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Center for EcoTechnology Honors Williamstown's Penner
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:32PM / Thursday, April 25, 2019
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — With passion, persistence and patience, Wendy Penner long has been one of the leading environmental advocates in the town.   On Monday, Earth Day, she was publicly recognized for her engagement in the uphill battle to stem the tide of climate change.   "To me, leadership is the ability to engage people, to race a problematic reality and do some work," said Laura Dubester, a co-director of the Pittsfield-based Center for EcoTechnology for 30 years. "In this case, the problematic reality is climate change and its impact on people, businesses, communities and the planet.   "Wendy understands the science and why people want

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MassWildlife Offers Tips for Dealing With Aggressive Turkeys
Staff Reports,
11:53AM / Thursday, April 18, 2019
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BOSTON — The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is offering some tips for dealing with aggressive wild turkeys.    A woman in Cambridge was recently injured when a flock of turkeys began pecking at her legs; aggressive turkeys have also been reported and recorded in in Foxboro and Brookline.    There's more room for humans and turkeys to co-exist in the Berkshires but residents should still be aware of turkey behavior if there's an encounter.    MassWildlife says:   March through May is breeding season for wild turkeys and as a result, there is an increase in turkey activity all across the commonwealth. Some turkeys may be seen acting

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Pittsfield City Council Passes Plastic Bag Ban
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:03AM / Wednesday, March 27, 2019
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Rinaldo Del Gallo first petitioned for the ban in 2013. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After close to six years of debate, the city finally passed a ban on single-use plastic bags Tuesday night.   The ban had been proposed in 2013 and has been working its way through the City Council process since. It was first coupled with a ban on Styrofoam, which was later passed in 2015 separate from the bag ban and restricted polystyrene food containers.   The bag ban went before the Green Commission and to City Council subcommittee meetings, the latter of which had left it unaddressed for a time. Earlier this year, it made its way to the full council will a full

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Williamstown Con Comm OKs Marijuana Farm
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:54PM / Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission on Thursday approved plans for an outdoor marijuana plantation near the Green River.   But one member of the panel abstained from the decision, citing a potential conflict between the production and sale of the drug and federal law.   Unlike the recreational retail facility in the works on Main Street, the proposed pot plantation at 295 Blair Road is the first operation to come before the Con Comm. Member Philip McKnight, an attorney, questioned whether the town should play any role in permitting cannabis-related businesses.   Even though Massachusetts voters decided in 2016 to decriminalize the drug, marijuana remains a

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Big Y Plans to Eliminate Single-Use Plastic Bags in 2020
Staff Reports,
05:32PM / Tuesday, January 08, 2019
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Both Berkshire County cities last year spent months, if not years, talking about banning single-use plastic bags but they might find business is moving ahead of them.    Big Y Foods Inc., one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, will eliminate its use of the bags from all 70 of its markets, specialty stores and Big Y Express Gas and Convenience locations in 2020.   That decision was prompted, in part, by local towns that have already prohibited the use of the bags. The 83-year-old company says it has been complying with bag bans in Adams (which launched a free bag initiative), Amherst, Great Barrington, Lee,

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Good Science at Work Inside Butterfly Magical Wings
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
04:57PM / Sunday, November 25, 2018
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  I walked down the road on Mount Greylock that leads to a parking lot for trekkers who want to traverse trails through the deciduous woodlands where the manifold wonders of nature unfold.   All around me were untold numbers of buds about to burst from their winter dormancy. Trilliums at ground level were showing tiny green leaves, not yet revealing their triad flowers so deep red or white, remindful of the three-cornered hats worn during Colonial days. Spring beauties were carpeting the forest floor with their jolly pink and white blossoms. And perusing the naked branches before the buds leaf out, I found a Cecropia moth's silken cocoon spun on a low-lying

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North Berkshire Waste District Transfer Stations Pass Inspection
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
11:22AM / Thursday, November 15, 2018
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ADAMS, Mass. — Transfer stations in the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District have passed their inspections with flying colors.   "The inspections went well, very well actually some of the towns that had some issues last year, they were really impressed by the progress they made," Program Coordinator Linda Cernik reported. "They were happy. There were small infractions but nothing major."   Although there was no quorum last Thursday, Cernik still updated the commissioners who were present on the late October inspections conducted by a third party hired by the state Department of Environmental Protection.   She will share

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Merlins Abide at Spruces Park
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
05:30PM / Tuesday, September 18, 2018
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Look aloft, for I hear wings stirring the air and the primeval cry of a falcon in the spruce!   Also known as pigeon hawk, a family of merlin falcons occupies a significant niche in the open meadow known for its tall Norway spruce, seeded when these 38 acres was formerly a thriving mobile home park.   While I was surveying this moist meadow for butterfly diversity, both resident and migratory, walking the dirt roads between weedy quadrants, I heard a deliberate outcry from above, and looked up to behold some large hawk-like birds swiftly flying between the tall spruces that punctuate the grassy meadow like solemn sentinels.    A

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Hidden Bio-Gem Discovered at Mountain Meadow
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
05:22PM / Sunday, August 26, 2018
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Another image of the northern pearly eye found at Mountain Meadows and enhanced by Erik Hansen. WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — As I walked up the grassy trail to Mountain Meadow Preserve, I was soon in for a big surprise.   Following a zigzag erratic flight of what looked like a common little wood satyr, a closer look when it roosted on a blade of grass before I could close the shutter, what flew off turns out to be a heretofore unlisted satyrid for Mountain Meadow, the multi-Argus-eyed northern pearly eye.   Enodia anthedon is hard enough to find on Cape Cod, my former home for more than 30 years, let alone here in the Berkshires.   Watch carefully the sylvan fringe where

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Swallowtails and Purples Abound at Stoney Ledge
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
04:33PM / Sunday, August 05, 2018
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A monarch sips nectar from a lily. Its wings can brush against the flower's stamen and anthers, spreading its pollen to the next flower. ADAMS, Mass. — The winding trail out to Stoney Ledge on the slopes of Mount Greylock is wide enough to allow sunlight to penetrate the high leafy canopy above, creating light gaps where wildflowers abound that attract assorted butterflies.    The tiger swallowtail is the sole swallowtail here in late June through mid-July, and quite numerous, leading to a surprising estimate in the thousands for the whole Greylock mountain range and neighboring valleys. Swallowtails looping and fluttering through the green woodland in this great

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