BERKSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Berkshire County, 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.  

The exhibit, "Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion," will be at the Berkshire Museum until the middle of May 2019.
Courtesy / Evergreen Exhibitions

After a delay caused by the government shutdown, an exhibit focused on the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci opens Saturday at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. 

Stephanie Westover, left, and her cellmate Kelly Belcher talk in their cell at the Western Massachusetts Regional Women's Correctional Center in Chicopee.
Stephanie Zollshan / The Berkshire Eagle / berkshireeagle.com

Women in Berkshire County who are being held on bail are sent to a regional facility for females in Chicopee, instead of in their own county. 

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal spoke Aug. 23, 2018, at the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Sarah Crosby / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

An advocacy group has started running TV ads calling on a western Massachusetts congressman to use his new power as committee chair to get President Trump's tax records.

Massachusetts State Sen. Jo Comerford at Greenfield Community College on January 21, 2019.
Paul Franz / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Massachusetts State Senator Jo Comerford, who represents more than 20 cities and towns in Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester counties, wants the state to explore rail service between Boston and North Adams.

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

A billboard on Route 7 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, has prompted new charges of sexual child abuse that allegedly took place decades ago. 

Massachusetts State Sen. Eric Lesser introduced a bill that would pay people to move to western Massachusetts.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

A bill introduced in the Massachusetts state Senate would create a financial incentive for people to relocate to the state's western region.

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

The partial federal government shutdown means an exhibit isn't coming to the Berkshire Museum — at least not right now.

A box of joints branded as Dogwalkers are sold at Rise, a marijuana medical dispensary in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

Pittsfield is the latest Massachusetts community to host a recreational marijuana store — and the second in the Berkshires.

Marijuana at Temescal Wellness in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Aviva Luttrell / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

Berkshire County in Massachusetts may soon see its first two marijuana retail stores. One in Great Barrington opens Friday, and one in Pittsfield is now cleared to open as early as Saturday.

An American robin is measured as part of federal research on urban wildlife in a backyard in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in a file photo.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

Federal researchers in western Massachusetts study ways to protect migrating fish, backyard birds and urban trees. The government shutdown is keeping them home and away from their research.

Plastic water bottles.
Ricardo Bernado / Creative Commons/www.flickr.com/photos/zone41/4102673364

A ban on plastic water bottles originally set to take effect on New Year's Day in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, has been pushed back until the spring.

Lee Elementary School counselor Heather Lucy consoles a student.
Karen Brown / NEPR

There's an ongoing effort in Berkshire County to look at how trauma is dealt with, in areas including education and law enforcement. 

City Hall in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Shannon Young / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Hundreds of jobs are coming to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, while an affordable housing crisis continues throughout Berkshire County.

The Tarjick family of Cheshire, Massachusetts.
Karen Brown / NEPR

On a recent afternoon, a half dozen kids — from age two to 16 — were bustling around the Cheshire, Massachusetts, home of Missy and Dave Tarjick, their adoptive parents.

Teacher Jessica Pollard at Lee Elementary School leads her class in a mindfulness exercise.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Other than its bucolic setting in the Berkshire mountains, Lee Elementary seems like any other public school.

Police officer Darren Derby in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, gets to know area school children.
Karen Brown / NEPR

When I asked the leaders of the "Trauma-Informed Berkshires" campaign which police officer has come closest to their key goal — understanding the effects of trauma in the community — they all pointed me to one person: Darren Derby. 

Therapist Cate Wolff leads a trauma-sensitive yoga class in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Karen Brown / NEPR

A half-dozen yoga students were kneeling on their mats, breathing in, breathing out, in an historic, high-ceilinged second floor studio in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Children's shoes are displayed at Pittsfield, Massachusetts, press conference on child abuse awareness.
Karen Brown / NEPR

The people working on the "Trauma-Informed Berkshires" campaign have learned to explain their goals succinctly and consistently. 

City Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
cmh2315fl / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/21953562@N07

It was a contentious week between the city council in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Mayor Domenic Sarno, as they disagreed on three separate issues. 

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