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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

Williamstown School Committee Sends Budget Back to Fin Comm
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:51AM / Wednesday, March 30, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Elementary School Committee on Tuesday night signed off on a $6.6 million fiscal 2017 budget.

The spending plan is the culmination of weeks of hearings and meetings both at the School Committee and town Finance Committee level.

It is the second budget approved by the School Committee this year. Last week, at the request of the Fin Comm, Superintendent Douglas Dias presented a budget revised from the plan voted by the School Committee on March 17.

The latest revision trimmed an addition $53,256 from the appropriated, or town-funded, side of the budget.

Tuesday's vote sends the latest revision back to the Finance Committee for approval at its

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Williamstown Housing Committee Shifting Focus
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:40AM / Tuesday, March 29, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — With nearly 100 units of income-sensitive housing in various stages of development in town, the Affordable Housing Committee wants to focus on the broader issue of addressing the town's complete housing needs.

Chairman Van Ellet appeared before the Board of Selectmen on Monday to tell them the committee is working on a new housing needs assessment.

"We had a needs assessment done a few years ago … but that assessment really focused on subsidized housing," Ellet said.

The Affordable Housing Committee wants to broaden its scope, Ellet said, even suggesting the town rename the panel to simply the Housing Committee, partly for differentiation


Feeding the hungry
by buddy 04:12PM / Friday, February 21, 2014

Williamstown Community Preschool Installs New Signage
by Billsville 02:46PM / Tuesday, February 26, 2013

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Community Preschool began sprucing up its new home by hiring local sign maker Lindsay Neathawk,

Williamstown Youth Center Thanks Bedard Bros.
by Billsville 02:13PM / Friday, June 22, 2012
Bedard Brothers Chevrolet, through the Chevrolet Youth Soccer Program, has helped sponsor the Williamstown Youth Center's Soccer Program for the 2012 season. In addition to soccer equipment, this

Berkshire Tidbits: Butcher's Workshop & Wellness Eating
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
03:04PM / Monday, March 28, 2016

Christian and Donna Hanson, winemakers and owners of Balderdash Cellars, a Pittsfield winery.
  Every Saturday afternoon between noon and 4, Spirited Wines, 444 Pittsfield Road/Route 7at the beginning of Holmes Road in Lenox, 413-448-2274, hosts a free wine and sometimes cheeses and other wine-friendly food tasting.   This week, Saturday, April 2, all the tastings are of local wines, beers, spirits and cheese. The producers will be Balderdash Cellars, a Pittsfield husband and wife winery; Graham Farmhouse Wines, another husband and wife winery, this one in West Stockbridge; Berkshire Mountain Distillers (spirits) and Big Elm Brewing (beer) both of Sheffield;


United Way Installing 50 Bookhouses Across County to Improve Literacy
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:52PM / Monday, March 28, 2016

Kristine Hazzard said this year the United Way is "going bigger and we're going better." PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Half the county's third-graders are not proficient at reading.   The Berkshire United Way is continuing its efforts to change that percentage.   For the last five or so years, the organization has run a number of programs and projects aimed to bring that percentage close to 90 percent proficient by 2020 and this year the efforts are ramping up even more.    "This year, because that is how we are, we are going bigger and we're going better," CEO Kristine Hazzard said on Monday when the organization announced details on


Williams Women's Tennis Improves to 8-1
05:55PM / Sunday, March 27, 2016

ATLANTA — Less than 12 hours after its second match of the day on Saturday, the Williams College women's tennis team was back in action on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. to play DePauw in the Fab Five Tournament at Emory University.

Tired though they may have been from yesterday's two matches that lasted into the night the Ephs (8-1) got down to business and swept the doubles to go up 3-0 and then won all six singles in straight sets to post the 9-0 win.

Next up for the Ephs is a Wednesday afternoon encounter at 3 p.m. versus No. 4 ranked Emory University, the team the Ephs edged 5-4 in last year's NCAA championship match.


Mount Greylock School Building Committee Moves to Next Phase
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:20AM / Saturday, March 26, 2016

Trip Elmore of Dore & Whittier explains the next steps in the process to the School Building Committee.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock School Building Committee on Thursday discussed the next steps it needs to take to keep the $64.8 million project on schedule.

