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News and events in Williamstown, Mass.

Berkshire Tidbits: More Thanksgiving Specials
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
11:39AM / Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pittsfield Salvation Army
Sets Free Thanksgiving Dinner

Today, Sunday, Nov. 22, Capts. Darlene and Elliot Higgins and church members will cook and serve a free Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings for anyone who wants one.

No reservations are needed. The Pittsfield Salvation Army is at 300 West St., Pittsfield


Thanksgiving R&R
at Kripalu Center

For the entire Thanksgiving week, Sunday, Nov. 22, through Friday, Nov. 27, Kripalu, 183 West St., Lenox, is offering a special rest and relaxation retreat to reflect on your own thankfulness and practice self-care at the same time.

The R&R retreat requires a minimum stay of two days. And/or enjoy their whole-foods


Williamstown Fire Officials Want Another Look a Repair Plan
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:59AM / Saturday, November 21, 2015
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Prudential Committee on Wednesday voted to hit the pause button on a repair project to the fire station.   The committee, which oversees the fire district, has for months been trying to address cracks that have developed in the wall at the front of the Water Street building.   A contractor was set to come as early as Thursday to begin work on reinforcing the wall, but the committee members questioned the fact that the project's nature had changed since the contract was signed.   "The whole complexion of the project has changed," committee member Ed Briggs said. "We ordered one thing, and we're getting something

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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

'Suffragette': Heroines of Democracy
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
07:32PM / Friday, November 20, 2015

When historical films like director Sarah Gavron's "Suffragette" so movingly inform how brutally primitive we were not so long ago, it is decidedly chilling. Hardly more than a hundred years ago, so-called enlightened civilizations were beating up women because they wanted to vote ... to represent themselves within the society where they nurtured, toiled and died.

It gives me pause to wonder just how aghast future cultures may be when they study how "barbaric" we 21st century folk were. i.e., "Imagine. They made people pay for health care, food, and energy."

In that light, it's crazy to think that once upon a time half the Earth's population

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Seven Children Find Forever Homes To Celebrate National Adoption Day
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
12:47PM / Friday, November 20, 2015
PITTSFIELD, Mass. —— Michelle Nichols remembers the phone call.   She was approved to adopt the child she had been fostering for four years. It began seven years ago, when she and her husband first decided they wanted to be adoptive parents. One of her students needed a home and the couple began to foster. Four years later, she was approved by the Department of Children and Families.   "It was a long journey. Our journey was four years for our first adoptive child," Nichols said. "Adoption is a wonderful thing. You face every obstacle with your child together."   It isn't an easy journey, she said. She remembers the feelings and concern.


The Independent Investor: How 'Black' Will This Black Friday Be?
By Bill Schmick,
08:39AM / Friday, November 20, 2015

For retailers, the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday traditionally signals the beginning of the do-or-die holiday selling season. The question worrying Wall Street and retailers alike this year is will the results justify the hype?

Listening to the third-quarter earnings and revenue guidance from retailers last week, there was little to applaud. Department stores were especially downbeat on their expectations for the entire 2015 holiday shopping season. Big discount stores, like Walmart, were less negative, and argued consumers were simply keeping their powder dry, while waiting for next weekend's super deals.

Some analysts argue that the disappointing earnings most retailers posted had


Guest Column: Why Is Berkshire County Education Task Force Important?
By John Hockridge, Guest Column
08:16AM / Friday, November 20, 2015

With a nod to Bob Dylan, "the times they are a changing."

The Berkshire County Education Task Force hopes to address changes in the educational landscape of our region by articulating a clear direction for our shared future that is intentional and focused on quality, sustainable preK-12 education.

The task force is trying to proactively address these changes affecting Berkshire public school districts:

● A general decline in student enrollment that is expected to continue;

● Rising operational costs (ie. benefits, special education, technology);

● Declining/flat revenues leading to additional financial burden to towns and

municipalities; and


Letter: BArT Example of Charter School Success
Letters to the Editor,
07:00AM / Friday, November 20, 2015

To the Editor:

A recent Pittsfield School Committee discussion included some misinformation about public charter schools that I would like to respectfully correct. (Pittsfield School Committee Endorses Moratorium on Charter Schools, Nov. 13)

Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School (BArT) is a tuition-free, public school, open to all students in Grades 6-12 from Pittsfield and Northern Berkshire County. We prepare students for college by promoting mastery of academic skills and content with a strong foundation in arts and technology. The school provides an educational community that regards everyone, including teachers and parents, as lifelong learners.

BArT serves a


BRPC: $815 Million Invested In Berkshire County Since 2012
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:08AM / Friday, November 20, 2015
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There has been at least $235 million in public monies and $580 million in private investment in the county over the past three years in ongoing or completed projects.   But those figures haven't translated to employment or wage increases.   The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission approved Thursday the annual Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy performance report. The report outlines the status of an array of economic development projects — including improvements to the Pittsfield Municipal Airport, renovations at Williams College, and the Hoosac Wind Farm.    "I expect that to be underestimated because that is just the


Mount Greylock Committee Advances Pared-Down School Building Budget
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:44AM / Friday, November 20, 2015
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee on Thursday approved a building project budget that lowers the projected cost to local taxpayers by about 16 percent from the figure estimated just four months ago.   The committee, on the recommendation of its School Building Committee, authorized owners project manager Dore & Whittier to submit a schematic design to the Massachusetts School Building Authority that includes a total project budget of $64.8 million.   That was the number that came out of this week's reconciliation of the estimates from the district's construction manager, Turner Construction, and Essential Estimating of

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Adams Looks At Eliminating Dispatch Service
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
01:39AM / Thursday, November 19, 2015

ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen are again looking to switch to a regionalized dispatch service that would save more than $160,000 annually.

Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco told the board on Wednesday that the town's consultant has recommended discontinuing its in-house dispatch service and move it to the Berkshire County sheriff's office.

"It would be a very positive move for the town," Mazzucco said. "We would have access to better technology and to better systems that would enhance officer safety. There is no concern over local safety when switching."

Mazzucco added that he has been in ongoing discussions with local emergency services and they have

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Williamstown Economic Development Committee Looks at Regional Efforts
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:33AM / Thursday, November 19, 2015
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — After nearly a year of discussing what the town can do to spur economic growth, the Economic Development Committee on Monday focused its attention beyond the Village Beautiful.   It is not the first time the ad hoc committee has looked at how the town's economy fits into a broader context, but two of Monday's guest speakers emphasized the importance of a regional or statewide perspective.   Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, and Jonathan Butler of 1Berkshire addressed the committee as it wraps up its business and prepares to present a final report to the Board of Selectmen next month.   Cariddi talked about a bill she is sponsoring to

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Talk Explores 'Art of Coaching,' Trouble With Specialization
By Shannon Boyer, Sports
10:33PM / Wednesday, November 18, 2015
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- USA Hockey has created a philosophy not only for the better of the youth in its own sport, but for the youth in sports across the map --- from soccer to basketball and lacrosse to football.   The core of the philosophy: Understanding age appropriate training and development and maintaining patience through those years as a parent and a coach.   Wednesday evening, the "Developing Young Athletes-Myth and Reality" discussion was held at the Williams College by Roger Grillo, a longtime hockey coach.  He coached at Brown University for 12 years before joining USA Hockey in 2009 to serve as its regional manager for the American Development Model,

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