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State Asking For Input On Outdoor Recreation Plan
Staff Reports,
04:08PM / Thursday, October 05, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — What type of outdoor recreation would you want to see created?   That's what the state is asking right now. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is updating its Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, which makes it eligible for about $2 million per year from the federal government.    The National Park Service's Land and Water Conservation Fund program has been ongoing since 1965 and has paid for a number of outdoor recreation projects in the county. Locally, the money has purchased land along the Appalachian Trail and at Onota Lake. North Adams received a quarter of a million dollars to build a park on River

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Grant Helps Spread the 'Bee Friendly Williamstown' Buzz
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:30AM / Friday, September 29, 2017
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town has received a $9,120 grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at University of Massachusetts at Lowell to further its efforts to become "Bee Friendly Williamstown."

Last May, Williamstown residents approved a non-binding resolution declaring the town a pollinator-friendly community. The resolution seeks to change residential and institutional landscaping practices by promoting ways to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides that scientists believe are killing bee populations.

Building on that, the town has partnered with several local organizations - Caretaker Farm, the Clark Art Institute, Images Cinema, Sam and Elizabeth Smith,

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Senate Chair on Global Warming Takes Input on Energy Policy
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:56AM / Tuesday, June 20, 2017
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State Sens. Adam Hinds and Marc Pacheco visit Seth Nash of Blue Q on Monday afternoon, before the hearing. Nash is one of the private-sector businesses to install a photovoltaic array to power his business.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Marc Pacheco has chaired the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture and thought he had heard everything about the environment.   Until 11 years ago, when he saw Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."   "I saw the reality come to life on a movie screen," Pacheco said.   He signed up to become a "climate messenger" and went to a training in Nashville, Tenn.

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North Adams Event Tries to Link Local Vendors with Anchor Institutions
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:07AM / Friday, May 12, 2017
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Last Friday's foul weather was just fine with Jeffrey Thomas.   "I've never hoped so hard for rain," Thomas said as the crowd filtered in to a Buyer/Supplier Meetup event he planned at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts' Club B10.   Thomas is the executive director of North Adams non-profit Lever, which seeks to foster entrepreneurship throughout the region.   On Friday, Lever hosted the first-ever event to try to form connections between small- and mid-sized businesses and the area's major "anchor" institutions, like Williams College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Berkshire Medical Center,

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State Drops Criminal Charges But Pipeline Protesters Demand Trial
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:05PM / Thursday, May 11, 2017
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Sixteen of the 24 protesters arrested fighting a natural gas pipeline being built on state forest land in Sandisfield showed up in court Thursday morning ready to proudly say they are not criminals.   The state agreed their actions didn't warrant criminal charges and entered a motion to convert those charges to civil citations. Those who were arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct then left the courtroom without an arraignment.   But the protesters say they were already treated like criminals through the arrests and being brought up on criminal charges in the first place. They want a trial on those original charges because

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Pipeline Demonstrators Arrested for Blocking Forest Access Roads
Staff Reports,
02:49PM / Tuesday, May 02, 2017
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SANDISFIELD, Mass. — State police they have arrested 18 demonstrators for trespassing at two separate locations at the Sandisfield pipeline extension project on Tuesday morning.    The protesters apparently ran chains and caution tape with "resist" on it across two access roads in an attempt to stop Kinder Morgan from felling trees in Otis State Forest to make way for a natural gas pipeline. According to police, they "indicated that they wanted to be arrested. They notified State Police beforehand that they would not comply with requests to disperse from the roads."   The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. was given permission by U.S. Federal Energy

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Lanesborough Couple Fighting to Save Historic, Family Farm
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:39AM / Sunday, April 30, 2017
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Thomas Olsen grew up on a farm in Norway.   In 1923, he and his wife, Randi, immigrated to the United States, landing in New York. But the city life wasn't for him. He told his wife, "it's no way for a man to live" and every week he'd stash money aside in hopes to move to the country.   The Depression or some other factor would hit and he'd lose the savings and build it back up. And every week he'd stop at the bank and browse the real estate listings.   In 1938, one of those listings intrigued him. He hopped a train to Pittsfield and soon found himself in love with 95 acres in the town of Lanesborough. Without

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Local Environmentalists Oppose Policies Supporting Natural Gas
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:00PM / Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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DALTON, Mass. — Dicken Crane has a large solar array on his Holiday Brook Farm. He has a forest management program to harvest timber to burn in a wood furnaces.

He doesn't need more natural gas.

Crane is one of some 500 businesses that have signed onto a petition against Gov. Charlie Baker's push for access to more natural gas.    Baker has been supportive of new natural-gas infrastructure and had previously introduced a proposal to allow electric utilities to levy a tax on users to pay for infrastructure, particularly the price to build new pipelines, but that was rejected by the Supreme Judicial Court.   Proponents of natural gas have long said it

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Downing's Next Step Is Solar Energy Firm
04:43PM / Monday, November 14, 2016
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BOSTON — Benjamin B. Downing, who has championed renewable energies during his 10 years in the state Senate, will join a solar energy company at the end of his term.

Nexamp Inc. announced on Monday that the Pittsfield Democrat, who did not stand for a sixth term, would be the solar contractor's new vice president of new market development.

"Ben's long history of public service will complement Nexamp's expert team of local development professionals," said Zaid Ashai, chief executive officer of Nexamp, in a statement. "He joins us at the most exciting juncture in our company's young history, and his ability to effectively communicate promising

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BNRC Releases Plan For Countywide Hiking Trail Network
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:29AM / Tuesday, October 04, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Natural Resources Council envisions a day when one can walk through a network of trails to each and every town in the Berkshires.   The organization has been working for the last couple years to do just that. The organization has raised $4.25 million toward the creation and maintenance of such a network.    "It is sort of a counterpart to the Appalachian Trail," President Tad Ames said, explaining that the network will allow someone to travel on foot the length of Berkshire County, stopping in at towns, staying a local hotels, while not having to carry food for a long trip.   The concept is something that's been done

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