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Pattern in the clouds captured in Pittsfield

Pattern in the clouds captured in Pittsfield

Alison Phillips from Pittsfield took this weather photo of clouds on a clear day in Pittsfield. If you have a weather photo you would like to submit please send it to weatherphoto@wnyt.com. Please send the photo, your name and where it was taken.

It could end up on a News Café website.

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to hold public forum

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to hold public forum

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is holding a forum aimed at identifying conservation and recreation priorities of Berkshire County residents on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

This forum is one in a series that will be held over the next two years on different topics.  According to the planning commission, input received at each forum will help shape the goals and policies for a new long-range strategic plan for the regionThis plan, called Sustainable Berkshires, is being spearheaded by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission through a HUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grant.  The ultimate goal is to foster collaborative action across the region to address our most pressing needs and take strategic steps to achieve our goals for a vibrant future. 

The meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Lenox Town Hall Auditorium on 6 Walker Street in Lenox.

Center for Eco Technology to present Ice Dam Prevention Workshop

Center for Eco Technology to present Ice Dam Prevention Workshop

The Center for Eco Technology (CET) is presenting an Ice Dam Prevention Workshop on Wednesday.

The workshop from 7 to 8:30 p.m. will discuss “Ice Dams: Why they happen and what to do about them.” It will also uncover topics such as understanding the root causes of ice dam, cover options for dealing with them, and explaining how to prevent future ice dams.

This seminar is free and open to the public.  It’s at the Conte Community School at 200 West Union St. in Pittsfield.

City departments collaborate to plant trees in Pittsfield

The Department of Community Development and The Department of Public Utilities have joined efforts with Pittsfield Tree Watch and Elm Street Partnership to plant 47 trees on Elm Street, beginning at Gordon Street continuing to Holmes Road.

Maynard Landscaping & Garden Center planted trees this week and is expected to finish the project by Friday and 11 different varieties of trees will be planted, says the City’s Department of Community Development. 

Led by Astrid Hagenguth, who passed away earlier this year, Pittsfield Tree Watch approached the City about this project and worked closely with both City Department’s to secure the funding.   Pittsfield Tree Watch is a volunteer organization that advocates for tree plantings throughout the city.

West Nile found in Berkshire County

SHEFFIELD, Mass. - West Nile virus has been detected in Berkshire County for the first time this year.

Test results from breeding pools in Sheffield and the Village of Ashley Falls came back positive last week.  The Sheffield town administrator told NewsChannel 13 there have been two positive mosquitoes tested.  

There have been no confirmed cases of people infected with the disease.

The Southern Berkshire Regional District did a reverse 911 call to warn residents about it.

Mass. steps up efforts to cut school bus pollution

(AP) - Massachusetts environmental officials are starting the school year by celebrating a program that fitted more than 2,100 school buses with devices designed to cut air pollution from diesel engines.

The MassCleanDiesel School Bus Retrofit Program benefited buses serving at least 300,000 students in 300 communities.

The initiative seeks to reduce air pollution and children's exposure to diesel exhaust by cutting more than 27 tons of emissions per year.

The program upgraded school buses with funding from the state Department of Transportation and the federal government. It was offered to school systems and bus companies on a voluntary basis.

Breathing high concentrations of diesel emissions can cause minor ailments such as headaches, wheezing and dizziness. The contaminants also increase the risks of asthma and lung cancer.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Zebra mussel moving downstream in Housatonic River

LEE, Mass. (AP) - An ecological consulting firm says the invasive zebra mussel has been detected in the Housatonic River as far downstream as Connecticut, but so far hasn't been detected in any additional lakes in the region.

The mussels were discovered in Massachusetts for the first time in 2009 at Laurel Lake in Lee.

Senior ecologist Ethan Nadeau of Biodrawversity measured the downstream migration during tests this summer. He tells The Berkshire Eagle the mussels were carried from the lake into the river by Laurel Brook.

The good news is that so far testing and visual inspections have not found the mussels in any other area lakes.

The mussel, native to the Caspian and Black seas and spread by boat traffic, destroys ecosystems and clogs pipes and machinery. It is almost impossible to eradicate.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)