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Berkshire Activists Lobby for Yes on Question 2
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
03:11AM / Saturday, November 01, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — As next week's statewide election approaches, local environmentalists and others have mounted substantial efforts to lobby in favor of Ballot Question 2, which would expand on Massachusetts' existing bottle bill.

Proponents of the ballot initiative, which would expand current monetary incentives for recycling soda and beer bottles to non-carbonated beverages, lined Park Square on Thursday beneath a giant inflatable bottle to get their point across.

Advocates say expansion of the law is crucial to increasing recycling that will both reduce waste in the environment and help reduce deleterious greenhouse effects.

"It would be like taking 7,000 cars

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Williamstown Selectmen Endorse Hospital Resolution, Bottle Initiative
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:54AM / Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Monday approved a resolution promoting the return of inpatient services at the former North Adams Regional Hospital and expressed the town's support for a "Yes" vote on the bottle deposits initiative on the Nov. 4 election ballot.

A group representing activists who have been working to reopen the shuttered hospital since its closure in March attended Monday's meeting, as did a representative of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, who told the board that inpatient facilities in North Adams would be economically sustainable.

Individual members of the board expressed sympathy with the plight of residents who have been

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Williams College Gets OK for Solar Installation
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
09:22PM / Monday, October 27, 2014
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College has the green light to use sunlight to produce electricity on Simonds Road.

The Zoning Board of Appeals this month gave its blessing to a 500-kilowatt photovoltaic installation near its library shelving facility, located a mile and a half north of campus near the intersection of Simonds Road (Route 7) and Sand Springs Road.

Just one abutter raised questions about the proposal at the board's public hearing. The owner of the nearby Cozy Corner Motel told the panel he was concerned about the look of the large-scale installation.

"My concern is that the second-floor guests like a mountain view," Bhavin Shah told the ZBA. "Most

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BArT Students Get Lesson in Chocolate, Child Labor
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
08:28PM / Monday, October 20, 2014
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ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School will sell Grenadian-produced chocolate to raise funds for special school events and to spread a message against child labor.

The organic "tree-to-bar" chocolate is produced by the Grenada Chocolate Co., a small company that fights against the child labor many of the other cocoa harvesters implement.

Edmond Brown, master chocolate maker and co-founder of the Grenada Chocolate Co., visited the school on Monday morning to show the students clips from a documentary made about the company called "Nothing Like Chocolate."

The company was founded in 1999 with the goal to "revolutionize" the

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Berkshire Grown Expands Holiday Farmers Markets Schedule
01:01PM / Friday, October 17, 2014
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Berkshire Grown will host Holiday Farmers Markets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on several weekends this winter.

Markets will be held on Saturdays, Nov. 22, Dec. 13, Jan. 17 and Feb. 14 at Monument Valley Middle School (313 Monument Valley Road in Great Barrington) and on Sundays, Nov. 23 and Dec. 14 at Williams College Towne Field House (82 Latham St. in Williamstown).

These popular events feature locally grown and produced foods and gifts, plus live music, lunch fare, and activities for children, during months when farmers’ markets are not open in the region. Admission is free.

“Berkshire farmers tell us that the Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers Markets have become a essential

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Voters Asked To Expand Bottle Deposit Bill
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:06AM / Saturday, October 04, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Environmental groups have been pushing for more than a decade to expand the 5-cent deposit to non-carbonated beverages.   But each year, a bill expanding the deposit has sat at the legislative committee level.   In November, the groups are bypassing the entire Legislature and bringing the question directly to the voters.   The bottle bill expansion is Question 2 on the general election ballot, one of four ballot articles being presented to voters.   "The public will is being thwarted by industry money. So the ballot initiative process is seen as a way around that. Let's take it directly to the voters," said Jenny Gitlitz, who has

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Williamstown Resident Joins Cross-Country March for Climate Action
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:29PM / Saturday, September 20, 2014
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Shira Wohlberg cannot understand people who do not think drastic action is needed to save the environment.

And she does not have time to try.   "In our training at the beginning of the [Great March for Climate Action] ... they told us, don't waste your time with deniers," Wolberg said. "They're not worth your energy."   "Deniers," those who refuse to acknowledge the mounting evidence of global climate change, are not the target audience of the Great March, which Wohlberg and friend Tony Pisano joined earlier this summer.   But marchers are hoping to energize those who can be reached to build a grassroots

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New Eastover Offering Public Sneak Peek This Weekend
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:13PM / Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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LENOX, Mass. — A new chapter of the Eastover Resort in Lenox is starting this weekend.

For the last four-plus years, Ying Wang has been overseeing the renovation of the 600-acre property, which she and her husband, in the form of HG October Mountain Estate LLC, bought in 2010 for $5.4 million. This weekend, the grounds will open to the public for a sneak peek at the multimillion dollar renovation.

The resort will permanently open next summer, Wang said, as a new destination for holistic, group and personal retreats.

"It's coming together," she said during a recent tour of the grounds, still undergoing substantial renovations but ready to preview their future to the

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North Adams' Mountain Girl Farm Growing Naturally
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
07:16PM / Saturday, August 16, 2014
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A local mother and daughter are taking a natural approach to farming on their recently purchased farm.

Jen and Katie Barbeau pull into their five-acre farm at 1360 South Church St. every morning at 5:30 to start a long, laborious, yet satisfying, day at Mountain Girl Farm.

Between milking the goats, tending the chickens and wrangling the ducks, every day is a new challenge for the new farmers who have had to improvise every step of the way.

A McCann Technical School graduate, Katie now studies veterinarian technology at Mount Ida College in Newton. She only decided last November that she wanted to be a farmer when she came home from college during Thanksgiving

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BEAT Celebrates A Decade of Environmental Advocacy
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
02:29PM / Friday, August 15, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Since incorporating more than 10 years ago, it has engaged with a wide variety of issues impacting the local ecology, but the mission of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team remains unchanged, according to co-founder Jane Winn.

"We're celebrating 10 years of helping people protect the environment," Winn summarized in an interview with iBerkshires. "With a focus on protecting the environment for wildlife, specifically."   "Not that we don't like people," Winn said with a smile. "But people already have a voice, and we hope they use it. Wildlife doesn't."   Technically, the nonprofit turned 10 at the

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