Coverage of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

A voting sign.
Shannon McGee / Creative Commons /

As we review news of the week, we look ahead to the local election season in western Massachusetts.

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

The state of New York is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after it certified General Electric's cleanup activities in the Hudson River. 

In 1953 American illustrator Norman Rockwell moved from Arlington, Vermont, to the small town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on the Western edge of the Berkshires. While there, Rockwell developed a relationship with a prominent psychotherapist who came to influence the artist’s work. Their relationship is the subject of a new exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum: “Inspired: Norman Rockwell and Erik Erikson.” 

Author Brendan Mathews lives in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Courtesy Brendan Mathews

A photographer documents her childhood friend's rise to fame. Foreign journalists try to adapt to life in a U.S. city. A clown pines for the love of a trapeze artist. These characters and more make up a new short story collection from Lenox, Massachusetts, author Brendan Mathews, called “This Is Not a Love Song.” 

Tanglewood, the summer home in the Berkshires of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has long felt like something of a summer camp for musicians and fans. Since 1936, music lovers have noshed and lounged on blankets at Tanglewood while listening to the BSO play hits by Brahms or Beethoven (these days lawn tickets cost a modest $13).

Less visible are the hours of intense instruction for about 150 young musicians at the Tanglewood Music Center.

A classroom.
Wokandapix / Creative Commons

Voters in a Berkshire County town have signed off on exploring a schools merger with a community right across the border in Vermont.

Entrance to the Baseball in the Berkshires Museum.
Courtesy Baseball in the Berkshires Museum

A western Massachusetts baseball museum recently had to move out of the shuttered Berkshire Mall. For now, the museum is lining up temporary exhibits. 

When you hear the name O’Keeffe, who pops into your mind?

Probably Georgia. Her sensual, pastel-colored flowers and stark but soft desert landscape paintings are iconic.

But there was more than one driven, talented artist in the O’Keeffe family. An exhibit on view at the Clark Art Institute, “Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow,” explores the lesser-known artist in the family.

Bingo players at the Clarksburg Senior Center.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The senior center in the small Berkshire County town of Clarksburg has averted closure. The center was supposed to close this week.

Lily Kuzia, 89, and Shirley Therrien, 82, are board members on the Clarksburg Council On Aging. The board is disbanding because members say they're too old to run activities for seniors.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Sometimes community organizations close down because of a lack of funding, or not enough interest. But when it comes to bingo and other senior activities in Clarksburg, Massachusetts, the main problem is aging.

Inside the Berkshire Mall in January 2019.
JJBers / Creative Commons /

A company from Ohio purchased the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, this week. The mall has been closed for the last three months and stores there have struggled to stay open for years.

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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.