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News
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

     Thomas Scanlon of Scanlon & Associates explains a point of the management letter for fiscal 2014. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)

 
CITY FINANCIAL REVIEW FINDS FEW ISSUES  
 
The City of North Adams’ consulting auditor is continuing to express concern over its lack of reserves but found few other issues in its review of the fiscal year that ended June 30th of 2014. IBerkshires.com reports that Thomas Scanlon of Scanlon & Associates told the City Council last night that the city for the first time in a few years had free cash certified for about $143,000. Free cash should generally be about 3 to 5 percent of a municipal budget. For North Adams, it would be about $1.2 million based on the city's nearly $40 million budget.
 
PHASE ONE OF BRIDGE REPAIR APPROVED  
 
The Selectmen approved a $2,750 scoping session of the closed Sand Mill Road Bridge to investigate what it would cost to repair the bridge and options for fixing it. IBerkshires.com reports that they agreed to pay Foresight Land Services to enter Phase 1 of the bridge repair project. The engineers will investigate the bridge, create a design, evaluate options, and provide alternatives. The bridge was deemed by the state to be in poor condition and was closed by the town. Originally, the town planned on waiting for the state to take on the complete replacement of the bridge, but, it was found that it may be able to be repaired for a smaller cost sooner.




     The City Council requested a detailed list of the expenses to move the inspection services to 100 North St. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)
 
PITTSFIELD PAID $80K IN MOVING COSTS TO 100 NORTH ST.
 
Pittsfield spent $80,000 to move the inspection services to 100 North.
According to iBerksires.com, in response to a request from Councilor at Large Barry Clairmont, Mayor Daniel Bianchi's office provided a detailed account of the expenses to move the health, building, utilities, fire, a community development agent and conservation agent offices to the mezzanine level of 100 North St.
The total was $80,873.91 The relocation of the inspections services from City Hall was somewhat controversial because many members of the City Council were not consulted about the move ahead of time.  
 
PITTSFIELD LICENSING BOARD OKS NEW CLASSIC CAR BUSINESS  
 
The city of Pittsfield’s licensing Board has given the ok for anew classic car business to open up shop. Terrance Gates Jr. will open “T's Kustom Auto” on Dalton Avenue this summer and is specializing in buying and selling classic cars. IBerkshires.com reports that he received the auto dealer license from the city yesterday and hopes to have his shop open this summer.
 
CITY TAX LIEN AUCTION HAULS IN $667,000; $1.2 MILLION PAID IN BEFOREHAND
 
Pittsfield held its first property tax lien auction on Monday afternoon, hauling in approximately $667,000 in revenue from seven successful bidders — some of whom acquired multiple property liens. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the amount realized was in addition to the more than $1.2 million in overdue tax bill payments made since the auction was announced in early March. Strategic Auction Alliance of Braintree, which conducted the session at City Council chambers at City Hall and online, offered 106 residential, commercial or industrial properties, including some open lots or parcels, to about a dozen registered bidders.
 
FIFTH OUI CHARGE LANDS PITTSFIELD MAN IN VETS FACILITY WITHOUT BAIL  
 
A Pittsfield man was ordered to be held without bail yesterday after receiving a fifth drunken driving charge — but his incarceration will be at a Soldier On veterans facility instead of a jail. 52 year old Richard Griffin, of Pomeroy Avenue,  pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court to charges of operating under the influence of alcohol, fifth offense, operating under the influence of drugs, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, operating under the influence while his license was suspended for operating under the influence, failure to stop for police, and failure to stop. Griffin is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing on July 2nd.
 
PEDA, ENVIRONMENTALISTS DIFFER ON EPA STORMWATER PLAN  
 
Newer and stricter federal standards regulating storm-water discharge into Silver Lake would "unfairly burden" both the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority and the city of Pittsfield, according to PEDA's Executive Director Cory Thurston. The Berkshire Eagle reports that speaking at a public hearing held last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Thurston said the regulatory action suggested by the EPA "directly conflicts" with the intent of the agreement that created PEDA, the quasi-public agency that is charged with developing the 52-acre William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires.
 
PRICE AT THE PUMP JUMPS 3 CENTS IN PAST WEEK
 
The price of a gallon of gasoline has jumped 3 cents in the past week. AAA Northeast says its weekly survey found self-serve, regular selling for $2.66 per gallon. Even though that's 3 cents higher than last week and 12 cents higher than a month ago, it's 8 cents per gallon lower than the current national average and 99 cents lower than the in-state price from a year ago.
 
