. Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to remove the roof of the vehicle to help extricate Murphy, who was transported by County Ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center. He was listed in stable condition on Wednesday afternoon. Biagini was transported by Dalton's volunteer ambulance squad to BMC, where he was treated and released.

GE DECRIES EPA'S 'REST OF RIVER' PLAN TO CLEAN HOUSATONIC

General Electric has expressed its dislike of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal for a $619 million, 13-year cleanup of PCBs from the Housatonic River in southeast Pittsfield and five Berkshire County communities downstream. The Berkshire eagle is reporting that the company's 128-page document was filed at midday on Monday, the last day the EPA had set for official comment on its plan. GE argued that the government's Rest of River remedy "is far larger and more destructive than remedies that have already been rejected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as doing more harm than good."

EDUCATION SECRETARY TOURS LANESBOROUGH, HANCOCK SCHOOLS

Keeping up with the ever-changing technological world is something that even the county's top performing schools struggle with. IBerkshires.com is reporting that is what school officials from those districts told state Secretary of Education Matt Malone during his four-school trip to the Berkshires yesterday. After a stop at Lenox High School, Malone moved on to the 44-student Hancock Elementary School and then Lanesborough Elementary School before concluding his trip at Kittredge School in Hinsdale. Lanesborough was ranked a Level 1 this year based on standardized test scores.

CHILD RAPE SUSPECT CAPTURED

According to State Police, a child-rape suspect who committed crimes across the country after snipping off his court-ordered ankle bracelet had an "ultimate goal" of returning to Massachusetts to kill his 13-year-old accuser. That statement was released just hours after his capture. Police said 26 year old Gregory Lewis, of Southbridge, spent six weeks on the run after cutting off the GPS monitoring device ordered by a judge following his arraignment in August on charges that included statutory rape of a child. Lewis is suspected of committing a string of rapes, kidnappings and robberies of female escorts in North Carolina, Colorado and Oregon.

LEE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO DRUG CHARGES

A lee man pleaded guilty yesterday in Berkshire Superior Court on drug charges. 26 year old Justin Daley pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine and one count of drug violation within a drug free school zone. Judge John Agostini ordered that he serve a one day sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the charge of distribution of cocaine. Daley was given a 2 year house of correction sentence, to be served on and after the first sentence, on the school zone violation. The charges stem from the sale of cocaine in Lee on January 15th. Two counts of distribution of cocaine, one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and one count of drug violation within a drug free school zone were dismissed at the request of the commonwealth.

LENOX SEES $161K IN TOURISM

Visitors coming to the Berkshires spent $403 million in 2013 and about 40 percent of that was spent in Lenox. IBerkshires.com reports that Berkshire Visitors Bureau President Lauri Klefos told the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday that the county has seen a 4 percent increase in visitor spending. That percentage increase is similar to the preliminary numbers the town is seeing in meals, hotels and motels tax. The continual increase coincides with the town's expanded marketing efforts which have resulted in $161 million being spent in Lenox and the Berkshires having some of the highest hotel and motel occupancy rates in the state.

2 YEARS FOR TRIPLE MURDER WITNESS

A fellow inmate of David Chalue who testified against him at his triple murder trial has been sentenced to two years in jail on gun charges. 30 year old Christopher Letalien, of North Adams, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday to four charges in connection with the theft of a .40 caliber pistol from his parents' North Adams home in June 2011. According to the Berkshire DA's Office, Letalien called police to report a break-in and theft at the house, claiming he had returned to his parents' home to find the safe open and the gun gone. It was later determined Letalien had been buying crack cocaine from Jeffrey Philpot Jr., who had asked Letalien about procuring a handgun. Philpot, a Bloods gang member, according to police, went to the house, broke into the safe, took the gun and paid Letalien for his help in drugs. Philpot was later sentenced to a two- to four-year state prison sentence for his role in the caper.














Wednesday, October 29, 2014
  

LOCAL MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE AFTER GUILTY PLEA IN NORTH ADAMS MURDER

David Delratez has been sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to last year's murder of 84-year-old Ellen DePaoli in North Adams. IBerkshires.com reports that Delratez, of North Adams, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court yesterday to murder in the second degree and to several other charges. He was apprehended only days after the discovery of DePaoli's body in her Walker Street home on the evening of September 17th of last year. Delratez was ordered to serve a life sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the murder charge.

NORTH ADAMS' PROPOSED BIKE PATH CONNECTS COMMUNITY ASSETS

North Adamsis laying down plans for a bike path in the West End. The trail would run from downtown to the city's western border on Route 2, cutting mainly through municipal properties. The approximately 3-mile route would line up with another 2.5 miles in Williamstown near Galvin Road.

An informational session will be held on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Greylock Elementary School for residents to provide input. The last trail proposal in 2010 had encountered a number of objections from residents whose properties would have been affected. This latest version seeks to reduce those concerns by sticking largely to municipal lands and riverbanks along the south side of Route 2 until crossing the highway by Brayton School to cut through former Sprague Electric property to Brown Street.

SELECTMEN/COUNCILORS URGE "NO" VOTE ON QUESTION ONE

Selectmen and city councilors from across Massachusetts on Monday urged voters to reject Question One on the Election Day ballot, in order to preserve necessary funding for safe roads and bridges. Mount Washington Selectman, Jim Lovejoy, was among the roughly 30 local officials to sign a statement urging the no vote. Lovejoy was the only signer from the Berkshires. The city and town officials represent diverse regions of the state, including rural Western Massachusetts communities and Eastern Massachusetts suburbs. The selectmen and councilors join a coalition of dozens of mayors, town managers and other municipal leaders, along with AAA, chambers of commerce across the state, health care providers and environmental organizations that are urging defeat of Question 1 on November 4th.

