BERKSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

A lawn sign in Lee, Massachusetts, designed by Reed Anderson of Great Barrington, calls for no local dumps for PCB waste from General Electric.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has posted 585 pages of public comments on a proposed plan to clean up toxic waste from the Housatonic River and dispose some it in Lee, Massachusetts.

A sign near the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 2009 after a GE/EPA cleanup.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

Last month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrapped up a public comment period on its controversial plan to remove toxic PCBs from the Housatonic River. The agency said it hopes to issue its final plan by the end of the year.

That would be before any possible change at the White House.

Great Barrington Town Hall in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
John Phelan / Creative Commons / commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Town_Hall,_Great_Barrington_MA.jpg

The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, has made it known it disapproves of a declaration that bears its name.

An ice cream shop in summer 2020 at Look Park in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

Concern is growing in parts of New England about the potential for another spike in COVID-19 cases.

A location in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, used by the think tank American Institute for Economic Research.
genericface / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/genericface

Great Barrington, Massachusetts, recently played host to a meeting that’s causing controversy in the scientific community and caught the attention of the White House.

Williamstown, Massachusetts Police Department
Facebook / Williamstown Police Department

A Williamstown, Massachusetts, police union is criticizing the town's select board for not standing up for the department.

Janice Castegnaro Braim wants residents of Lee, Massachusetts, to have the chance to vote on a plan to build a PCB dump in the town.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial plan to build a PCB disposal site in Berkshire County is the subject of several proposals on the Town Meeting agenda in Lee, Massachusetts, on Thursday night.

The West Branch of the Housatonic River on Mill Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, after an old dam was removed in the spring of 2020.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

Over the past two decades more than 60 dams have been torn down in Massachusetts with the goal of restoring river habitats and improving safety. One came down this year on the West Branch of the Housatonic River with yet another – more neighborhood-focused goal.

Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington earlier this week became the latest Massachusetts DA to publicly release a list of police officers her office tracks whose past conduct may raise questions about their credibility in court.

Harrington sent her office’s newly compiled list to staff in a memo Friday evening, and provided it to WBUR in response to a public records request.

The list contained the names of eight officers, from four different departments.

Dana Nestor and Nina Fernandes at their new Northampton, Massachusetts, house.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Home buying and selling slowed down in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, but realtors in western Massachusetts say the market has picked up. 

A consumption advisory posted on the Housatonic River, in a file photo.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has turned down requests to give the public more time to comment on the agency's proposed cleanup of the Housatonic River.

Barbara Cianfarini in October 2014 near a stretch of the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, that she helped get cleaned up.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England office announced this week awards for people who have worked to protect the environment. Three received lifetime achievement awards, including the late Barbara Cianfarini, who for decades fought to clean up PCBs in the Berkshires.

Diners enjoy outdoor dining with service on the patio at Johnny's Bar and Grille in South Hadley, Massachusetts, in June.
Don Treeger / The Republican / Masslive.com/photos

Some chambers of commerce across western Massachusetts said they've seen some restaurant closures due to the pandemic. And there's concern about what fall and winter might bring.

A socially-distanced polling place in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, on the primary election September 1, 2020.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

The recent primary election demanded a lot of city and town clerks across Massachusetts — not only on the election day, but the days, weeks and even months preceding it.

The Berkshire Eagle Building in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Joseph / Creative Commons/https://flic.kr/p/ovf3tn

In October, The Berkshire Eagle will eliminate its Monday and Sunday hard copy papers. 

Results: Contested Primaries in Western Mass.

Sep 1, 2020
At a polling place in Williamsburg, Mass., every other voting stall was taped off to ensure social distancing.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

The polls are closed in the 2020 Massachusetts state primary. This campaign season has brought serious challenges to a sitting U.S. senator and the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. There are also contested primaries in a handful of state legislative districts in Hampden County.