BUFFIS TRIAL CONTINUES  
 
Former Lee Police Chief Joseph Buffis gave inconsistent statements about a $4,000 donation and leaked bad information to the press, according to an investigator looking into Buffis' handling of a 2012 Lee prostitution case. The Berkshire Eagle reports that retired Massachusetts State Police Captain Richard Smith testified yesterday that he was tapped by the Berkshire District Attorney's office to investigate Buffis after reports surfaced about the level of secrecy surrounding a clerk magistrate hearing involving Thomas Fusco and his wife, Tara Viola, in connection with the prostitution investigation. Buffis is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the Edward J. Laliberte Toy Fund over the course of a 12-year span.
 
STOCKBRIDGE POLICE OFFICERS RESIGNS
 
The Stockbridge Select Board announced last week that it has accepted the resignation of Police Officer Adelheid "Heidi" Teutsch, effective on October 31st of this year. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Teutsch, a Richmond native who lives in Stockbridge, has been on administrative leave for the past six months, and has been receiving disability pay, which will continue until her termination date. The nature of her disability has not been disclosed.
 
OTIS ELECTS A NEW SELECTMAN  
 
William Hiller Jr. is the newest member of the Otis Board of Selectmen. The Berkshire Eagle reports that in the only contested race on yesterday’s town elect ballot, Hiller defeated Therese "Terry" Gould, 103 to 78. Hiller is a long-time resident who ran at the urging of family and friends. Town Clerk Lyn Minery reported that 188 of the town's 1,096 registered voters cast ballots at Town Hall — a 17 percent turnout.
 
HIKERS GREETED WITH PAY AND DISPLAY PARKING KIOSK
 
Hikers who make a daily trek up Monument Mountain were greeted with a surprise last week - a pay-and-display parking kiosk. The Berkshire Edge.com reports that the Trustees of Reservations, the conservation entity that manages 113 properties across the state, recently installed kiosks at five of them. Monument’s has not yet gone live, and in fact, it is still wrapped in its cardboard box. But when it does, parking will cost $5 per car, unless one has a membership, which ranges from $37 to $67 per year, depending.
 
STATE NEEDS TO TOUGHEN ENFORCEMENT OF RECORDS LAW (All)
 
Massachusetts Secretary William Galvin says he's considering pushing a ballot question to toughen enforcement of the state's public records law. Galvin, who is responsible for overseeing requests for public records, said yesterday that the current law doesn't have enough teeth. A spokesman for Attorney General Maura Healey says she's committed to increasing access to public records.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015
  
     The Selectmen and School Committee are hoping for better communications in the future. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Jack Guerino)

CHESHIRE & SCHOOL DISTRICT AGREE TO BETTER COMMUNICATIONS  
 
Selectmen, Adams Cheshire Regional School Committee members, and district administration agreed that the recent budget compromise was not handled properly and agreed to stronger communication in the future. IBerkshires.com reports that the Selectmen had said they felt as though the district was not communicating with them and keeping them out of last-minute budget negotiations with Adams after finding out that the certified school budget was altered after Adams moved $93,000 from its municipal budget to the schools to avoid an override. Superintendent Kristen Gordon apologized to the Selectmen last week during a joint meeting with the School Committee and the Selectmen. She said things just moved too fast.
 
WILLIAMSTOWN CON COMM OKS RESTORATION PLAN FOR WAUBEEKA
 
The Williamstown Conservation Commission has approved a restoration plan for a portion of denuded riverbank at Waubeeka Golf Links. IBerkshires.com reports that at its May 14th meeting, the commission reviewed a plan developed by a wetlands scientist from Guntlow & Associates and reviewed by officials at the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.  Guntlow's Megan Myers appeared at the meeting to represent Waubeeka owner Michael Deep, who also attended the session. Commissioner Henry Art had some specific concerns about details in the plan, but the commission voted to approve an enforcement order subject to further discussion between Art and Myers.
 
ADAMS FREE LIBRARY REDEDICATED  
 
Library trustees, staff, friends and patrons celebrated the completion of renovations to the 116-year-old Adams Free Library with a rededication ceremony on Saturday. IBerkshires.com reports that Library Director Deborah Bruneau thanked all those involved in the eight years of exterior and interior renovation. Along with the various other speakers, Bruneau unveiled a plaque dedicated to Ron Bishop, a former trustee and library patron who helped make the library what it is today. Bishop passed away in 2006.

MEMORIAL DAY OBSERVED COUNTY-WIDE YESTERDAY
 
The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams, and most towns around the Berkshires, north and south, held parades, ceremonies or both in observance of Memorial Day yesterday, in honor of all veterans who died defending America. The Memorial Day ceremonies were held throughout the county and country. The day also included the placing of flowers at memorials of war veterans. Memorial Day was started during the Civil War in 1868 to honor those who died during the nation's deadliest conflict.
 
