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News and events in South Berkshire, Mass.

Berkshire Cal Ripken All-Stars Move on to Western Mass State Semis
09:31PM / Monday, July 18, 2016
PEPPERELL, Mass. -- The Berkshire Cal Ripken 11U All-Stars split a pair on Sunday to finish pool play in the Western Massachusetts state tournament.   Dylan Ely got the call to pitch the opener against Frontier and didn't disappoint, throwing a complete game shutout and giving up one hit with six strikeouts.   Ely also helped out on the offensive side as well going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Braxton Crandall was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Blake Cella and Nick Vaber also had strong games for Berkshire, each scoring a run in the process.   Berkshire took the shutout win by the score of 8-0.   Berkshire faced the undefeated host, Pepperell, in the pool play


Congressman Neal Hosts Heroin Documentary, Panel Discussion
04:02PM / Monday, July 18, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal is hosting a screening of the HBO documentary "Heroin: Cape Cod USA" at Berkshire Community College on Tuesday.

Neal is joined in the event by Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer; North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright; Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bowler and Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless.

The showing in the Koussevitzky Arts Center is free and open to the public. The event begins at 5 p.m. with brief remarks; a panel discussion about current efforts to reduce the drug problem in Berkshire County will follow the 77-minute film. It is expected to conclude by 7:45 p.m.

Panelists include Alcombright; Bowler; 


Biz Briefs: Rotary 'Citizen of the Year,' Bank Grants
03:21PM / Monday, July 18, 2016

Good citizens: The Rotary Club of Great Barrington presented its annual “Citizen of the Year” award to Sally and Fred Harris of Saint James Place.  A luncheon presentation took place on June 29 at Crissey Farm, with selection committee chair, MaryAnn Norris, presiding.

Each year Great Barrington Rotarians honor a member or members of the community exemplifying the Rotary motto “service above self.” Sally and Fred Harris were chosen for their significant contribution to Great Barrington in saving St. James Episcopal Church and embarking on a six-year long historic restoration to transform the church buildings into a cultural center destined to enhance the


Great Barrington Fire Wins Federal Grant To Replace Airpacks
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:17PM / Monday, July 18, 2016

Chief Charles Burger said the grant will purchase 28 new airpacks, replacing the 11-year-old ones the department currently uses. GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Fire Department is replacing its 11-year-old airpacks with more modern and safer ones.   U.S. Rep. Richard Neal announced a $160,477 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase the 28 new units. The packs are used more than two dozen times a year to help firefighters breathe in hazardous conditions.   "This grant is going toward replacing our self-contained breathing apparatus, or what most people know them as airpacks. They are the cylinders we wear on our backs in order to breath clean


Berkshires Beat: Stockbridge Photo Contest Winners Announced
01:16PM / Monday, July 18, 2016

The winners are: Laurel Hill Association and Stockbridge Land Trust have selected five winning submissions to their first photo contest. The organizations are selling notecards, featuring the winning photos, in several local shops. All proceeds go to the two organizations.

The winning photos were taken by Dana Goedewaagen of Glendale; Stacy McMahon of Great Barrington; John R. Morse of Stockbridge; and Sharon Siter of South Egremont. The photos show the Mary Flynn Trail; the Housatonic River as it courses through Stockbridge; Konkapot Brook, with Ice Glen and Beartown Mountain in the background; the Children’s Chime Tower by the Congregational Church in Stockbridge; and the Cat and


@theMarket: Markets Make Hay
By Bill Schmick,
11:27AM / Saturday, July 16, 2016

A series of new historical highs rewarded investors who remained patient this year and remained invested. Unless something changes in the world of central banking, there is a good chance that further gains are in store for the stock market.

There will be pullbacks from time to time as the markets digest their gains. We have enjoyed several back-to-back gains in the stock market. The S&P 500 Index, for example, has climbed over 100 points without one down day. That is not something that can continue unabated.

