The Pittsfield Board of Health is questioning how it would enforce a proposed single-use plastic bag ban. reports that the petition, filed by the Green Commission and local attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo, is currently before the City Council. It would place a ban on certain single-use plastic bags — mostly the one that are used for groceries at the supermarket. But the enforcement of that falls on the Board of Health, which says it would not be able to do regular inspections.

The city’s Health Director, Gina Armstrong, says that there are a lot of other retail establishments in the city, and that would place a significant burden on the Health Department if it were to have to enforce all businesses with the ban. Armstrong has crafted an amendment to the proposal that would outline a complaint process and fining. She says that the penalties for companies not following the law is a warning for the first violation, $50 for the second violation, and $100 for subsequent.

Also with the consideration that some businesses may have difficulty in transition to the new rules right away, Armstrong says that there is a process for a company to apply for a hardship to extend the time it takes to switch from the current bags to an alternative.


Winterfest Chowder Cook-Off Winners Announced

Who doesn’t love the Winterfest Chowder Cook-off? Hundreds of hungry WinterFest fans swarmed downtown North Adams on Saturday to try out samples of the nine competitors at this year’s annual Chowder Cook-off. Ballots were cast for “People’s Choice” favorites and write-in’s for the “Only in North Adams” most unique chowder award.

Voters were asked to rank their top 3 favorite. Competitors were awarded 3 points for every 1st place mark, 2 points for each 2nd place mark, and 1 point for every 3rd place mark. Director of Community Services, Suzy Helme said in a media release that taking 1st Place with 467 points was Grazie. Boston Seafood Restaurant was a close 2nd with 460 points, and the Hub came in 3rd Place with 206 total points.

The Judges’ Choice was close, but Mingo’s was the favorite. This year’s “Only in North Adams” people’s choice award went to Ramuntos who narrowly took the title from last year’s winner, Gramercy Bistro. The Hub came in 2nd, followed by Grazie in 3rd. Freight Yard Pub and Gramercy Bistro tied for 4th.

This year’s judges were City Councilor Becky Cohen, City Councilor Marie Harpin, and Mayor Tom Bernard.


North Adams Mayor To Deliver State Of The City

North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard will give a State of the City address tomorrow. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Bernard will not be delivering the speech during a City Council meeting, which has been the recent tradition. Instead, the address will be held in the City Council chambers at 7 pm tomorrow.

During his address, the mayor expects to outline the work being done in North Adams Public Schools to explore shared services agreements with nearby districts and consolidation of the School Department’s administrative offices into City Hall.

Bernard will be giving his address, despite being in office fewer than two months. He looks at the speech as an opportunity to update the public on the efforts he’s launched thus far and set the tone for policy moving forward.