Williamstown, Massachusetts Police Department
Facebook / Williamstown Police Department

Williamstown, Massachusetts, officials have released their response to a complaint filed by a police officer last year with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The complaint alleged sexual harassment, racist behavior and retaliation.

A ballot drop box in Shelburne, Massachusetts.
Carrie Healy / NEPM

The 2020 Massachusetts primary on Sept. 1 will whittle down the candidates and offer a major test to the state's mail-in voting system.

For many cities and towns, Tuesday's primary is the first voting in a new coronavirus world. 

2020 Voter Guide: Contested Primaries In Western Mass.

Aug 26, 2020
Terry Yusteo (center) places ballots between Abigail Stone (left) and Adeline Rogers, so they can check in early and mail-in ballots to be counted on Tuesday, September 1, in Northampton, Mass.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com/photos

Updated Aug. 30 

Voters across western Massachusetts will have an opportunity to vote on September 1 in the state primary  — if they haven't already taken advantage of early voting or the expanded mail-in option.

A fish advisory next to a path leading to a fishing spot on the Housatonic River, in a file photo.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is inviting the public to comment on its revised plan to cleanup PCBs from the Housatonic River. The plan calls for a toxic waste disposal site in Lee, Massachusetts.

Williamstown, Massachusetts Police Department
Facebook / Williamstown Police Department

A Williamstown, Massachusetts, police officer has filed a $500,000 civil rights employment lawsuit in federal court against the town, its chief of police and town manager. 

With performance venues shuttered and summer music festivals cancelled fans are lamenting the loss of the communal experience known as the concert. But socially-distanced performances are cropping up at drive-ins, in parks, and at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

The indie band Yo La Tengo traveled from New York to North Adams to play two shows on August 7 and 8 in the museum’s courtyard. We were curious to see what the experience would be like.

Pittsfield City Hall.
Kenneth C. Zirkel / Creative Commons

Gerald Doyle, Jr., who was mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, from 1998 to 2002, has died at 62. He was a key player in talks between General Electric and the government to clean up toxic waste left behind by the company.

Billboards in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in 2019 sought victims of child sexual abuse.
Heather Bellow / The Berkshire Eagle / berkshireeagle.com

For decades, Massachusetts, along with other states, have provided funds to victims of violent crimes to pay for things like counseling, medical care and lost wages. But advocates for victims of childhood sexual abuse have argued the state’s deadline for filing a funding application hurts those victims.

Mary Owens Lindenschmid with her grandchildren in the late 1990s. From left, Kenneth Mick III, Mary Mick and Karl Mick.
Courtesy Kenneth Mick-Evans

More than 900 western Massachusetts residents have now died of the coronavirus. Among them is Mary Owens Lindenschmid, who was 91 when she died of complications from COVID-19. 

The 2020 U.S. Census form.
Ɱ / Creative Commons

Census workers are expected to start going door-to-door in western Massachusetts to collect information this week. But an official with the U.S. Census said it’s already had a strong response from households in the region.

Downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 2019.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Two groups in Berkshire County — one focused on helping immigrants, the other on economic development — are launching a project to support immigrant-owned or operated businesses. 

Mitchell Rozanski during a press conference introducing him as archbishop of St. Louis.
screenshot / Archdiocese of St. Louis

An advocate for clergy sexual abuse survivors said he's filed a complaint against the Springfield Roman Catholic bishop, accusing Mitchell Rozanski of trying to cover up allegations against priests.

A fish advisory next to a path leading to a fishing spot on the Housatonic River, in a file photo.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The EPA is proposing changes to its toxic waste cleanup plan for the Housatonic River, and is asking the public to submit comments starting Tuesday. The public comment period ends August 28.

Museums around Massachusetts are gearing up for their reopenings after being shuttered since mid-March. Announcements have been rolling in since Gov. Charlie Baker gave Phase 3 the green light last week. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston announced Wednesday that it will unlock its doors first to members on July 14 and 15, then to the public on July 16.

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