Hundreds of students from Pittsfield and Taconic high schools walked out of class yesterday morning. The walk-out was part of a growing national movement against school violence after the February 14th shooting that killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. A national walkout day is being planned for March 14th, a month after the shooting at the Parkland school.

Meanwhile, as safety of our local students is on all of our minds, The Berkshire Eagle says that it will host a public forum next month to help foster a community conversation about the issue. The newspaper says that the "Panel Forum on Gun Violence, School Shootings, Gun Safety and Solutions" will offer participants the opportunity to hear directly about the experiences of educators, students and members of law enforcement about these issues and how they address them.

The forum will run from 6 to 8 p.m. March 14th at Barrington Stage Company's Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield, the same days as the planned national walkout.

 

$74 Million Wastewater Upgrades Voted Down In Pittsfield

The Pittsfield City Council has ejected a $74 million capital request to renovate the city’s wastewater treatment plant late last night. IBerkshires.com reports that shortly before midnight, the request from Mayor Linda Tyer to borrow funding for upgrades to the plant fell a single vote shy of the supermajority that it would have needed to pass.

Councilors Christopher Connell, Melissa Mazzeo, Kevin Morandi, and Donna Todd Rivers all voted down the project. The council only discussed it briefly at the very end of Tuesday's four-hour meeting. The vote had been put off multiple times. Ward 4 Councilor, Chris Connell, used a charter objection two weeks earlier to put a hold on a vote.

The rejection could possibly lead to the city missing the next deadline as part of an administrative order issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

Downtown Great Barrington In Line For Enhanced Fiber-Optic Internet

The town of Great Barrington’s downtown area will soon be set up with enhanced fiber-optic internet connectivity. According to a press release from the office of town manager Jennifer Tabakin, Fiber Connect has committed to invest in Great Barrington, making high speed internet more accessible throughout the downtown.

The impacted area will include Castle Street, Railroad Street and both sides of Main Street from Castle Street to Elm Street. Fiber Connect will pay for the costs of maintaining the network and will work directly with building owners in the coming weeks to obtain easements to run the fiber-optic cable between buildings in those areas.

The company will then be able to offer fiber-optic internet service with download speeds of at least one gigabyte per second to those in the connected area. The installation of the fiber-optic cable will come at no cost to landlords or the town.

Fiber Connect rates will range from $99 per month for standard residential fiber-optic internet and $149 per month for business internet. Each will require a three year commitment. Residential and business customers would also have the option to purchase custom coverage with download speeds up to 10 gigs per second.

Spectrum also offers internet service at a variety of speeds and rates in Great Barrington.