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News
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 
 
VEIOVIS GIVEN THREE CONSECUTIVE LIFE TERMS  
 
Caius Veiovis has been given three consecutive life terms for his role in the murders of three Pittsfield men. He was convicted on Friday in the 2011 slayings of David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell, all of Pittsfield. Veiovis maintained his innocence at his sentencing yesterday. The 34-year-old Veiovis was the third person convicted in the case. Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder sentenced him to three consecutive life terms for his role in the killings. He was also given concurrent 8 to 10 year sentences on each of the charges of kidnapping and witness intimidation. He was given credit for 1,116 days served.
 
NORTH ADAMS MAN GETS 9 MONTHS FOR INTENT TO SELL CRACK
 
 One of three people arrested in March when police pulled a large quantity of crack cocaine from the drainpipe of a North Adams residence pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court yesterday and received a nine month jail sentence charges to the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. 44 year old Thomas Massey Jr. of North Adams was arrested after members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force raided a Liberty Street residence on March 17th. He pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.  

    The Board of Health last week voted to raise permit fees. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/Jack Guerino)
 
ADAMS BOARD OF HEALTH RAISES PERMITTING FEES  
 
The Adams Board of Health is raising many of its permit fees to better match surrounding municipalities. IBerkshires.com reports that Chairman Allen Mendel said the fees were last changed a decade ago. One of the biggest changes the board made was for food permits for temporary events up to 14 days. Previously the fee was a flat $20, however, the board decided to implement a sliding fee based on how long a vendor wanted to operate. For one day the fee will remain at $20, but a two- to three-day inspection will cost $30, and four days or more will cost $50. The board decided to make a new category for vendors wanting to participate in the farmers market with a permit cost $20 for the season.


    Todd Driscoll, right, shows the Selectmen plans for alterations being made at the former North Adams Country Club. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino) 
 
GOLF COURSE WORK COULD STOP  
 
Work on the former North Adams Country Club could be shut down for the season because of incomplete permitting. IBerkshires.com reports that Todd Driscoll, partner with golf course owner James Basiliere, met with the Board of Selectmen yesterday afternoon to show them charts of the current alterations to the course. However, because of incomplete permitting and infractions of the town's bylaws Planning Board Chairman David Sherman said he thinks the renovations should stop.
 
ALLEGED CHILD MOLESTER HELD WITHOUT BAIL
 
A man suspected of serially molesting young boys in the Berkshires and Connecticut for decades is being held without bail after a judge deemed that he poses a danger to the community. 74 year old Arturo Bravo, who primarily resides in New Britain, Connecticut and owns a cabin on Arrowhead Lane in Becket, faces charges for allegedly molesting a 12-year-old boy in Becket twice in recent weeks. Berkshire Assistant DA Michael D'Angelo said during yesterday’s dangerousness hearing that the allegations are just the latest in a pattern of abuse spanning at least three decades. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for January 22nd.


    Cafua Management is withdrawing plans to demolish St. Mary's in Pittsfield for a Dunkin' Donuts drive-through. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)
 
DUNKIN' DONUTS WITHDRAWS PITTSFIELD CHURCH DEMOLITION PLAN
 
Bowing to Pittsfield community pressure, Cafua Management says it will withdraw plans to demolish St. Mary the Morning Star Church. The Northeast’s largest Dunkin' Donuts franchisee said yesterday it was preparing a revised plan for its proposed drive-through on Tyler Street and that it was willing to donate the church building to the city. Cafua's proposal to buy the St. Mary's campus from the Springfield Diocese earlier this month and raze the church caused a significant uproar within the community, prompting a petition, a Save St. Mary's" Facebook page, and also calls to boycott Cafua's four other Dunkin' Donut establishments.
 
V’S DOGHOUSE DAMGE IN EXCESS OF $700KP
 
An early morning fire that gutted a V's Dog House restaurant on Sunday caused damage estimated to exceed $700,000. That was the figure that officials came up with after calculating the eatery’s inventory and content, according to Lanesborough Fire Chief Charlie Durfee. The eatery burned to the ground early Sunday morning. Firefighters from nine communities responded to the blaze. Durfee said the fire is still under investigation. Arson has already been ruled out. A representative from the State Fire Marshal's office and an insurance representative are scheduled to visit the site today.
 
JUDGE DENIES BID TO LOWER $50K BAIL FOR SPRINGFIELD MAN  
 
A judge has declined to lower the bail of one of three Springfield men arrested on Thursday in a Pittsfield drug bust. Bail for James Dominguez had been set at $50,000 following his arraignment in Central Berkshire District Court last week.
 
 LEE MAN ARRESTED AFTER HIGH SPEED CHASE  
 
A high- speed chase through the quiet residential streets of Lenox early Sunday morning ended in the arrest of a Lee motorist on multiple misdemeanor charges. 20 year old Jerome Burgess, of Mill Street in Lee, was spotted heading east on Walker Street driving a dark- colored SUV shortly before 5:30am. According to Lenox Police, Burgess began pulling away at a speed that may have reached 80 mph heading into Lenox Dale in a 40 mph zone. Burgess was apprehended after a foot chase. A passenger in Burgess’s vehicle, 19 year old Brian Driscoll, of North Adams, then turned around and started to take off in the vehicle at high speed, but was stopped and handcuffed after one of the officers drew his weapon. Burgess was charged with speeding, driving with a license revoked for OUI, possession of liquor by a person under 21, failing to stop for police and driving the car without authority. He was held on bail pending arraignment in Southern Berkshire District Court. Driscoll was released into his own custody pending an October 9th court date.

CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR MEET IN FIRST TV DEBATE
 
BOSTON (AP) — The five candidates seeking to become Massachusetts' next governor squared off in their first televised debate in western Massachusetts with Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker working to draw sharper distinctions between their candidacies.
One area where the two split was on pre-kindergarten education.
Coakley said she would spend $150 million to eliminate a waiting list of 17,000 children seeking state vouchers for pre-kindergarten programs.
Baker said he would support a targeted investment in early childhood education, but said it's equally important to have good schools so children don't lose any early advantage as they advance to higher grades.
Monday's hour-long debate at CityStage in Springfield also included independent candidates Evan Falchuk, Jeff McCormick and Scott Lively.
Recent polls have suggested a tight race between Baker and Coakley with the remaining candidates far behind.
 
EXPANDED BOTTLE LAW BACKERS CRITICIZE ADS BY FOES
 
BOSTON (AP) — Supporters of a ballot question that would expand Massachusetts bottle deposit law say opponents are trying to mislead voters.
The Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill, which includes groups like the Massachusetts Sierra Club and MASSPIRG, are asking television stations to pull down an ad by the group No On Question 2: Stop Forced Deposits, funded largely by supermarket chains.
Supporters say the ad fails to note that if the question passes, unclaimed nickel deposits will no longer go into the state's general fund, but instead into a new environmental fund.
Also Monday, the No On Question 2 committee unveiled a new ad. The 30-second spot argues the expanded law isn't needed because the vast majority of Massachusetts residents have curbside recycling.
Supporters say fewer than half of Massachusetts communities have curbside recycling.
 
NEW HEARING DATE SET ON PARTNERS HEALTHCARE DEAL
 
BOSTON (AP) — A final decision on a revised agreement between Attorney General Martha Coakley and Partners HealthCare won't come down until after the election.
A Suffolk Superior Court judge on Monday set a hearing date of Nov. 10, in part to allow 21 days of public comment on the amended deal over the company's plans to acquire Hallmark Health Centers.
Judge Janet Sanders said she has "very substantial concerns" about the deal.
Under the deal, Partners has agreed to cap prices at Hallmark for 6 1/2 years if it acquires the company, which owns Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.
Partners also agreed to maintain current psychiatric and behavioral health services at its Hallmark and North Shore facilities.
 
Coakley, a Democrat running for governor, has been criticized Republican candidate Charlie Baker, who said the deal is too complex.
 
AUDIT: MOST SCHOOLS FOLLOW ANTI-OBESITY EFFORTS
 
BOSTON (AP) — A new audit has found that the vast majority of public schools in Massachusetts are complying with state regulations regarding school nutrition, physical education and measuring student body mass index.
Monday's report from state Auditor Suzanne Bump's office, however, found some schools failed to report the body mass information to the state Department of Public Health or adopt policies for administering the tests, which measure body fat based on height and weight.
The audit concluded that the health department is properly administering $22 million in federal funds intended to combat childhood obesity
The audit also recommends lawmakers consider requiring 30 minutes of physical activity per school day for elementary-school students and 45 minutes for middle- and high-school students.
In Massachusetts, nearly 11 percent of children under 18 are considered obese.


Monday, September 29, 2014 

    (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com )

EARLY MORNING FIRE BURNS DOWN V'S DOGHOUSE
 
V's Doghouse on Route 8 in Lanesborough burned to the ground early Sunday morning. Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said there were no injuries in the blaze that was extinguished by volunteer firefighters from more than a half dozen departments. The fire was reported around 4:30am. Neighboring towns mutually assisted in putting out the fire. IBerkshires.com reports that some of the fire hydrants at the Berkshire Mall were not functioning so nearly all of the tankers in central Berkshire were called in to shuttle water from one working hydrant, Berkshire Pond and a pond behind the restaurant. The state Fire Marshall's office was on scene to determine the cause of the fire, which is currently unknown. Arson has been ruled out.



 
    Tina Soo Hoo with Arrowstreet Architecture & Design takes the Board of Selectmen through the conditions and potential of the Adams Memorial Middle School. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino) 

ARCHITECT LAYS OUT CONDITION, IDEAS FOR ADAMS SCHOOL  
 
With the Memorial Middle School roof replacement complete, the town of Adams is looking at the next steps in renovating the building for new use. IBerkshires.com reports that Tina Soo Hoo with Arrowstreet Architecture & Design met with the Selectmen during a workshop meeting Wednesday night to discuss the condition of the building and what possible uses it has. She said the building is in good shape despite how long it has been left vacant. The school was returned to the town after Hoosac Valley High School was renovated to accept middle school students.
 