GREYLOCK CREDIT UNION PRESIDENT AND CEO SPERLING TO RETIRE

Marilyn Sperling, who has served as president and CEO of the Greylock Federal Credit Union the past four years, announced yesterday that she plans to retire by the end of 2015. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Sperling, who will be 60 next year, decided to make the announcement now to allow the board of directors of the county's largest credit union adequate time to find her successor. Board Chairman Jerry Burke said Greylock plans to look nationally for Sperling's successor, but will also consider local candidates.

LANESBOROUGH ASKED TO PUT DISTRICT EXPANSION TO TOWN VOTE

Voters in the town of Lanesborough will be asked to expand the regional school district to include the elementary school. IBerkshires.com reports that Mount Greylock Regional School Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Greene asked the town selectmen on Monday to put it on the town meeting agenda. The vote, if approved by both towns, would create one organization for both elementary school and the high school.Most Massachusetts voters are continuing to shun political party labels. More than 53 percent of the state's 4.3 million registered voters are independent, having decided not to enroll as a Democrat or Republican. According to numbers released by the state secretary's office on Tuesday, a little more than 35 percent of voters are registered as Democrats while fewer than 11 percent are registered Republicans.

BAKER AND COAKLEY MAKE FINAL PITCH

Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley have made their final pitches to voters in a televised debate in the race for governor. During last night's match-up, the two laid out their plans for job growth, the best response to combat Ebola, the proliferation of outside political ads and how the state should cope with immigrants who are in the country illegally. The election is next Tuesday.

ON LINE AD AIMS TO DEFEAT BALLOT QUESTION

The American Gaming Association has launched an online ad as the industry seeks to defeat November's ballot question to repeal Massachusetts' casino law. The 30-second ad, which is not airing on television, focuses on a new study by Oxford Economics that shows the $240 billion industry supports 1.7 million jobs and generates $38 billion in federal, state and local taxes in the U.S.

PITTSFIELD CITY COUNCIL APPROVES RAISE FOR MAYOR

After the next election, School Committee members in Pittsfield will be eligible for a stipend and the mayor's position will pay more. IBerkshires.com reports that the City Council approved raising the salary for the mayor to $95,000 and have it increase each year with the Consumer Price Index. They also approved a $4,000 per year stipend for School Committee members. The raises are the next step in a series of raised given to department heads earlier this year.

KILMER LAID TO REST YESTERDAY

Firefighters from as far away as Boston turn out for Pittsfield Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Kilmer's funeral yesterday. Kilmer died last week of a heart attack at home. He was the most senior active member of the department and responded to ground zero after the 9/ 11 terror attacks.

LEE, LENOX SEEK BIDS FOR TOWN SOLAR PROJECTS

Renewable energy firms are warming up to Lee and Lenox regenerating municipal solar array projects, which could save taxpayers thousands of dollars. The Berkshire Eagle reports that officials from both towns and their consultant met on Monday with 18 potential solar developers at Lee Memorial Town Hall to outline plans for ground-mounted panels on a pair of town-owned parcels in each community. According to Lee Town Administrator Robert Nason, prospective companies must file their proposals with the towns by November 20th. How many of the 18 submit offers hinges on Lee and Lenox having successfully pitched their projects to the solar developers.

MAIN STREET PROJECT CONTINUES IN GREAT BARRINGTON

Construction workers in Great Barrington are negotiating an intricate section of the Main Street renovation project, and hope to have it completed in two weeks. That's according to road Superintendent Joseph Sokul. He explained to the selectmen on Monday night that part of the project to which he is referring is an upgrade of the drainage at the Route 7-Taconic Avenue intersection at the southern boundary of the project. The size of pipes, location of other utilities, and potential traffic disruption have been cited as concerns for the intricate section of the $5.2 million project.






Tuesday,October 28,2014

    Robert Lemaire cuts the ribbon on the new Cumberland Farms Convenience store on Curran Highway. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)

NORTH ADAMS CUMBERLAND FARMS HOLDS GRAND OPENING

North Adams Cumberland Farms held its latest grand opening in the Berkshires yesterday afternoon and kicked off a fundraiser for the North Adams Youth Football League. IBerkshires.com reports that Robert Lemaire, president of the league, cut the bright green ribbon to officially open the doors on the 4,500 square foot store, which opened for business about a month ago on Curran Highway. The fundraiser runs through November 24th at the Curran Highway location only and applies to dispensed drinks - Chill Zone and coffees. The company typically holds its grand openings in conjunction with a local fundraiser.

WILLIAMSTOWN BOARD ENDORSES HOSPITAL RESOLUTION

The Williamstown Board of Selectmen yesterday approved a resolution promoting the return of inpatient services at the former North Adams Regional Hospital. IBerkshires.com reports that a group representing activists who have been working to reopen the shuttered hospital since its closure in March attended the meeting yesterday, as did a representative of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, who told the board that inpatient facilities in North Adams would be economically sustainable. Individual members of the board expressed sympathy with the plight of residents who have been affected by the loss of services at the North Adams facility, and the board unanimously passed a resolution expressing the town's support the expansion of services currently offered by the former hospital's new owner, Berkshire Health Systems.

LANESBOROUGH BOARD NAMES PANEL MEMBERS

The Lanesborough Board of Selectmen has appointed a nine-member committee to take a close look at school affiliation issues. IBerkshires.com reports, the Selectmen put together the committee in response to a request from School Committee member Robert Barton. Barton has been leading an effort to dissolve the town's agreement with Williamstown to share administrative services and pursue another affiliation. The School Committee is scheduled to vote on withdrawing from the union tomorrow, but it is currently unknown if that will be approved by the state.

SNOW ON HALLOWEEN?

Could we see some snow on Halloween? Well, maybe. Government and private forecasters are saying that there is a potential coastal storm that could deliver anywhere from a dusting to a slight accumulation of snow in the higher elevations of Western Massachusetts Friday night into Saturday morning. The National Weather Service however says that it's too early to say how much, if any, snow the Berkshires will see.

