BERKSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack speaks during a press conference at Springfield's Union Station.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Two western Massachusetts lawmakers agree the Registry of Motor Vehicles deserves some blame for a recent fatal car accident in New Hampshire. But they stopped short of calling for the resignation of the state transportation head.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is among the western Mass. cities with a recreational marijuana store.
Kenneth C. Zirkel / Creative Commons

Massachusetts cities and towns with marijuana businesses are getting revenue from a three percent tax on retail pot sales.

The new Linde Center for Music and Learning is home to the Tanglewood Learning Institute. It launches its first season of music, lectures and cultural events this summer, and will offer events year-round, a first for Tanglewood.
Winslow Townson / Boston Symphony Orchestra

The summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Lenox, Massachusetts, is about to become a year-round destination. Tanglewood's all-season complex opens this weekend, with a new series of lectures and events.

Racers ride a truck to the top of Whitcomb Hill Road in Florida, Massachusetts. Tim Delrosario-Rojas, second from right, won the championship race at the event.
Ben James / NEPR

More than 60 downhill skateboarders convened in a quiet western Massachusetts town in June — coming from as far away as Spain, Australia, and Mexico — to compete in the first-ever Whitcomb Summit Downhill.

Mary Kay Place as the title role in Kent Jones's "Diane."
IFC Films

The film "Diane," set in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is about the mundane and extremely generous measures a woman takes to help her friends and family. 

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

The longtime director of MASS MoCA, Joe Thompson, will be arraigned Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of motor vehicle homicide in connection with a fatal collision in North Adams, Massachusetts, last July.

Farmington River Regional School in Otis, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Just like a fire drill, students and teachers routinely practice what to do if an armed intruder enters their school.

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard Neal speaking at The Daily Hampshire Gazette in 2018.
Sarah Crosby / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Updated at 5:27 p.m. 

Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield is pushing back against charges he's engaged in pay-to-play politics. The person making the charge may run against him. 

Congressman Richard Neal won a Democratic primary against challenger Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.
Frederick Gore / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Starting off our look at news of the past week: the fundraising practices of Democratic U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Sheffield, Massachusetts, police department has been investigating allegations of child sexual abuse that allegedly occurred about 40 years ago. Although the case is open, the police say the investigation is at a standstill.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Berkshire District Attorney's office said in March that it was investigating a decades-old child sexual assault case. But the office now says it misspoke.

Jack Brown conducts the Berkshire Lyric Chorus during a weekly rehearsal in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

About 70 singers greeted each other on a recent Monday night as they settled into their seats at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A tall, bearded man stood before them next to a piano.

A Berkshire Community College pennant at an open house in 2018.
Berkshire Community College

Berkshire Community College has put its nursing program on hold, as it continues to struggle through its accreditation process.

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

The Berkshire County District Attorney's office is introducing a new approach to domestic and sexual assault cases. 

Congressman Richard Neal speaking in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Nicole DeFeudis / State House News Service

This week, Democratic Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield, Massachusetts, was on the national stage after he asked the IRS to turn over six years' worth of Trump's tax returns. 

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

The EPA’s New England office — which serves six states and ten tribal nations — has been run by an acting administrator for three months. 

A meeting of the Housatonic River Citizens Coordinating Council in Lenox, Massachusetts, on March 28, 2019.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Some environmental groups say they're frustrated with the lack of progress on talks over the cleanup of the Housatonic River. The key dispute is where to dispose of river sediment containing toxic PCBs. 

Pittsfield, Mass., Close To Banning Plastic Shopping Bags

Mar 27, 2019
Plastic shopping bags.
velkr0 / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/velkr0

Berkshire County's biggest city is close to banning plastic bags at checkout counters at most retailers. 

A seven-foot plaster model from 1916 of Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial by Daniel Chester French, as seen at Chesterwood in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This model was used for pointing up and carving the final statue.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow and MassMOCA are all go-to places in the Berkshires. But the one-time summer home and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French is perhaps more of a hidden gem. 

Berkshire DA To Investigate 'Billboard' Cases

Mar 25, 2019
Billboards in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in 2019 sought victims of child sexual abuse.
Heather Bellow / The Berkshire Eagle / berkshireeagle.com

The Berkshire County District Attorney's office said Monday it's investigating sexual abuse allegations prosecutors learned about as a result of two billboards that went up in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. 

The Sheffield, Massachusetts, town line.
Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/auvet

The district attorney in Berkshire County said a house fire Wednesday morning in Sheffield, Massachusetts, was the scene of a murder-suicide that left a family of five dead.

A billboard, at right, on Route 7 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, was paid for by the mother of a man who says he was sexually abused decades ago in a now-closed elementary school in Sheffield. This one went up in February 2019.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The mother of a man who says he was sexually abused as a child in a Berkshire County elementary school paid for two billboards this winter to call attention to the case.

A sign in front of St. Anne Church in Chicopee, Massachusetts, announcing the day of prayer.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

Some Catholics in western Massachusetts heeded the call of their bishop Monday and headed to church to pray for victims of clergy abuse and their families.

Connecticut Grocery Chain To Open In Adams, Massachusetts

Mar 11, 2019
Adams, Massachusetts.
John Phelan / Creative Commons

A Connecticut grocery chain has announced it will open a new store in Adams, Massachusetts, later this month. 

Cultivation of industrial hemp for fiber and for grain in France.
Aleks / Creative Commons/commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Industrialhemp.jpg

It may soon be easier for Massachusetts farmers to grow hemp, a type of cannabis that is not mind-altering.

A harnessed circus elephant in 1930.
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The final resting place of an elephant named Columbus has baffled and fascinated residents of the Berkshires for more than 100 years. 

A graphic included in the report, showing the Berkshire Flyer logo on the side of an Amtrak train.
Berkshire FLyer 2.0 Subcommittee

A train service from New York City to the Berkshires moved one step closer to reality Friday.

Vatican City in Rome, Italy.
bici / Creative Commons

A survivor of clergy sex abuse from Chester, Massachusetts, said he'll stop eating starting at midnight Wednesday until Pope Francis acknowledges he's received letters from survivors of abuse from Massachusetts — or that the Pope returns the letters.

Northern Berkshire Town Will Soon Lose Its Only Grocery Store

Feb 18, 2019
A Big Y storefront.
Mike Mozart / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia

Big Y announced last week that it will soon close its store in Adams, Massachusetts, laying off its 90 employees who work there. 

A General Electric sign.
Momoneymoproblemz / Creative Commons

A Pittsfield state senator says his part of the state should benefit from the millions of dollars General Electric is giving back to Massachusetts.

Tom Johnson owns and runs the Birchwood Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts. He says bookings have decreased due to competition from Airbnb rentals.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Residents of the Berkshires have rented out rooms in their homes for decades as a way to make extra income. But some innkeepers now say their room rentals are down because of competition from short-term rentals, like those found on Airbnb.  

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