PAVING WORK TO START IN NORTH ADAMS  
 
After a summer of unexpected breaks and disruptions, the North Adams is finally set to begin two of the year's biggest road projects. Union Street, from the intersection at Public Eat and Drink to the Aubuchon Hardware Store, is set to be milled on October 14th and paving will start on 24th. The repaving on Franklin Street is set to begin in October, after the Department of Public Works replaced a drainage pipe leading to most of the road's issues earlier this summer. North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright says the work is expected to be complete just in time, before blacktop plants close across New England.  




    Residents met at the North Adams Public Library to discuss what they'd like to see in a skate park. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/Jack Guerino)
 
NORTH ADAMS BEGINS PLANNING FOR SKATE PARK
 
A long-discussed skate park is finally taking form.
More than a dozen community members of all ages met Thursday with a skate park designer from Spohn Ranch Skate Parks to brainstorm possible designs and how to integrate the city's culture into the park.
Professional skate boarder and skate park designer Charlie Wilkins presented the design process and possible ideas.
 
A Community Development Block Grant has allowed the city to pursue the skate park project that started five years ago when teenagers from a UNITY youth leadership program at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition established the idea.





    A crew from Maxymillian Technologies of Pittsfield is reworking the Five Corners intersection in South Williamstown. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Stephen Dravis)
   
ROADWORK PROJECTS POP UP IN WILLIAMSTOWN
 
A busy year of roadwork and construction continues to transform Williamstown,
Spring and summer saw the completion of the expansion and renovation project at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the end of Williams College's Stetson-Sawyer Library project, the erection of new grandstands and turf fields at Weston Field and the resurfacing of portions of Main Street (Route 2), North Street and Simonds Road (Route 7).
Meanwhile, the town continues to remove infrastructure at the soon-to-be-closed Spruces Mobile Home Park, and the Boston-based developer of the Cable Mills apartment project on Water Street — at last word — hopes to begin work on that long-awaited project before the end of the year.
 
1896 HOUSE SOLD
 
A Maryland couple has purchased the 1896 House and Country Lodgings on Cold Spring Road in Williamstown. HEA Enterprises LLC, run by Michael and Carrie Oring, purchased the two lodging establishments, known as the Pondside and Brookside motels, and the ’6 House Pub for a combined total of $2.3 million, according to documents on file at the Northern Berkshire Registry of Deeds in Adams. The couple paid $925,000 for the pub, at 866 Cold Spring Road, $775,000 for Brookside, and $ 650,000 for Pondside, according to the documents. Previous owners Denise Richer and Suzanne Morrelle had owned the property since 2005.
 
NO BAIL AFTER 4TH OUI
 
A North Adams man is being held without bail after being charged with fourth offense drunken driving and child endangerment. According to police, 30 year old Daniel Angove, of River Street, was allegedly driving drunk with his unrestrained 5-year-old son in the front seat of his SUV. Police were called to Whitney’s Package Store on American Legion Drive Thursday night for a report of a man staggering from his vehicle into the store. Angove was found behind the wheel of his Chevy Suburban with the engine running.
 
NORTHERN BERKSHIRE FALL FOLIAGE FESTIVAL KICKS OFF WITH LEAF HUNT
 
The 59th annual Fall Foliage Festival kicked off this weekend with the annual leaf hunt. Other events in the coming week will include children's events, a dog parade, a special re-dedication of the Mohawk Trail, and the 59th annual Fall Foliage Parade on Sunday, October 5th.
 
MOTORCYCLISTS’ ANNUAL FALL RUN BENEFITS SHRINERS HOSPITALS
 
The 33rd annual Fall Run began at Bowe Field yesterday morning and traversed 60 miles to the Mohawk Park in Charlemont to raise money for the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield. Somewhere between 1,500 to 2,000 riders took part. The Fall Run is a fundraiser for the Shriners Hospitals. There are a total of 22 of them in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
 
VEIOVIS SENTENCING TODAY
 
Caius Veiovis was convicted in Hampden Superior Court on Friday on multiple counts of murder and other charges in the slayings of three Pittsfield men in late August 2011. The 34 year old Veiovis, of Pittsfield, was found guilty of three charges each of first-degree murder with deliberate premeditation, kidnapping and witness intimidation. Veiovis is the third of three defendants charged. Adam Lee Hall and David Chalue each have already received consecutive life sentences. Veiovis is scheduled to be sentenced at 2 o’ clock this afternoon. Veiovis is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.
 
DEMOCRATIC LEADERS RALLY SUPPORT FOR COAKLEY, PARTY SLATE  
 
Local elected officials rallied supporters for the statewide Democratic candidates Saturday morning in the new Berkshire campaign headquarters. IBerkshires.com reports that the Democratic Coordinated Campaign held a grand opening of a Berkshire office on South Street in Pittsfield with an array of elected officials on hand. The group threw their support behind Martha Coakley and Steve Kerrigan for the executive offices and a Democratic ticket including Deborah Goldberg for treasurer; Maura Healey for attorney general; William Galvin for the secretary of the commonwealth; Suzanne Bump for auditor; and Edward Markey for U.S. Senate.  
 
BREAK-INS NET 99 DAYS IN JAIL  
 
A Dalton man has been sentenced to serve 99 days of a two-year jail sentence for a series of break-ins last year in four Berkshire County towns. 25 year old Jake Sawtelle, admitted that he broke into homes in Becket, Hinsdale, Lanesborough and Richmond between January 19th and March 6th, of last year. Sawtelle pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior last week to six counts of breaking and entering in the daytime with the intent to commit a felony. Three counts of larceny of a firearm were dismissed at the commonwealth’s request.
 
APPLE SQUEEZE HELD OVER WEEKEND IN LENOX  
 
The 15th annual Apple Squeeze was held in Lenox on Saturday. Hundreds of attendees packed downtown Lenox’s sidewalks to sample the flavors of the fall season and purchase handmade items from a variety of local and regional vendors. Numerous Berkshire County food vendors, local farms, craftsmen, artists and schools took part. Live musicians offered a variety of local music.
 
YOUTH HOCKEY PROGRAM RECEIVES DONATION
 
 Because of the Berkshire Bruins youth hockey program's efforts to promote and increase participation in the sport, USA Hockey has donated approximately $2,000 worth of equipment to the organization and its Mites age group.  The Berkshire Eagle reports that Mites coordinator Shaun Garvey said the Bruins were one of 500 hockey programs nationally that qualified for the donation.
 
MAN CLAIMS WINNING IN NICK OF TIME  
 
A Massachusetts man has claimed a $390,000 state lottery prize just hours before it would have disappeared forever. Dennis Cote of Ware showed up at lottery headquarters in Braintree on Thursday to claim his "Lucky for Life" prize of $25,000-per-year for life. He selected the one-time payout of $390,000. The ticket was purchased September 26th of last year. Under lottery rules, winners have one year to claim their prize.
 
 
COAKLEY/PARTNERS HEALTHCARE DEAL HEADS TO JUDGE
 
BOSTON (AP) — A revised agreement by Attorney General Martha Coakley and Partners HealthCare over the company's plans to acquire Hallmark Health Centers is heading before a judge.
Under a revised deal announced last week, Partners has agreed to cap prices at Hallmark for 6½ years if it acquires the company, which owns Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.
Coakley said Partners also agreed to maintain current psychiatric and behavioral health services at its Hallmark and North Shore facilities.
Coakley says the amended consent judgment is expected to be considered by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders. The next court date is Monday.
Coakley, who is running for governor, has been criticized over the deal by political rivals, including Republican candidate Charlie Baker, who said the deal is too complex.
Friday, September 26, 2014

    The nursing program at
McCann Technical School will move back to the campus of BMC North for the school year beginning in January. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)    
 
ADRIFT MCCANN LPN PROGRAM FINDS NEW HOME WITH BMC  
 
Berkshire Medical Center has stepped in to save the licensed practical nursing program at McCann Technical School. IBerkshires.com reports, the post-high school program will move back into space it was forced to precipitously exit when North Adams Regional Hospital went bankrupt in March. The program was facing termination without dedicated space for classrooms, a lab facility with beds, and surgical suites. With Berkshire Medical Center acquiring the assets of Northern Berkshire Healthcare, including the hospital and Doctors Building, earlier this month, the school was able to make an agreement to take over its old rooms in what is now the Northern Berkshire Campus of Berkshire Medical Center.
 
FIRED NORTH ADAMS POLICE OFFICER WINS RIGHT TO APPEAL TERMINATION  
 
Former North Adams Police Sgt. James Foley, who was fired in January, has won the right to reopen the appeal of his termination before the state Civil Service Commission. The Berkshire Eagle is reporting that after a tumultuous legal process, Foley's appeal will be heard in November during a 3-day hearing before the Civil Service Commission. Police and city officials have declined to elaborate publicly on the reasons for Foley's termination, but have said it was the result of a months-long investigation. He had been on paid leave for about eight months before being fired. Though the appeal had effectively been dismissed by the Civil Service Commission, it voted on Sept. 18 to approve a motion submitted by Foley to move to a hearing.




    One of two colorful, locally made bike racks installed Wednesday. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)/Staff
 
 NEW BIKE RACKS INSTALLED IN DOWNTOWN NORTH ADAMS
 
 The odd-looking piping on Main Street North Adams isn't modern art — though you'd be excused in this art-filled downtown for thinking so. IBerkshires.com reports that instead, they are very modern bicycle racks meant to encourage two-wheeled, pedal-pushing transportation. Volunteers installed the racks on Wednesday night in front of Luma's Muffin & Mug and at the pocket park on Eagle Street. Mass in Motion received a donation to increase bike-ability in North Adams; the first step was the bike racks so those biking would have a place to stash their two-wheelers. Mass in Motion worked with McCann Technical School and the city on creating and installing the racks.
 
ANNUAL TREATMENT CAUSES CHLORINE ODOR IN CHESHIRE WATER
 
Cheshire town water users can rest assured -- the water’s fine after recent chlorine treatments, any smell of chlorine was caused by routine maintenance and should soon dissipate. Water department employees applied the agent on Tuesday night and the water will be sampled to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment. The water has remained safe for consumption throughout this process.