PITTSFIELD MAN SENTENCED IN FED CHILD PORN CASE

A Pittsfield man has been sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for recording himself raping three girls under age 13 and making sexually explicit photographs of a 2-year-old. Thirty-four-year-old Jason Gendron was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge William Young, who said he has never seen a case that descended to such "depths of depravity." Gendron pleaded guilty in July to 16 counts of sexual exploitation of minors by producing pornograpy and one count of possessing child pornography. Prosecutors said the girls in the 16 video clips were between the ages of 3 and 13. All the children were in his direct care. Gendron pleaded guilty this month to related state child rape and indecent assault charges. He is expected to be sentenced tomorrow to at least 25 years to be served concurrently with the federal sentence.

DEFENDANT ABANDONS PLEA, TWICE

The 43 year old Christopher Peterson, of Pittsfield, was scheduled to plead guilty to aggravated rape and breaking and entering charges before Berkshire Superior Court. Peterson had been offered a deal of 7 to 10 years in state prison for the charges, which stemmed from a November 2012 attack on a Pittsfield woman but after the proceedings began, he withdrew his plea. Following a short break and consultation with his attorney, Peterson changed his mind again. But after the hearing began a second time, Peterson changed his mind once more, and the hearing was canceled.



     The School Committee approved a new post to address the diverse school population. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/Joe Durwin)

PITTSFIELD SCHOOLS INTRODUCE NEW CULTURAL PROFICIENCY COACH

The Pittsfield School Committee voted unanimously last week to approve the creation of a new part-time position to help the district address perceived ongoing issues in adjusting to an ever more diverse student population. IBerkshires.com reports that Superintendent Jake McCandless said the new "Cultural Competency Coach/Liaison" will perform a range of duties both for the school department and city hall, and both will share in funding the position in some way. McCandless said he hopes to have made a hire by Thanksgiving or shortly thereafter.

JUDGE HOLDS PITTSFIELD MAN FOUND IN UNDERWEAR AFTER ALLEGED BREAK-IN

A Pittsfield man police say was found in his underwear after an alleged break-in is being held after a district court revoked his bail on an earlier assault case. 46 year old Jeffrey Andrew was wandering around a Second Street apartment in only his underwear and slippers about 6:30pm Sunday when police arrived to investigate a report of a break-in. Andrew pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court yesterday to breaking and entering for a misdemeanor and disturbing the peace. He can be held for up to 90 days without the right to bail. He is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on November 7th.

PITTSFIELD LICENSING BOARD TO HOLD SPECIAL MEETING TO ADDRESS NEW SUNDAY HOURS

The Pittsfield Licensing Board will meet Friday to deal with the expected flood of requests from package stores to open two hours earlier on Sunday. The board called for the special session yesterday after learning a number of the city's retail alcoholic beverage license holders opened at 10 a.m. two days ago - without local permission. Under a new state law, October 26th was the first Sunday in Massachusetts beer, wine and hard liquor retailers could open as early as 10am. Before the law, licensees couldn't do business until at least noon on a Sunday.

BAKER AND COAKLEY GO AT IT AGAIN

Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley have sparred in their next-to-last televised debate for governor. Coakley defended herself last night against a Boston Globe report in which former inspector general Gregory Sullivan said Coakley urged him to pull back from an investigation into former state House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, who was later convicted on corruption charges. The election is Tuesday.

NEW REPORT SEES DROP IN VIOLENT CRIME

A new report by state health officials shows a drop in violent crime. Citing FBI crime reports, the Massachusetts Health Council report says the state's murder rate fell by 34 percent and all violent crime fell by 4.5 percent from 2011 to 2012. The report also shows continued problems with heroin deaths, rising childhood asthma and obesity.

GAS PRICES CONTINUE DECLINE

Massachusetts gas prices have fallen another eight cents per gallon in the past week, and are now down 29 cents in the past month. Triple-A of Southern New England reports that self-serve, regular has dropped to an average of $3.09 per gallon.

LIVELY CLAIMS HE HELPED WOMAN FROM CAR

Gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively says he helped pull a woman from an overturned car in Springfield. Lively, who is running as an independent, says the accident happened near the Big Y supermarket on St. James Avenue in Boston at about 7:20am yesterday. He said the driver of an SUV appeared to have rolled over after getting broadsided by another vehicle. Lively is among five candidates on the Nov. 4 ballot running for governor, including Republican Charlie Baker, Democrat Martha Coakley, and independent candidates Evan Falchuk and Jeff McCormick.

FALCHUCK DENIED IN COURT

A court has rejected a lawsuit by independent candidate for Massachusetts governor Evan Falchuk. Falchuk was seeking to participate in the debate, scheduled for Monday at 8 p.m. in Worcester. Falchuk said he was initially invited to the debate, but the offer was later rescinded. Falchuk filed the lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court. Falchuk said he was disappointed with the decision, but was glad to have his day in court.




Monday, October 27, 2014

    
(Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino) 

ADAMS NARROWING DOWN TOWN ADMINISTRATOR APPLICANTS

The Adams Town Administrator Search Committee may begin its semi-final round of interviews very soon. The Search Committee has narrowed the applicants down to six for the time being. People can still apply due to the way the ad for the post is written. Most of the candidates live close by, but one of the candidates has to drive 16 hours for an interview with the committee.

