BERKSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

A rock on a stretch of the Appalachian Trail in North Adams, Massachusetts, was vandalized recently with spray paint.
Cosmo Catalano Jr. / Submitted Photo

Two miles of the Appalachian Trail in North Adams, Massachusetts, has been vandalized. Volunteer trail maintainer Cosmo Catalano discovered the red spray-painted graffiti last weekend.

Massachusetts state Sen. Adam Hinds (left) speaks with state Sen. Adam Gomez  on October 13, 2021. During a campaign kickoff event in Springfield, Gomez endorsed Hinds' run for lieutenant governor.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

Pittsfield Democratic state Senator Adam Hinds is launching a bid for lieutenant governor in Massachusetts. He made the announcement official Wednesday during campaign stops in Pittsfield, Springfield and Boston.

Proposed new Massachusetts state Senate districts.
Massachusetts Legislature

Massachusetts lawmakers Tuesday unveiled a proposal for new state legislative districts to take into account population shifts captured by the 2020 Census.

Reverend Samuel Harrison, minster and chaplain who advocated for equal pay for Black soldiers during the Civil War.
courtesy Berkshire Athenaeum

The fight against systemic racism in the United States isn’t new. Some of its roots can be traced back to the activism of Black residents in western Massachusetts — to people like Elizabeth Freeman, Sojourner Truth and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Berkshire Medical Center, part of Berkshire Health Systems, in Pittsfield, Mass.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Employees of the Berkshire Visiting Nurse Association want to form a union. They filed a request Thursday with the National Labor Relations Board asking for an election.

A vial with a swab test for COVID-19.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

A western Massachusetts public health expert said the data isn't clear on whether COVID-19 cases are leveling off in the region.

A view of MASS MoCA in downtown North Adams, Massachusetts.
Shannon Young / The Republican / masslive.com

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams has hired Kristy Edmunds as its second director in 33 years.

What Is Holding Western Massachusetts Behind In COVID Fight?

Sep 27, 2021
Richard Bodo of Auburn, Massachusetts, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on February 1, 2021.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

The surge in COVID-19 cases across Massachusetts since the late summer fueled by the delta variant is showing its first signs of slowing down. But concern remains high in the western half of the state, which is home to the counties and communities with some of the state’s highest rates of COVID infection and lowest rates of vaccination.

The incorrect notice that Berkshire Gas customers received.
courtesy Garth Shaneyfelt

The Berkshire Gas company said it made an error on recent bills that appeared to defy the laws of economics.

The north side of Main Street between Eagle and Holden Street in North Adams, Massachusetts.
Beyond My Ken / Creative Commons

The four candidates on the ballot in the mayoral preliminary election in North Adams, Massachusetts, have been winnowed down to two.

Lynette Bond and Jennifer Macksey agree on a few priorities: the need to improve old infrastructure, especially the public safety building, and increasing affordable housing.

Mayoral candidate supporters flash signs at cars outside of Joseph Metcalf School, a polling site for the 2021 preliminary election in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Nirvani Williams / NEPM

Michael Sullivan will face Joshua Garcia in November's general election for mayor in Holyoke, Massachusetts. They were the top two finishers in Tuesday’s preliminary.

Signs in Lee, Massachusetts, call for no PCB dumps in the area.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

A legal challenge against an agreement to dispose toxic waste in Lee, Massachusetts, has been dismissed. That's the ruling of Berkshire Superior Court judge Michael K. Callan.

The entrance to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Jeff Brown / Masslive / masslive.com/photos

In Berkshire County, at least 13 incarcerated people have tested positive for COVID-19 since late last month.

Six staff members have also tested positive. About half of those who tested positive for COVID in Berkshire County correctional facilities are vaccinated, according to the sheriff's office.

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

Opponents of a waste dump containing PCB sediment planned for Lee, Massachusetts, took their case before the federal Environmental Appeals Board on Thursday.

A section of the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where PCBs sediment was excavated and removed, in a file photo.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The decades-long battle to remove PCBs from the Housatonic River continues later this week, when the EPA's appeals board hears oral arguments against the agency's cleanup plan. 

Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Mass.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

While the numbers of COVID-19 patients are creeping up, western Massachusetts hospitals have not yet had to limit elective care.

Downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The latest U.S. census data shows the population is continuing to decline in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and in Berkshire County overall. But the decline is slowing — and diversity is increasing.

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin (left) and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno in Springfield walk to a press conference.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin said action needs to be taken to grow the population of the western part of the state. He made his comments Wednesday during a visit to Springfield.

Archaeologist Ann Morton discusses the Mohican archeological dig with volunteers Bradley Pitts and Rick Wilcox in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans wrapped up their second archeological dig in the Berkshires this summer with a discovery that could shift thinking about the tribe's history in the region.

The campus of UMass Amherst.
HOANG 'LEON' NGUYEN / The Republican / Masslive

Many western Massachusetts colleges and universities are requiring students be vaccinated against COVID-19 when they return to campus, but they are offering exemptions.

Downtown Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Joseph / Creative Commons/https://www.flickr.com/photos/josepha/14636593555

New figures from the U.S. Census show the four counties of western Massachusetts ranked at the bottom in the state for percentage population growth over the past 10 years.

Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts -- a village located in the towns of Buckland and Shelburne.
Mary Serreze/Masslive / https://www.masslive.com/news/2018/10/shelburne_falls_to_be_recogniz.html

Two small towns in western Massachusetts are ranked among the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the state. But some officials blame a glitch in the data collection.

Last summer, the Tanglewood Music Festival closed for the first time since 1943. It meant the cancellation of nearly 150 concerts due to the coronavirus outbreak. Now, the Berkshires are back in business and the Boston Pops are ready to return to Friday-festival performances.

Maestro Keith Lockhart has been leading the Boston Pops since 1995 and in his conversation with Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder, he discusses his personal difficulties during the show's hiatus, the current and future state of classical music and if a new album is on the horizon.

Decades Later, Greylock Glen Project Coming Together In Berkshires

Jul 14, 2021
A scene from the Greylock Glen trail system.
Department of Conservation and Recreation / State of Massachusetts

The headlines in the Sept. 17, 1974 edition of the Berkshire Eagle brought news of a delay in the Greylock Glen project in Adams, Massachusetts. The timeline, according to Sen. Adam Hinds, had been pushed back two years to 1976.

The floor of a Mohican house from the 1600s or even older. It was found during an archaeological dig in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Trevor Totman / Courtesy Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians

A goal of two archaeological digs conducted this summer by the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians is to find evidence from the 1700s, when the tribe lived in a Christian community with white colonists. But the first of the digs in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, has turned up artifacts and other features that could be much older.

A pre-pandemic scene in the lobby of Amherst Cinema in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Now free of government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions, most movie theaters in New England have reopened in full. But after months of streaming movies and selling tickets in a limited capacity, several area arthouse cinemas are choosing to stay half-empty.

A drawing shows the site of a meetinghouse built in 1739 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The area is the focus of an archaeological dig in summer 2021.
Indian Proprietor Book / Stockbridge Town Clerk's Office

The Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican community is conducting two archaeological digs in western Massachusetts this summer.

A road on the edge of the Allendale neighborhood in Pittsfield, Mass., leads to a PCB disposal site used during the first phase of the clean up of the Housatonic River, in a file photo.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is launching a study to determine cancer incidence in five cities and towns on the Housatonic River.

The Ted Shawn Theatre, named after the founder of Jacob's Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts.
Courtesy Jacob's Pillow

Jacob’s Pillow, the long-running dance festival in Becket, Massachusetts, has had a lot thrown at it this past year. The COVID-19 pandemic shut the venue down in 2020 for the first time in almost 90 years. Then last November, a fire gutted one of its dance theaters.

Interior of St. Michael's Cathedral in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Farragutful / Creative Commons

Updated at 4:09 p.m. 

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, has expanded a list of clergy and lay employees credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the diocese. Some of the findings date back decades, as the diocese has expanded its criteria for disclosure.

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