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Williamstown Town Manager: Inspection Fees 'Never Optional'
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Thursday, September 27, 2018
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town manager Monday explained to the Select Board his rationale for allowing the Mount Greylock School District to wait three years to pay its permitting fees on the addition/renovation projection at the middle-high school.   Jason Hoch also talked about the process by which the town arrives at the fee schedule that has been called into question by some district officials and residents of Lanesborough and Williamstown.   "If you go back to 2015, there were a couple of things that were in play at that point as we started to think about building fees for the high school," Hoch said at Monday's board meeting. "We had just come out of

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Mount Greylock Regional Teachers End Job Action
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:20PM / Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Mount Greylock Regional School District and its teachers union have reached an accord to end the job action that has limited extracurricular activities at the district's three schools.

Mount Greylock Superintendent Kimberley Grady late Wednesday morning sent an email to the Mount Greylock community announcing that, while contract negotiations continue, the teachers have agreed to end the job action that has affected students at Mount Greylock, Lanesborough Elementary and Williamstown Elementary.

"We understand that the negotiation continues to reach a final contractual agreement, but we are thankful that the parties were able to find common ground to

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Ground Broken For Berkshire Innovation Center
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:30PM / Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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Gov. Charlie Baker helped break ground on the $13.7 million project.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Shawna Axenroth and her daughter go hiking in the scenic Berkshire Hills and talk about the environment. They run science experiments in their kitchen.

And they are both looking to pursue scientific careers.

Axenroth is at Berkshire Community College and her daughter is just starting the first year of high school. They both want to live and work fruitful careers in the science field in their hometown.   But the way it has been going in the region, there hasn't been much reason to be optimistic about that prospect. The population has been declining, particularly with the younger

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Mount Greylock Committee Hears Concerns About Disparities at Elementary Schools
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:24AM / Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Complaints about perceived inequities between the district's two elementary schools were brought to the Mount Greylock Regional School District on Thursday evening.   Mixed in with concerns about the ongoing labor strife in the newly expanded district were several comments about disparities between Williamstown Elementary School and Lanesborough Elementary School, where, committee members were told, pupils do not have access to the same opportunities for music instruction and a currently unfilled library position is straining resources.   "When I was hired eight years ago, I was asked to get the instructional music program off the ground,"

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Mount Greylock School Committee, Teachers Air Sides in Labor Dispute
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:54AM / Friday, September 21, 2018
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The contract at Williamstown Elementary has already run out; school officials are trying to negotiate one new contract for teachers at all three schools.   WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — At the end of a 4 1/2-hour meeting that included a 90-minute executive session, the Mount Greylock school committee issued its first public statement on a labor dispute that has roiled the recently expanded regional school district.   The meeting began with public comments from 10 people, including a spokesman for the district's teachers union, with a common theme: Pay the teachers what they've been promised.   The committee's answer, delivered by the head of its

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BCC, AHEC Announce Fall Workshops
02:04PM / Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College, in collaboration with Berkshire AHEC (Area Health Education Centers), through the recently created "BCC Area Health Education Collaborative," will offer the following workshops this fall on BCC's main campus at 1350 West St.

"Cultural Competency: Immigration, Acculturation and Implications for Social Identity" (WKS-1914-E1) is an informational session regarding how the attitudes and behaviors of people from one culture are modified as a result of contact with a different/host culture. Discussion will include applying the role of the interpreter and their functions. Sunday, Sept. 30, is International Translation

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Mount Greylock Needs to Deal with Dirt Stockpile from Building Project
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:47AM / Monday, September 17, 2018
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The ongoing dispute over permitting fees was not the only mess on the agenda of the Mount Greylock Regional School Building Committee on Thursday.   The committee kicked off its monthly meeting with a discussion about dirt, specifically, the large pile of earth to the south and west of the renovated school and how to dispose of it.   The pile has always been part of the project. It was created with the earth excavated to prepare for the middle-high school's new three-story academic wing. And the plan was to use that earth to fill in the footprint of the old, sprawling single-story academic wings that have been demolished.   The issue is that

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Mount Greylock Building Committee Seeks More Information on Permit Fees
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:41AM / Friday, September 14, 2018
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Williamstown resident Matt Sheehey asks the committee to take no action on payment for inspection services. WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Building Committee on Thursday decided to defer action on an invoice from the town for inspection services and instead ask Williamstown's town manager to come before the committee and explain the basis for the bill.   At issue is up to $300,000 in fees that the school building project has incurred over the life of the addition/renovation at the middle-high school.   The town has provided the district with documentation that the project actually has run up $309,554 worth of fees already, based on the

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Ta-Nehisi Coates Featured Speaker at MCLA's Dukakis Lecture
04:37PM / Tuesday, September 11, 2018
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Ta-Nehisi Coates NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Best-selling author, journalist and Marvel Comics writer Ta-Nehisi Coates will be this year's featured speaker at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' annual fall lectures series.   Also speaking this fall will be Emmy Award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, and Galen Nelson, senior director of innovation and industry support at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.   Coates is a winner of the National Book Award and the NAACP Image Award and author of "Between the World and Me," a number-one New York Times bestseller in 2015, which was required or recommended reading at more than 400 colleges and

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Williamstown Select Board Weighs Permit Fee Issue at Mount Greylock
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:58AM / Tuesday, September 11, 2018
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Select Board members Hugh Daley and Jane Patton.  WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board on Monday discussed whether the town should expect the Mount Greylock Regional School District to pay for permitting fees associated with the newly renovated and expanded middle-high school.   Resident Matt Sheehy asked the board to encourage the district to push for a waiver of the fees, arguing that makes fiscal sense for local taxpayers and political sense for the future of the two-town regional school district not to expect the bill to be paid.   Sheehy told the board that while Lanesborough residents on the School Building Committee and School Committee have been pushing

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