BERKSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

Fire destroyed the Sandisfield, Massachusetts, Department of Public Works garage on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017.
Otis Police / via Masslive

Sandisfield, Massachusetts, is scrambling to prepare for a snowstorm expected Tuesday after a fire destroyed its snow trucks.

The sign outside Crane Currency's Dalton offices in Dalton, Massachusetts. The manufacturer is the only supplier of paper for United States currency.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Crane Currency, the Boston-based company that makes the paper used for U.S. currency at its Berkshire County facility, is being sold for $800 million.

Lt. Steven Combs is one of three sailors lost when their C-2A Greyhound crashed while conducting a routine transport flight on Nov. 22, 2017.
File Photo / US Navy

Lt. Steven Combs, a Navy pilot, is being remembered for his bravery and pride in his job.

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

It's been almost six months since an EPA appeals board heard a challenge to the next step in cleaning up the Housatonic River. And there's still no decision.

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
AlexiusHoratius / Creative Commons

Berkshire Museum lawyers are asking the state appeals court to quickly decide whether it can auction off parts of its art collection -- including two paintings by Norman Rockwell. The court last week issued an injunction halting the sale. 

Pipes waiting to be burried in Otis State Forest in July, 2017.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

The Massachusetts section of a New York-to-Connecticut natural gas pipeline is up and running. 

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
AlexiusHoratius / Creative Commons

Updated Nov. 11, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

A Massachusetts appeals court judge has blocked the auction, scheduled to start next week, of dozens of works of art owned by the Berkshire Museum.

A fine art auction at Sotheby's New York in 2010.
Nelson Pavlosky flickr.com/photos/skyfaller / Creative Commons

The Berkshire Museum is poised to start auctioning off parts of its collection next week, including two Norman Rockwell paintings. That's after a judge Tuesday cleared the way for the sale.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse greets his supporters at the Gateway City Arts after winning the mayor's contest over Jay Ferreira, Tuesday night in Holyoke.
Dave Roback / The Republican

Voters in western Massachusetts turned out on Tuesday to elect new mayors in three cities -- and in two others, residents voted in the incumbents.

John Barrett (left) poses for a photo with a supporter after winning a special election for state representative.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

John Barrett is officially back in politics. The former long-time Democratic mayor of North Adams beat Republican Christine Canning to win a special election for state representative in northern Berkshire County.

SalFalko flickr.com/photos/safari_vacation / Creative Commons

The Berkshire Museum won a legal battle on Tuesday, allowing it go ahead with a planned auction next week of a host of art works, including two paintings by Norman Rockwell.

The polling place at Falcetti Towers in Holyoke, Mass.
File photo / Sam Hudzik / NEPR

Voters in some Massachusetts communities will go to the polls Tuesday to elect local government and school officials. In the four westernmost counties, five cities have contested mayoral elections.

Eagle Street in North Adams, Massachusetts, in 2010.
Publichall / Creative Commons

On Tuesday, North Adams, Massachusetts, will elect just its third mayor since 1984. After eight years in office, incumbent Richard Alcombright decided to give up the job.

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
AlexiusHoratius / Creative Commons

A court hearing was held Wednesday on a request to halt the Berkshire Museum's plans to auction off part of its art collection, including two Norman Rockwell paintings. 

"The Last Arrow," by Thomas Moran, slated for sale by the Berkshire Museum.
Courtesy Sotheby's

A dispute over the Berkshire Museum's plans to sell off 40 art works will go before a judge Wednesday. 

"La Fete," by Raoul Dufy, slated for sale by the Berkshire Museum.
Courtesy Sotheby's

A hearing is scheduled next week in a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, courtroom over the Berkshire Museum's plan to sell off 40 pieces of art in order to fund renovations and boost its endowment.

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
AlexiusHoratius / Creative Commons

A second lawsuit has been filed against a Pittsfield museum that hopes to auction off 40 pieces of art, including two by Norman Rockwell.

Judge Thomas Estes, seen here March 21, 2016, at an arraignment in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, Mass.
Don Treeger / The Republican

Two investigations are underway involving a Massachusetts court judge accused of sexual harassment. 

