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Fire Displaces Pittsfield Family of Five
By Andy McKeever On: 02:12PM / Monday November 17, 2014
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The single-family home at 52 Seymour St. suffered damage because of the fire.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A family of five has been displaced following a fire that destroyed their Seymour Street home on Monday.
 
The family was not home at the time but the structure was damaged so severely that the building inspector has ruled it uninhabitable.
 
Two dogs that were inside during the fire were rescued by firefighters — one initially and then another while fighting the fire.
 
"We arrived on the scene at 10:49 a.m. and had heavy smoke showing across Seymour Street with fire on the backside of the house," Deputy Chief Michael Polidoro said. "There were no occupants home at the time. Both pets were rescued from the building."
 
Polidoro said the fire was called as a two-alarm in order to rotate the firefighting crews. All on-duty personnel responded first and later an on-call crew took over. After an hour and a half or so, the blaze was extinguished but firefighters continued to chase down hot spots.
 
"The fire took a lot of time to put out because it worked its way into the walls of an older structure and got into the attic area," Polidoro said. "The fire did extensive damage to the house. The occupants will not be able to live there."
 
He added, "it did become a double-alarm fire for manpower because we were trying to knock it down and chase it through the house."
 
The family — two adults and three children — rent from the owner John Giardina. The American Red Cross has been notified. As of 2 p.m., firefighters were helping to salvage the family's items that survived the blaze — but heat damage destroyed much of the single-family home.
 
The fire led to the closure of Seymour Street for more than three hours.
 
Polidoro said the rainy weather didn't play a role in fighting the fire. The cause is still unknown but inspectors are on scene in hopes to pinpoint it.
 
"The crews did a good job. They really worked hard today. It stretched them to their limits but nobody complained about it," Polidoro said.
 

 



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Superior Court Briefs: November 12 - November 13
Staff Reports On: 03:28PM / Friday November 14, 2014
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, November 12.
 
Gina Arnold, 33, of Lee pleaded guilty to four counts of receiving stolen property over $250, two counts of wanton destruction of property, and single counts of larceny over $250, trespassing and being present where heroin is kept. 
 
She was ordered to serve six months of an 18-month sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the receiving stolen property, wanton destruction of property and larceny charges. She was placed on probation for two years. She was given concurrent time on the being present where heroin is kept and trespassing charges.
 
Arnold sold copper that belong to Iberdrola Renewables between October 26, 2013 and November 12, 2013.
 
A single count of receiving stolen property over $250 was dismissed by the state.
 
Johnte Smith, 26, of Bronx, N.Y. pleaded guilty to three counts of distribution of cocaine, two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three and a half to fours years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The incidents occurred in North Adams between January 1, 2013 and November 26, 2013.
 
Three counts of assault and batter and single counts of aggravated rape, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and intimidation of a witness were dismissed by the state.
 
Eli Waters, 34, of Lee pleaded guilty to 12 counts of receiving stolen property over $250, two counts of wanton destruction of property, and single counts of larceny over $250, trespassing and being present where heroin is kept.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent two to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the receiving stolen property and larceny charges. He was given concurrent time on the others.
 
Waters sold copper that belong to Iberdrola Renewables between October 19, 2013 and November 12, 2013.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, November 13.
 
Michael Agar, 62, of Ashley Falls pleaded guilty to three counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.
 
He was placed on three-year probation. Agar had images of child pornography in his possession on May 14, 2013. Seven counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct were dismissed by the state.
 
Jason Deines, 24, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of trafficking in cocaine and possession heroin.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail. The charges are in connection with a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on October 21, 2014.
 
William Guidi, 48, of South Egremont had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $2,500 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Great Barrington on October 1, 2014.
 
Christopher Johnson, 32, of Bronx, N.Y. pleaded guilty to single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and furnishing a false name to a police officer.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy charges. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charge.
 
The incidents occurred in North Adams between January 1, 2013 and November 26, 2013.
 
Guillermo Sanchez, 40, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of distribution of cocaine, and single counts of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail. The charges stem from the sale of cocaine in Pittsfield between September 17, 2013 and October 7, 2014.
 
