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Williamstown Con Comm OKs Restoration Plan for Waubeeka
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:35AM / Sunday, May 24, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission has approved a restoration plan for a portion of denuded riverbank at Waubeeka Golf Links.   At its May 14 meeting, the commission reviewed a plan developed by a wetlands scientist from Guntlow & Associates and reviewed by officials at the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.   Guntlow's Megan Myers appeared at the meeting to represent Waubeeka owner Michael Deep, who also attended the session, televised on the town's community access station, WilliNet.   Commissioner Henry Art had some specific concerns about details in the plan, but the commission voted to approve an enforcement

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Lanesborough Residents Calling On Town To Oppose Pipeline
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:07AM / Tuesday, May 19, 2015
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — It was standing-room only in the Selectmen's office Monday night with dozens of residents asking the board to stop the proposed natural gas pipeline.   The proposed Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct project is eyed to install a high-pressure gas line through 19 properties in town on its way from the Marcellus Shale territory in Pennsylvania to Maine. The route cuts through Hancock, Lanesborough, Cheshire, Dalton, Hinsdale, Windsor and Peru. It runs along the electrical lines just north of Town Hall, bisecting the town.   The residents on Monday delivered a petition with more than 500 signatures asking the Selectmen to oppose the project, citing

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Williamstown Bag Bylaw Advocates Want Town Meeting Decision
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:39AM / Friday, May 15, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Proponents of bylaws to ban single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers say it is time to make a stand, not a study.   The town will decide at Tuesday's annual town meeting whether to enact two bylaws generated by citizens' petitions.   The Board of Selectmen recommends that the bylaws be reshaped over the next year.   Brad Verter, one of the organizers of the citizen-driven bylaw effort, is having none of that.   "There is zero point in tabling it," Verter said shortly after the board's vote. "Each of their concerns is very easily addressed.   "They're worried about the legality and

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Friends Group Formed To Improve Public Lands & Forests
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:21AM / Monday, May 11, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There have been plenty of studies and press conferences touting the economic impact of local cultural institutions, all with the backdrop of the beautiful Berkshires.

But why can't the "beautiful Berkshires" be an economic driver as well?   Companies and politicians all see the benefits of investing in culture but some say not nearly the same level of emphasis is placed on open spaces, hiking trails, natural beauty, and outdoor recreation.   Ryan Aylesworth is hoping to change that.   The former president and CEO of Audubon International and once a intergovernmental affairs liaison for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has formed the

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Hoosic River Revival's Grinnell Honored by EPA
Staff Reports,
01:25PM / Thursday, April 23, 2015
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Hoosic River advocate Judith Grinnell has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for her efforts. She was the only Western Massachusetts award recipient.

Grinnell, who founded the Hoosic River Revival in North Adams, was one of 11 New England recipients of the 2015 Environmental Merit Award. Some 27 awards in all were presented on Wednesday, Earth Day, in Boston.

Grinnell was presented with an individual award for her vision to turn the channeled Hoosic River into an ecologically friendly and accessible waterway as it cuts through the city. The river's current concrete flood control chutes, built by the Army Corps of Engineers nearly 60

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Guest Column: An Earth Day Appreciation of Our Partners
By Martin Suuberg, Guest Columnist
12:16PM / Wednesday, April 22, 2015
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Today marks the 45th anniversary of the first Earth Day celebration – a day that many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement. More than 20 million people participated in that 1970 celebration and those efforts eventually lead to the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts a few years later.

In 1975, the General Court created the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality Engineering – the precursor of today's Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) – and built upon a healthy state, community and citizen partnership that still protects our natural

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New Children's Book Showcases Imperfect Produce
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:20PM / Thursday, April 16, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Never judge a book by its cover, so the saying goes.

Local author Amelia Ritner doesn't want you to judge a vegetable by its appearance, either.

Ritner, who currently lives in Pittsfield, just released a children's book called "Ugly Farm" that features pictures she took of strange-looking produce while working on a Connecticut farm last summer.

It all started when her boyfriend discovered an eggplant that had an unusual persona.

"He picked an eggplant that looked like Richard Nixon," Ritner said. "It got a lot of laughs."

She started photographing the unusual plants they came across, such as a carrot that looked like its

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Williamstown Con Comm Blasts Waubeeka for Tree Cutting
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:21AM / Saturday, April 11, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission on Thursday night took to task the new owner of Waubeeka Golf Links for removing vegetation from the banks of a section of the Green River that flows through the course.   Michael Deep was in front of the commission to ask for its blessing for a couple of other projects at the 18-hole facility on New Ashford Road (Route 7).   But in the course of a Thursday afternoon site visit to prepare for that evening's hearing, something else caught the commissioners' eyes.   "We noticed that a substantial bank on both sides of the Green River was cleared of vegetation — large trees, native trees, willows, along

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Williamstown Board Advises Resolution Against Plastic Bags, Containers
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:35AM / Tuesday, March 24, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Selectmen are encouraging the backers of a polystyrene ban to consider social rather than legislative pressure.

The ad hoc group Greening Williamstown is hoping to place a bylaw before town meeting that would ban the use of plastics — including plastic bags, food containers and silverware.

The Selectmen expressed concern Monday over enforcement issues and overlegislation — either by the board or by citizen's petition.

"Who would grant the exemptions and do the enforcement?" asked Selectman Hugh Daley, referencing other bylaws he'd seen.

Anne O'Connor, speaking on behalf the campaign's leader Brad Verter, told the

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Hancock Suing Berkshire Wind Over PILOT Payments
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:13PM / Tuesday, March 03, 2015
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HANCOCK, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday decided to authorize the town's attorney to sue Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corp. for back payments from the utility's wind turbine farm on Brodie Mountain.

The action is the latest step in a dispute that stretches back to 2013, the last year of a three-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement between the town and the eastern Massachusetts power cooperative.

On Tuesday afternoon, the utility said it has been negotiating with the town in good faith and was disappointed by the board's noontime decision.

"Litigation will increase costs unnecessarily for the town and BWPCC," the utility wrote in a

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