The Berkshire Hospitality Group LLC of Brooklyn, N.Y. is converting the Crown Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield to a Holiday Inn & Suites. The group purchased the hotel for $1.1 million at a foreclosure auction in April. According to a press release, starting today (Monday), the 14-story hotel, owned by the Berkshire Hospitality Group, will operate under the temporary name Berkshire Plaza Hotel as they undergo extensive renovations to become a Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites this fall. The hotel will remain open and fully operational during the transition. The renovations will include all guest rooms, public spaces, restaurant, lounge, banquet facilities, and parking garage. The newly renovated hotel will feature twenty – six modern, fully furnished extended stay suites, and 140 guest rooms with new furniture, wall décor, carpeting, contemporary accents, and state of the art amenities. The dining and banquet facilities, which include 12,000ft of flexible meeting space, a Grand Ballroom with the largest dance floor in Berkshire County and a full service restaurant and lounge will also be completely renovated, which will include new furniture and décor, enhanced lighting and new menu offerings. The group says that the renovations will play an important role in the revitalization of the city’s downtown.


BHS CEO Phelps Says Another One-Day Strike Would Be Costly

A second strike by registered nurses at Berkshire medical Center would be costly and disruptive for the hospital according to its leader, but a union’s vote this past week to authorize one will not change his bargaining strategy. The Berkshire Eagle reports that according to David Phelps, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems he is hopeful the hospital and its RNs will reach a new contract. Union members believe the threat of a second strike may make that happen. Members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association voted to allow their bargaining committee to call a second one-day strike. A first strike that was held at the beginning of October was followed by a four-day lockout. In both strike authorization decisions, more than 80 percent of the union's voting members backed the job action. The main point of contention has been the lack of adequate nursing staff and its impact on patient safety at the hospital.


Plastic Bag Ban Going Before The Pittsfield City Council Again

A petition to ban single-use plastic bags in Pittsfield, originally filed in 2013 by Rinaldo Del Gallo, will once again appear before councilors on Tuesday. The presentation this time will carry some extra weight, as it now has backing from the city’s Green Commission. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the commission reviewed similar policies adopted in some 60 Massachusetts municipalities and drafted an ordinance for the council’s consideration.  Key issues surrounding plastic bags are that they take hundreds of years to degrade, and many are only used once. Other towns in the Berkshires, seven in fact, have adopted bans on single-use plastic bags: Great Barrington, Williamstown, Stockbridge, Adams, Dalton, Lee and Lenox. John Krol, city council vice-president and member of the Green Commission, said the council could take a vote on the matter at the council meeting Tuesday, but said it's more likely that the council will send the drafted ordinance to a subcommittee for further review. He called the ban an issue of the greater good versus a minor inconvenience.

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