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North Adams Farmers Market Expands This Season
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
05:21AM / Saturday, June 20, 2015
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Farmers Market expands this year with more vendors and activities for children.

Director of Community Events Suzy Helme said this season's farmers market, which kicked off last weekend, is hosting nearly 30 vendors.

"It is a nice downtown space where everyone can gather, visit, and see each other but also support local businesses," Helme said. "You are supporting your local community farmers, you are eating healthier, and you are supporting a healthier environment."

Helme said Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art intern Emily Edwards will be the market manager and will help bring in new vendors and activities, such as craft

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Williamstown Con Comm Clears Way for Solar Project
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:14AM / Wednesday, June 17, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission on Thursday OK'd plans for a 1.9-megawatt solar project on the town's capped landfill.   The commission reviewed plans for the project with engineer Steven Wiehe of Peabody's Weston and Sampson.   Wiehe explained that the project will include about 6,000 solar photovoltaic panels on about 7 acres of the 12-acre site.   In order to avoid harming the liner that covers the landfill, the work will be done above ground, and the area with the panels will be covered by 4 inches of stone gravel, Wiehe said.   And to prevent the growth of vegetation through that gravel layer, the developers of the solar project

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Williamstown Wants More Info Before Joining Anti-Pipeline Coalition
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:25PM / Tuesday, June 09, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Monday opted to gather more information about the pros and cons of joining an anti-gas pipeline group before making a decision on whether to actually join.

The vote to seek a conference call with Northeast Energy Solution's lawyer came after an hour of discussion prompted by a presentation by Tad Ames, president of Berkshire Natural Resources Council.

Ames came before the board to ask that Williamstown join NEES, a coalition of nonprofit environmental organizations and other stakeholders that was formed in response to the proposed Kinder Morgan high-pressure natural gas pipeline that would run through the

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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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