Updated Nov. 10, 2011, at 5:23 p.m. and rewritten throughout; updated with further clarification on the reported "lockdown" at 9:16 a.m., Nov. 11.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Drury High School officials took extra safety precautions and police arrested a suspect Thursday afternoon after someone posted a threat on social media site Facebook earlier in the morning.
Local officials were mum on details early Thursday but a statement from the superintendent's office said an incident had occurred but there was no evidence that there was any imminent danger to the people in the building. Classes resumed as normal but after-school activities were canceled for a faculty meeting.
According to the district attorney's office, Zach Barbeau, 19, of Adams was arrested in connection with the threat. He was charged with single counts of threatening the use of a deadly weapon and causing the disruption of a school, threat to commit murder, and disruption of a public assembly. He was released pending arraignment in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday morning.
Barbeau, a former student, allegedly posted the threat on a fictitious account. Investigators with the state police assigned to the district attorney's office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force as well as North Adams and Adams police collaborated with Facebook and Verizon Internet Services to track the posting to Barbeau's address.
Investigators say he did not have access to a gun and had no intention of carrying out the threat.
After the threat was posted, school officials say they took additional safety measures while police investigated the claims. The district attorney's office said the school was put on lock down; the superintendent's office said that was not the case.
According to a student, who did not wish to be named, police were not allowing students to drive up to the school after classes began and the K9 officer and dog were in the school.
Students were not allowed to use their cell phones nor were they allowed to be in the hallways without permission; several were told to stay away from the windows. Existing rules, such as the school district's cell phone policy, were being followed, according to the superintendent's office, and reports of a K9 officer inside the school and other police action was incorrect.
The rumor was that it was another student who had posted the threats. And while the regular rules may have been enforced, the atmosphere was charged.
"It was tense ... it was like high maintenance," said the student.
Several parents posted on Facebook that they went to the high school and removed their children. According to the superintendent's office, 20 students out the 554 enrolled at Drury were dismissed early.
North Adams Police Charge Former Rink Manager With Theft
By Andy McKeever On: 02:20PM / Monday October 31, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The former manager the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink has been charged with larceny and city officials are alleging more than $20,000 is missing from the public facility's accounts.
Katherine Wilk, 27, of Adams was arraigned on charges of larceny more than $250 on Friday in Northern Berkshire District Court for allegedly taking cash from the rink's receipts.
Wilk was terminated this past spring after an administrative investigation. According to court documents, Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco was notified by the city's Office of Community Development on July 29 that more than $22,000 was missing from fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
Police interviewed two rink employees, who both told police that they had seen Wilk take $40 in cash from the rink on two separate occasions — once from receipts and once from the skate shop, according to court documents. According to police, Wilk admitted in an interview on Sept. 19 to taking about $500 in cash but claimed she had always returned the amounts. However, police said she could not provide documentation that the money had been returned.
Wilk refused to let the interview be recorded and refused to provide a written statement admitting to taking the money, according to court documents. A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 22.
If convicted, Wilk could face up five years in prison or up to two years in jail and a fine of not more than $25,000.
Firefighters Rescue Woman From Burning House
By Andy McKeever On: 04:41PM / Friday October 28, 2011
Firefighters found Patricia Siciliano hanging from the window from bed sheets while staying on the phone with dispatchers.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters rescued a woman from a second-floor window Thursday night after an electrical fire trapped her in the bedroom.
According to Fire Director Steve Meranti, firefighters responded about 10 p.m. to 176 Ashton Ave., where the blaze had trapped Patricia Siciliano inside her bedroom.
When they arrived, Siciliano was hanging out of the second-story window from bed sheets that she tied to her bed while still on the phone with dispatcher Amanda Cornellier. Acting Lt. Scott Barbeau and Ray King then rescued the woman in what Meranti called a "textbook operation."
"The first priority was rescue," Meranti said on Friday. "The dispatcher kept her on the phone... it was an excellent job on her part."
Siciliano was the only person inside the home at the time and was rescued just seven minutes after the initial call, Meranti said. She was then transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield to be treated for smoke inhalation. He condition is currently unknown.
But Siciliano was not the only one rescued from the fire. Firefighters Shaun Hayden and John Marlow rescued Siciliano's cat. The cat was taken to Greylock Animal Hospital and is reportedly doing fine, Meranti said. There were no other injuries.
