PITTSFIELD

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.

Nurses on the picket line at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Mass. during a one-day strike in June 2017.
Dave Roback / The Republican

Nurses and management at two western Mass hospitals are heading back to the bargaining table next week.

The sign outside St. Joseph Central High School in Pittsfield.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

After holding classes 120 years, Berkshire County's lone Catholic high school, St. Joseph Central of Pittsfield, closed its doors last week.

The school's closure was announced last fall amid sagging enrollment. And as the process has begun to clean out the building, students and staff members have largely moved on.

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

The Environmental Protection Agency's Appeals Board hears arguments Thursday on the second phase of cleaning up the Housatonic River in Berkshire County.

Employees at Tree House Brewing in Monson, Mass., fill beer growlers.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Craft beer enthusiasts in Massachusetts looking to take home growlers from their favorite breweries now won't have to rely just on glass jugs provided by the beer maker.

In an attempt to clarify regulations, the state's Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission said that customers can get their own beer growlers filled, so long as there's nothing printed on the outside.

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.

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.

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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