The key to all this upside momentum is, of course, the worldwide largesse of governments and central banks. Take, for example, the events in England this week. Although


Election 2016: Harrington Endorsed by Mass Women's Political Caucus
Campaign Statement,
07:09PM / Friday, July 15, 2016

RICHMOND, Mass. — Andrea Harrington, a local attorney and small business owner running in the Democratic primary for state Senate, has been endorsed by the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus.

The non-partisan organization has a proven record of electoral success in Massachusetts, including its support of the campaigns of Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Auditor Suzanne Bump, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

This announcement follows recent endorsements from Western Massachusetts Carpenters Union Local 108 and SEIU Local 888.  Harrington is a Democrat running for state Senate for the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District soon to be

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Election 2016: Del Gallo Throws Support to Clinton
By Rinaldo Del Gallo, Campaign Statement
06:55PM / Friday, July 15, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — If one were to go to my Facebook page and read my post endorsing Hillary Clinton, it was met with criticism by some Bernie Sanders supporters and progressives. Apparently, my endorsement of Hillary Clinton is controversial in progressive circles. Nonetheless, I stand by my July 13 comments and press release endorsing Hillary Clinton.

I was not surprised — I have spoken to countless people in the district that I have indicated to me that they voted for Bernie Sanders but they will not vote for Hillary Clinton if she became the nominee. I believe not voting for Hillary Clinton is a mistake.

The simple reality is that because we do not have instant run-off


'The Secret Life of Pets': Won't be Secret Fur Long
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
04:35PM / Friday, July 15, 2016

While "The Secret Life of Pets" isn't quite "Lady and the Tramp" (1955), I've no problem mentioning the two kiddy flicks in the same sentence. Both are proof positive that you can learn a lot from the animals, especially the cartoon variety if they're as lovable as Max, a Jack Russell terrier voiced here by Louis C.K.

A contemporary variation of the iconic Tramp, who resisted domestication until romance curtailed his wanderlust, this Manhattanite is dedicated to hearth, condo and his master, Katie (Ellie Kemper).

When asked one morning by Gidget, the white Pomeranian next door who secretly loves him, if he had plans today, Max informs: "Yes, big, big


The Independent Investor: Tax Breaks For College Savings
By Bill Schmick,
02:21PM / Friday, July 15, 2016

As the cost of college continues to soar in America, more and more states are offering tax breaks to families who are trying to save as much as they can for their kid's educational future.

The state of Massachusetts is deciding whether or not they will join the list this week.

The most commonly used vehicle for that purpose is the "qualified tuition plan," more commonly known as a 529 Plan. These plans are sponsored by states, state agencies or educational institutions and were originally authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code. They are tax-free on a federal level and all but eight of the 42 states that have an income tax allow families and


Superior Court Briefs: July 11 - July 14
Staff Reports,
12:54PM / Friday, July 15, 2016
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 11.   Juan Lopez-Lucas, 34, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of assault and battery on a disabled person and a single count of caretaker abuse on a disabled person.   He was released on personal recognizance. Lopez-Lucas is accused of assaulting a student while he was employed at Eagleton School on July 11, 2013.   Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, July 12.   Eric Cohen, 57, of New Marlborough was sentenced to concurrent 20 to 24 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on four counts of rape and abuse of a child aggravated by an age


BRPC: Airfield Ruling Has Deep Implications to Zoning Laws
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:41AM / Friday, July 15, 2016

Attorney and alternative BRPC member Alexandra Glover represented Hanlon during the case and updated BRPC about the implications of the outcome on the municipal level on Thursday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A recent appeals court ruling against the town of Sheffield may have impacts on zoning throughout the state.   In May, the state court's decision sided with Sheffield resident John Hanlon in a battle over a private landing strip Hanlon built and registered.   The strip was just some 1,250 feet long in a field among some 38 acres of land he owns. It was registered with the state and sat in a mowed hayfield.    However, in 2011, the town of Sheffield ruled that


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