After taking about five minutes to celebrate the success of last week's vote in Lanesborough to authorize the renovation and addition to the 60-year-old junior-senior high school, the committee quickly pivoted to the work it still needs to do before — and even after — shovels go in the ground this summer.

"Now the committee gets to go on to the hard work," Chairman Mark Schiek joked

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The Independent Investor: Are Negative Interest Rates the Answer?
By Bill Schmick,
05:47PM / Friday, March 25, 2016

You may have heard of the newest wrinkle among central bankers. It's called "NIRP," which stands for negative interest rate policy. Several countries have already implemented this policy and are hoping their actions will stem the tide of deflation and low economic growth.

Although NIRP by its nature seems complicated, it really isn't. All you need know is that just about every bank in the world is required to keep a percentage of its customer's bank deposits in reserve in case their depositors want their money bank.  In our country, banks are required to keep 10 percent of those funds "in reserve" at the 12 Federal Reserve banks around the country. Now


Arbor Day Poetry Contest Open to Berkshire County Students
02:53PM / Friday, March 25, 2016

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Conservation District is hosting a poetry contest in honor of National Arbor Day with the theme “We All Need Trees” open to students in Berkshire County in grades K through 12.

Poems should be no longer than one page and can be printed or hand written (if legible). Include the student’s name, school name, grade, mailing address, and phone number on the back of the poem.

Entries must be received by Friday, April 8. Mail or drop off at the office: Berkshire Conservation District, 78 Center St., Ste. 206, Pittsfield, MA 01201.

Winners will receive a free gift on Seedling Sale Day, Saturay, May 7, at Springside Park in Pittsfield. For


Williams College Admits 1,206 Students for Class of 2020
12:27PM / Friday, March 25, 2016

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College has extended offers of admission to 1,206 applicants for the Class of 2020. They were selected from a total applicant pool of 6,982, for an overall acceptance rate of 17 percent.

“We are blessed with a world-class applicant pool, and choosing among so many highly qualified applicants was as challenging as it’s ever been,” said Richard Nesbitt, director of admission. “We’re thrilled with the results of our deliberations, which promise to yield an extraordinarily talented and diverse Class of 2020.”

Of the admitted students, 623 are women and 583 are men. One hundred are international students representing 45


Holiday Events: Grab Your Easter Baskets!
12:13PM / Friday, March 25, 2016

It's time for the kiddos to break out their baskets and spy some Easter goodies around the county this weekend.

Saturday, March 26

• Stockbridge Library Train Station, 2 Depot St., Stockbridge, 11 a.m.: A special storytime and Easter Egg Hunt will be held. Have fun searching for eggs and hearing an Easter story. Info at 413-298-5501.

• Peter Cook VFW Post 9144, Clarksburg, 10 a.m.: Annual egg hunt will be held in the town field. All children up to age 12 are welcome.

• Blue Rider Stables, 15 Farm Lane, South Egremont, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: A candy free egg hunt  will be held for free. Other activities include hay bale maze, $1; pony rides, $5, face painting and


Williams Women’s Lax Concludes Florida Trip with Win
10:47AM / Friday, March 25, 2016

CLERMONT, Fla. – After a tight first half that saw five lead changes and five ties, a thundering start to the second half Thursday lifted the Williams College women’s lacrosse team over Buffalo State, 16-8, in both squads’ final contest at the National Training Center.

After junior Katie Gallop scored in the final minute of the first half to give the Ephs (4-3) a 6-5 lead heading into the half, Williams fired off eight consecutive goals to begin the second half and solidify their lead.

Eleven Ephs contributed to the offensive effort highlighted by first year Emma Tenbarge’s game-high five goal outing. Senior Micaela Dussel had three goals and one assist and


Williamstown Looks at Tax Increase to Fund Mount Greylock
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:04AM / Friday, March 25, 2016

Mount Greylock Business Manager Nancy Rauscher and Superintendent Douglas Dias explain the fiscal 2017 spending plan.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Finance Committee on Wednesday recommended that the town look at increased taxes to pay for a jump in the Mount Greylock Regional School District's assessment and look to free cash to offset an overage in the elementary school's budget.

The Fin Comm will not make its final recommendations to town meeting until its March 30 meeting at the earliest, but the panel raised no objections to the Mount Greylock budget as presented or a Williamstown Elementary School spending plan that has been pared back slightly since the school's


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