BERKSHIRE BANK ACQUIRES BOSTON-AREA FINANCIAL FIRM  
 
Berkshire Hills Bancorp, the bank's holding company has announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to purchase privately held Firestone Financial Corp. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the longstanding commercial specialty finance company will become an operating subsidiary of Berkshire Bank. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, which are expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2015.
 
VOTERS IN OTIS GO TO THE POLLS TODAY  
 
Voters will choose a new selectman during today’s annual town election. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the campaign between Therese Gould and William Hiller Jr. is the only contested race on the ballot. The winner will succeed Brian Crandall, who isn't seeking re-election after four years on the Board of Selectmen. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Gould is a member of the Otis Finance Committee, Zoning Board of Appeals and Smart Growth Committee.
 
NEW SOUTHERN BERKSHIRE SCHOOLS PRINCIPAL  
 
After a two-month search, Superintendent David Hastings announced Stacy Burgess on May 15th as the new principal for the district's four elementary schools: Undermountain Elementary in Sheffield, New Marlborough Central School, Monterey and South Egremont schools. On July 1st, Burgess officially will succeed Thomas Simon, who was serving in the role under a one-year interim contract. With an annual salary of $87,000, Burgess has agreed to a three-year contract with the district in a position that has long been prone to turnover.
 
BARD COLLEGE AT SIMON’S ROCK GRADUATES CLASS OF 2015 (GB-INTEREST
 
Bard College at Simon's Rock graduated 104 students with associate's degrees and 35 with bachelor's degrees during Memorial Day commencement for the Class of 2015 yesterday. Simon's Rock is the only four-year college in the U.S. that allows adolescents to begin college after the 10th or 11th grade.
 
VOTERS IN OTIS GO TO THE POLLS TODAY  
 
Voters will choose a new selectman during today’s annual town election. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the campaign between Therese Gould and William Hiller Jr. is the only contested race on the ballot. The winner will succeed Brian Crandall, who isn't seeking re-election after four years on the Board of Selectmen. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Gould is a member of the Otis Finance Committee, Zoning Board of Appeals and Smart Growth Committee.
 
HINSDALE VOTERS OK ADMINISTRATOR POSITION, $5.5 MILLION BUDGET
 
With the approval of two-thirds of Annual Town Meeting, Hinsdale's leadership will soon commence to hunting for a point person to administrate the town "like a $5 million business." IBerkshires.com reports that a permanent town administrator's position was approved by residents in an 81 to 44 vote. Town officials listed the salary target as $60,000, to be paid out of free cash in fiscal 2016 and raise and appropriate in subsequent years. Annual Town Meeting on Friday also approved a total budget of about $5.5 million for fiscal 2016 — up from the current $5.3 million budget.
 
NEW SOUTHERN BERKSHIRE SCHOOLS PRINCIPAL  
 
After a two-month search, Superintendent David Hastings announced Stacy Burgess on May 15th as the new principal for the district's four elementary schools: Undermountain Elementary in Sheffield, New Marlborough Central School, Monterey and South Egremont schools. On July 1st, Burgess officially will succeed Thomas Simon, who was serving in the role under a one-year interim contract. With an annual salary of $87,000, Burgess has agreed to a three-year contract with the district in a position that has long been prone to turnover.
 
 
LAWMAKERS TO HOLD STATEHOUSE HEARING ON PUBLIC RECORDS BILLS
 
More than a dozen bills related to the state's public records laws are the subject of a hearing at the Massachusetts Statehouse. Critics have long complained that Massachusetts public records laws are too cumbersome and restrictive. One bill would require the state to make statements of financial interests filed by public officials available over the Internet while another would allow for the public inspection of records made or received by special state police officers at educational institutions. Another bill would create a special commission to examine the maintenance, preservation and storage of municipal records while another would make all records now in the custody of the state secretary which are 90 years or older open to public inspection.
 
 
 
RECORD SPENDING ON LOBBYING BEACON HILL
 
Hospitals, insurers, doctors, unions and pharmaceutical companies spent a record $19 million lobbying Beacon Hill lawmakers last year. That's an indication of the industry's political and economic muscle. An Associated Press review of reports filed with the state secretary's office shows lobbying by the industry has nearly doubled from the $10.8 million spent in 2007.
 
DELEO ASKS STATES HIGHEST COURT TO WEIGH IN  
 
Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo is asking the state's highest court to weigh in on a vote the Senate took during its budget debate. The vote was to freeze the state income tax rate at 5.15 percent while gradually increasing the earned income tax credit for low-income working families. DeLeo's question hinges on whether the budget can be considered a so-called "money bill" — which would allow the Senate's actions.
sports queue for a fixture slugged "Time Schedule" if you don't find the events you need listed here.



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.



 
MIKE GARLAND
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