pittsfield

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.

marijuana
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.

In the wake of a report released earlier this year by the Massachusetts Inspector General suggesting that $25 million may be wasted in the welfare system annually, and following the resignation of former Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance Daniel Curley, recently-appointed Interim Commissioner Stacey Monahan is touring the Bay State holding a series of listening sessions to hear feedback and suggestions from the public on how to improve the DTA system.

The meeting will be held this evening beginning at 6 pm at the Pittsfield Public Library.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Members of Pittsfield’s Irish sister city committee welcomed guests from Ballina, Ireland on Friday afternoon at Pittsfield City Hall.

Rob Dwyer, president of the Irish Sister City Committee said that since Pittsfield chose Ballina as its sister city in 1998, due to similarities in its “small-town” feel and economy, the two communities have grown close.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The recently appointed Massachusetts Secretary of Education visited with school superintendents and local officials in the Berkshires today to hear suggestions for improving the state education system.

The city council in Pittsfield may consider a proposal that would ban restaurants from selling food in plastic foam containers in the Berkshire City.

Pittsfield resident and attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo III first proposed the idea to members of city government in a column published in the Berkshire Eagle earlier this month.

City of Pittsfield

In recognition of African American History Month, students at one high school in the Berkshires participated in a day of presentations from local African American role models, who shared their own stories with students and reflected on their heritage.

Multicultural BRIDGE – a non-profit organization with a mission to promote diversity understanding and acceptance in area communities, held their first Living African-American History Month Project, through a partnership with Pittsfield High School.

The City of Pittsfield is in the process of forming a committee to explore a Payments in Lieu of Taxes – or PILOT – program – aimed at local non-profits, in order to possibly generate additional revenues for city services.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren continued  her  first tour of Western Massachusetts after being sworn-in by hearing from constituents in the Berkshires. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports...

At Pittsfield City Hall, Warren met with lawmakers, and local  officials, where they discussed a variety of topics including the county’s infrastructure, public safety, education, and economic development.

Tomorrow night at 8pm, David Wax Museum is playing at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA. Their indie rock is a unique blend of Americana folk and Mexican son music. The New Yorker said of their sound that it “Kicks up a cloud of excitement with its high-energy border-crossing sensibility.”

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