This story updated from earlier posting:

More than 60 Massachusetts cities and towns have banned the use of single-use plastic bags. North Adams might be next. Here in the Berkshires, bans have already been put into place in Williamstown, Adams, Lee, Lenox, Dalton, Great Barrington and Stockbridge.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that City Councilor Eric Buddington wants to discuss a band of single use plastic bags and polystyrene containers in North Adams. He introduced the issue to the city council last week. They referred the communication to the council's General Government Committee for further review.  It was not a formal proposal, but instead an outline of the topic. Business groups, such as the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, have routinely voiced opposition to the local bans.

State legislators will continue to debate the matter, while the city initially takes up the issue. A plastic bag ban bill is currently making its way through the state House of Representatives. If that passes into law, it would most likely make the city's efforts meaningless.

The major retailers in North Adams that would be impacted by a ban would likely include Walmart, Big Y and Stop & Shop. Some local residents, including Bryan Sapienza, are concerned about the economic burden that a ban could place on residents.

North Adams City Council President, Keith Bona, in effort to avoid a conflict of interest, says that he will step down as council president while the ban is being discussed on the council floor. In a Facebook posting Monday morning, Bona stated…

...As a retail owner effected by this I will have to step down as Council President when this agenda item is on the floor. I can speak on the matter as how it affects my business, and my personal opinion as a public citizen/business owner. I can't speak as a city councilor representing constituents or the city as a whole. I can't bring your posted opinions to the table, so please reach out to other councilors. Best option is to attend the committee meeting this Wednesday at 5:30 pm, City Council Chambers...


Taconic High School Seeing Finishing Touches

Finish work, including work on ceilings, floors and ceilings, is the main focus at the newly constructed Taconic High School building in Pittsfield. reports that the mechanical systems are mostly complete and now the finishing touches are being installed throughout most of the building. The $120.8 million project has been ongoing for two years. It’s expected to be completed this summer. The physical work is should be completed by the end of June and in July and August, equipment and materials from the current school will be moved to the new building.

As for the look of the new classrooms, they are arranged in pod-like fashion. The classrooms in each pod are arranged in a half circle off of the main hallway and surround teacher's offices and a shared common area. The science labs are across the hall, with views of the mountains to the south. The shops are on the first floor in the eastern portion of the building and the shop classrooms are located across the hall.

The project is being overseen by Gilbane Construction and Skanska USA.


Wanted: One Lead Engineer

The city of Pittsfield is once again searching for a lead engineer as construction season gets closer.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that according to Personnel Director Michael Taylor, Lawrence Kelley vacated the position last week, after holding the position for six months. Previously, the post sat empty for nine months before his hiring, and that created construction delays for the city.

The job might be a tough one to fill, as according to Taylor, the position’s salary is not competitive with those for positions in similar cities elsewhere in the state.