BERKSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

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.

A jar of marijuana buds for sale inside the River Rock dispensary in Denver.
Steve Brown / WBUR

Massachusetts regulators are now preparing the state for retail sales of marijuana. Governor Charlie Baker last week signed a bill into law making changes to the voter-approved measure legalizing marijuana for recreational use. 

The rail platform at the Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center in Pittsfield, Mass.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

A study on expanding rail service between Springfield-to-Boston was left out of the final Massachusetts state budget. But lawmakers did OK another rail study, looking at seasonal service between Pittsfield and New York City.

Transportation officials in Massachusetts will look at the feasibility of weekend service between late May and October.

State Senator Adam Hinds, who represents the Berkshires, said this could demonstrate an appetite for regular, year-round trains to and from New York City.

Pittsfield High School is designed to accomodate 1,600 students, but only had about 900 during the last school year.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

One school district for all 15,000 of Berkshire County's school children. That's what an advisory panel of educators, local officials and business leaders is recommending. They commissioned a new study that said this approach could solve a lot of the problems schools are facing.

For Shakespeare & Co., 40 Years Of Passion, 'Mistakes'

Jul 19, 2017
Bella Merlin and Deaon Griffin-Pressley, in  the production of Cymbeline.
Stratton McCrady / Shakespeare & Co.

With summer in full swing, one of the nation’s largest Shakespeare festivals is celebrating a big anniversary this year. And over its four decades in Lenox, Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company has seen its share of dramatics, both on- and off-stage.

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