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Guest Column: Bans on Plastic Bags Gaining Ground
By Rinaldo Del Gallo, Guest Columnist
09:24PM / Wednesday, June 22, 2016
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I am pleased to announce that at last night's town meeting (Monday, June 20), Adams banned single-use plastic bags. (Article 25). It was a remarkable unanimous vote by the members of the town meeting.
 
Recently, there have been a series of single-use plastic bag bans. There has been a ban in Lee, a ban in Lenox, and last night a ban in Adams. Lenox was done by the Board of Health. In Lee, the ban on single-use plastic bags was done by town meeting — where it won by a considerable margin. In a similar manner, Lee and Lenox banned the use of Styrofoam.
 
What is less commonly known is my role in these bans. The ban on Styrofoam and single-use plastic bags in Lee and

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Williamstown Rural Lands Offers Guided Hike Series
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:56AM / Thursday, June 16, 2016
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Grab your water bottle, boots and boundless curiosity about the woods that surround you and join the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation for a series of guided hikes this summer and fall.

The non-profit is offering a series of seven Saturday morning hikes that began on May 21 and continue this Saturday to help expose hikers of all abilities — or even no ability — to some of the trails it manages or helps manage in and around the Village Beautiful.

"Rural Lands owns land on which a number of trails sit," said Dustin Griffin, a member of the WRLF Board of Directors. "It monitors trails on other properties. And it wants to encourage

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Williamstown Planning Board Nears Agreement on Waubeeka Overlay
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
10:47PM / Thursday, April 28, 2016
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Planning Board on Thursday came close to approving a compromise amendment on the Waubeeka Overlay District proposal.

At the latest in a series of meetings that started in September, the panel narrowed its areas of disagreement to one: whether a potential resort at the South Williamstown golf course is limited by the square footage of its buildings or by the area of a building envelope.

The board agreed to meet again on Wednesday, May 4, at 5 p.m., in hopes of finalizing an amendment to a citizen's petition that is acceptable to the petitioner — the attorney for Waubeeka Golf Links owner Michael Deep — in time to introduce said amendment at

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Williamstown Selectmen Back Mohawk Trail Partnership
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:15AM / Wednesday, April 27, 2016
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Monday agreed to support a drive to create a 21-community economic development and conservation project stretching from the Pioneer Valley across North Berkshire.

Tom Matuszko and Bob O'Connor of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership Project told officials about the group's plan to seek enabling legislation in Boston to establish the partnership and open the door to federal grant money from the U.S. Forest Service.

Matuszko explained that since the woodland project began more than two years ago, its focus has changed to put more emphasis on economic development.

"When we started, we intended to have a primary focus on

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Kinder Morgan Suspends Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline Project
Staff Reports,
05:35PM / Wednesday, April 20, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Kinder Morgan has suspended the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project, which was planned to cut through the Berkshires.   The company released a statement Wednesday evening announcing the suspension of work on the $3.3 billion project.   "As a result of inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers, Kinder Morgan Inc. and its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, have suspended further work and expenditures on the Northeast Energy Direct Project," reads the statement from the company.    The project was announced in 2015 and the company said it had received a number of commitments from local gas distribution

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Senate Candidate Del Gallo Takes Strong Anti-Pipeline Stance
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:32AM / Tuesday, April 19, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rinaldo Del Gallo spent a long time getting the city to pass a ban on Styrofoam. And he's continued to press for a ban on plastic bags. Those type of environmental concerns have always been a priority.   Now he is running for the open state Senate seat, though he hasn't made the official announcement yet, and he didn't expect any difference in opinions among the other Democratic candidates when it comes the proposed natural gas pipeline project. But, he was wrong.   Both Adam Hinds and Andrea Harrington did not take a stance when asked during interviews with WAMC earlier this year, a move Del Gallo feels is

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Shumlin: North Bennington Will Be Made 'Whole Again'
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
02:48PM / Tuesday, March 08, 2016
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NORTH BENNINGTON, Vt. — Gov. Peter Shumlin assured residents of North Bennington on Tuesday that the state would do everything possible to address its "horrid situation" — including putting pressure on the company responsible for its contaminated water.

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics has been identified as the source for the perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) found in the municipal water of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., and is believed to be responsible for the same toxin found in private wells in North Bennington.

"We're going to require the company to make us whole again and do everything that we can to hold them accountable for getting us in this mess," Shumlin

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USDA Conservation Stewardship Program Accepting Applications
02:10PM / Tuesday, February 09, 2016
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AMHERST, Mass. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has $150 million in funding available for agricultural producers across the country through the Conservation Stewardship Program, a federal conservation program that helps farmers voluntarily improve the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to add an estimated 10 million acres to the rolls of CSP during fiscal 2016.

"The Conservation Stewardship Program helps farmers boost soil and air quality, conserve clean water and enhance wildlife habitat," said Christine Clarke, NRCS state conservationist. "With this investment, we'll enable

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Berkshire County 4-H Holds Awards & Recognition Event
Community Submission,
09:52PM / Tuesday, January 05, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 100 people gathered at the  Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires on Dec. 6 for the Berkshire County 4-H Community's annual awards and recognition event.  

The candy factory-themed night was to celebrate achievements by 4-H members. Opening remarks were given by Linda Horn, assistant director of the Massachusetts 4-H Youth Development Program, University of Massachusetts Extension in Amherst.

The highest award given in Berkshire County 4-H is the Top H Award, which can only be won by a 4-H'er once as a junior member and once as a senior member. The nominees are selected by a judging committee using their 4-H records; those nominated

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New Statewide Coalition Pushes For Environmentally Friendly Energy Policies
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:18AM / Friday, September 11, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new statewide coalition of community groups was launched on Wednesday to advocate for environmental friendly energy policies.   On Wednesday afternoon a half-dozen representatives from groups involved announced the coalition, Mass Power Forward, in Pittsfield and similar events were held across the state.   "We're a diverse group of faith, environmental, business groups, community groups, that are fighting for climate justice, fighting to make a better future for our families," Marlon Washington, of 350 Mass Better Future Project, said.   "We believe there is a moral responsibility to make this happen. We really want to see a

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