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Williamstown Resolution Looks to Change Bee-havior
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:39AM / Sunday, April 09, 2017
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Dandelions are dandy.   What homeowners think of as weeds are actually an integral part of the food web that sustains human life, and a group of residents want to help change the way town residents think of lawn care in light of the that fact.   A non-binding resolution at May's annual town meeting will ask Williamstown voters to declare the Village Beautiful a "pollinator-friendly community" that "encourages the adoption of policies and practices that support pollinator health."   On Wednesday, supporters of the resolution addressed the town's Agriculture Commission, which voted its support for the

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North County Seniors And Students Prepare Food Bags
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
06:37AM / Saturday, March 25, 2017
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ADAMS, Mass. — North County seniors and students teamed up to make and fill bags for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts' Brown Bag program.   Seniors made an assembly line at the Visitors Center on Friday morning and filled 96 decorated bags with food for other seniors throughout the county.   "This is a program through the Food Bank and once a month, seniors volunteer and prepare these bags for income eligible seniors ... all the food they put in the bags they bring back to their communities," Council on Aging Director Erica Girgenti said. "It seems like such an easy project but it brings joy to so many people."    She said the

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Local Environmentalists Oppose Policies Supporting Natural Gas
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:00PM / Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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DALTON, Mass. — Dicken Crane has a large solar array on his Holiday Brook Farm. He has a forest management program to harvest timber to burn in a wood furnaces.

He doesn't need more natural gas.

Crane is one of some 500 businesses that have signed onto a petition against Gov. Charlie Baker's push for access to more natural gas.    Baker has been supportive of new natural-gas infrastructure and had previously introduced a proposal to allow electric utilities to levy a tax on users to pay for infrastructure, particularly the price to build new pipelines, but that was rejected by the Supreme Judicial Court.   Proponents of natural gas have long said it

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Adams Sets Challenge to Make 8,400 Recycled Shopping Bags
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
04:14PM / Friday, February 24, 2017
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ADAMS, Mass. — The town of Adams is setting a challenge: to create 8,400 recycled shopping bags by Earth Day on April 22.

The local BagShare Project uses recycled materials — mainly plastic woven feed bags and used irrigation tubing — to create free reusable bags for consumer use.  Brought to North Berkshire by Leni Fried and Mike Augspurger of the Old Stone Mill, the town's taken up the challenge to create a sustainable bag for every resident in Adams ahead of the plastic bag ban that goes into effect on March 30 for larger retailers.

"As most of you know, the bag ban was voted last year ... primarily large retailers will not be able to give out

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Solid Waste District Having Trouble Finding New Coordinator
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
02:49AM / Tuesday, November 15, 2016
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District is having trouble finding a new coordinator because of a limited applicant pool and inexperienced candidates.   Chairman Joseph Szczepaniak told board members on Thursday that the one applicant the search committee chose as a finalist backed out.    "We picked someone who we thought fit the bill ... but she called after and said her employers didn't want to lose her," Szczepaniak said. "She thanked us up and down for choosing her … but I think we just worked as a bargaining chip so she could get a raise."   Current Coordinator Sandy Totter plans to retire Dec. 9

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Downing's Next Step Is Solar Energy Firm
04:43PM / Monday, November 14, 2016
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BOSTON — Benjamin B. Downing, who has championed renewable energies during his 10 years in the state Senate, will join a solar energy company at the end of his term.

Nexamp Inc. announced on Monday that the Pittsfield Democrat, who did not stand for a sixth term, would be the solar contractor's new vice president of new market development.

"Ben's long history of public service will complement Nexamp's expert team of local development professionals," said Zaid Ashai, chief executive officer of Nexamp, in a statement. "He joins us at the most exciting juncture in our company's young history, and his ability to effectively communicate promising

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Williams Environmental Center Meets Six of Seven Building Challenge Criteria
02:08AM / Monday, November 07, 2016
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A year after starting its pursuit of the world's most rigorous sustainability certification for its new environmental center, Williams College has come up short on one of the key performance measures: net-zero energy use.

Twelve months of consecutive data show that the center has qualified in six of the seven environmental performance criteria for the Living Building Challenge (LBC), but without the energy standard it won't meet the standard necessary for full certification as a Living Building.

"We knew when we started that the Living Building Challenge is just that — a real challenge — and that it would take time, experimentation and

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BNRC Releases Plan For Countywide Hiking Trail Network
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:29AM / Tuesday, October 04, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Natural Resources Council envisions a day when one can walk through a network of trails to each and every town in the Berkshires.   The organization has been working for the last couple years to do just that. The organization has raised $4.25 million toward the creation and maintenance of such a network.    "It is sort of a counterpart to the Appalachian Trail," President Tad Ames said, explaining that the network will allow someone to travel on foot the length of Berkshire County, stopping in at towns, staying a local hotels, while not having to carry food for a long trip.   The concept is something that's been done

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HooRWA Helping to Beautify The Spruces
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
06:34AM / Saturday, September 10, 2016
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — So what are those blue tubes at The Spruces?   Lauren Stevens of the Hoosic River Watershed Association said not worry. The blue tubes sticking out of the ground aren't from outer space but more importantly are not permanent.   "People heard there was planting going on but all they see are these blue alien tubes but these should be gone in a year so," Stevens said. "There are plants inside of them and the tubes are just here to keep the deer, mice, moles or any other little critters that might want to chew on them out."   The plants surround a water detention basin at the former mobile home park installed by the state

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Some Berkshire Farms to Receive Aerial Crop Planting
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:53AM / Tuesday, August 09, 2016
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Farms in Adams, Cheshire, Lanesborough, North Adams, Sheffield, West Stockbridge and Williamstown will be seeding a little differently this August.

Instead of establishing a cover crop by hand, a helicopter will plant winter rye grass seed from above.

The airborne cover-crop planting is being done through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation program.

Farms through the state applied to the NRC's Environmental Quality Incentives Program to take advantage of financial and technical assistance for a conservation practice that allows farmers to take full advantage of a cover crop.   Chenail Brothers Dairy Farm's Wallace

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