TWO INJURED IN HEAD-ON CRASH ON MOHAWK TRAIL IN NORTH ADAMS

Two people were injured on Friday in a head-on collision on the Mohawk Trail that closed the highway for an hour. According to North Adams Police, a GMC Terrain SUV was heading westbound shortly before 2 p.m. when it left its lane and struck an eastbound Toyota Camry sedan just east of the Western Summit, in the vicinity of the Wigwam gift shop. Two of the three people involved were transported to the Northern Berkshire Campus of Berkshire Medical Center. Their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
NORTH ADAMS DENIED BID FOR $6.8M STATE REVITALIZATION GRANT

Plans to revitalize West Main Street and Marshall Street in North Adams hit a roadblock this week when the city learned its request for $6.8 million in state funding was denied. The Berkshire Eagle is reporting that the plans, which aimed to create a public gathering-space on the corner of Marshall and Main Street and improve pedestrian mobility, were part of a MassWorks grant application submitted in September by the city and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. That region of the city has been a focus of officials, who hope to better connect Mass MoCA with the rest of the downtown and the future Greylock Market, currently Western Gateway Heritage State Park. But North Adams was not among the grant winners announced by the Patrick administration this week.

DRUG TREATMENT CENTER TO OPEN IN BENNINGTON, VERMONT

A new drug treatment center will soon be opening not far from Northern Berkshire County. The Addiction Treatment Center of Southwestern Vermont is expected to begin operation early next year. The service will be run out of an existing program, the Hawthorne Recovery Center. The program is housed at the Holden-Leonard Mill. The state will provide about $400,000 per year to the program. The hope is the program becomes a model that can be used in other counties.

MCLA STUDENTS, VOLUNTEERS CLEAN UP NORTH ADAMS (NA)

Decades of mildew and dirt were scrubbed from dozens of gravestones at Hillside Cemetery by about 60 MCLA students and other local volunteers as part of the Fall Day of Service on Saturday. Other students and volunteers - more than 70 in total - painted curbs, spruced up the Good Will store property on Curran Highway, and cleaned up several small pocket parks around the city. The work at Hillside Cemetery also included straightening some headstones and raking leaves. This was the fifth Fall Day of Service. It was established as a follow up to the Spring Day of Service, which has been a successful community service event for years.

PITTSFIELD MAN GETS A YEAR IN JAIL FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE

A Pittsfield man has been sentenced to a year in jail - longer than he initially agreed to in a plea deal - for choking a woman in April 2013. 38 year old Raphael Pierre pleaded guilty on Wednesday during a Jury of Six session of Central Berkshire District Court, expecting to get only six months of jail time. But Judge Paul Vrabel, citing the facts of the domestic assault and battery case, rejected the terms of the plea deal and extended the sentence. According to police and prosecutors, Pierre was intoxicated and in a jealous rage about 3 a.m. on April 20, 2013, when he went to the Dalton residence of a 29-year-old woman he had dated on and off. On Wednesday, Pierre pleaded guilty to a single count of misdemeanor domestic assault and battery.

LENOX TARGETS LOW INCOME STUDENTS

The Lenox school district has unveiled an extensive "smart goal" improvement plan for Lenox Memorial Middle and High School and for Morris Elementary. The Berkshire Eagle reports that a dramatic upswing in the number of low-income students who qualify for subsidized lunch programs at Morris is focusing attention on action steps to make sure school leaders continue to brainstorm ways to close the achievement gap for our low-income students. Of the elementary school's 319 enrolled students, 94 of them are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Last year, 22 percent qualified.

GREAT BARRINGTON NATIVE RUNS FOR RE-ELECTION

Suzanne Bump has found some $400 million in misspent taxpayer money in her efforts to modernize the auditor's office. The Great Barrington native is now running for re-election so she can continue her efforts both through auditing various state departments and improving the auditor's office. Most notable of Bump's audit was that of the Department of Transitional Assistance in which she identified thousands of welfare recipients who were cheating the system. Bump has two opponents on Election Day - Republican Patricia Saint-Aubin and Green Rainbow candidate, MK Merelice.

PARCC EXAMS COMING FOR MASS SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Changes are coming in standardized testing for many Massachusetts school districts. According to data from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 54 percent of school districts have opted to administer the English and mathematics PARCC exams to students in grades 3-8 next year, instead of the MCAS exams. PARCC, short for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, was developed as part of the national Common Core standards. This was the first time school systems were given the choice of which test to administer in grades 3-8. But MCAS isn't going away immediately. Passing the 10th-grade MCAS exams in English, math, and science and technology remain a graduation requirement. All school districts must also continue to administer the MCAS science and technology to fifth- and eighth-graders.

HOMELESS AID PROGRAM EXPANDS

A more coordinated and better funded response to homelessness has Berkshire County in a much better position to offer a wider range of assistance this winter, according to local officials. The Berkshire Eagle reports that an emergency shelter plan that came together in Pittsfield a year ago only after a donation from Berkshire Health Systems will be re-instituted in November. It also will expand to Northern and Southern Berkshire through a state funding earmark obtained by the county's legislative delegation. Additional efforts by Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority, Soldier On and other organizations will support residents at risk of being evicted or losing a home from becoming homeless, likely reducing the number seeking emergency shelter.

BOTTLE BILL BALLOT QUESTION LATEST

Both sides in the debate over Massachusetts' bottle deposit law say much has changed in the three decades since it's been in effect. Proponents of the November 4th ballot measure to expand it say beverages such as sports drinks that were virtually unheard-of at the time are now staples. But opponents argue that modern day recycling programs are rendering the law obsolete. If approved, the ballot measure would add 5-cent deposits to most non-alcoholic and non-carbonated beverage containers.

MASS REPUBLICANS EYE SENATE SEATS

Massachusetts Republicans are eyeing state Senate seats long held by two of Beacon Hill's most influential lawmakers, but Democrats are equally determined to hold those seats. Senate President Therese Murray, a Plymouth Democrat, is retiring after representing her district since 1992. Also retiring after 20 years is Barre (BA'-ree) Democrat Stephen Brewer, chairman of the influential Senate Ways and Means Committee.

