Coverage of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

A stretch of the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

Public meetings on a new toxic waste cleanup plan for the Housatonic River are being held in two Berkshire County towns this week. The first meeting was organized in Lee by a group that opposes the plan.

The Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 2009 after a GE/EPA cleanup.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

General Electric and several stakeholders reached a deal this week on the next phase of cleaning up toxic waste from the Housatonic River.

A voting sign.
Keith Ivey / Creative Commons /

The voter registration deadline for the March 3rd Massachusetts presidential primary is this Wednesday. And a new state law is causing some people to be registered more than once. 

A stretch of the Housatonic River.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Updated at 11:00 p.m.

After more than a year and a half of mediation, the U.S. EPA New England office, General Electric and cities and towns along the Housatonic River have agreed to dispose some toxic PCB sediment at a site near the Lee-Lenox line, about 1,000 feet from the river. But not all participants in the mediated settlement agree with the decision. 

The Housatonic Rest of River Municipal Committee met behind closed doors in Lee, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Berkshire County municipal officials are discussing the details of a possible mediated agreement with General Electric on the cleanup of the Housatonic River.

The Housatonic River.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Massachusetts has allocated the last of a pot of money designated to compensate for the damage to the environment caused by General Electric's Pittsfield plant. 

A courthouse in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Berkshire District Attorney's Office / Facebook

A top lawyer in the Berkshire County District Attorney's office resigned this week after a dispute involving the release of public documents.

Elizabeth Freeman is buried in the Sedgwick family plot in the Stockbridge, Massachusetts, cemetery.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Nearly 250 years ago this month, 11 men gathered in a house on the Housatonic River to draft a document on equality and independence aimed at the British crown. A woman who was enslaved in the house overheard the discussion, and determined the words applied to her, too.

A stretch of the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

A citizens group focused on the cleanup of the Housatonic River is meeting in Lenox, Massachusetts, Wednesday night, but a key issue will not be discussed.

Recreational Marijuana Sales Help Pittsfield Save For Rainy Day

Jan 10, 2020
Marijuana at Temescal Wellness in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Aviva Luttrell / MassLive /

Recreational marijuana sales have been a boon to Pittsfield's ability to stash money away in case of an emergency or downturn, a strategy that a Massachusetts official said Thursday could be useful in other communities.

Single-use plastic bags.

A plastic bag ban takes effect in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on January 1. Beacon Hill lawmakers are considering a statewide ban — but more and more communities aren't waiting.

The Benjamin Osborne House in Mount Washington, Massachusetts, was destroyed by fire.
Magicpiano / Creative Commons

Authorities are investigating a series of suspicious fires over the weekend in one of the smallest communities in Massachusetts.

Volunteers Tom Andros, left, Mark Castro, top, and Luke Wing sort boxes of incoming food at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

Food pantries in western Massachusettts are expecting an influx of clients as a result of the Trump Administraton's latest cuts to the federal food stamp program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

When one thinks of grief and mourning, one often imagines it on an intimate scale. A flower placed on a grave. A photograph on a fireplace mantle. A charitable contribution made in honor of a deceased loved one.

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

A recent report from the Berkshire Museum’s attorneys to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office outlines how the museum is using money from its controversial art sale.

Ryan King and his daughter Evora, 4, sculpt a snowman in Florence, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The winter storm that came through much of New England early this week may have made travel less than pleasant — but it was well-received by school children who got a snow day.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, at left, and City Councilor Melissa Mazzeo at right.
Tyer: Rosanne Frieri / Tyer for Mayor Facebook / Melissa Mazzeo for Mayor Facebook

Updated 2:00 p.m.

The city clerk in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, said a recount of the mayoral race will take place starting Monday at 8:30 a.m.

Rep. Neal: East-West Rail Should Be 'Price' Of Boston-Area Rail Investments

Nov 7, 2019
Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.
File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

If Massachusetts is going to invest in fixing the Boston-area MBTA transit agency, as it appears leading lawmakers intend to, then state officials also need to invest in an east-west rail connection, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal told business leaders in Boston. 

A polling place sign in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Updated at 1:25 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2019

Election results are in for the six western Massachusetts cities with a mayoral contest this year.

American Black Bear #391, also named "Fitz," in Hatfield, Massachusetts, with her cubs in the summer of 2019.
Jesse St. Andre / MassWildlife

Black bears are adapting their behavior in New England to meet seasonal food needs — they’re becoming more suburbanized.

A collection of a few hundred-dollar bills.
frankieleon / Creative Commons /

Pittsfield is the most expensive contested mayoral race in western Massachusetts this year. That's according to recent campaign finance reports that show just how much it costs to become — or remain — a mayor.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, at left, and City Councilor Melissa Mazzeo at right.
Tyer: Rosanne Frieri / Tyer for Mayor Facebook / Melissa Mazzeo for Mayor Facebook

With election day next Tuesday, the mayor's race in Pittsfield is proving to be the most expensive of a half-dozen contests across western Massachusetts.

Rachel Branch, at left, is challenging incumbent Tom Bernard, at right, for the mayoral seat in North Adams, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Mayor Tom Bernard in North Adams, Massachusetts, is running for re-election for the first time since taking office in 2018. He's opposed by Rachel Branch, who sits on a vocational school committee. And the challenger is trying to keep the campaign trail clean.

Homes in Holyoke, Massachusetts, including a for-sale sign.
Simtropolitan / Creative Commons /

Home sale prices across Massachusetts are up this year. And two of the counties with the biggest jump were in the western part of the state.

Greenfield holds its local elections at the high school.
MELINA BOURDEAU / The Recorder /

Voters in a half dozen communities in the four western counties of Massachusetts have some big decisions to make on November 5. Chicopee, Greenfield, North Adams, Pittsfield, Springfield and Westfield each have contested races for mayor.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, at left, and City Councilor Melissa Mazzeo at right.
Tyer: Rosanne Frieri / Tyer for Mayor Facebook / Melissa Mazzeo for Mayor Facebook

Two established politicians — both women — are vying for the mayor’s office in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. 

A building at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Eric Allix Rogers / Creative Commons /

The Berkshire County District Attorney's office has issued an update on its investigation of an alleged assault at Bard College at Simon's Rock. It says there are inconsistencies between the reported assault and the evidence gathered by law enforcement. 

The Wayfair customer service center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the former Sheaffer Eaton paper mill. Parts of the original building were constructed in 1883 for the Terry Clock Co.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Online furniture giant Wayfair opened a new call center Thursday in a historic mill building in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. 

Al Bertelli worked as an assembler in the power transformer division at General Electric Co. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

This month marks 20 years since General Electric Co. signed an agreement to clean up PCBs the company had dumped in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

In July, Bright Abbey opened Omega1 African Fashion, a new clothing store in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Many tout the arrival of online furniture mammoth Wayfair and its 300 new hires in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, as a big win. That doesn’t compare to the nearly 14,000 jobs that once existed at General Electric Co. — but those working to shape a new economy in the Berkshires aren’t looking for another GE.