The fire started in the lower portion of the attic and spread to an upper level. Firefighters ran a hose to the second floor and tore off the roof to get access. The fire was under control in about 30 minutes, Meranti said.
"The fire appears to be electrical in nature," Meranti said. "[Siciliano] was alerted by a crackling sound in the walls."
Berkshire Gas, National Grid and the city's wire and alarm division disconnected power and the Clarksburg Fire Department provided an air truck. The house suffered massive damage but is still structurally sound, Meranti said. Siciliano does have homeowners insurance, he said.
"The guys did a great job on this," Meranti said. "It was a great job by all."
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Stephen J. Senay, 21, of Notch Road was charged with drunken driving and negligent operation of a motor vehicle after hitting a utility pole and another vehicle early Sunday morning.
The accident was reported at 1:50 a.m. Senay's blue 2005 Chevrolet Colorado caught on fire after colliding with a parked 1997 Mercury Mountaineer near the West End Market.
North Adams police, fire and ambulance responded to the scene; Williamstown Police aided by diverting eastbound traffic from State Road over Roberts Drive. A National Grid crew was also dispatched.
Senay was taken by ambulance to North Adams Regional Hospital for evaluation.
Superior Court Briefs: September 12 - September 16
By: Staff Reports On: 02:06PM / Monday September 26, 2011
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, September 12
Timothy Primm, 31, of Bristol, Conn. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on 15 counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, six counts of larceny over $250, 15 counts of malicious destruction of property, eight counts of larceny in a building and a single count of common and notorious thief.
Primm was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from a series of house break-ins in Becket between September 1, 2010 and July 11.
Corey Catala, 40, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of trafficking in heroin, trafficking in cocaine and distribution of heroin.
Catala was sentenced to concurrent five year sentences on the trafficking charges and a concurrent four to five year sentence on the distribution charge at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.
Catala sold heroin in Pittsfield on September 20, 2010 and the trafficking charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, September 13
Daniel Delsonno Jr., 48, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of unarmed robbery. He was sentenced to three to six years in state prison.
Delsonno took money from a 53-year-old man in Pittsfield on November 22, 2010.
Michael Purry, 37, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Purry was sentenced to concurrent three to four year sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at the Holiday Inn in North Adams on March 2.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, September 14
Michael Cook, 34, of Williamstown pleaded guilty to three counts of rape of a child and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14.
Cook was sentenced to concurrent five to seven years in state prison. The incidents occurred in Williamstown between June 1, 2008 and September 23, 2008 and involved a boy who was 12-years-old at the time.
Five additional counts of rape of a child, three counts of intimidation of a witness, two counts of threat to commit murder and single counts of indecent assault and batter on a child under the age of 14 and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon were dismissed by the state.
Anthony Acito, 22, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury.
Acito was sentences to two to three years in state prison. He attacked a 20-year-old woman in Pittsfield on October 20, 2010.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, September 15
Kenneth Wood Jr., 56, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Wood was sentenced to 30 days at the Berkshire County House of Correction. He conspired with others to sell drugs between February 3, 2010 and February 17, 2011.
Mark Welch, 44, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws.
He was sentenced to 30 days at the Berkshire County House of Correction. Welch admitted that he conspired with others to sell drugs between October 14, 2010 and October 21, 2010.
Eric Marcel, 33, of Pittsfield was sentenced to one to two years at the Berkshire County House of Correction after pleading guilty on Sept. 8 to one count of larceny ongoing and continuing offense.
He was also placed on one-year probation after he took about $200,000 from Johnson Ford Lincoln-Mercury Nissan, Inc. while employed there between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2008.
John Cook, 38, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
He was sentenced to one year at the Berkshire County House of Correction and placed on one-year probation. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on September 20, 2010. An additional count of drug violation in a school zone was dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, September 16
Lemarr Talley, 28, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on a single count of trafficking in cocaine.
The charges are in connection with a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on Aug. 22 and Talley was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail.
Michael Swenson, 19, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of armed robbery and assault by means of a dangerous weapon.
Swenson was sentenced to two and a half to three years in state prison in connection with a theft from La Fogata Restaurant on Tyler Street on Aug. 7.
An additional count of assault by means of a dangerous weapon was dismissed by the state.
Jason Daigneault, 24, of Cheshire had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, larceny from a building and breaking glass in a building.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 cash or surety bail.
Daigneault allegedly broke into Aaron's Sales and Lease in Pittsfield on July 1.