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A Pittsfield hospital was briefly placed on lockdown Saturday after an armed suspect fleeing police entered the complex.

  The 11th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival will take place from June 2nd through the 5th in Great Barrington and June 3rd though the 5th in Pittsfield, MA.

The festival will bring films, filmmakers, industry professionals and film fans together for a celebration of independent film featuring documentaries, narrative features and short films – along with special tributes, parties, and discussions.

Kelley Vickery, Founder and Executive Director of BIFF and she joins us with a preview.

Grace Kelly
www.gracekellymusic.com

  Berkshires Jazz presents a memorial concert in honor of the late alto saxophonist Phil Woods in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m. The tribute will be performed by the NEA Jazz Master’s quintet, with Brian Lynch on trumpet, Bill Mays on Piano, Steve Gilmore on bass and Bill Goodwin on drums, along with Woods’ protégé Grace Kelly on alto saxophone.

Woods introduced the 14-year-old saxophone prodigy Grace Kelly to Berkshires audiences at the second annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival in 2006, when he was guest soloist with the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors big band. Having mentored Kelly at a jazz workshop, Woods invited her to the stage, an event that has become part of jazz lore.

Fast forward and Kelly has headlined more than 700 shows in 30 countries and is part of the house band, Stay Human, for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn points out the police station to Gov. Charlie Baker's Community Affairs Director Hodari Cail. Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer is on the right.
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Mayor Linda Tyer led Governor Charlie Baker’s community affairs director on a tour of downtown Pittsfield Thursday, showcasing bright spots and pointing out challenges for the western Massachusetts city.

  The 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival returns to downtown Pittsfield for the fifth year from February 11-21, 2016, and features music, theatre, dance, film, visual art, spoken word, comedy and more.

Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning theatre in Downtown Pittsfield, MA, will present 10-minute plays for the 5th Annual 10X10 New Play Festival, part of the 2016 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival.

Here to tell us more are Barrington Stage Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Pittsfield's Director of Cultural Development Jen Glockner.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Pittsfield’s 29th mayor and the man who led the city for much of the 1980s has died.

This is an aerial map of Tyler Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The city of Pittsfield is continuing to gather ideas for the redevelopment of an area surrounding the former General Electric plant.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

City, state and business leaders met in Pittsfield Wednesday to kickoff an initiative to revitalize the neighborhood surrounding the former General Electric plant.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

One person is dead and multiple people are injured after a shooting in Pittsfield last night. Meanwhile, police were investigating another shooting scene about a block away Sunday afternoon.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

In a continuation of her statewide community tour, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito met with Berkshires leaders today to learn more about the needs of the region.

  The BIFF is back! The Berkshire International Film Festival is celebrating 10 years at the end of this month. The BIFF is a world-class festival that is an integral part of the cultural fabric of the Berkshires.

The festival runs Thursday, May 28th through Sunday, May 31st in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, Massachusetts with screenings at The Triplex, The Mahaiwe, and The Beacon.

Kelley Vickery is the Founder and Director of BIFF and she joins us with a preview of this year's offerings.

  The 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival returns to downtown Pittsfield for the fourth year today through February 22. The festival features music, theatre, dance, film, visual art, spoken word, comedy and more, including Barrington Stage Company’s 10X10 New Play Festival.

The 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival is a collaborative effort spearheaded by Barrington Stage Company and the City of Pittsfield and coordinated through a steering committee that includes the Beacon Cinema, Berkshire International Film Festival, Berkshire Museum, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts and the City of Pittsfield.

Barrington Stage Company’s Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Pittsfield's Director of Cultural Development, Jennifer Glockner join us to tell us more.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

An exhibit at Pittsfield’s Lichtenstein Center discusses how industrial worker housing shaped the city and reveals designs by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright that might have changed the area as we know it.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

The Pittsfield City Council approved a $141 million budget for 2015, but is not seeing eye-to-eye with Mayor Dan Bianchi on capital investments.

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Two Berkshire County city councils vote tonight on their annual budgets.

The Pittsfield City Council will vote on Mayor Dan Bianchi’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget. Bianchi calls the $141 million dollar spending plan a maintenance budget proposing a 2.7 percent increase over the previous one of $138 million. It would fund SUVs for the fire department to decrease use of larger trucks and a new public works garage to replace a facility damaged in a 2012 fire.

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The Pittsfield City Council has approved a $2.7 million plan to trade in its current school buses and purchase a new fleet.

   In association with the Smithsonian since 2013, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA is part of a select group of museums, cultural, educational, and arts organizations that share the Smithsonian's resources with the nation. Established by Zenas Crane in 1903, Berkshire Museum integrates art, history, and natural science in a wide range of programs and exhibitions that inspire educational connections between the disciplines.