    The Selectmen reviewed a possible culvert replacement and an audit. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino) 
 
CHESHIRE FACING EXPENSIVE CULVERT REPLACEMENT
 
The replacement of a culvert on East Harbor Road in Cheshire could cost more than $100,000. Highway Superintendent Peter LeFebvre reported to the Selectmen during Tuesday night's meeting that because the deteriorating culvert is in contact with a resource area, it needs to be replaced with an open-bottom culvert that will cost at least $100,000.
LeFebvre said it will be costly because it will require hydraulic engineering and the Army Corps of Engineers has to be involved.
Selectwomen Carol Francesconi described the amount as "astronomical" and said the $100,000 could go toward other needed projects in Cheshire.
The Selectmen also met with auditor Thomas Scanlon of Scanlon & Associates during the meeting. Scanlon said Cheshire's finance management is "solid."
  
HEARING POSTPONED FOR ACCUSED BECKET CHILD MOLESTER F INTEREST
 
A dangerousness hearing for a Becket man charged with molesting a 12-year-old boy has been postponed until Monday. 74 year old Arturo Bravo, of Arrow head Lane in the Sherwood Forest section of Becket, is being held at Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on two counts indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and one count of witness intimidation. A Southern Berkshire District Court Judge has agreed to postpone yesterdays scheduled dangerousness hearing so that Bravo’s son, a Connecticut resident, could attend. Bravo pleaded not guilty to the charges in Central Berkshire District Court last Friday. Monday’s hearing will determine whether he can be granted bail.
 
 RECORD CROWD EXPECTD FOR LENOX APPLE SQUEEZE  
 
The Lenox Apple Squeeze street festival, now in its 35th year, is set to take place this weekend. The annual event will run tomorrow and Sunday from 10am to 5pm both days. It’s a showcase for area merchants, food purveyors, artists and crafters to display and sell their wares, along with nonprofits that set up booths to encourage memberships and donations.  Executive Director Ralph Petillo says the annual event has attracted an average of 7,000 to 9,000 visitors in recent years. Record crowds are expected this weekend with the weather looking to be just right. The forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70’s all weekend. Church Street, from Housatonic to Walker Street, will be closed to through traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday.




    The Selectmen say the School Committee chose to eliminate the late buses, not them. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever) 
 
LANESBOROUGH BLAMES SCHOOL COMMITTEE FOR LATE BUS LOSS  
 
The Lanesborough Selectmen have taken exception to Mount Greylock Regional School officials pinning the blame on them for the elimination of late buses. IBerkshires.com reports that in a recent School Committee meeting, parents voiced concerns about the elimination of the two buses that ran — one heading to each town — at 4:25 p.m. The buses were in the original school budget, which called for Lanesborough to see a 4 percent increase in assessments. Lanesborough officials balked at the $102,000 budget increase and asked for school officials to trim it, which they did partly through the elimination of the buses. Losing the late buses reduced the budget by $30,000 as the committee scaled the budget back to meet the 2 ½ percent increase that the town ultimately approved.




    The Rest of the River working group met on Wednesday and discussed their stance on the EPA proposed cleanup. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)
 
EPA EXTENDS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON REST OF RIVER CLEAN-UP  
 
The EPA is extending the comment period on its Draft Modification to General Electric’s re-issued permit for the agency’s proposed clean-up plan for the Housatonic River. The extension is in response to several requests that were received. The public comment period will now run through October 27th.  
 
PITTSFIELD WILL ASK DUNKIN DEVELOPER TO FUND REVIEW COSTS  
 
The city of Pittsfield, will ask the Cafua Management Co. to pay the costs of attorney and consultant fees deemed necessary for third-party review of a special permit application to construct a new drive-through restaurant at the site of the former St. Mary's. IBerkshires.com is reporting that the City Council on Tuesday authorized the Office of Community Development to ask the applicant to place funds in escrow to assume the cost of independent traffic analysis and additional legal services that could result from the proposal, which has proved controversial in recent weeks through permit to the company at another site last year, a decision still under appeal by the company in Massachusetts Land Court. So far, at least three councilors have publicly stated their opposition to the proposal, which would demolish the former St. Mary the Morning Star church and rectory buildings to be replaced with a Dunkin' Donuts drive-through establishment.
 
 HEARING POSTPONED FOR ACCUSED BECKET CHILD MOLESTER  
 
A dangerousness hearing for a Becket man charged with molesting a 12-year-old boy has been postponed until Monday. 74 year old Arturo Bravo, of Arrow head Lane in the Sherwood Forest section of Becket, is being held at Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on two counts indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and one count of witness intimidation. A Southern Berkshire District Court Judge has agreed to postpone yesterdays scheduled dangerousness hearing so that Bravo’s son, a Connecticut resident, could attend. Bravo pleaded not guilty to the charges in Central Berkshire District Court last Friday. Monday’s hearing will determine whether he can be granted bail.
 
FREE COMMUNITY SHRED DAY  
 
Salisbury Bank is helping in the fight against identity theft and fraud by securely shredding paper copies of bills, statements and other business or personal documents. Betsy Summerville, Executive Vice President and Chief Retail Officer at Salisbury Bank says that identity theft continues to be a concern for individuals and businesses, and that shredding outdated documents is one way you can prevent thieves from gaining access to your personal and confidential information. All shredded paper will be recycled. Area residents may bring up to four boxes of paper for shredding by Record Storage Solutions personnel to the Great Barrington Branch from 9 a.m. to Noon tomorrow. Binders will not be accepted.
 
EPA EXTENDS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON REST OF RIVER CLEAN-UP
 
The EPA is extending the comment period on its Draft Modification to General Electric’s re-issued permit for the agency’s proposed clean-up plan for the Housatonic River. The extension is in response to several requests that were received. The public comment period will now run through October 27th.
 
DEMOCRAT COAKLEY UNVEILS HIGHER EDUCATION PROPOSAL
 
BOSTON (AP) — Democratic candidate for governor Martha Coakley says she wants to make higher education more affordable.
Coakley unveiled a plan Thursday aimed at students who want to attend community college and can't cover the expense with traditional financial aid. Under Coakley's plan, the state would cover the balance of the tuition.
Coakley said Massachusetts should also join 34 other states and establish a $5,000 tax deduction for families who make contributions to Massachusetts' 529 college saving plan.
The financial aid portion of Coakley's plan would cost the state an estimated $225 million. The tax deduction would cost up to $20 million.
Coakley said the full-need financial aid policy recognizes the importance of expanding access to post-secondary education, both to increase opportunity for young people and to put Massachusetts on the path to long-term economic prosperity.
 
WOMEN FIND PYTHON IN THE TRUNK OF THEIR RENTAL CAR
 
KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — Police say two women opened the trunk of their rental car to retrieve their luggage and were greeted by a snake.
The women drove the rental car from Boston to Kennebunk, Maine, where they discovered the ball python Wednesday night and called police.
The snake was turned over to the Maine Warden Service on Thursday and was being transported to the Center for Wildlife in York.
Ball pythons generally grow to 3 to 5 feet long and aren't considered dangerous. The ball python is a common pet snake, but authorities say it's unclear why the snake was in the vehicle.
Kennebunk Deputy Police Chief Dan Jones tells the Portland Press Herald that the women wanted a new rental car even after the snake was removed.



Thursday, September 25, 2014
 
       Carl McKinney said poor administration and procedures left the hospital vulnerable. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)

BMC MULLING STRATEGIES FOR NORTH ADAMS HOSPITAL
 
Berkshire Medical Center may consider seeking Critical Access designation for the former North Adams Regional Hospital with the help of the state Department of Public Health. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the federal designation, which allows for higher reimbursement rates from Medicare, is pointed out as a priority for the return of inpatient services in the just-released assessment report on the community's health-care needs. The primary question is whether it's possible and sustainable to have limited inpatient services.
 
PLANNED MARSHAL STREET MAKEOVER  
 
The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the city of North Adams are pursuing a $6.8 million MassWorks grant that would dramatically change Marshall and Center streets. IBerkshires.com reports that the grant, matched with another $6 million in private funds, would create a public space in place of the former Brien Center on Marshall Street and develop greater access between the museum and the downtown. Mass MoCA Executive Director Joseph Thompson and City Planner Mackenzie Greer showed conceptual designs of what the opened-up corner of Marshall and West Main might look like using a slide show presentation on Tuesday night.
 

    Clarksburg voters approved combining posts for building inspector but rejected a farm animal bylaw. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)

CLARKSBURG VOTERS OK INSPECTOR, REJECT BYLAW  
 
Clarksburg voters rejected a bylaw yesterday that would have restricted the housing of large farm animals. IBerkshires.com reports that out of the 15-article special town meeting warrant the only thing that passed were a group of questions creating a paid building inspector post. Seven questions related to spending had to be tabled or withdrawn when town officials learned yesterday that they could not access the funds.
 
NORTH ADAMS SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT ON SKATE PARK PROJECT
 
Skaters and BMX-bikers could someday have a spot in North Adams to call their own. Federal grant funding will help the city move forward with a plan to design a skate park. The cost of the project, nearly $29,000, is funded by Community Development Block Grant funds. A kickoff meeting to gather input on the project will be held from 5 to 7:30 tonight in the North Adams Public Library at 74 Church Street, in the third floor community room.
 
NORTH ADAMS LIBRARY BOOK SALE OFFERS 8,000 CHOICES  
 
The Friends of the North Adams Public Library will host its annual book sale and silent auction at St. Elizabeth of Hungary's Parish Center tomorrow and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. There will also be a bake sale. The Berkshire eagle reports that with 8,000 books neatly displayed on tables according to category, the parish center will be a book readers' and library lovers' delight. Prices for paperbacks will range from 25 cents to $1 and hardcovers will be priced from $1 to $3. There will also be CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes for sale.

    (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever) 
 
BERKSHIRE WORKS CAREER FAIR SEES RECORD HIGH EMPLOYERS  
 
In what could signal a growing economy, Berkshire Works saw a peak in the number of employers looking to hire at their annual career fair at the Crown Plaza in Pittsfield. IBerkshires.com reports that the job seekers ran the gambit from unemployed workers looking for a job to those looking for something better to those just seeking a second job for supplemental income.  Yesterday’s job fair set a record for the annual fair for the number of employers. 300 job seekers attended yesterday.

