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Senate Chair on Global Warming Takes Input on Energy Policy
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:56AM / Tuesday, June 20, 2017
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State Sens. Adam Hinds and Marc Pacheco visit Seth Nash of Blue Q on Monday afternoon, before the hearing. Nash is one of the private-sector businesses to install a photovoltaic array to power his business.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Marc Pacheco has chaired the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture and thought he had heard everything about the environment.   Until 11 years ago, when he saw Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."   "I saw the reality come to life on a movie screen," Pacheco said.   He signed up to become a "climate messenger" and went to a training in Nashville, Tenn.

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Williams College 'Still In' on Paris Climate Agreement
12:09PM / Friday, June 09, 2017
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams President Adam Falk is among the more than 1,200 governors, mayors, businesses, investors and higher education leaders from across the United States who declared their intent to continue to ensure that the United States remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.

Falk signed on to the "We Are Still In" statement earlier this week. The statement can be found online.  

The "We Are Still In" statement says, in part, that "the Trump administration's announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world's ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of

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North Adams Event Tries to Link Local Vendors with Anchor Institutions
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:07AM / Friday, May 12, 2017
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Last Friday's foul weather was just fine with Jeffrey Thomas.   "I've never hoped so hard for rain," Thomas said as the crowd filtered in to a Buyer/Supplier Meetup event he planned at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts' Club B10.   Thomas is the executive director of North Adams non-profit Lever, which seeks to foster entrepreneurship throughout the region.   On Friday, Lever hosted the first-ever event to try to form connections between small- and mid-sized businesses and the area's major "anchor" institutions, like Williams College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Berkshire Medical Center,

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State Drops Criminal Charges But Pipeline Protesters Demand Trial
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:05PM / Thursday, May 11, 2017
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Sixteen of the 24 protesters arrested fighting a natural gas pipeline being built on state forest land in Sandisfield showed up in court Thursday morning ready to proudly say they are not criminals.   The state agreed their actions didn't warrant criminal charges and entered a motion to convert those charges to civil citations. Those who were arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct then left the courtroom without an arraignment.   But the protesters say they were already treated like criminals through the arrests and being brought up on criminal charges in the first place. They want a trial on those original charges because

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Williamstown Residents Organize Community Pickup
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:41PM / Monday, May 08, 2017
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Several dozen volunteers hit the streets on Saturday morning to help clean up the town.   The inaugural town pickup event was part of a statewide effort under the banner Keep Massachusetts Beautiful.   The first-year Williamstown version brought an army of volunteers to Field Park at the junction of Routes 2 and 7 to sign in and accept assignments at various locations around town.   "I've seen litter to lesser or greater degrees everywhere,” said organizer Anne O'Connor, who serves on the town's Board of Selectmen. "Sometimes, you have to look for it a little bit. From Field Park to Cole Avenue, it's not going to

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Lanesborough Couple Fighting to Save Historic, Family Farm
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:39AM / Sunday, April 30, 2017
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Thomas Olsen grew up on a farm in Norway.   In 1923, he and his wife, Randi, immigrated to the United States, landing in New York. But the city life wasn't for him. He told his wife, "it's no way for a man to live" and every week he'd stash money aside in hopes to move to the country.   The Depression or some other factor would hit and he'd lose the savings and build it back up. And every week he'd stop at the bank and browse the real estate listings.   In 1938, one of those listings intrigued him. He hopped a train to Pittsfield and soon found himself in love with 95 acres in the town of Lanesborough. Without

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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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