EBOLA DISCUSSION AT UMASS

Health experts are scheduled to discuss the Ebola epidemic, preparedness and the future outlook during a presentation tomorrow (Tuesday) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Martha Anker of the UMass-Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences will be one of the speakers at the panel discussion. She's a global surveillance and response expert in infectious disease.

MOST GOP CANDIDATES LAGGING IN FUNDRAISING RACE

Republican Charlie Baker is raising more money that Democrat Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts governor's race, but other statewide GOP candidates aren't doing nearly as well. In the attorney general's race, Democrat Maura Healey reported a balance of $122,000 in her campaign account as of mid-October - about a 10-to-one advantage over Republican John Miller, who had just under $12,000. In the treasurer's election, Democrat Deb Goldberg had about $314,000 in her account as of mid-October - almost a three-to-one dollar advantage over Republican challenger Mike Heffernan. The two statewide Democratic incumbents - Secretary William Galvin and Auditor Suzanne Bump - have even wider fundraising leads. Bump had about $133,000 compared with Republican Patricia Saint Aubin's $31,000, while Galvin had $2.5 million compared with Republican David D'Arcangelo's $6,000 balance.

 

Friday, October 24, 2014

    
Atlas President Gregory R. Britton has a room with a view in what will be his new office in North Adams. The financial management firm is moving its offices from Williamstown to North Adams. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)     

FINANCIAL FIRM MOVING TO NORTH ADAMS

One of the nation's fastest growing financial firms is shifting its base of operations from Williamstown to North Adams. IBerkshires.com reports that Atlas Wealth Management, formerly Dion Money Management, is moving its 20 employees to the third-floor of the former Wall-Streeter Shoe Company building on Union Street owned by David Moresi. Atlas is an independent wealth management firm and part of Focus Financial Partners LLC. It offers wealth and investment management, financial planning and some tax services. Financial Advisor magazine ranked it 15th in its fastest growing firms list.

HADLEY OVERPASS SURPASSES ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION ESTIMATES
 
The reconstruction of the Hadley Overpass in North Adams has exceeded its projected completion date as well as its initial cost estimate. Costs to repair to the span have surpassed the state's initial estimate of $28.1 million by $6.8 million. It was initially projected to be completed in 2012. The overhaul began in 2008.
 
 





    The Selectmen are updated on the poor condition of the Visitors Center's geothermal system on Wednesday. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino) 

ADAMS SEEKS FIX TO VISITORS CENTER'S INEFFECTIVE GEOTHERMAL SYSTEM

The Adams Board of Selectmen is looking at a $22,800 interim solution to fix the Visitors Center's troublesome geothermal heating and cooling system. IBerkshires.com reports that the board met with interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan, the building Commissioner, the Council on Aging Director and the project engineers during Wednesday night's workshop meeting to discuss possible remedies for the notoriously difficult HVAC system. The board didn't vote on the matter, but Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington said no matter what issues they find, they must make the building usable.

NORTH ADAMS TO WILLIAMSTOWN BIKE PATH PUBLIC MEETING SET

Plans are moving forward for a new bike path section between North Adams' center and the Williamstown town line. The city of North Adams and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will host a public meeting on Wednesday next week from 6 to 8pm at Greylock Elementary School to discuss a draft route. There will be a brief presentation at 6:30pm. Mohawk Bicycle Pedestrian Trail will be designed by the BRPC and a community outreach committee will be established to keep affected property owners and other interested parties informed. The eventual goal is to link the Berkshires from border to border.

MCLA DAY OF SERVICE SET FOR SATURDAY

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the North Adams Chamber of Commerce and the City of North Adams will hold the "Day of Service - Fall Edition" Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., throughout the community. Service sites will include the Hillside Cemetery on Route 2 in North Adams, the North Adams Goodwill and various pocket parks. For more information, visit mcla.edu or contact Spencer Moser at spencer.moser@mcla.edu or (413) 662-5251.

DALTON MAN GETS MORE THAN 4 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR CHILD PORN

A Dalton man has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for downloading and sharing violent and sadistic child pornography. 27 year old Jared Sprague admitted amassing a collection of close to 100 child pornography images and videos and sharing them through a peer-to-peer computer file sharing program. Sprague appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Springfield and was sentenced to 52 months in federal prison followed by a decade of post-release supervision. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

PAUL CAPITANIO'S LAWYER ASKS COURT TO TOSS OUT CHARGES

The lawyer for former city councilor Paul Capitanio, accused of tipping off a drug dealer about an upcoming raid, has asked the court to dismiss the charges against his client. Timothy J. Shugrue argued in Berkshire Superior Court on Thursday that the charges against his client - conspiracy to possess oxycodone and accessory after the fact to distribute oxycodone - should be dismissed because the grand jury hadn't been given enough information to indict the 58 year-old former city councilman of those crimes. he got his drugs from Stegemann. However,Judge John Agostini seemed unconvinced. Capitanio remains free on $500 bail pending the outcome of his case.

PITTSFIELD HALLOWEEN PARADE TONIGHT

The 70th annual Pittsfield Halloween Parade is taking place tonight. The parade starts at 7 p.m. from the corner of Tyler and Smith streets and ends at Woodlawn Avenue. Pittsfield Community Television is scheduled to broadcast the event live on Time Warner Cable's Channel 16. Rebecca Manship, the city's recreational activities coordinator, says that the thousands of parade-goers can expect to see four floats,: three by Williams, Conte and Allendale elementary schools, the fourth courtesy of the Tyler Street Business Group. In addition, Morningside and Crosby elementary schools will be among the parade's 20 units.

