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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

No on 2, Yes on 4, and Community Preservation Act Adopted
By Andy McKeever,
12:42AM / Wednesday, November 09, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Money can't buy votes.   At least that's what voters said when it came to Question 2, a ballot initiative calling to raise the cap on the number of charter schools by a dozen.   Voters overwhelmingly shot down the expansion of the charter school system on Tuesday by a 2-1 margin. That is despite proponents outspending opponents by some $10 million. Those pushing for more charter schools spent $24.1 million as of Oct. 31, compared to $14.5 million spent by opponents.   "The power of people is stronger than money. The influence of the Wall Street corporate hedge fund, funding about $20 million of this with 80 percent being out of state


Berkshire County Election Day 2016
Staff Reports,
04:15PM / Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Finale

The upshot: Adam Hinds won the state Senate seat being vacated by Benjamin B. Downing and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier retained her seat representing Pittsfield. Both defeated their opponents by wide margins.  

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal will also return to Congress after easily besting two challengers.

Also passing was Pittsfield's adoption of the Community Preservation Act by an impressive vote of 15,331 by 4,169.

The statewide ballot questions were an up and down, with recreational marijuana and the banning of confinement cages for livestock passing; another slots facility and lifting the charter caps going down.

Clarksburg hit 78 percent turnout and Pittsfield 70

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Berkshire County Heads to the Polls for Election 2016
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
03:58AM / Tuesday, November 08, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It's election day in Massachusetts, unless you're one of the one million voters who have already cast ballots.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; find your polling station here. It's suggested you bring an ID if you're voting for the first time, your registration has been inactive, there may be some question to your status or you have to complete a provisional ballot.

Berkshire County voters will only find a couple of local issues on the ballot this year. They'll be determining the replacement for state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, who is departing after 10 years representing the far western part of the state, and a number of


Local Call/Volunteer Firefighters Graduate State Training Program
02:10PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Deputy Director Joseph Klucznik presented certificates of completion to members of the Call/Volunteer Recruit Firefighter Training Class 60 on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the Department of Fire Services' Springfield campus.

The 28 graduates, 25 men and three women, represent the 18 fire departments. Berkshire County firefighters graduating and their departments are Andrew Heath and Quinn Whitney (Cheshire); Matthew McNulty and Joshua Thomas (Dalton); Jessica Dezieck, Mohamed Morell and Mike Powell (Great Barrington); Tyler Collins (Lee); Cody Funk and Kyle Hutson (Monterey); David Smith (New Marlborough); and Michael Renton


Great Barrington Firefighters Graduate from State Academy
Community Submission,
01:31PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The town of Great Barrington has three new firefighters who graduated from the state academy last week.

The town's newest firefighters are Mohamed Morell, Jessica Dezieck and Michael Powell. They graduated on Wednesday, Nov. 2, from the Massachusetts Fire Academy after 240 hours of intensive training.

Dezieck is Great Barrington Fire Department's first woman to graduate from the Fire Academy.

"The intensity and quality of instruction at the Massachusetts Fire Academy ensures that graduates come out with a tremendous set of skills. In fact, our firefighters go through the same curriculum as full-time career firefighters," Fire Chief


Biz Briefs: Massachusetts Maple Producer Wins Top Honors
01:28PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

How sweet it is: Melissa Leab of Hancock took a top honor for her product and another was recognized for his decades of dedication to the industry at the North American Maple Syrup Council’s annual competition in Burlington, Vt.

Leab won first place in the Maple Cream category, and further beat out all other entries to claim Best of Show among all Maple Products. Sugarmakers from the United States and Canada submitted 170 entries into the contest, making for very tough competition in each category. Leab and her husband Rob own and run Ioka Valley Farm, and she is also president of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association.