 
NO VERDICT IN MURDER TRIAL, DELIBERATIONS RESUME
 
The jury in the triple murder case of Caius Veiovis has spent 24 1/2 hours deliberating in the case over four days, and to this point there is still no verdict. It was another quiet day in the court room. The Hampden Superior Court jury deliberated without asking Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder any questions. No notes have come out of the jury room in two days. The jury resumes deliberating today. Veiovis is accused in the killing of three Pittsfield men in August 2011. Adam Lee Hall and David Chalue have already been convicted.    
 
PITTSFIELD COUNCIL IRKED THAT MAYOR DIDN'T SEEK APPROVAL ON
OFFICE MOVE
 
Pittsfield City councilors raised few pointed questions on Tuesday night regarding Mayor Dan Bianchi's plan to shift inspection services personnel from City Hall to leased space at 100 North Street, but they were critical of the way the proposal was rolled out as a nearly done deal. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Bianchi briefed councilors for about an hour Tuesday on the lease he intends to sign this week for 9,000 square feet of office space on the second floor of the First Agricultural Bank building at the corner of Fenn and North streets. He said the first city employees will likely be in place there by November 1st and other offices will move in by January 2015.
 
ENVIROMENTAL GROUPS CALLS FOR MORE AGGRESSIVE RIVER CLEAN-UP
 
Leading local environmental groups Tuesday night called for a more aggressive cleanup plan for the Housatonic River from southern Pittsfield into Connecticut. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the Housatonic River Initiative, Housatonic Valley Association and the Citizens for PCB Removal were among the organizations who sharply criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its proposed Rest of River remediation. The groups all believe that the current clean-up plan falls far short of the need to forever protect wildlife and humans from a suspected carcinogenic chemical used for decades by General Electric.
                    
BECKET MAN ACCUSED OF MOLESTING, INTIMIDATING 12-YEAR-OLD BOY  
 
A Becket man is being held without bail on charges that he molested a 12-year-old boy and tried to intimidate him to keep him quiet. According to a state police report, 74 year old Arturo Bravo, of Arrowhead Lane in the Sherwood Forest section of town, allegedly fondled the boy twice within the past couple of weeks. The Berkshire Eagle reports that after the victim's mother reported the alleged abuse to Becket Police on September 18th, the Massachusetts State Police Berkshire Detective Unit conducted an investigation and concluded that abuse had occurred based on an interview with the boy. Bravo verified much of the victim's story, according to the report, but he denied a specific allegation of abuse. He pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Friday to two counts indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and one count of witness intimidation. He is scheduled to appear in Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington today for a dangerousness hearing to determine whether he can be granted bail.
 
VERIZON CELL PHONE OUTAGE UPDATE  
 
Telephone service for more than 1,500 customers in Great Barrington and Alford was interrupted for at least 15 hours beginning Tuesday night when a cable line was partially damaged at the corner of Main and Castle streets. Verizon spokesman Phillip Santoro said that a contractor working for Berkshire Gas hit a main Verizon cable on Main Street on Tuesday afternoon. The damage impacted landline customers in Alford and Great Barrington. Emergency 911-service and Fairview Hospital were not affected. According to Santoro, most customers had service restored by 4pm yesterday. Verizon expected to have everyone back online by last night.
 
COAKLEY SET TO CAMPAIGN WITH MICHELLE OBAMA
 
BOSTON (AP) — Democratic candidate for governor Martha Coakley says she's looking forward to campaigning with Michelle Obama.
Coakley said Wednesday that she was delighted the first lady and fellow Democrat had offered to come to Massachusetts to give her campaign a boost.
Coakley said she's focused on a lot of the issues that Michelle Obama cares about, including economic justice for women and preventative health care.
Coakley described Michelle Obama as "charming" and said she can't wait to see her.
Coakley had supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary for president, but ultimately ended up backing Barack Obama after he won the party's nomination. Coakley said it's too early to talk about a possible Clinton run in 2016.
Coakley, who just won a three-way Democratic primary for governor, said she believes in an active primary campaign.
  
GOP'S BAKER: I'M SORRY FOR "SWEETHEART" REMARK
 
BOSTON (AP) — Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker has apologized for calling a female political reporter "sweetheart."
WFXT-TV political reporter Sharman Sacchetti was asking Baker a series of questions when Baker said: "OK, this is going to be the last one, sweetheart."
Baker said he called Sacchetti Tuesday night and apologized and said she accepted the apology. Baker said the comment was a mistake and doesn't represent his work attitudes.
Baker said when he was CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, seven of the 12 board members were women.
Democrats quickly pounced on the comment, arguing it was part of larger pattern of Baker being dismissive of the concerns of women.
Appealing to women voters is seen as critical to Baker if he hopes to defeat Democratic candidate for governor Martha Coakley.
The election is Nov. 4.
 
PATRICK BACKS BALLOT MEASURE ON BOTTLE DEPOSITS
 
BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick is urging passage of a ballot question that would expand the state's beverage deposit law to cover bottled water and other non-carbonated drinks.
Patrick joined backers of the measure — Question 2 on the November ballot — at an event Wednesday on Boston Common.
The governor's support is not surprising given his unsuccessful attempts to include an expansion of the current law in the state's annual budget.
Unredeemed nickel deposits on beverage containers currently go to the state treasury. If the question passes, unclaimed deposits will go to an environmental fund.
Environmental groups say passage of the ballot question will help reduce litter in Massachusetts. But critics say it will hurt small businesses that will be forced to handle more bottle returns, and that curbside recycling programs are a better option.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    Residents advocated for the return of a full-service hospital despite a report that says it can only function with a special federal designation. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)
 
NORTH COUNTY RESIDENTS QUESTION HEALTH-CARE NEEDS REPORT  
 
A report detailing in hard numbers the health care needs of the northern Berkshire community — one that does not include a full-service hospital in North Adams — has been a hard pill for residents to swallow. IBerkshires.com reports that more than 150 people attended a review last night of a community health needs study commissioned by the state, a report expected to shape the future delivery of health care in North County. Local residents are concerned about the report's pessimistic outlook on the hospital's revival. The report by Stroudwater Associates is recommending a focus on bulking up primary-care delivery and investing in wellness initiatives, and not the re-opening of a full service hospital.



    Sue Honeycutt, a certified public accountant, reviews the 2015 budget with the Housing Authority Board. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino) 
 
HOUSING AUTHORITY ACCEPTS FISCAL BUDGET  
 
The North Adams Housing Authority Board accepted a $3.5 million 2015 fiscal budget yesterday. The authority’s accountant, Sue Honeycutt of Fenton & Ewald Associates of Needham, presented the budget during the board's monthly meeting. According to an article posted on iBerkshires.com, Honeycutt said the federal subsidy calculation of $871,000 is a prediction based on the 2014 fiscal year because the calculation and amount from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has yet to be received.
 

    Center Street would end in a pocket park to encourage pedestrian traffic. Motorists would exit onto Holden Street. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)       

NORTH ADAMS, MASS MOCA PLAN MARSHALL STREET MAKEOVER
 
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the city are pursuing a $6.8 million MassWorks grant that would dramatically change Marshall and Center streets.
The grant, matched with another $6 million in private funds, would create a public space in place of the former Brien Center on Marshall Street and develop greater access between the museum and the downtown.
In a slide presentation to the City Council on Tuesday night, MoCA Director Joseph Thompson  and City Planner Mackenzie Greer showed conceptual designs of what the opened-up corner of Marshall and West Main might look like.
Councilors greeted the news with enthusiasm.
 
MENTAL STATUS OF MAN SHOT BY POLICE IS IN QUESTION
 
The attorney for a man facing charges after he allegedly attempted "suicide by cop" in April says at least one doctor has deemed him competent to stand trial, but his mental status at the time of the incident may offer a defense. The Berkshire Eagle reports that on April 22nd, 42 year old Gregory Filo, went to the Bennington Police Station and requested that an officer kill him. According to Bennington Police, Filo ended up at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center ER and was referred to the United Counseling Service. Filo and a friend went back to the police station that night, where Filo brandished a knife and faked an attack on his friend before advancing toward police. Police shot Filo in the lower abdomen. Filo, according to the friend, suffers from manic depression and likely wanted police to kill him.   
 
CLARKSBURG TO DECIDE SPENDING, BYLAW AT SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
 
Clarksburg officials are hoping to clean up a host of bookkeeping issues at a special town meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Clarksburg Elementary School. The 15-article warrant asks for transfers and spending authorizations to pay off bills dating to fiscal 2011, to transfer funds from the Sewer Enterprise Fund for maintenance and expenses, to combine three town positions and to institute a minimum lot size for keeping farm animals.



 
Friday, September 19, 2014
 
    (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)
 
STOUDWATER REPORT RECOMENDS LIMITED SERVICES  
 
The state-commissioned assessment of Northern Berkshire County's health care needs is probably not exactly what local residents had in mind. Stroudwater Associates does not recommend the restoration of a full-service hospital in North Adams, but rather a measured approach for services. Northern Berkshire residents have been pushing for full restoration of services since North Adams Regional Hospital closed its doors in March. The report, released yesterday, further recommends an integrated system of services with BMC to include limited inpatient services provided in North County – and only if the BMC-North site is designated as a Critical Access Hospital. A 102-page report also recommends keeping emergency care in North Adams. North Adams Regional Hospital had served some 37,000 northern Berkshire residents.



    The commission is considering changing the airport's name back to 'North Adams.' (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino) 
 
NORTH ADAMS AIRPORT COMMISSION MULLS NAME CHANGE
 
Harriman and West Airport in North Adams may undergo a name change to accommodate better marketing. IBerkshires.com reports, the Airport Commission is considering switching to the more obvious North Adams Municipal Airport. Commissioner Trevor Gilman said now would be the optimal time to change the name because many projects and improvements to the airport are coming together. According to Gilman said when he worked at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, Williams College students often touched down there instead of North Adams. He attributed that to the lack of clarity in the Harriman and West name. The commission decided to table the item for its next meeting to have time to better research the history.
 
