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Northern Berkshire Solarize Program Holds 'Meet the Installer' Night
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:17AM / Friday, August 02, 2019
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North County residents and businesses have some time to enroll in the Solarize Plus program.   But if they want to take full advantage of all the economic incentives, they don't have much time.   "The [Solarize Plus] program runs through the end of the year," said Garrett Colvin of SolarFlair, the installer selected for the program in Northern Berkshire County. "Next year, the [federal] 30 percent investment tax credit drops to 26 percent.   "There's a 60- to 90-day period from signing up to installation. So to get the 30 percent, it's in your interest to meet with us sooner rather than

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Something New Under the Sun: Solarize Project Begins in North Adams, Williamstown
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
05:24PM / Monday, June 24, 2019
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Six years ago, the Solarize Williamstown initiative helped 79 homeowners add solar photo-voltaic panels to their properties.   Six years later, Solarize Plus looks to replicate and expand on that model thanks to more options, a wider pool of property owners, new technology and a greater need than ever to reduce the use of fossil fuels.   It seems like weekly new evidence is released about the threat of climate change, which the scientific community overwhelmingly agreed is fueled in part by human activity.   Just last week, a study by the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development found that in the next 20 years, U.S. coastal communities

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Farley-Bouvier, Hinds Chat Environmental Issues At Pittsfield Forum
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:22AM / Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state hopes to see more renewable energy from solar so it's incentivizing development.   However, the way the programs are currently established, solar often comes at the expense of cutting trees.   "We have perverse incentives for solar. It is cheaper for a  developer to come in and cut down a whole bunch of trees to do something for the environment," state Rep. Farley-Bouvier said.   The Pittsfield Democrat would like to see a shift in the way the projects are located. She said there are acres of rooftops available without solar but yet large scale projects go into wooded areas. Even in her neighborhood, there is a large

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Warbler Waves Migrating Through Berkshires
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
05:49PM / Saturday, June 08, 2019
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Despite the cool spring weather, waves of warblers and songbirds are reaching their familiar feeding grounds, in the deciduous woodlands and sylvan edges, like the banks of the Hoosic River in North Adams.    Able songster species like yellow warblers and redstarts are once again filling available niches alongside the Hoosic River where shrubs and taller trees create thickets that offer protection for nesting birds. Linger a while to observe the prenuptial dance of male and female restarts that perform a spreading of wings and fanned out tale feathers in a ritualized endearing dance prior to mating.   I wish to share a concern that can arise

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MassWildlife Offers Tips for Dealing With Aggressive Turkeys
Staff Reports,
11:53AM / Thursday, April 18, 2019
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BOSTON — The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is offering some tips for dealing with aggressive wild turkeys.    A woman in Cambridge was recently injured when a flock of turkeys began pecking at her legs; aggressive turkeys have also been reported and recorded in in Foxboro and Brookline.    There's more room for humans and turkeys to co-exist in the Berkshires but residents should still be aware of turkey behavior if there's an encounter.    MassWildlife says:   March through May is breeding season for wild turkeys and as a result, there is an increase in turkey activity all across the commonwealth. Some turkeys may be seen acting

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Be Alert for Wildlife on the Road
02:49PM / Monday, April 08, 2019
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BOSTON – The state Departments of Transportation and of Fisheries and Wildlife are reminding motorists to be cautious and alert for wildlife crossing or alongside roadways during this time of year. Motorists are advised to slow down and avoid swerving if they encounter wildlife in the vicinity of roadways.   Springtime is breeding and nesting season for many kinds of wildlife, which means they are more active as they search for mates and disperse across the landscape. Common species seen near roadsides include beaver, muskrat and turkeys. In addition, on the first warm, rainy evenings of April, frogs, salamanders and toads will cross roadways as they head toward wetlands to

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Pittsfield City Council Passes Plastic Bag Ban
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:03AM / Wednesday, March 27, 2019
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Rinaldo Del Gallo first petitioned for the ban in 2013. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After close to six years of debate, the city finally passed a ban on single-use plastic bags Tuesday night.   The ban had been proposed in 2013 and has been working its way through the City Council process since. It was first coupled with a ban on Styrofoam, which was later passed in 2015 separate from the bag ban and restricted polystyrene food containers.   The bag ban went before the Green Commission and to City Council subcommittee meetings, the latter of which had left it unaddressed for a time. Earlier this year, it made its way to the full council will a full

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Big Y Plans to Eliminate Single-Use Plastic Bags in 2020
Staff Reports,
05:32PM / Tuesday, January 08, 2019
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Both Berkshire County cities last year spent months, if not years, talking about banning single-use plastic bags but they might find business is moving ahead of them.    Big Y Foods Inc., one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, will eliminate its use of the bags from all 70 of its markets, specialty stores and Big Y Express Gas and Convenience locations in 2020.   That decision was prompted, in part, by local towns that have already prohibited the use of the bags. The 83-year-old company says it has been complying with bag bans in Adams (which launched a free bag initiative), Amherst, Great Barrington, Lee,

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Federal Grant to Fund 800 Tree Plantings in North Adams
03:06PM / Thursday, December 27, 2018
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition will lead an effort to plant more than 800 new trees on public and private land in the city of North Adams over the next three years.   The tree-planting project, an initiative of the Franklin Land Trust and funded by a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, will offer trees to residents and businesses, and also will replace dying or dead trees along downtown streets and within city neighborhoods.   "Trees in urban and suburban neighborhoods provide many benefits to the people who live near them, including improving air and water quality, reducing energy costs, and increasing the physical and social well-being

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Hoosic River Revival Founder Grinnell Steps Down
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:27AM / Saturday, December 15, 2018
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Grinnell is hugged by board Vice President Brian Miksic.  NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It's been a decade since Judith Grinnell floated the then-fantastical notion that the Hoosic River could be safely released from some of its concrete coffin.   A decade since she and her dedicated advocates inspired a "leap of faith" that joined community leaders and politicians, businesses and residents, recreational enthusiasts and ecologists.   A decade since Grinnell's vision has become a $30 million project ready to take its first steps to reality.    And after a decade, the Hoosic River Revival's founder says she's "walking away smiling. I

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