Before deciding on an ordinance that would ban single-use plastic shopping bags in Pittsfield, officials have announced that they want to hear from residents that would be affected by the law. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the city is sending out a mailer to its residents to alert them about an opportunity to participate in upcoming meetings on the matter. That was the determination on Monday by members of the Ordinance and Rules Committee, which had initially tabled the measure pending more public input. Several communities across the Berkshires have already voted to prohibit the use of plastic bags. The City Council recently started to consider the measure, initially proposed by the Green Committee back in 2013, and filed by local attorney, Rinaldo Del Gallo. The town of Lenox has had a plastic bag ban in place for some time now and so far, it seems to have not been too trying on area residents who shop at the Price Chopper on Pittsfield Lenox Road. The one difference in Pittsfield, according to members of the Green Commission, is that the proposed ordinance does not call on retailers to charge for paper bags, as other municipalities have done to incentivize the use of reusable bags.

 

Berkshire Museum and State AG Nearing Resolution

A deal to resolve the Berkshire Museum art sale dispute is looking like its closer than ever. That is what legal observers predict, but it could be days before the public learns what that compromise might entail. The Berkshire Eagle reports that after months of skirmishing, the museum and the office of Attorney General Maura Healey are heading to the state’s top court together. That development suggests that the parties have compromised on a question that has riven the art world and also divided the museum’s membership, according to the Eagle report. Justice Francis Spina of Pittsfield, a retired Supreme Judicial Court justice, says that the wording of this week’s court filing suggests the parties are in the process of reaching terms that allow them to jointly support a specific course of action. The museums plan to sell 40 of its works of art, including two Norman Rockwell paintings, has been the subject of a debate with the State Attorney General’s office. The art sale was planned to help the museum out of financial difficulties and to fund a major renovation there.

 

Another Winter Storm Takes Hold

Another winter storm is taking hold on the Berkshires today. The National Weather Service in Albany has upgraded its advisory to a Winter Storm Warning that will remain in effect through 4 AM Thursday. Forecasters are calling for heavy mixed precipitation with anywhere between 6 and 10 inches of snow accumulations initially and ice accumulations of a light glaze. You’ll want to plan on difficult travel conditions. Drivers could see significant reductions in visibility at times. Forecasters expect 1 to 2 inches of snowfall per hour during the heaviest part of the storm from late morning into the early evening. The snow may turn to sleet or freezing rain during the mid-afternoon and evening. Schools around the county today all fell in line and closed very early this morning.