COPPER THEFT NETS NORTH ADAMS MAN 9 MONTHS IN JAIL
 
A North Adams man was sentenced to nine months in jail for the July theft of copper from an abandoned Bracewell Avenue home.  24 year old Jordan McDonald, of Mohawk Forest Boulevard, was one of four suspects who police say were filmed in the act by a neighbor. According to the police report, a Bracewell Avenue resident reported the crime to police on July 29th and provided video surveillance that showed the suspects and the vehicle they drove away in.




    (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)
 
FOHLIN PRAISES MEMA'S HELP IN SPRUCES AFTERMATH  
 
Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin could only do so much in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene three years ago that destroyed the Spruces Mobile Home Park. IBerkshires.com reports that now in the final phase of picking up the pieces, Fohlin is thanking the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency for helping in each step. Fohlin says from the day the storm hit on August 28th, 2011, until now, MEMA has seen the project through. The park had gone from 225 homes down to 65 because of flooding. Occupants scattered and multiple groups worked to provide housing.
 
 HUGE CROWD EXPECTED AT FRESH GRASS FESTIVAL
 
Thousands of bluegrass music lovers are expected to attend the Fresh-Grass music festival today and over the weekend. The three-day concert event kicks off this afternoon. Mass MoCA officials expect up to 5,000 concert-goers Saturday and Sunday, a crowd comparable to the Beck concert earlier this summer. Mass MoCA spokeswoman Jodi Joseph said ample parking is available in lots at the museum, across from St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, behind the Big Y, and at Northern Berkshire District Court. A satellite parking lot will be open near Noel Field, with a shuttle running to and from Mass MoCA.
 
LEE MAN FOUND HURT DIES
 
Police in Pittsfield are investigating the circumstances of the death of an elderly man from Lee who was found injured yesterday at the bottom of a stairway in the McKay Street parking garage. According to police the man, who was in his 80s, was transported to Berkshire Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. He was found in the southeast corner stairway at the parking garage at about 11am. The man's name has not yet been released, pending notification of relatives. The police would like to speak to anyone who may have seen the man walking or driving prior to 11am and they are looking for a vehicle believed to be associated with the man as well. He is described as in his 80s, white, with thick gray hair and wearing a dark jacket.


 

     The Green Commission is weighing whether to support a ban on plastic shopping bags and polystyrene containers. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/Joe Durwin)  

PITTSFIELD GREEN COMMISSION CLOSE TO DECISION ON STYROFOAM, BAG BAN 

After several months of consideration, the Pittsfield Green Commission may be close to taking a vote on whether or not to support the concept of two separate ordinance changes which would ban plastic shopping bags and polystyrene containers within the city. Since April 2013, local government has been taking input on both possibilities from a variety of local residents as well as national industry advocates on the pros and cons of joining some other Massachusetts communities in prohibiting these items for environmental reasons.  
 
BIANCHI NAMES NEW BERKSHIRE WORKS DIRECTOR
 
Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi named Ken Demers the new executive director of Berkshire-Works. Demers will replace William Monterosso, who left the job just a few months in earlier this year. Prior to that, John Barrett III headed the organization. Demers is the current vice president of employment and training for the Corporation for Public Management in Springfield. He is also the vice president of shelter and housing for the New England Farm Workers' Council. Demers started his career in the Berkshire Learning Center. He takes over the position on September 22nd.



    AutoZone hopes to tear down the former Pizza Hut and build a new store. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever) 
 
AUTOZONE EYES FORMER ALLENDALE PIZZA HUT LOCATION (P)
 
The Pizza Hut next to Kelly's Diner in is set to be demolished and replaced with an AutoZone. IBerkshires reports that the automotive parts retailer received an exemption from parking requirements from the Community Development Board and is now looking to raze the vacant building in Allendale and replace it with a new store.
 
 
POSSIBLE ABDUCTION ATTEMPT IN SOUTH BERKSHIRE  
 
Parents in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District are being advised to be alert after a possible abduction attempt yesterday afternoon. According to authorities, the incident happened about 3:30 on Norfolk Road in New Marlborough as an 11-year-old boy walked home from school. The boy told investigators he was approached by a man in a gray, four-door car with blue and white New York license plates. The driver of the van was described as a white man, approximately 30 to 40 years old with a thin build and medium-length black hair that looked a little shaggy. Anyone who might have seen a vehicle matching this description is asked to call the state police barracks in Lee at 413-243-0600. Southern Berkshire Regional School District officials are reminding parent to remind their children about being cautious about approaching vehicles or speaking with strangers.




    Shanna Cleveland responded to Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's questions about the FERC process. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)

ATTORNEY GUIDES TOWNS THROUGH PIPELINE PROCESS
 
 Conservation Law Foundation attorney Shanna Cleveland says it is critically important for affected towns to become involved in the permitting process for the Tennessee Pipeline expansion and that they pay attention to every detail. IBerkshires.com reports, Cleveland was a guest of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's special meeting in which Cleveland and Kinder Morgan, the pipeline's proponents, gave presentations about the process. Earlier this week, Kinder Morgan entered the pre-filing stage with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to bring a 36-inch transmission line through the county on its way north to Maine.
 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

    Lanesborough parent Tammy Seaman, right, looks on as Williamstown parent Margaret McComish asks the School Committee to revisit the late bus issue. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Stephen Dravis)
 
MOUNT GREYLOCK PARENTS AIR CONCERNS ABOUT LOSS OF LATE BUSES  
 
The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee on Tuesday heard from parents concerned about the district's decision to cut down on the number of late buses for students participating in after-school activities. IBerkshires.com reports that more than a dozen residents attended the committee's regular monthly meeting, and five who identified themselves as parents of Mount Greylock students rose to ask the panel to reconsider the decision. Committee members sympathized with parents, explaining that the late bus was a difficult but necessary cost cut in the face of opposition to the district's proposed budget last spring and that efforts are under way to find alternative funding to return some of the service.



    Advanced Placement students stand for applause at Drury High School. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)  

DRURY HIGH SEES AP SCORES, ENROLLMENT TAKE OFF
 
The number of students taking Advanced Placement classes at Drury High School has doubled in the past three years, and IBerkshires.com reports that even better, students scoring a 3.0 or better has nearly tripled. John Smolenski, a senior field director for Mass Insight Education, says that adds up to success. The Wednesday morning session was both a recognition of the hard work of the current students, and a primer for the incoming freshman class.   
 



    (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)

WILLIAMSTOWN'S FIRST CHURCH MARKS BUILDING'S CENTENNIAL  
 
First Congregational Church in Williamstown, one year short of its 250th anniversary, is getting a head start on the celebration by marking the centennial of its white clapboard church. Church Moderator Moira Jones said the 100th anniversary will be "low key," although the congregation marched in the July 4 parade to let the community know about the anniversary. A talk at the church has been scheduled and an exhibit at the Williamstown Historical Museum will be free and open to the public.
 
PROSECUTION RESTS IN MURDER TRIAL  
 
The prosecution rested its case in the Caius Veiovis murder trial yesterday after a final witness testified that he overheard Caius Veiovis speaking to his co-defendant after the men’s arrests. Veiovis is accused in the killings of three Pittsfield men in August of 2011 with the help of Adam Lee Hall and David Chalue, who have both already been convicted and given consecutive life sentences. The defense is expected to begin its case this morning when the trial resumes in Hampden Superior Court. Veiovis’ girlfriend, Abigail Elwood, is expected to testify for the defense.
 
BIANCHI TO PROPOSE SMALLER CAPITAL BUDGET  
 
Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi is looking for City Council support on a capital budget for only a few items. IBerkshires.com is reporting that the mayor said he will be putting together a request for $3 million in road improvements, $500,000 to implement some of the recommendations for the downtown parking study and $200,000 for engineering for the next phase of the downtown streetscape program. These items were in the mayor's first proposed capital budget that the council voted down. Four councilors voted against the budget, hoping the mayor would add a fire truck into the plan. However, Bianchi felt he had already compromised enough on a spending plan that had gone back and forth. The city’s mayor said he is now looking to present a smaller capital budget that focused on longer range infrastructure projects.
 
FARLEY BOUVIER STANDING WITH CITIZENS OPPOSED TO RAZING CHURCH
 
 A large contingent of Pittsfield residents is making it clear that they don’t want St. Mary’s the Morning Star on Tyler Street torn down to make way for a new Dunkin Donuts drive-thru operation. Darcie Sosa is the head organizer of the “Save St. Mary’s” campaign that has sprung up in the wake of the proposal by Cafua Management to raze the church property and replace it with the new drive through equipped Dunkin Donuts. An on line petition in opposition is picking up steam. State Rep. Tricia Farley Bouvier is supporting the local effort. She says that the move would not be a good one for Pittsfield.
CVS Caremark wanted to turn St. Francis Church in North Adams into a CVS pharmacy earlier this year. Residents halted that project with a similar effort.
 
KERRIGAN AND LOCAL LAWMAKERS VISIT PITTSFIELD
 
Lieutenant Governor candidate Steve Kerrigan was in the Berkshires with a stop in Pittsfield yesterday morning to walk North Street with state Sen. Benjamin Downing, and state Reps. William "Smitty" Pignatelli and Gailanne Cariddi. The local lawmakers explained the mixture of economic development projects — from the streetscape and the proposed Hotel on North to ideas on how to free additional commercial space. Kerrigan and gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley are pushing a plan to create 16 regional economic sectors and invest more than $500 million over the next decade into a mixture of projects such as are happening in downtown Pittsfield.
 



     Superintendent Jason McCandless said declining interest and FCC regulations could be liabilities for the district. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/Joe Durwin)  

WTBR MAY GO SILENT  
 
Pittsfield Schools Superintendent Jason Jake McCandless says the math may no longer make sense for the school department to continue to run the 40-year-old WTBR radio station. WTBR 89.7 FM, aka "The Brave FM," is an FCC-licensed nonprofit educational broadcasting service that has hosted a range of student and adult-run programs over the years. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the station has an annual budget of $6,000 for equipment, fees and other expenses, but McCandless is concerned its management could amount to much more liability for the district in its current state of operation.
 
WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES TONIGHT
 
Tonight’s Third Thursday in downtown Pittsfield will feature the fourth annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event to raise funds and awareness about domestic violence and the need to stop abusers.
The event invites individuals and teams of men to turn out in women’s footwear and raise money as they strut down North Street, but the funds support programs, services and facilities maintained by the Freeman Center.
 
PLASTIC BAG BAN IN PITTSFIELD?  
 
The Green Commission in Pittsfield has decided to draft a city ordinance to restrict the use of polystyrene food containers while seeking more input from local business owners on the costs to them. The commission has reached a general consensus in support of a proposed ban, members said, but they want to do more research on specific language options for an ordinance and get more information on the effects on small businesses.
 
 PIPELINE PROJECT FLEXIBLE
 
A day after their first official filing with federal regulators, a team of Kinder Morgan officials told about 100 listeners during a public informational forum that the route of their proposed high-pressure gas pipeline could undergo significant change. The Berkshire Eagle reports that as panelists representing Lenox town government and three environmental groups critical of the project voiced their concerns, the energy company representatives emphasized that the 250-mile pipeline proposal from Wright, N.Y., to Dracut, through parts of eight Berkshire County communities, faces multiple hurdles from state and federal regulators over the next two years.
 
EASTOVER TO GIVE WEEKEND PREVIEW
 
A new chapter of the Eastover Resort in Lenox is starting this weekend. IBerkshires.com reports that for the last four-plus years, Ying Wang has been overseeing the renovation of the 600-acre property, which she and her husband, in the form of HG October Mountain Estate LLC, bought in 2010 for $5.4 million. This weekend, the grounds will open to the public for a sneak peek at the multimillion dollar renovation.
According to Wang, the resort will permanently open next summer as a new destination for holistic, group and personal retreats.
 
CASINO GROUPS WILL DEBATE REPEALERS
 
A casino-funded group hoping to defeat November's ballot question to repeal the state casino law says it will debate its opponents. The Committee to Protect Mass Jobs is financed by MGM Resorts and Penn National Gaming. It says it's "committed to participating in a vigorous debate" on the question. Meanwhile, New England's only thoroughbred horse racing track says it will close by the end of the year because Mohegan Sun did not win a license for a resort casino at Suffolk Downs in Boston. This week, state gambling regulators picked Wynn Resorts' casino project for the Everett waterfront over Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun's proposal. The closing will affect hundreds of track-related workers.
 
BAKER  UNVEILS ECONOMIC PLANS  
 
Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker has unveiled an economic development plan he says will create jobs, strengthen communities and build better schools. The plan calls for using tax credits to offset the cost of minimum wage increases, and to reward businesses that hire welfare recipients and veterans. The election is November 4th.
 
RAPE PLEA REJECTED AND TRIAL WILL HAPPEN  
 
A North Adams man was rebuffed yesterday in his attempt to enter a plea deal in the 2013 rape of a 17-year-old girl. The Berkshire Eagle reports, 26-year-old Brenton Rohane of Union Street was set to plead guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to charges related to the May 14, 2013, incident when he was asked by Judge John Agostini whether he raped the victim. An emotional Rohane responded with a clear “no,” prompting Agostini to throw out the plea and move the case to a trial.
 
SUFFOLK DOWNS NOTIFIES WORKERS IT WILL CLOSE
 
BOSTON (AP) — New England's only thoroughbred horse racing track has told its workers it will close by year's end because Mohegan Sun did not win a Massachusetts license for a resort casino at Suffolk Downs in Boston.
Suffolk Downs' chief operating officer Chip Tuttle says workers were told Wednesday that the live horse racing season that ends Sept. 29 will be the track's last. Suffolk Downs will continue to offer simulcast racing until November or December.
Tuttle says track owners Richard Fields and Joe O'Donnell have lost about $50 million to $60 million on the track over the last several years. The closing will affect hundreds of track-related workers.
Massachusetts gambling regulators this week picked Wynn Resorts' $1.1 billion casino project for the Everett waterfront over Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun's $1.1 billion proposal.
 
PRO-CASINO GROUP ACCEPTS CHALLENGE TO DEBATE
 
BOSTON (AP) — A casino-funded group hoping to defeat November's ballot question to repeal the state casino law says it will debate its opponents.
 
The Committee to Protect Mass Jobs, which is financed by MGM Resorts and Penn National Gaming, said Wednesday it is "committed to participating in a vigorous debate" on the question. But the political action committee stopped short of agreeing to the terms opponents propose.
Repeal the Casino Deal, an anti-casino group, earlier Wednesday called for a series of "independent, media-sponsored" debates between the group's chairman, leading state lawmakers and executives from Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming.
The challenge came hours after Wynn and state gambling regulators finalized a license for a $1.6 billion casino outside Boston.
 
GOP'S BAKER UNVEILS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN
 
BOSTON (AP) — Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker has unveiled an economic development plan he says will create jobs, strengthen communities and build better schools.
The plan calls for using tax credits to offset the cost of minimum wage increases, and to reward businesses that hire welfare recipients and veterans.
Baker said he would also reduce fees for starting a business; increase affordable housing; and give minority business owners better access to the bidding process for public projects.
 
Baker said his plan would cost the state up to $300 million in lost revenue out of $36 billion state budget.
Democrat Martha Coakley has already pledged to make $500 million in funding available over the next decade to help speed economic growth across the state if elected governor.
The election is Nov. 4.
 
CHANGES MADE IN LEADERSHIP OF SEX OFFENDER BOARD
 
BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick's administration has announced changes in the leadership of the state's Sex Offender Registry Board.
The administration confirmed on Wednesday that Saundra Edwards, the board's chairwoman, was relieved of duty on Wednesday and replaced by Anne Connors, an investigator with the state Department of Early Education and Care.
Meanwhile, the registry's executive director, Jeanne Holmes, was placed on administrative leave and Kevin Hayden, the agency's general counsel, will serve as interim executive director.
A spokesman for the state office of Public Safety, which oversees the board, declined to comment on the reasons for the shake-up, saying it was a personnel matter.
The registry maintains a data base of convicted sex offenders and classifies offenders by the danger they could pose to the public.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014
 
   The Colegrove Park Elementary School project is so far on time and nearly $3 million under budget. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)

COLEGROVE PROJECT ON TIME AND UNDER BUDGET 
 
The Colegrove Park Elementary School project in North Adams is so far on track and under budget. IBerkshires.com reports that Kenneth Guyette, senior project manager at Strategic Building Solutions, told the School Building Committee on Monday that the project is $2.8 million under budget, and that's also taking into consideration the contingency budget. He says that the building is essentially gutted so they can see where there would be a lot of unforeseen in the building. Mayor Richard Alcombright said any surprises would likely be in the roof.



 

    The Zoning Board allowed City Cab to keep a second vehicle offsite within its home occupation permit for Houghton Street. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino) 

NORTH ADAMS CAB COMPANY PLANS TO RELOCATE
 
The North Adams Zoning Board of Appeals continued a local taxi owner's home occupancy permit however, City Cab owner Michael McMillian indicated that he may move his office to Union Street.
IBerkshires.com reports that the board met with McMillian again Monday night to review the home occupancy permit he received in April. The permit allows him to operate his business from his home at 257 Houghton Street. With no major complaints from residents in the neighborhood, the board sustained the permit with the same conditions until further review or until McMillian secures a commercial office. McMillian said he should have an office at 176 Union Street, with parking, by Friday.




   Park Street proprietors say business has dropped off dramatically because of the streetscape project construction. Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino) 
                
MERCHANTS BLAME PARK STREET PROJECT  
 
Park Street business owners say business has dramatically slowed since the streetscape construction began at the end of July. IBerkshires.com reports that residents and business owners met with interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan , representatives from contractor J.H. Maxymillian, and project engineer David Loring last night to discuss the current status of the street's overhaul.
 
ATTEMPTED MURDER OF ESTRANGED WIFE NETS 5 YEARS FOR ADAMS MAN
 
A former Adams resident has been sentenced to up to 5 years in state prison for the brutal kidnapping and attempted murder of his estranged wife. 40 year old David Faria, formerly of Allen Street, was scheduled to go on trial in Berkshire Court yesterday, but instead entered a plea agreement on the nine charges he was facing. Faria pleaded guilty to single counts of kidnapping, armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, intimidation of a witness, and several other charges.
 
CHARGES DISMISSED AGAINST SAVOY MAN CHARGED WITH ANIMAL CRUELTY
 
 A judge dismissed more than 30 counts of animal cruelty against a Savoy man yesterday, ruling that the authorities’ search of his properties violated his rights. The Berkshire Eagle reports that 31 felony charges of animal cruelty and 25 counts of rabies vaccine violations were dismissed from Northern Berkshire District Court upon the request of the defendant – 55 year old John D’Allessandro, Jr., of Griffin Hill Road. The judge ruled the initial application for a search warrant did not reach the threshold of probable cause, dismissing all evidence uncovered.

 
    (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)
Thursday, September 11, 2014
 
13TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 9-11 TERROR ATTACKS TODAY
 
The nation will pause today to mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Family members of those killed are gathering this morning to read the names of the deceased at ground zero in New York. They'll pause four times: when each plane struck the World Trade Center and when each tower fell. The National September 11 Museum will be open, but the memorial plaza will be closed to the public for most of the day and only available to family members.



 The park at the corner of Houghton and River streets in North Adams is one possible location for a skate park that is now in the planning stages. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Rebecca Dravis)

NORTH ADAMS SKATE PARK MOVING FORWARD
 
Five years ago, a group of teenagers participating in the UNITY youth leadership program at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition had an idea: They wanted to get a skate park built in the city. The iBerkshires.com reports, this fall, that idea is finally taking shape. A Community Development Block Grant has allowed the city's Office of Community Development, in conjunction with the NBCC, to commission a Los Angeles-based company to study and design a new skate/BMX park that eventually will be built in one of three locations – a section of Noel Field on State Street, Houghton (HOE-tin) Street Park, and the Holden Street parking lot behind the Big Y plaza. The community will get to hear about those pros and cons at a public discussion set for 5 to 7:30pm on September 25th at the North Adams Public Library.




