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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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Williamstown Con Comm Blasts Waubeeka for Tree Cutting
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:21AM / Saturday, April 11, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission on Thursday night took to task the new owner of Waubeeka Golf Links for removing vegetation from the banks of a section of the Green River that flows through the course.   Michael Deep was in front of the commission to ask for its blessing for a couple of other projects at the 18-hole facility on New Ashford Road (Route 7).   But in the course of a Thursday afternoon site visit to prepare for that evening's hearing, something else caught the commissioners' eyes.   "We noticed that a substantial bank on both sides of the Green River was cleared of vegetation — large trees, native trees, willows, along

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Williamstown Board Advises Resolution Against Plastic Bags, Containers
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:35AM / Tuesday, March 24, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Selectmen are encouraging the backers of a polystyrene ban to consider social rather than legislative pressure.

The ad hoc group Greening Williamstown is hoping to place a bylaw before town meeting that would ban the use of plastics — including plastic bags, food containers and silverware.

The Selectmen expressed concern Monday over enforcement issues and overlegislation — either by the board or by citizen's petition.

"Who would grant the exemptions and do the enforcement?" asked Selectman Hugh Daley, referencing other bylaws he'd seen.

Anne O'Connor, speaking on behalf the campaign's leader Brad Verter, told the

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Hancock Suing Berkshire Wind Over PILOT Payments
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:13PM / Tuesday, March 03, 2015
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HANCOCK, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday decided to authorize the town's attorney to sue Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corp. for back payments from the utility's wind turbine farm on Brodie Mountain.

The action is the latest step in a dispute that stretches back to 2013, the last year of a three-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement between the town and the eastern Massachusetts power cooperative.

On Tuesday afternoon, the utility said it has been negotiating with the town in good faith and was disappointed by the board's noontime decision.

"Litigation will increase costs unnecessarily for the town and BWPCC," the utility wrote in a

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Williamstown Ag Commission Weighs in on Livestock Bylaw Proposal
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:28AM / Tuesday, February 17, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Agricultural Commisssion decided last week to develop suggestions to help the Board of Health develop a set of regulations governing livestock keeping.   The commission held a public hearing attended by Health Inspector Jeffrey Kennedy at which he explained the rationale for the proposed addition to the town code and heard reaction — mostly criticism — from farmers on the commission and in the audience.   "About 10 years ago, the Board of Health looked at what we had for minimal standards," Kennedy said. "We put it away because the larger farms in town, the professional farmers, were self-governing.   "Over the

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Williamstown First Congregation Looks at Carbon Divestment
05:29PM / Tuesday, February 10, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — First Congregational Church will consider the issues of institutional and private divestment from carbon-based companies at events on Sunday, Feb. 22, and Sunday, March 1.

Divestment is one of a number of responses to a deep concern about global climate change intensified by human activities that release carbon into the atmosphere.

At the 10 a.m. service on Feb. 22, the Rev. James Antal, president of the United Church of Christ Massachusetts Conference, will preach on "Moving Toward a Lasting Foundation Through Divestment." The UCC has divested nationally and in the state.

Following the service and a period for coffee, at 11:20 in Fellowship Hall,

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Williamstown Ag Commission to Discuss Proposed Livestock Bylaw
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:12AM / Tuesday, February 10, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town's Agricultural Commission on Tuesday evening will take a look at a town bylaw proposal that has been in the works for years.   The Board of Health has a draft proposal titled "Stables and Livestock Keeping," and it is seeking input from the Ag Commission before putting the bylaw on the books.   "It was drafted, I want to say, 10 years ago," Health Inspector Jeffrey Kennedy said. "This was before there was an ag commission."   Kennedy said the Board of Health, which he advises, wants to take advantage of the expertise of the Agricultural Commission.   "This is still basically the draft we

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Williamstown Adds Electric Car Charging Station
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:45AM / Friday, January 23, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — David Richardson may never use the new electric car charging station at the bottom of Spring Street.   But he could not be happier that it is there.   "I live about 10 miles from campus, and my car, under ideal circumstances, gets a 40-mile range on a charge," Richardson, a chemistry professor at Williams College, said this week. "Unless I run errands, that fits most of the time in my charge boundaries.   "I applaud the town for being this forward looking to install this device, but I’d almost never use it. … But for colleagues or other folks coming into Williamstown with significantly larger driving distances,

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Berkshire County Residents Hear Concerns About Kinder Morgan Pipeline
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
03:21AM / Saturday, January 17, 2015
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — North County citizens packed Lanesborough Town Hall on Thursday night for an informational meeting about the proposed Kinder Morgan gas pipeline.

Jane Winn of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team lead the meeting that focused on how the natural gas pipeline could affect residents. It was followed by a Q&A.

Originally, the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which will carry natural gas from Marcellus Shale territory in Pennsylvania, through New York, Massachusetts, and Maine, was planned to run through Lenox and Richmond. However, after strong resistance a section of the pipeline was rerouted north, through Hancock, Lanesborough, Cheshire, Dalton, Hinsdale and

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Williamstown Urged to Oppose Pipeline; Activists Set Info Meetings
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:27PM / Tuesday, January 13, 2015
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A group of residents came to Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting to ask town officials to attend another meeting.

They had more on their minds, actually. They really want the board to endorse a resolution opposing a proposed gas pipeline that would run through Northern Berkshire County.

Although no part of the route would go through Williamstown itself, the threat it poses to the county is everyone's problem, activists say. And two of those activists were at Town Hall on Monday night to encourage the selectmen to attend one of five upcoming informational sessions about Kinder Morgan's Northeast Energy Direct project.

The first is Thursday, Jan.

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