LOCAL YOUTH SHINE IN NFL PUNT, PASS & KICK COMPETITION

The local NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition was held at Taconic High School on September 21st. There were six local winners who moved on to the sectional competition in Westfield on October 13th. In the Girls category: Finishing 1st in the 6 to 7 year old age group was Madysen Pelky of Washington. In the 12 to 13 year old age group, Kaitlyn Olds of Hinsdale finished 2nd. In the boy's category, the 1st place winners included: Brady Hebert of Pittsfield in the 6 to 7 year old group, Jaden Keefner of Pittsfield in the 10 to 11 year old group, Tanner Hill of Dalton in the 12 to 13 year old group, and Patrick Butler of Peru in the 14 to 15 year old age group. Of the 1st place winners, both Madison Pelky and Patrick Butler qualified to compete at the New England Patriots Team Championship at Gillette Stadium when the Patriots take on the Bears on Sunday. The other winners, at last check, were waiting to hear if they have qualified. Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi called it an exciting opportunity for the kids, and said that Pittsfield will be cheering for them on Sunday.

PITTSFIELD FARMERS MARKET COMES TO A CLOSE SATURDAY WITH LIVE MUSIC AND SPECIAL DEMONSTRATIONS

The Pittsfield Farmers Market's will end the season this weekend. Since May 10, about 20 vendors from around the Berkshires have set up shop in the First Street parking lot, across from The Common, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., selling and promoting local grown and produced goods. The market also features local artisans, live music and special demonstrations. Market Manager Jessica Conzo. Conzo praised volunteers from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield for spearheading the effort to deliver the donated food to local shelters and food pantries.

BALLOT QUESTION TV AD SPENDING NEARING $5.8M

Television ad spending on Massachusetts ballot questions has approached $5.8 million with Election Day less than two weeks away. Virtually all of that spending has come from two groups: The Coalition to Protect Mass Jobs, which is hoping to persuade voters to reject a ballot question that would repeal the state's casino law, and No on Question 2: Stop Forced Deposits, which opposes a question that would expand the state's bottle deposit law.

COAKLEY: BAKER SHOULD DISCLOSE INVESTMENT TIES

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley said Wednesday that Republican rival Charlie Baker should take steps before the November 4th election to disclose details of an investment made by the state of New Jersey in a venture capital firm with ties to Baker. Coakley, the state attorney general, said the case raised "public integrity" questions. Baker has repeatedly said there was no wrongdoing. Baker made a $10,000 donation to the New Jersey Republican Party in 2011, shortly before that state's pension fund invested in General Catalyst at a time when Baker was an executive-in-residence for the firm.

MILLER PROPOSING AMENDMENT

Republican candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General John Miller is proposing a constitutional amendment aimed at removing politics from the job he is seeking. The Winchester attorney says he filed an initiative petition on Thursday that would require nonpartisan elections Massachusetts attorney general.

WARREN CHANGES LANGUAGE

Senator Elizabeth Warren says she "doesn't think" she's running for president in in 2016, a shift from her usual script. The liberal favorite typically answers the question by saying, "I am not running for president." But when she was asked again by People magazine, she answered, "I don't think so."

TROOPER FACING ASSAULT CHARGES

A Massachusetts State Police trooper has been released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to sexually assaulting a woman he met on an online dating service. Christopher Kennedy, of West Springfield, was arraigned Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court on charges of indecent exposure, assault and battery, and indecent assault and battery. The alleged crimes occurred in July in Worthington. The 31-year-old Kennedy was also ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

    
The Airport Commission decided keep the name Harriman-West but add North Adams to it to indicate the location. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino)

NORTH ADAMS ADDED TO AIRPORT NAME

The North Adams Airport Commission has decided to keep Lottie Harriman and George West's names in the new airport title. IBerkshires.com reports that last month, Commissioner Trevor Gilman advocated changing the name to the North Adams Municipal Airport to better market the airport and make clearer its location. The commission tabled the motion to research the history of the airport's name before making a decision. After talking to the remaining family members of George West and researching the history, commissioners decided not to remove the names. The commission did decide to change the name to North Adams Harriman-West Airport and clean up confusion of the name in different sources.




    Regina DiLego updated the other members of the School Committee on the superintendent search process. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)

TRI-DISTRICT SEARCH COMMITTEE ADVISES INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT

The school districts for Williamstown and Lanesborough won't have a permanent superintendent until at least July. The superintendent search committee decided last week to recommend the district forgo its search for a replacement by Jan.1 for the retiring Rose Ellis. The search committee was formed to sort applicants for recommendation after Ellis informed Mount Greylock Regional School District and Superintendency Union 71 she would retire at the end of the year.



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

BMC AWARDED $3M FOR HEALTH CARE CENTER IN NORTH ADAMS

Berkshire Medical Center will receive $3 million in state funding to create a "Patient Centered Medical Neighborhood" in North County. That's on top of the $6 million that BMC is planning to invest in upgrades and expanded services announced on Tuesday. The state award will help fund initiatives to align with the findings of the Stroudwater Associates' health needs report for North Berkshire.The Stroudwater report recommends collaborating with social and community services and organizations; expanding primary care; and providing prenatal care and education and access to transportation to BMC's maternity department.

WNAW’S MIKE GARLAND GIVEN RECOGNITION AWARD

The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition held its fall "Neighborlies" presentation last night in North Adams. Among the many Northern Berkshire residents receiving one of the twice-yearly Community Recognition Awards was WNAW's Mike Garland, who was nominated in the Community Health and Wellness category by Mass in Motion coordinator Amanda Chilson. Mike was cited "for partnering with the Mayor's Fitness Challenge and hosting a Mayor's Fitness Challenge radio contest, as well as promoting.

4 NEW ENGLAND STATES IN TOP 10 FOR EFFICIENCY

Four New England states have been ranked in the top 10 nationally for their energy efficiency efforts. Massachusetts led the way in the annual ranking by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, with Rhode Island and Vermont tied with Oregon in the No. 3 spot and Connecticut ranked No. 6. In the region, only New Hampshire and Maine were excluded from the top 10, with Maine ranked 16th and New Hampshire 22nd. The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard measures six policy areas — utility policies and programs, transportation initiatives, building energy codes, combined heat and power development, state government-led initiatives, and state-level appliance standards.

