berkshire county | WAMC

berkshire county

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker stands at a podium in front of a marble building with a row of people standing on either side of him
Josh Landes / WAMC

In a look back at the biggest stories of 2020, WAMC has this review of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the westernmost county in Massachusetts.

A woman in a blue suit stands in front of a set of stone stairs
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington says her office is ready to respond to any reports of election interference or intimidation during voting on Tuesday. Harrington says her office is coordinating with the state attorney general and federal and local law enforcement, but there are no specific threats at this point. She spoke with WAMC's Ian Pickus.

Burning bales of hay send up thick clouds of smoke over a farm field at night

A Dalton, Massachusetts man was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court Tuesday on a charge of burning personal property after being accused of setting a political display on fire Friday.

A political display in Dalton lasted one day before it was set on fire
Photo provided to WAMC by Megan Whilden

Vivid images out of Berkshire County on social media Friday night after a large stack of hay bales painted “USA Biden/Harris 2020” was torched.

An empty street stretches out under a blue sky
Josh Landes / WAMC News

As Massachusetts rolls out its phased reopening plan, Berkshire County leaders are weighing a need for revenue with a need for safety.

A white building stands against a blue sky with puffy white clouds
Josh Landes / WAMC

The COVID-19 pandemic is transforming the landscape for the mental and emotional health professionals of Berkshire County.

COVID-19 Diagram
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

With three more coronavirus-related deaths announced Thursday, Berkshire County has had 26 fatalities and more than 380 positive cases of COVID-19.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Communities are responding to the first reported case of COVID-19 in Berkshire County.

A man and a woman stand in front of a white house with black shutters
Josh Landes / WAMC

As the use of short-term rentals like Airbnb grows in Berkshire County, so are efforts to regulate their use around the region.

As the new book, "The Gritty Berkshires," makes clear, Massachusetts' westernmost county is not just art museums, music festivals and beautiful scenery. For generations of working class families who have lived in the northern part of this county, their reality looks more like Rust Belt America.

Maynard Seider, an activist sociologist who has taught and researched in the area for more than three decades, places the history of the North Berkshire region in the context of U.S. and global history.

Through the use of oral histories, union archives, newspaper accounts and participant observation, the author focuses on the 1,000 men who built the nation's longest railroad tunnel, the thousands of men and women who worked in its textile mills and electronics factories and who struck, built worker co-ops, and community coalitions to improve their daily lives.

Founded in September 2014, the Berkshire Community Diaper Project collects diaper donations and monetary donations for the purchase of diapers for families in need throughout Berkshire County.

This morning we discuss CHAIR-ity, a unique initiative involving local high schools, artists, and craftsmen featuring Adirondack Chairs, designed and painted by a variety of Berkshire residents, to be sold via a silent auction on Memorial Day at the First Congregational Church in Lee, Massachusetts - with an online auction to follow for unsold pieces.

To find out more we welcome Marie Rudden, Founder and Board Chair of the Berkshire Community Diaper Project.

Andrea Harrington stands at a podium in a law library flanked by law enforcement officials (file photo)
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington has provided an update on a believed quadruple murder-suicide in the Town of Sheffield. Luke Karpinski is believed to have killed his wife Justine Wilbur and their three children before setting fire to their home on March 13th.

Berkshire County’s health will be in the spotlight Monday. WAMC’s Josh Landes has more.


The head of the Southern Berkshires’ public access television station announced his retirement this month. He’s leaving the job with grave concerns about its future.

It was a busy year in Berkshire County — from infrastructure projects to unprecedented political turnover, and from the conclusion of a controversial art sale to standoffs between workers and employers.

A white man with glasses sits behind a wooden desk in an office
Josh Landes / WAMC

Continuing a series of conversations with top law enforcement officials in Berkshire County, WAMC Berkshire Bureau Chief Josh Landes sat down with Sheriff Thomas Bowler for an extended interview this week.

The former police chief of Otis, Massachusetts is suing the town over her termination.

Elizabeth Freeman Center Website

WAMC's David Guistina speaks with Kim Rivers, a board member for the Elizabeth Freeman Center, which provides leadership and services to address domestic and sexual violence in Berkshire County. The pair also discuss tomorrow's Walk A Mile fundraiser.

Josh Landes

A Western Massachusetts family services organization has once again sent Berkshire students to California to participate in a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

family silhouette
Pixabay/Public Domain

Children can have a range of experiences in foster care. Legislation proposed this week in the Massachusetts House would require the state to search for every possible family member with whom a child could be placed before entering the foster care system.

Berkshire County is known for cell phone dead zones. Verizon is seeking to make upgrades.

Office of Senator Adam Hinds

The Berkshire County state legislative delegation is calling for a proposed east-west rail study to be expanded to Pittsfield, Massachusetts. 

JD Allen / WAMC

According to a new report, economic leaders predict Berkshire County’s already decreasing population will lose 12,000 more people if employers don’t attract a strong, young workforce. 

JD Allen / WAMC

Berkshire County is still waiting on anticipated state aid to advance the nascent Berkshire Innovation Center. 

JD Allen / WAMC

The state’s tourism, arts and cultural development leaders discussed existing and new proposals in western Massachusetts before touring the Berkshires Monday. 

Our kayak skims across Stockbridge Bowl.
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The Josh Billings Triathlon around southern Berkshire County, Massachusetts is celebrating its 41st year. The big race is September 17th. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief JD Allen spoke with event organizer Patty Spector about the bike, paddle and foot race.

JD Allen / WAMC

In today’s global economy, many small, family farms are struggling to make ends meet. That’s the case for the Olsen Farm in Lanesborough, Massachusetts. The couple living there are trying to keep their family’s tradition alive.

JD Allen / WAMC

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission held a recreational marijuana workshop in Lenox, Massachusetts Thursday for political leaders. The drug is now legal statewide.

JD Allen / WAMC

Western Massachusetts residents and lawmakers are calling on state leaders to strengthen elder services in Berkshire County, where about half of the population is over the age of 65. 

JD Allen / WAMC News

Berkshire Children & Families, an adoption and family services agency, has sent four Pittsfield students to Los Angeles for the National Take a Stand Concert in an effort to create social change.