Planning group to apply federal money to Berkshires’ pandemic-recovery efforts

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has received $842,522 in federal CARES Act money to develop a program to provide technical assistance to area businesses and municipalities recovering from the economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and better prepare them for similar events.

Executive Spotlight: Tom Matuszko

Get to know BRPC executive director Tom Matuszko in the Berkshire Eagle’s first executive spotlight of 2021:

PITTSFIELD — Thomas Matuszko grew up on his family farm in Hadley, then briefly pursued farming as a profession. Working the land didn’t excite him, but preserving farmland from developers certainly did.

Berkshire County’s Top Health Official Tracking Regional Impacts With Lenox In COVID Red Zone

LENOX – The town of Lenox, Massachusetts was pushed into the Massachusetts Department of Health’s COVID-19 “red zone” designation last week with an average daily incidence rate of 38.4 per 100,000. It was the only Berkshire County community given that high-risk designation through mid-November, with around 30 active cases.

New grant program to help Berkshire businesses cover COVID-19 expenses

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has created a grant program to help businesses pay for COVID-19-related expenses.

The Berkshire County COVID-19 Adaptation Fund will assist businesses and organizations with up to 25 employees. Applicants can use the funds to cover the purchase of personal protection equipment and other COVID-related supplies, along with general businesses expenses, which include rent, utilities, payroll and insurance.

Pittsfield Aims to Make Lower-Income Neighborhoods Greener

PITTSFIELD — Two city neighborhoods will be going from “Grey to Green” as part of a project to engage the community and prioritize green planning in a social and racial justice context.

Studies have shown that low-income neighborhoods are more concrete or “gray” than higher-income neighborhoods, which can have a deleterious effect on the health of residents, Senior Planner Allison Egan told the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission on Thursday.