Norman Rockwell's Sons Seek To Halt Berkshire Museum Sale Of Artwork

Oct 23, 2017
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Berkshire Museum / Creative Commons

Norman Rockwell's three sons are among the plaintiffs who have filed a court complaint seeking to halt the Berkshire Museum's plan to sell 40 works of art, including two by their famous father.

Musician Gabriel Kahane met and talked with people on the train after the U.S. election. He took notes, and then wrote some songs.
Gabriel Kahane / Courtesy of the artist

Gabriel Kahane is a composer who thrives on big concepts.

His last album, “The Ambassador,” is a sort of history of Los Angeles, told through ten of its buildings.

Kahane's newest work is based on the nearly 9,000-mile train trip he took around the country last November, starting the day after Donald Trump was elected president.

John Barrett greets supporters at a victory gathering Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in North Adams, Mass.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

John Barrett, a former 26-year mayor of North Adams, won a special Democratic primary Tuesday for state representative in northern Berkshire County.

Nurses walk the picket line outside Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass., on Oct. 3, 2017.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

About 800 unionized nurses with Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield held a one-day strike Tuesday. It's the latest in a more than year-long contract dispute between the nurses and the hospital centered around staffing levels.

Sandra Vosburgh works in the maternity ward. She said on her unit, one position has gone unfilled for 10 months, which is making it difficult to care for patients.

Unionized nurses at Berkshire Medical Center are planning to strike on Tuesday.
File photo / MassLive

Officials at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield say they're ready for a planned 24-hour strike by 800 unionized nurses starting Tuesday morning.

Unionized nurses at Berkshire Medical Center are planning to strike on Tuesday.
File photo / MassLive

The Massachusetts Nurses Association put Berkshire Medical Center on notice that they plan to strike next month, largely because of a dispute over staffing levels at the Pittsfield hospital.

The polling place at St. Elizabeth Parish Center in North Adams, Mass., on Sept. 19, 2017.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

The field is down to two for North Adams mayor after Tuesday's primary.

Tom Bernard and Bob Moulton Jr. were the top two vote-getters in the field of five, and will square off in November's general election.

The last two mayors of North Adams: John Barrett (left) and Dick Alcombright (right). Their portraits hang side-by-side inside North Adams City Hall.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Berkshire County's second largest city, North Adams, is holding its mayoral primary Tuesday. And it's the first time an incumbent has not been on the ballot since the Reagan administration.

A plane at Pittsfield Municipal Airport.
Courtesy / Pittsfield Muncipal Airport

Pittsfield Municipal Airport is getting more than $6 million from the federal government to help rebuild its two runways.

The city-owned airport currently handles private flights, charters and some military training missions.

Its manager, Gloria Bouillon, said the runways are at the point where they can't be repaired any longer. And with smoother landing strips scheduled to be in place next year, she didn't rule out the possibility of trying to attract commercial service in and out of Pittsfield in the future.

Former Lee Chief of Police Joseph Buffis leaves the Federal Courthouse in Springfield at the close of the court session on June 2, 2015.
Dave Roback / The Republican

Former Lee, Massachusetts, police chief Joseph Buffis lost an appeal this week to have a federal extortion charge thrown out. His lawyer said he's now appealing to the US Supreme Court.

In 2015, Buffis was found guilty of extorting a $4,000 donation to a toy fund he oversaw, and allegedly raided for his own use, from a couple arrested in connection with a prostitution ring.

His attorney, Seth Kretzer, said Buffis can't be guilty of extortion since one of those arrested offered money to make the case go away.

The monument to 16 soliders who died in a military plane crash in Peru, Massachusetts, on August 15, 1942.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Seventy-five years ago, a military transport plane crashed in a remote section of Peru, Massachusetts, killing 16 of the servicemen on board. The victims will be remembered in a ceremony marking the anniversary, as will the story of how this tiny Berkshire County town rallied to help in the rescue.

Pipes waiting to be burried along a stretch of land in Otis State Forest in Sandisfield, Mass.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Despite ongoing construction and few remaining challenges, the protests continue at the construction site of a natural gas pipeline in southern Berkshire county.

Twenty-two more people were arrested for trespassing over the weekend. Half of them were also arrested at previous protests.

In the past, the district attorney's office has downgraded the charges to a civil penalty.

Dennis Carr of Cummington is among those arrested twice. He said he's somewhat concerned about perhaps facing criminal charges this time around.

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