Timothy Welch, 46, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, two counts of wanton destruction of property, and ingle counts of larceny from a building and common and notorious thief.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $1,000 bail. Welch is accused of breaking into Ken's Bowl and Koto Restaurant on October 12, 2014.


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Report: Pittsfield Experiences Most Violent August in Years
By Andy McKeever On: 08:04PM / Monday November 10, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — This August was the most violent August in the last five years.
 
While violent crime is still overall down trending compared to other years, August showed a massive upswing of 27 violent crimes — 69 percent more than the five-year average. The upswing is reversing a trend the Police Department saw with violent crime down and property crime up.
 
Aggravated assault topped the list of the most committed crime in Pittsfield with 20. In other months, there were as few as four aggravated assaults. 
 
There were also three arsons, two robberies and two rapes in August. Year to date, there have been 100 violent crimes committed in Pittsfield, which is 27 percent higher than this time last year.
 
"We were also seeing consistently fewer Violent Crimes this year compared to last, but for the past three months, we have drastically surpassed the number of similar crimes committed in 2013," reads a Police Department report on the month of August.
 
August showed an opposite trend from early in the year. In reports on the earlier months, property crime had been trending above average while violent crime was down. In recent months, the trend reversed and property crime is now trending at a rate less than last year.
 
"We started out the year showing a considerably higher rate of property crime occurring in the city compared to last year. Now we seem to be bridging the gap, as each month shows slightly less property crime being committed, comparatively," the report reads. 
 
"For example, in June, we had 19 percent more property crimes compared to the same time last year. In July, we had 11 percent more, and now, in August, we have only 8 percent more. If things continue in this direction, we should show an overall lower total number of property crimes in 2014 than we had in 2013."
 
As of the end of August, there was 950 property crimes committed compared to 878 at the same time last year. But, August saw 133 compared to last August's 126, which shows a downtrend in the yearly totals. Larceny is the most common crime with 81 in August compared to 77 last August.
 
July and August both saw a lower trend in property crime than average, which is bringing the year to date numbers closer to last year.

Pittsfield Aug. 2014 Police City Stat Report



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Two People Airlifted To Albany Medical Following Crash In Hancock
Staff Reports On: 12:16PM / Saturday November 08, 2014
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UPDATE: State police have released the names of the people injured in Friday's crash.  The driver was 30-year-old James Daigneault of Lee and his passenger was 31-year-old Sara Rock of Stephentown, N.Y.
HANCOCK, Mass. — Two people were seriously injured after a crash on Route 20 Friday night.
 
State Police say a 30-year-old man from Lee and a 31-year-old woman from Stephentown, N.Y. were airlifted to Albany Medical Center for treatment for serious injuries following the 7 p.m. crash. Police are not releasing the names of the victims at this time.
 
Police say the man was lost control of the 2005 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck he was driving and crashed. Both occupants were trapped inside the vehicle. Fire departments from Hancock, Pittsfield, Richmond, Lebanon Valley, N.Y. and Chatham, N.Y. were on scene for nearly five hours extricating the occupants from the vehicle — the driver being pulled from the vehicle four hours after the crash and passenger 40 minutes later.
 
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, police said. No charges have been filed at this time.
 
New York State Police, Pittsfield Police and members from the Department of Transportation were on scene assisting.


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Superior Court Briefs: Oct. 28 - Nov. 6
By Andy McKeever On: 03:34PM / Friday November 07, 2014
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, October 28.
 
David Marshall, 49, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of distribution of lorazepam, conspiracy to violate drug laws, possession of oxycodone, and being present where heroin is kept.
 
He was placed on one-year probation. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 35 Appleton Avenue in Pittsfield on February 27, 2014. A single count of drug violation in a school zone was dismissed by the state.
 
Jason Gendron, 35, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to six counts of rape and abuse of a child and four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.
 
He was ordered to serve 25 to 30 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the rape charge. He was given concurrent nine to ten years on the other charges.
 
The incidents occurred in Pittsfield between August 25, 2011 and March 1, 2013. The victims are three girls now ages 6, 8, and 15.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, October 29.
 
Stephanie Carsno, 30, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
She was ordered to serve concurrent one and a half to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The charges stem from a drug transaction that took place in Pittsfield on May 20, 2014.   
 
