BERKSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Berkshire County, 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 / gazettenet.com

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 / gazettenet.com

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 / flickr.com/photos/armydre2008

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 / creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

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 / recorder.com

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 / flickr.com/photos/reallyboring

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.

A detail from the sculpture "Conflict," a work by Beckie Kravetz on display in a summer show at the Barn Gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

From her studio in western Massachusetts, regardless of material or scale, Beckie Kravetz sculpts remarkably human faces, even when they're abstract.

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

The Berkshire County District Attorney's office will no longer provide direct services to students in county schools, such as teaching classes to help young people avoid substance abuse.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey introduced a violence prevention program in North Adams on Monday, part of a partnership between her office and Sandy Hook Promise.

Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington in front of the Boys & Girls Club in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Berkshire County District Attorney's office has started a Juvenile Justice Unit and is expanding a program that diverts young offenders from the courts.

"We need to treat kids like kids, not just at home and at school, but in our criminal justice system," District Attorney Andrea Harrington said Tuesday.

People under 18 who have committed "low level" crimes such as disturbing the peace, vandalism or trespassing will be evaluated by a social worker at the DA's office to determine if they are eligible for diversion. 

Amherst College in Amherst, Mass.
Wikimedia Commons / via MassLive / MassLive.com/photos

U.S. News and World Report has released its latest list of the best colleges in the country, and some western Massachusetts institutions came out at or near the top. 

A voting sign.
Shannon McGee / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/shan213

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. 

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