Tom’s Top 3 for 3/7: Last Hour Objections To Art Sale Noted
Berkshire Museum and Attorney General Maura Healey’s office told art sale opponents Tuesday in legal briefs that the call is theirs when it comes to selling art from the museum’s collection. Setting aside months of litigation, lawyers for the museum and Attorney General Maura Healey last month went together to the state’s top court. They asked it to bless a plan to sell up to 40 works from the museum’s collection.
The Berkshire Eagle reports that the two did it again Tuesday, this time to dismiss the latest objections from Berkshire County residents once aligned with Healey’s office. Last week, those residents filed “friend of court” briefs to the Supreme Judicial Court. The documents received by the SJC clerk could be the last arguments in the dispute which has received national attention because it upends widely accepted museum practice about collections and the use of proceeds from art sales.
Once litigants, the museum and Healey's office are now in agreement that the 115-year-old Pittsfield institution needs an influx of $55 million to remain solvent. Justice David Lowy could now decide, based on briefs now before him, to grant the museum's request or he could refer the case to the full court rather than handling it on a "single justice" basis.
Weekend Trial Run Of Berkshire Flyer Given Support
The proposed passenger train line connecting the Berkshires to New York City, known as the Berkshire Flyer, recently got a major supportive boost that could launch the plan into action.
The Berkshire Eagle reports that during a Monday night Town Hall meeting in Sheffield, State Senator Adam Hinds said the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is supportive of a seasonal weekend trial run of the railroad network, which would run July 4th through Columbus Day.
The rail service, that would take people on the four-hour ride from Pittsfield to New York City, could be up and running by as soon as next year. However the chance for a pilot season, according to Hinds, is far from a done deal. In addition to the Department of Transportation's blessing, the Berkshire Flyer would need financial support from the state and the approval of Gov. Charlie Baker.
The Berkshire Flyer would provide passenger rides from Pittsfield to Albany, N.Y. Passengers would then hop on the New York line to get to New York City. The idea is that the rail connection would better accommodate commuting, tourism, quality of life and business.
100 Percent Renewable Energy Eyed By State And Local Officials
State and local officials, business leaders and environmental advocates all gathered at Berkshire Community College on Monday to talk about the next steps to transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
The Berkshire Edge.com reports that the Berkshires 100 Percent Renewable Energy Summit is part of a collaborative statewide conversation focusing on achieving a swift, just and complete transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.
According to Meghan Hassett, campaign organizer for Environment Massachusetts, this was the fifth 100 percent renewable summit held in communities across the state since last fall. Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer was in attendance. She talked about how the city is forging ahead with renewable energy, particularly solar.
Last spring, the city completed the conversion of a landfill into a 2.9-megawatt solar array, which is projected to save $140,000 annually in energy costs. Another solar array was installed on the city’s wastewater treatment plant. A solar array proposal is also in the works for the Pittsfield airport. The city was also recently awarded a $75,000 grant for a feasibility study on community micro-grids.