Justin Daley, 26, of Lee pleaded guilty to single counts of distribution of cocaine and drug violation in a school zone.
 
He was ordered to serve one day at the Berkshire Count House Correction on the distribution of cocaine charge. He was given two years on the school zone violation. 
 
The charge stem from the sale of cocaine in Lee on January 15, 2014. Two counts of distribution of cocaine and single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and drug violation in a school zone were dismissed by the state.  
 
Christopher Letalien, 30, of North Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of larceny of a firearm, illegal possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit larceny and misleading a police officer.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charges stem from the theft of a hand fun in North Adams on June 14, 2011.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, November 3.
 
Nicholas McNeil, 35, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to four counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the daytime, and single counts of unarmed robbery on a victim 60 years or older, larceny from a building, receiving stolen property over $250 and possession of Percocet.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent four to six years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the breaking and entering and unarmed robbery charges. He was given concurrent four to five years on larceny from a building and receiving stolen property. He was given concurrent time on the possession of Percocet.
 
The charges stem from a series of break ins in Pittsfield between November 15, 2013 and December 20, 2013.
 
Christine Barrett, 38, of Stamford, Vt. pleaded guilty to single counts of distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
She was placed on one-year probation. The incident occurred in North Adams on July 11, 2013.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, November 4.
 
Tyquawn Davis, 21, of Springfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws, and single counts trafficking in cocaine and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 236 Columbus Avenue in Pittsfield on September 25, 2014.
 
Paul Dugal Jr., 52, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol - his fourth offense - and operating to endanger.
 
The charge is in connection with a motor vehicle accident in North Adams on August, 5, 2014. He was released on personal recognizance.
 
William Lowe, 35, of Pawtucket, R.I. pleaded guilty to single counts of motor vehicle homicide and operating to endanger and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
 
He was ordered to serve 343 days of a two-year sentenced at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the motor vehicle homicide. He was also placed on one-year probation. The other charge was placed on file.
 
The charges stem from a two-vehicle crash in Williamstown on November 24, 2013, which claimed the life of 64-year-old Lawrence George of Pownal, Vt. 
 
Single counts of speeding and failure to stay within marked lanes were dismissed by the state.
 
Brandon Phillips, 28, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. The incident allegedly occurred in Pittsfield on June 29, 2011.
 
Cases heard before Judge Paul Vrabel on Tuesday, November 4.
 
Lameek Thomas, 25, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm without a firearm identification card - his second offense - possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card and improper storage of a firearm.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on November 4, 2014.
 
Cases heard before Judge Michael Ripps on Tuesday, November 4.
 
Geraldo Martel, 25, of New Bedford had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of armed robbery while masked.
 
Martel is accused of robbing the Cumberland Farms in North Adams on September 10, 2014. He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $100,000 cash or $1 million surety bail. He will be back in court on Dec. 5 for a bind over hearing.
 
Martel was arrested in New Bedford on November 4, 2014.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, November 5.
 
Alyssa Wylde, 23, of Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of larceny from a building and malicious destruction of personal personal property.
 
The charges are in connection to a break in a home in Adams between September 12, 2013 and November 5, 2013.
 
She was sentenced to serve 18 months at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the larceny of a building charge. She was given one-year probation on the other charge.
 
Deker Witter, 32, of Bronx, N.Y. pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws, and single counts of trafficking cocaine, possession heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, distribution of cocaine.
 
The charges are in connection with incident in North Adams between January 1, 2013 and November 26, 2013.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three and a half to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Insitution at Cedar Junction. 
 
A single count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and two counts of intimidation of a witness or other person was dismissed by the state.
 
Those incidents allegedly occurred in North Adams between July 17, 2013 and July 29, 2013.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, November 6.
 
Richard Smith, 24, of Bronx, N.Y. pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated assault and battery in connection with an incident that occurred in North Adams on May 6, 2013 and involved a 41-year-old woman.
 
Smith also pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon and a single count of assault and battery in connection with an incident in North Adams on July 2, 2013 and involved two men, ages 44 and 54.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction.
 
Single counts of aggravated rape, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, home invasion, larceny from a person and four counts of assault and battery was dismissed by the state.


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Adams Field Renovation Plan Makes It Into Preliminary Budget
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