There are more than 250 maple sugaring operations in


Berkshires Beat: Northern Berkshire Community Coalition Holds Fall Neighborlies
12:54PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

Neighborly feeling: The Northern Berkshire Neighbors program of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition held its Fall Neighborlies Community Recognition Award Ceremony at Congregation Beth Israel on Nov. 2. Friends, family and many supporters gathered to honor and congratulate individuals and groups in the Northern Berkshire communities whose acts of kindness and volunteer efforts have made a significant difference in the lives of their neighbors and the community. More photos can be found here.

Northern Berkshire Community Coalition staff and board members, and Mayor Richard Alcombright presented Neighborlies to the following recipients:

Community Health and Wellness: Amalio (AJ)


UNICO Baseball/Softball Hall of Fame Inductions Set for Nov. 18
12:25PM / Monday, November 07, 2016
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- UNICO will induct five athletes in its Baseball/Softball Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m.   The 21st induction dinner and ceremony will be held at Berkshire Hills Country Club. Past recipients are encouraged to attend. The five 2016 recipients will join 112 other Berkshire County coaches and players (amateur and professional) who have been inducted over the past 20 years.   These five individuals not only exhibited exceptional athletic skills that were developed through various Berkshire County youth programs, but also have given back to their communities.   The 2016 UNICO Hall of Fame recipients are:   MIKE GLADU Gladu played four years at


BHS Opens Specialty Practices Center at North Adams Campus of BMC
12:15PM / Monday, November 07, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams campus of Berkshire Medical Center is now home to a convenient, single site for multiple physician specialties and associated programs, providing North Berkshire and Southern Vermont patients with greater access to care.

Northern Berkshire Specialty Practices of BMC opened Nov. 1 on the first floor of the North Adams Campus, with access through the main lobby at 71 Hospital Ave.

Northern Berkshire Specialty Practices of BMC will consolidate in one location the offices of several BMC physician practices, including: Cardiology Professional Services of BMC; Endocrinology & Metabolism of BMC and BHS Diabetes Education; Hematology Oncology


Pittsfield's Patti Helps College Team Win League Title Sports,
04:45PM / Sunday, November 06, 2016

It is championship time for college athletes in fall sports, and Berkshire County products are contributing for their teams throughout New England and beyond.


On Saturday, the Wentworth College women’s soccer team won the Commonwealth Coast Conference title with a 4-0 win over Gordon, and sophomore Taylor Patti again helped contribute to the shutout in the back.


Patti has appeared in 14 games this fall for the Leopards (15-3-3). The team has allowed just 13 goals for a .60 goals against average.   Sophomore Amanda Wright (Pittsfield) assisted on the goal in Springfield College’s regular season finale, a 1-0 win over Wellesley, and she appeared in both


BArT Blows Its Own Horn at Breakfast
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:13AM / Sunday, November 06, 2016

ADAMS, Mass. — Four days before Massachusetts voters decide whether to raise the commonwealth's cap on charter schools, the director of Berkshire County's lone charter school Friday made the case for continued support of the junior-senior high school.

Julia Bowen told a crowd at the school's annual Fall Breakfast that the politicking around Question 2 on Tuesday's ballot has included repetition of misconceptions about charter schools that do not apply to the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School.   One thing that particularly stuck in her craw: the charge from Question 2 opponents that charter schools, unlike traditional public schools, enjoy the

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'Denial': Adding Insult to Injury
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
01:26PM / Friday, November 04, 2016


Point of disclosure: That was the number on the inside of my mother's arm ... my personal proof that there was a Holocaust. The A denoted Auschwitz. The numbers added up to 13. She said it was her lucky number. I don't think she'd mind me telling you. While there were times when Dorothy Goldberger (R.I.P.) absolutely drove me out of my mind, I can't remember her ever lying to me.

She didn't talk about it at first, nor did any of the other survivors who visited our home shortly after WWII. Or at least I didn't hear it ... only snippets, the name Hitler used interchangeably with the still not popularized term, Holocaust. All were firsthand witnesses. Later,

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