MAN CHARGED IN $11K DRUG BUST

A Pittsfield man who allegedly had $ 11,000 worth of crack cocaine on him during a traffic stop is being held on $25,000 bail on charges including felony drug trafficking. 24 year-old Jason Deines, of Orchard Street, was arrested about 6:30pm Tuesday on West Housatonic Street after being pulled over by police. Officers said they found about 78 grams of crack cocaine broken up into 234 $50 bags stashed between the defendant’s buttocks, as well as two small bags of heroin in his pocket. Members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force allege Deines is a local drug dealer who had just returned to Pittsfield from Newburgh, N.Y., where he had resupplied himself with crack cocaine.



     Morningside Principal Joseph Curtis explained the development of a teacher evaluation system to the School Committee on Wednesday. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/Joe Durwin)
 

TEACHER EVALUATION PROCESS UNDER REVIEW

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 yesterday. IBerkshires.com reports that 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 observation, as well as self-assessment and documentation by teachers, with a focus on four core standards: curriculum planning and assessment; teaching to all students; reaching family and community; and professional culture.

DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF DIES OF CARDIAC ARREST

Pittsfield Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Kilmer has died of an apparent heart attack. Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski made the announcement yesterday that Kilmer experienced a cardiac arrest while off-duty. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time. A formal announcement of the arrangements and the fire department’s participation will be made. The news was posted on the Pittsfield Fire Department facebook page.

UNCLE BEAZLEY TO BERKSHIRE ATHENAEUM

The Berkshire Museum has loaned its famed Triceratops model, known as “Uncle Beazley”, to the Berkshire Athenaeum. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the approximately 11-foot-long Triceratops model was moved on a wheeled platform from the Berkshire Museum to a new home in the courtyard adjacent to the Children's Department of the Berkshire Athenaeum. Four smaller models are also going on display. Library Director, Ron Latham says that the Berkshire Museum was looking for a long-term loan arrangement for the models after dismantling its paleontology exhibit to make room for its new “Spark! Lab” installation – which opened October 11th.

FALCHUCK FILES LAW SUIT OVER DEBATE )

Independent gubernatorial candidate Evan Falchuk has filed a lawsuit seeking to force the organizers of an October 27th NECN debate to include him.Falchuk is one of three independent candidates on the ballot. The other two are Jeff McCormick and Scott Lively. The two major party candidates are Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker.

JUDGE DISMISSES COAKLEY FEDERAL HOUSING LAWSUIT

A federal court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley against the Federal Housing Finance Agency and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Coakley sued the agencies earlier this year for refusing to comply with a state law designed to stem the tide of foreclosures. Coakley said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac violated a 2012 Massachusetts law that allows the sale of homes in foreclosure to nonprofit organizations who intend to restructure the loan and sell the property back to the homeowner.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    
BHS is investing $6 million to expand services at BMC North. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)

BERKSHIRE HEALTH SYSTEMS INVESTING $6M IN NORTH COUNTY

Berkshire Health Systems will invest $6 million in Northern Berkshire in the coming months. The significant investment will mean the expansion of outpatient and imaging services, as well as upgrades to the technology at the BMC North campus. IBerkshires.com reports that the funds were approved in the capital budget by the Berkshire Health Systems Board of Trustees in October and includes infrastructure improvements, building renovations, expanded services and equipment purchases. The expanded services will include mammography, for which BMC had been awaiting federal approval to resume. Also to be offered are outpatient endoscopy and outpatient orthopedic surgery, and expansion of outpatient imaging.



    Clarksburg students on 'Bike to School Day' last year. The town has received a MassWorks grant to reconstruct West Cross Road and make it safer for walking and biking. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)

CLARKSBURG AWARDED $920K MASSWORKS GRANT FOR ROAD

Clarksburg was awarded a $920,000 MassWorks grant on Tuesday to address long-delayed roadwork along West Cross Road. IBerkshires.com reports that Town Administrator Carl McKinney's is new to the town administrator post but not to the efforts to obtain the grant. As a member of the Board of the Selectmen in the past, he'd advocated for the state help to address the worsening road structure. The town's been applying for the funding - then known as the Small Town Road Assistance Program, for the past seven or eight years.
 

COLEGROVE PARK SCHOOL PROJECT ON SCHEDULE

The elementary school project continues on time and under budget. The $29.7 million renovation of the former Conte Middle School into Colegrove Park Elementary School, is almost a quarter complete. The project had budgeted a contingency line item of 10 percent, or around $3 million. The somewhat high amount was to ensure that any issues discovered by tearing into the century-old building could be covered. Mayor Richard Alcombright said the change orders had run around $220,000 so far for items such extra cleaning of the brick facade and filling in some sinkholes.The School Building Committee, city councilors and other officials toured the construction site on Friday.



    V&V was approved locally for an all-alcohol license by the License Commission. Pending approval by the state, it may end discord amongst the city's alcohol purveyors. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)

V & V LICENSE TRANSFER APPROVED

The North Adams License Commission yesterday approved a retail liquor license transfer to V&V, also known as Steeple City Spirits. Pending state approval, the transfer of the all-alcohol license from River Street Package Store brings to a close a contentious chapter in the city's business community.

LIHEAP FUNDS TO AID BERKSHIRE RESIDENTS

The recent release of nearly $132 million of federal heating assistance funds will help thousands of Berkshire residents, but it likely won't keep pace with their rising fuel and electricity bills. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Massachusetts will receive $8 million less than last year in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Overall, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released $3.05 billion in LIHEAP funding, compared to the total of $3.5 billion a year ago. Berkshire Community Action Council says that reduction, coupled with the anticipated 30 to 40 percent spike in utility rates and a likely increase in natural gas and oil prices, isn't nearly sufficient for those lining up for LIHEAP money.

