Predicting Berkshires’ near future

Every year I make my fearless Berkshire predictions. As you know, I do this either to put the whammy on things I do not want to happen, to make them happen or because I think they will happen. You may remember some of my past prognostications, like the one that predicted a magazine would close. Ponder that. So here goes: Governor Deval Patrick will be tapped by the Obama administration for a top post in the Cabinet. He won’t be there long because he will be nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Real estate sales in the Berkshires will go through the roof.

A weekly newspaper publisher will get himself into legal and financial trouble. There will be a showdown between environmentalists who believe in wind power and some Berkshire residents who do not. The benefits and costs will be debated in a public forum even though the residents will resist such a discussion.

WAMC public radio will win wide approval for an expanded BSO year long schedule.

James and Kim Taylor will launch a highly successful national radio show.

The new mayor of Pittsfield will seek reconciliation with outgoing Mayor James M. Ruberto. The always decent Ruberto will accept an honorary position. North Adams’ John Barrett III will prepare to run for mayor of his city.

Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi will reach out to the city’s arts organizations who believe he dissed them during the campaign. His peace offering will be public praise for the wonderful Megan Whilden, the city’s director of cultural development. The mayor will make it clear that while he wants to spend city resources on what he calls “the neighborhoods,” he understands how important the arts are for the city.

Kate Maguire, the genius who has presided over the marriage of the Colonial Theatre and the Berkshire Theatre Festival will be summoned to the White House for a high honor.

Maguire and Barrington Stage’s Artistic Director Julianne Boyd will join forces on an important educational project.

The reconstruction of Great Barrington’s Main Street will run into substantial unanticipated problems.

A police officer will be fired.

William “Smitty” Pignatelli will become the go-to dean of the Berkshire Legislative delegation.

A vicious blogger will be jailed for illegal activities. He will run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service for serious violations.

Two daily newspapers in the region will combine some of their operations, including printing on a brand new German press.

Barack Obama will be overwhelmingly elected president of the United States for a second term. His opponent will be Newt Gingrich.

The Democrats will make significant gains in the House but things will stay the same in the Senate.

Crime will drop in Pittsfield as the District Attorney gets tougher and tougher.

There will be a push toward war with Iran. An Occupy protester in Great Barrington will correctly say, “The military industrial complex has to be fed and this is the best way to do it.” The town of Lenox will find itself in a brouhaha that will make everything up until now pale by comparison.

The Norman Rockwell Museum will announce a major exhibit on Medical Illustration. A private school will close its doors.

Yo-Yo Ma will play a benefit concert for a public radio station. Murray the Dog will be crowned king of his species.

The old Great Barrington Fair Grounds will be sold to a not-for-profit group that will announce exciting plans.

Jane Iredale of Iredale Cosmetics will be honored by a national women’s organization for her incredible contributions. Ice cream wars will break out in Great Barrington. The police will be summoned over illegal street sales.

Illegal speeding on “The Hill” in Great Barrington will stop because the neighborhood is inflamed and has gone so far as to purchase a radar gun and spotters to take down license plate numbers. This model of community action will spread all over the Berkshires.

You, dear readers, will have a happy, healthy New Year.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 12/24/11

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