BERKSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

Berkshire Bank offices in downtown Pittsfield.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

News this week that Berkshire Bank plans to move its headquarters from Pittsfield to Boston caught some local officials by surprise. But they're hoping the bank's move could still end up being a positive for Berkshire County and its largest city.

Eastbound state route 57 entering Sandisfield, Mass.
John Phelan / Creative Commons

Federal regulators have brushed off a request by both Massachusetts U.S. senators to delay construction of a natural gas pipeline running through Otis State Forest in southern Berkshire County.

Berkshire Bank offices in downtown Pittsfield.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Berkshire Bank says its planned move to Boston will have little impact on workers at its current headquarters in Pittsfield.

The move to Boston is largely driven by Berkshire's planned acquisition of Commerce Bank, which has 19 branches in central and eastern Massachusetts.

Sean Gray, chief operating officer of Berkshire Bank, said there will be no job losses in Pittsfield and the city will remain an operational center for the bank.

He said moving its headquarters to Boston will get executives closer to regulators, lawmakers and the financial hub of the region.

Scene from a 2011 performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.
anjanettew / Creative Commons

This weekend on Long Island, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will perform its final show, ending a 146 year run.  

The circus is also at the center of Dave Fromm's book, "The Duration."  It's based in the Berkshires in a fictional town called "Gable" -- modeled on Lenox, Massachusetts -- where the author grew up.  Fromm told us he remembers visiting a traveling circus as a kid.

    

Governor Baker gets an update on the Springfield Empowerment Zone at Forest Park Middle School.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

Governor Charlie Baker was in Springfield to hear the latest on the Springfield "Empowerment Zone, which consists of six middle schools and a high school.

In an "Empowerment Zone," principals and teachers have broad autonomy over everything from the curriculum to the budget. The results after the first year were mixed, with some test results up and some down.

Pipeline protesters and their supporters outside of Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington, Mass. after a hearing on May 11, 2017.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Seventeen protesters arrested at the construction site of a natural gas pipeline in southern Berkshire county appeared in court Thursday in Great Barrington. And prosecutors tossed them a curveball.

Eastbound state route 57 entering Sandisfield, Mass.
John Phelan / Creative Commons

With work underway on a controversial natural gas pipeline in southern Berkshire County, activists are planning to protest at the site Friday.

A spokesperson for the company Kinder Morgan said crews are setting up erosion protection devices along the pipeline route in Otis State Forest, and tree cutting won't begin until that's complete.

Eastbound state route 57 entering Sandisfield, Mass.
John Phelan / Creative Commons

Both Massachusetts U.S. senators are calling on federal regulators to halt a natural gas pipeline project in southern Berkshire County.

The former Clinton A.M.E Zion Church in Great Barrington, Mass.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

A church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, that civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois attended as a young man may have a new lease on life. 

The Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church is on the National Register of Historic Places, but has been closed for a few years and has fallen into disrepair. Now community members are buying the 130-year-old structure, with hopes of renovating it.

A warning sign posted by opponents to a proposed toxic waste disposal site in the woods, near the Housatonic River  in Great Barrington, Mass.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

General Electric and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are battling over the last stretch of the PCB clean-up of the Housatonic River in Massachusetts from Pittsfield through Great Barrington.

GE is appealing the government’s clean-up plan, which is estimated to cost $613 million over 15 years. One big issue is where to put the toxic PCBs that are dug up from the river.

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