Drury High School cafeteria manager Trinity Spencer shows how easy the school's new biometric system is. Some parents, however, are concerned about privacy issues. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)
 
BIOMETRIC SCANNERS OF CONCERN TO PARENTS  
 
The introduction of biometrics in the school lunch line in North Adams has a number of parents concerned about privacy and big-government intrusion into their children's lives. The school system is instituting the equipment at lunch lines this fall after more than a year of discussion about parents failing to pay delinquent lunch bills, the stigma surrounding free and reduced lunches and the need for student privacy.





 The search committee has begun receiving applications for the town administrator post but so far half don't meet the criteria. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino)
 
 ADAMS TOWN ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH ATTRACTS 22 APPLICANTS  
 
Adams has received 22 town administrator applicants so far, the Town Administrator Search Committee reported on Tuesday. IBerkshires.com reports that committee member Carol Corrigan said that of the 22 applicants, so far 10 meet the minimum requirements. The applicants come from various parts of the country — Texas, Maryland, Minnesota, Colorado, California and Kansas. The committee also discussed how it would format the written essay questions for applicants. The four essays represent issues facing the town of Adams such as the Greylock Glen and the town’s elderly population.
 
MCLA RANKS HIGH ONCE AGAIN
 
The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts has been ranked as one of the top public liberal arts colleges in the country for the fourth consecutive year in a row. The designation of ninth — one higher than last year — comes from the U.S. News and World Report ranking released on Tuesday.
 
TESTEMONY IN MURDER TRIAL CONTINUES  
 
The trial of Caius Veiovis continued yesterday in Hampden Superior Court. According to testimony - hours before three city men were killed in August 2011 Adam Lee Hall sat in the home of Caius Veiovis cleaning handguns he had brought over. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Allyson Scace took the stand for the prosecution and described how on August 27th, 2011, she and her friend Kayla Sewell were at the Pittsfield apartment of Veiovis drinking with David Chalue and the defendant when Hall showed up with a large bag of dog food from which he pulled several handguns.  
 
INJURED HIKER RESCUED FROM APPALACHIAN TRAIL
 
A Connecticut woman was rescued from the Appalachian Trail yesterday morning, after breaking her hip while hiking with a friend. Local emergency officials say that the hiker, from Salisbury, Conn., suffered the injury Tuesday evening. The unidentified woman in her 60s, and her companion decided to seek refuge at a nearby trail shelter off West Branch Road in October Mountain State Forest. The hikers called 911 on a cellphone shortly after 7am yesterday and the Becket Fire Department and Becket Ambulance Department responded. About an hour later, the injured woman was carried out of the woods. She was being treated at Berkshire Medical Center.
 
UP TO 2 YEARS IN JAIL FOR MULTIPLE CHILD PORN CHARGES  
 
A Becket man has been sentenced to up to 2 years in jail after pleading guilty to multiple child pornography charges. 42 year old James Bannister possessed and disseminated child pornography between December 2010 and March 2011. He was arrested following an investigation conducted by state troopers assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Bannister pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court yesterday to five counts of dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct and 19 counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.
 
PITTSFIELD MAN GETS UP TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON FOR RAPE OF 6-YEAR-OLD GIRL
 
A Pittsfield man was sentenced yesterday to serve up to 12 years in state prison for the rape of a 6-year-old girl. 32 year old Erick Ruiz-Trujillo was convicted on Tuesday of raping the girl in November of 2012. He was sentenced yesterday to 8 to 12 years at MCI-Cedar Junction at Walpole state prison for one count of rape of a child with force, with 675 days credit for time served while awaiting trial. Ruiz-Trujillo, a native of El Salvador, will be deported at the end of his sentence.
 


  Health Director Gina Armstrong and Parks and Open Space Director Jim McGrath are both pleased with the new regulation. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever)

SMOKE FREE PARKS IN PITTSFIELD  
 
The air will be a little fresher in the Pittsfield’s 29 parks next week. City workers yesterday began the installation of no-smoking signs on all city parks and playground in anticipation for when new smoking rules go in effect. More than 1,000 acres of open space will now be smoke free as part of the Board and Health and the Parks Commission's new regulations.



 

  PEDA's board of directors voted to give the BIC $250,000, matching the city, for start-up costs. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever) 

PEDA OKS FUNDS FOR BERKSHIRE INNOVATION CENTER   
The city has received final approval for $500,000 in startup costs associated with the construction of the Berkshire Innovation Center. The Berkshire Eagle reports, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority yesterday unanimously approved a $ 250,000 allocation from the quasi- public agency’s funds toward the center’s launch. The City Council on September 2nd approved allocating $250,000 from its GE Economic Development Fund.
 
 PETERSBURGH, N.Y., WOMAN WAS PILOT IN FATAL PLANE CRASH
 
A Petersburgh, NY woman and a flight instructor from Delmar were identified as the two people killed Monday in the crash of a Cessna airplane on the CSX Railroad property in Selkirk. 61 year old Nancy Gertzberg was the plane’s pilot. 48 year old Allan Richter was co-pilot and flight instructor. Richter was found dead at the scene but police say Gertzberg was conscious when emergency responders arrived. She later died at Albany Medical Center Hospital.
 
STATE REPORTS 2ND WEST NILE VIRUS CASE OF 2014  
 
The Massachusetts Department of Health says the state has confirmed its second human case of West Nile virus this year. Officials said Wednesday the case, like the first one, is from Middlesex County. The new case is a woman in her 40s who was hospitalized but has been released and is recovering. The first case announced August 22nd was a man in his 60s that officials had said was hospitalized but recovering. There were eight confirmed cases of West Nile in Massachusetts last year, none fatal. The symptoms include fever or flu-like illnesses.
 
PUBLIC TO MULL NEW ENGLAND ELECTRICITY FORECAST  
 
New England's regional grid operator is inviting the public to review this year's forecast for the availability of electricity and demand over the coming decade. The 2014 regional system plan describes how transmission upgrades, power generation and reducing electricity with conservation and energy efficiency will help make enough electricity available. It's the 14th long-range plan developed with state regulators and policymakers, businesses, consumer groups and others.
 
 
NEIGHBORS WEIGH APPEAL OF STOCKBRIDGE ENDORSEMENT OF ELM COURT PROJECT  
 
Although the town’s Select Board has unanimously endorsed the proposed $50 million, 112-room Elm Court resort, including a public restaurant and spa, the developers could face a potential legal challenge while seeking required approvals from Lenox. The residentially zoned property on Old Hawthorne Road has frontage and an entrance in that town, though nearly all of the 90acre Gilded Age-era site is in Stockbridge. The Berkshire Eagle reports, Travaasa Experiential Resorts, the Amstar Co. subsidiary, would operate Elm Court if its special permit application, yet to be submitted, is approved by the Lenox Zoning Board of Appeals.  
 
RICK CANTELE NAMED BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR
 
The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce has named Rick Cantele (the President and Chief Executive Officer of Salisbury Bank and Trust Company and Salisbury Bancorp) – its 2014 Business Person of the Year. Cantele was honored yesterday at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.
Southern Berkshire Chamber Nomination Committee member Kate McCormick says that Cantele's vision for the expansion and strong presence of Salisbury Bank in the Southern Berkshires coupled with the top-notch business team he has assembled to implement that vision makes him the ideal recipient.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Police Chief Kyle Johnson suggested larger signage at the accident-prone Five Corners intersection. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Stephen Dravis)
 
SELECTMENT LOOK AT MAKING FIVE CORNERS SAFER  
 
The Williamstown Board of Selectmen on Monday discussed how to make the Five Corners intersection in South Williamstown safer after a fatal accident at the site last month. IBerkshires.com reports that Police Chief Kyle Johnson advised the board about changes he would recommend to make signage more obvious to alert drivers to a reduced speed zone on that stretch of Route 7 and a stop for drivers on Route 43. He says he wants the signs to be oversized to get the attention of motorists. The board agreed and, at the same time, asked whether there was something that could be done to reduce the number of signs at the intersection.



The Board of Health on Monday voted to enact new tobacco regulations after a brief public hearing with little opposition. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Stephen Dravis)
 
WILLIAMSTOWN TOUGHENS TOBACCO RULES
 
The Board of Health in Williamstown on Monday voted to enact new tobacco regulations aimed at cutting back on youth smoking and smoking in public places. IBerkshires.com reports, the board held a public hearing on the proposed regulations that drew comments from four members of the public — all in favor of the proposed regulations. Although no one rose in opposition to the changes, the board did receive written communication from a couple of New England retail merchants associations expressing concern about the rules. The board voted unanimously to put the new rules into effect on January 5th.




 (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)/Staff
 
COAKLEY TO FACE BAKER FOR MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR
 
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has won the Democratic primary for governor and she did so handily. The North Adams native garnered 42 percent of the overall vote. Coakley defeated state treasurer and former Democratic Party chairman Steven Grossman and former federal health care administrator Don Berwick in yesterday's voting. Locally, Coakley cruised with 501 votes in North Adams. Grossman received 140 votes and Berwick received 74 votes. Coakley will carry her party's nomination into the November general election against Republican Charlie Baker, who won the GOP primary against Mark Fisher. There also will be three independent candidates. Coakley is in her second term as attorney general.
 
KERRIGAN GETS DEMOCRATIC NOD FOR LT. GOVERNOR
 
Stephen Kerrigan has won the three-way Democratic primary for Massachusetts lieutenant governor. The former Lancaster selectman previously served as a top aide to the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, and later as chief of staff to former Attorney General Tom Reilly. He defeated Mike Lake and Leland Cheung. Kerrigan will team with Democratic gubernatorial nominee in the November election. Former state Rep. Karyn Polito was the only Republican candidate for the number two job and will be teamed with GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker in November.
 
MAURA HEALEY WINS DEM NOD FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL (All)
 
Maura Healey has won the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts attorney general after a hard-fought primary race. Healey has been an assistant attorney general for seven years and led the office's civil rights division. She defeated former state Sen. Warren Tolman yesterday. Healey will face Republican John Miller in the November election.
 