A new exhibition, Berkshire Collects, will open this Saturday, January 25th. It showcases Berkshire County residents’ passionate pursuit of every imaginable kind of object from rare motorcycles to wind-up toys, exotic insects, vintage guitars, antique toasters, Pez dispensers, and a host of other artifacts and memorabilia. With more than 40 collectors sharing their treasures, the exhibit is a salute to the long and diverse tradition of collecting that built the Berkshire Museum 110 years ago.

Van Shields, Executive Director of Berkshire Museum and their Director of Communications, Lesley Ann Beck, join us to tell us more.

2 Die When Car Crashes At Pittsfield High School

Jan 16, 2014
Jim Levulis / WAMC

(Information in the following story is from: The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle, http://www.berkshireeagle.com)

Police say both occupants of a car that crashed into a concrete wall outside Pittsfield, Massachusetts High School have died.

No students or staff members were injured in the crash just before 3 p.m. Tuesday, about a half hour after school got out.

Police said Wednesday that 37-year-old Ernest Duck Jr. died shortly after the crash. He was apparently driving.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

U.S. Senator Edward Markey visited Pittsfield today on a tour of western Massachusetts.

file photo / WAMC

Residents in Pittsfield could soon be paying higher water and sewer rates. The city council will vote Tuesday whether to approve Mayor Dan Bianchi’s proposal to raise water and sewer rates for the third straight year. Residents would see an annual fee increase of nearly 7-and-a-half dollars if the 2.5-percent hike is approved at the city council meeting. City Councilor and Chair of the Public Works Subcommittee Chris Connell says the increase is in line with ones over the past two years so residents don’t feel a big financial crunch during one year.

At a recent legislative hearing, Pittsfield’s plan for a new city charter was given a favorable recommendation by a group of Massachusetts lawmakers.

Among those who testified to the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government Tuesday in support of a bill that would allow Pittsfield to pursue a new city charter were State Senator Benjamin Downing, State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, State Representative Paul Mark, and Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi.

The City of Pittsfield has been mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant, a project that is estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars.

Upon a revision of Pittsfield’s wastewater discharge permit for a plant located on Holmes Road, an EPA mandate from 2008 would require the city to restrict the amount of aluminum and phosphorus released in its treated discharge into the Housatonic River.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Under the ballot measure approved by Massachusetts voters legalizing medical marijuana last year, up to 35 licenses for dispensaries could be opened across the state. The state Department of Public Health revealed its final regulations for the distribution of the drug in May, and Pittsfield has been one of many localities working to change zoning regulations to accommodate the arrival of the dispensaries.

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The selectboard of Williamstown recently voted to allow the town to pursue a Cultural District Designation from the state of Massachusetts designed to promote economic development through the arts.

On Wednesday evening, the Williamstown selectboard gave the go-ahead for town residents to seek out a Cultural District Designation from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The designation is not a monetary award but includes signage and serves as a badge of honor in recognition of community efforts to promote the arts and humanities.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Dan Bianchi announced Friday that he has taken out nomination papers to run for a second term as mayor of Pittsfield.

In a statement Bianchi said that in his next term he intends to continue building his economic development program for the city. He also said that he plans to continue his work on improving the city’s schools, including strengthening career vocational programs at Taconic High School.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Dan Bianchi announced Friday that he has taken out nomination papers to run for a second term as mayor of Pittsfield.

In a statement Bianchi said that in his next term he intends to continue building his economic development program for the city. He also said that he plans to continue his work on improving the city’s schools, including strengthening career vocational programs at Taconic High School.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Monday’s ceremony marked the installation of the Born Learning Trail, a series of signs along a pathway through a playground at Springside Park in Pittsfield, aimed young children and their families to encourage outdoor activity and reading.

The Born Learning Trail comes from efforts by Pittsfield Promise, a city-wide coalition that is working through a variety of projects with a goal of boosting  reading proficiency levels among Pittsfield third-graders to 90 percent by 2020.

Picture of marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

On Wednesday, public health officials in Massachusetts approved a set of final regulations for the use of medical marijuana, and before the first dispensaries are expected to open, some communities are taking action to accommodate them.

The state’s Public Health Council approved the draft regulations on medical marijuana drawn up by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Under the law approved by voters last November, up to 35 dispensaries will open in communities across the state, but not for the next several months.

Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Richard Neal joined city and public safety officials in Pittsfield today to announce a federal grant that will help the city upgrade its fire safety equipment.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Members of the Pittsfield community gathered to celebrate Arbor Day at Pitt Park. The park was founded 100 years ago, one of the city’s first parks.

The public gathered in the park under the branches of an Eastern Cottonwood tree that Jim McGrath, Parks and Open Spaces Director for the City of Pittsfield, said was here before the city was founded. It is at least 300 years old.

"We're pleased that we can celebrate this grand champion on Arbor Day," said McGrath.

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