CHESHIRE TOWN CLEAN-UP A SUCCESS

Volunteers with Saturday's town cleanup in Cheshire reported to the Selectmen that the day was a great success. Nearly 40 residents helped in the cleanup. The project was spearheaded by resident John Tremblay and the group cleaned areas such as Wells Road, Town Hall, Stafford Hill, the Community Center, and the elementary school.

LOCAL JOBLESS RATE TICKS UP

Berkshire County unemployment exceeded the 6 percent threshold in September for the first time in four months. The state Office of Labor and Workforce Development says the number of unemployed county workers increased slightly last month, but the county's total labor force decreased by more than 1,200 workers. According to the figures released yesterday, the local jobless rate ticked up from 5.7 percent in August to 6.1 percent in September. State unemployment is currently 6 percent, slightly higher than the national rate of 5.9 percent.



    PEDA hoped the company who chose to do the final assembly in Pittsfield would be chosen but they weren't. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)


PEDA CHIEF SAYS SPRINGFIELD RAIL CAR CONTRACT BENEFITS BERKSHIRES

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. Governor Patrick announced this week that CNR Changchun was being recommended for the contract with the intentions to bring 250 jobs to a former Westinghouse plant. IBerkshires.com reports that CNR is proposing to build a brand-new 150,000 square-foot North American headquarters and make Springfield its permanent home. Thurston says it's a critical investment in the future of public transportation in Greater Boston and in the economic well-being of Western Massachusetts.



    North Street is in the tail end of a decadelong reconstruction. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)
 

PITTSFIELD GETS $4.5 MILLION TO FINISH NORTH STREET WORK

The city has the money to finish reconstructing North Street. IBerkshires.com is reporting that Gov. Deval Patrick has announced that $4.5 million in MassWorks grant funding will be awarded to complete the fourth and final phase of the project. Mayor Dan Bianchi says that with the money, the city should be able to finish the streetscape project. The Streetscape Project vision began in 2005 with the development of downtown master plan.

PITTSFIELD TEEN HELD AFTER CRACK BUST

A city teen accused of selling crack cocaine to a police informant is being held without bail. According to police, 19 year old James Pierson Jr., of Springside Avenue, was arrested by members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force about 5pm on Friday of last week, in the middle of a drug deal in a Chevrolet Silverado pick-up on Columbus Avenue extension near Onota Street. Investigators said when they approached the vehicle Pierson had a bag of cocaine weighing about 12 grams in his hand and there were several $10 bills sitting on the seat between Pierson and a woman in the truck's driver's seat. Pierson was arrested and when taken into custody allegedly had $181 in cash on his person.

COAKLEY AND BAKER DEBATE ISSUES LAST NIGHT

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley and her Republican challenger, Charlie Baker sparred on jobs, schools and services for families and children in a televised debate last night. Coakley says if elected, she would focus on building a sustainable economy from the ground up, while Baker says he would focus on strengthening local economies in struggling parts of the state. The Three independent candidates, Even Falchuck, Jeff McCormick and Scott Lively were not included in last night's debate.

IREDALE TAKES OVER SEARLES MIDDLE SCHOOL

Iredale Cosmetics, nearing completion of the makeover of the former Bryant Elementary School, has now completed a takeover of the adjacent former Searles Middle School. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Iredale COO Robert Montgomery confirmed that his company made a $640,000 payment to the town last week. That was the final payment that was supposed to be made by Camus Corporation, a New Jersey developer who submitted the initial request for proposal to the town in 2009. At that time, Camus unveiled an ambitious $19 million mixed-use proposal for the former school building that included affordable housing and retail space. That plan never came to fruition.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ALLEGED ASSAULT SUSPECT SOUGHT

A man wanted in connection with a machete attack in North Adams has been apprehended by New York State Police. North Adams Police reported shortly after 4 p.m. Monday that Joshua Allen, 27, had been taken into custody after a nearly three-day search. A Warrant for Allen was issued Saturday after Allen allegedly attacked his domestic partner in the early morning hours at their Montana Street residence and fled. The incident is under investigation by the North Adams Police Department and Berkshire County district attorney's office.

FALLEN TREE CUTS POWER TO 3,000

A late-night power outage on Sunday left roughly 3,000 customers in North Adams and Clarksburg in the dark until about 6am Monday, according to National Grid. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the outage occurred just after 11pm when a tree fell on a transmission line on Beaver Street in North Adams. Approximately 2,200 customers were affected right when the tree came down on the line. National Grid spokesman, Jake Navarro, said some additional customers lost power as repairs were being made during the restoration process. Power to all but 83 customers was restored by 1:15am by switching most customers to different circuits. According to Navarro, the remaining customers were without power until 6am as repairs were made throughout the night.

DAY OF SERVICE SET FOR SATURDAY

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the North Adams Chamber of Commerce and the City of North Adams announce that a "Day of Service - Fall Edition" will take place on Saturday from 10am to 2pm, throughout the community. Service sites will include the Hillside Cemetery on Route 2 in North Adams, the North Adams Goodwill and various pocket parks. For more than 20 years, MCLA and local residents have come together to clean up and improve the community. The scope and type of projects have evolved over the years, and the number of volunteers has increased significantly.



   The Maple Grove Civic Club is accepting new members from surrounding communities to keep the club going. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever) 
 

ADAMS CIVIC CLUB SEEKING BROADER MEMBERSHIP

The Adams Maple Grove Civic Club is casting a wider net to boost enrollment. IBerkshires.com reports that the civics association said it will welcome members from North Adams, Williamstown and other surrounding communities. At one point, the

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