GOLDBERG WINS PRIMARY FOR MASSACHUSETTS TREASURER (All)
 
Deb Goldberg has won a three-way Democratic primary for Massachusetts state treasurer. The former Brookline selectwoman defeated state Sen. Barry Finegold of Andover and state Rep. Tom Conroy of Wayland. Goldberg will face off with Republican nominee Michael Heffernan of Wellesley in the November election. Ian Jackson of the Green-Rainbow party will also be on the ballot. Goldberg ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2006.
 
LOW VOTER TURNOUT
 
A Low voter turnout was expected for yesterday’s primary, despite contested races for governor and other statewide offices. Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin said yesterday he expected roughly 550,000 people to vote in the Democratic primary and up to 170,000 to cast Republican ballots. Those numbers were fairly close overall. City and town clerks in the Berkshires reported voter turnout in the primary ranging between 10 and 12 percent of registered voters.



One a week for the last eight years, a group of Vietnam veterans have been meeting for coffee at a local diner - something none of them would have fathomed when they first returned from the war. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever) 

VIETNAM VETS FOCUSED ON HELPING RETURNING SOLDIERS
 
For more than a decade following their return, local Vietnam veterans just didn't talk about what they did overseas. IBerkshires.com reports however, that as time goes on, more and more are finding their old uniforms, marching in parades and getting involved with the local Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 65. The chapter has seen a growth in recent years, with members attributing it to more retirements. And the organization that started with 35 members some 32 years ago has now surpassed 80. The chapter started in 1982 when the national organization expanded. The group alternated between South County and Pittsfield and, after a few years, moved its headquarters to Pittsfield.
 
PITTSFIELD MAN CONVICTED IN RAPE OF GIRL, 6, IN 2012
 
A Pittsfield man was found guilty on Tuesday of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl in November 2012. A Berkshire Superior Court jury took a little more than two hours to convict Erick Ruiz-Trujillo on one count of rape of a child: with force. The 32 year old Ruiz-Trujillo was ordered held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail. He is scheduled to be sentenced this afternoon.
 
PITTSFIELD MAN ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING HIS WIFE AND A NEIGHBOR
 
A Pittsfield man has been charged with assaulting his wife and a neighbor following an incident early Tuesday. The Berkshire Eagle reports that 37 year old Mark Formel Jr., of Lakewood Circle, was drunk and had been screaming at his wife about 12:45 a.m. Tuesday when she decided called police. According to the police report, Formel allegedly threw his wife to the ground when she tried to go to a neighbor’s house to call police. When a neighbor tried to block Formel from entering the residence where his wife had gone to make the call, Formel also threw her to the ground. Formel left the scene, but later returned to his residence, where he was arrested. He pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court to single counts of assault and battery on a family/household member and assault and battery.
 
STOCKBRIDGE BOARD ENDORSES PROJECT
 
Round One goes to the developers of the proposed $50 million, 112room Elm Court Resort on the residentially zoned Old Stockbridge Road. The Berkshire Eagle reports that by a resounding 3-0 vote, the Select Board in Stockbridge has endorsed the controversial project, much to the dismay of opponents from both Stockbridge and Lenox who attended the final, nearly three-hour public hearing that ended late Monday night. Supporters congratulated members of the Travaasa Experiential Resorts team that would operate the hotel owned by Amstar Co. subsidiary Front Yard LLC. At least 110 members of the public filled the gymnasium at the Town Offices to hear both sides present their final arguments before the Select Board on the special- permit application aimed at preserving the 1886 Elm Court mansion by building a connected 96- room addition, opening a 60-seat public restaurant and constructing a 15,000 plus-square-foot spa.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014


 The Board of Health wants better communication with the Agricultural Fair Committee over vendor permitting. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com)Jack Guerino)

ADAMS BOARD WANTS AGGIE FAIR TO INFORM VENDORS OF PERMIT NEEDS  
 
The Adams Board of Health wants the Agricultural Fair Committee to properly communicate permit specifications to its food vendors. IBerkshires.com reports that Code Enforcement Officer Scott Koczela told the board last week that the fair committee does not inform food vendors that rent at Bowe Field that they have get a permit from the town. He says this has been a continuing issue with the committee, and it has failed to communicate with the Board of Health. Chairman Allen Mendel said the board will send the committee another letter asking them to cooperate and what the consequences will be if it doesn't.
 
PLAN WOULD CREATE LOCAL HISTORICAL DISTRICTS  
 
The North Adams could see the creation of local historic districts under a proposal submitted by Councilor Benjamin Lamb. The plan calls for the creation of a special committee to designate historic districts within the city. If passed into law, homes and businesses within these districts would be brought before a historic district commission prior to any major renovations or demolition, but would also be eligible to apply for historical grants that would aid them in the upkeep of their properties. The community development committee has recommended the council vote to take the first step in the process to create local historic districts.  
 


 Residents turned out to debate taxi rates at Monday's Public Safety Committee hearing. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Tammy Daniels)

NORTH ADAMS COMMITTEE HEARS TAXI RATE COMPLAINTS
 
The North Adams Public Safety Committee has agreed to revisit taxi rates and discuss the use of meters after hearing from numerous residents — and getting an errant cab service to comply with the current fares.
The City Council raised the rates $2 per zone back in April at the recommendation of the Public Safety Committee. At the time, there was only one cab company left in the city after the abrupt closure of American Cab.
But complaints about the rate hike surfaced last week after the committee called Michael McMillian, proprietor of City Cab, on the carpet for allegations of smoking in the cabs (a state offense), using unlicensed drivers and taxis, and undercharging the city's set cab fares. 
While the committee was satisfied McMillian was making progress on some of the issues, his admittance of undercharging left the committee mulling its options.
More than 30 people attended a hearing last week on the matter; nearly two dozen showed up for Monday's continuation.
McMillian, who started out a few months ago with one cab, now has two and is trying for a third, argued the authority of the committee to set any rates.

GAS UP A PENNY IN MASSACHUSETTS
 
After several consecutive weeks of declines, gasoline prices have ticked up in Massachusetts. AAA Southern New England reports that the cost of a gallon of self-serve, regular has gone up by a penny in the past week to an average of $3.45. The current price is still a nickel lower than it was a month ago and 21 cents lower than at this time last year. The Massachusetts price is a penny above the national average. AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $3.29 per gallon and as high as $3.89 per gallon in Massachusetts.
 
MASSACHUSETTS PRIMARY DAY TODAY  
 
The Massachusetts Primary Election is taking place today with primary races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer, and Attorney General. The Democratic Gubernatorial primary is a three-way race between North Adams native Martha Coakley, current State Treasurer Steve Grossman and former Obama Administration official Don Berwick. The Republican primary is a two-way contest between Charlie Baker and Mark Fisher. The Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor – is being sought by Leland Cheung, Steve Kerrigan and Mike Lake. There is no primary contest for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican side with only Karyn Polito running. The Democratic candidates for treasurer are Tom Conroy, Steve Finegold, and Deb Goldberg. Only James Heffernan is on the Republican ballot. Battling for the Democratic nomination for Attorney general is Maura Healey – the long time administrator under current Attorney General Martha Coakley – and former state lawmaker Warren Tolman. John Miller is the lone Republican in the race. Polling places across the state are open until 8pm.
 
 LOW VOTER TURNOUT EXPECTED TODAY  
 
Low voter turnout is expected for today's primary, despite contested races for governor and other statewide offices. The state's top elections official, Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin, says he expects approximately 550,000 people to vote in the Democratic primary and up to 170,000 to cast Republican ballots.
 
TRIAL PUTS FOURTH MAN IN HOME OF MURDER VICTIMS  
 
The murder trial of Caius Veiovis continued yesterday in Hampden Superior Court. The Berkshire Eagle reports that according to testimony, a fourth man was present at the Pittsfield residence of two of the victims on the night they disappeared. Lisa Archambeault, who lived in the second floor apartment in Pittsfield as David Glasser and Edward Frampton, told the jury she saw four people there around 10:30pm on August 27th, 2011. She said the man, who appeared to be in conversation with the others, was not Veiovis. Under cross- examination by Veiovis’ attorney, Archambeault said she saw Glasser, Frampton, Robert Chadwell and another man she didn’t know. Archambeault did not mention a fourth man at the two previous trials that convicted Adam Lee Hall and David Chalue. The bodies of Glasser, Frampton and Chadwell were found almost two weeks later buried in a trench in Becket. The trial resumes today.  
 
TWO SHOOTINGS SUNDAY MORNING
 
No one was hurt following a pair of shootings early Sunday morning within minutes of each other in Pittsfield. Police received a call of shots fired around 3:20am in the area of Francis and Madison avenues. Shell casings were discovered a block away at the corner of Daniels and Madison avenues. Police, just a few minutes later, responded to shots fired near Morningside Community School. No evidence of a shooting has been found by city detectives. No injuries or property damage was reported during either incident.



Police Chief Michael Wynn explained the space program architects developed for a new police station. (Story and Photo Courtesy of Media Partner iBerkshires.com/ Andy McKeever) 
 
FACILITY LIKELY TO BE ABOUT 3 TIMES LARGER
 
Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn says that a consulting firm that is considering options for replacing the city’s out dated police department is close to issuing a report. Wynn addressed the media before briefing the city’s Police Advisory Committee on the study. He said that the floor space drawings show that the department would ideally require up to 38,000 square feet of space — which would be nearly three times the space of the current building which opened in 1939.
 
PITTSFIELD SCHOOLS' WEBSITE REMAINS DOWN AMID CYBER ATTACK  
 
Although most Internet services have been restored following an online attack that began on August 26th, the Pittsfield schools' website remains down. The Berkshire Eagle reports that personnel from the Internet provider and technology staff members from the school system worked out a defense on Friday against a "denial of service" attack from a source yet to be identified. Director of Technology James Schultz says however that the website, www.pittsfield.net which is hosted by a different service provider, still is being overwhelmed in the attack while a solution is sought. The site remains off-line.
 
TWO GROUPS TO SPLIT $ 150K OVER THREE YEARS  
 
Two Berkshire County organizations have jointly received a $150,000 state grant to ensure Berkshire County residents in nine communities continue to benefit from health conscious restaurants, farmers markets, access to bike paths and other wellness initiatives. The Tri-Town Health Department and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition will equally share $50,000 for each of the next three fiscal years from the Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and L
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