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Nilan Receives Slap On Wrist For Pedestrian Accident
Staff Reports On: 03:38PM / Wednesday June 06, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Meredith Nilan must apologize to the man she nearly killed ... and that's basically it.

According to The Berkshire Eagle, Nilan, 24, pled guilty to negligent operation of a motor vehicle on Wednesday — admitting that she hit Peter Moore while driving her father's car on Dec. 8, 2011, on Winesap Road.

Moore suffered multiple injuries including a broken neck and a brain injury and Nilan was accused of fleeing from the scene.

The case finally reached Central Berkshire District Court on Wednesday, when Nilan reached a plea bargain. In exchange for pleading guilty, Nilan's case was continued without a finding for six months, and she was ordered not operate a vehicle between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. for 30 days and write a letter of apology admitting her negligence to Moore. A charge of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident was dismissed.

The case against the daughter of the chief probation officer at Berkshire Superior Court nearly never saw a courtroom when Westfield Clerk Magistrate Nathan Byrnes found no probable cause of her guilt. However, the Police Department appealed the decision and Springfield District Court Judge William Hadley overturned Byrnes' ruling.

Pittsfield Man Sentenced To 25 Years For Child Rape
Staff Reports On: 02:47PM / Tuesday June 05, 2012
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — A Pittsfield man was sentenced to 19 to 25 years in prison on dozens of child rape related charges.

Aaron Tarjick, 36, of Pittsfield was found guilty by a jury in Hampshire Superior Court on Tuesday on 17 counts of sexual acts toward two separate child victims — 13 of which occurred in Berkshire County.

Tarjick was found guilty on 11 counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, three counts of forcible rape of a child and single counts of aggravated rape of a child, rape and abuse of a child and open and gross lewd and lascivious acts.

He was found not guilty on a single count of posing and exhibiting a child in a state of nudity.

Of those charges, a Berkshire County grand jury indicted him on eight counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, four counts of forcible rape of a child and a single count of posing and exhibiting a child in a state of nudity. The Berkshire County offenses occurred between 2006 and 2010 in Dalton and Becket.

Tarjick was arrested on August 18, 2010 after the biological father of one of the victim notified the state police that his 13-year-old daughter had been sexually assaulted in Middlefield. The state police investigation revealed that Tarjick committed similar acts on the same victim and another victim in Dalton and Becket.

The investigation resulted to a search warrant being executed at the defendant's Middlefield home and subsequent arrest.

Tarjick was sentenced on Tuesday to 19 to 25 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised probation. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

"Justice has been served... I am grateful to the jury for their attentiveness and hard work. Sitting as a juror on a child abuse case is particularly difficult and this case was certainly no exception," Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Linda Pisano said in a statement. "My biggest praise goes to the victims who had the incredible courage to come forward and tell their very difficult story. The bravery of the victims has helped other children be safe."

Tarjick's wife, Mackenzie Tarjick, 34, also of Pittsfield is awaiting her trial on a single count of wanton or reckless endangerment of a child under 18. Her trial is scheduled for the summer.

Mass Disturbance Follows Pittsfield Street Fair
By Joe Durwin On: 11:19PM / Thursday May 17, 2012

Police made a number of arrests and used pepper spray to disperse the burgeoning crowd.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Melee broke out on Melville Street immediately following the conclusion of the first 3rd Thursday street fair of the season, resulting in extensive crowd control measures and multiple arrests.

According to the Police Department, the incident initially stemmed from a fight between two young women on the small side street just off North Street, then spiraled into chaos when two officers responding on the scene became surrounded by a large crowd of youths.

Capt. David Granger estimated that a crowd of more than 100 people, mostly teenagers, converged around the initial disturbance.

"They tried to break up the fight. A mob mentality took over, from the large crowd. Multiple arrests were made," he said.

Well over a dozen officers arrived on the scene, including three plain-clothed officers who emerged from an unmarked police vehicle as screaming teens ran in all directions. Pepper spray was used to push back the disorganized crush of onlookers, and several youths were seen leaving the scene showing visible signs of facial spraying. At least three young men were seen being subdued and handcuffed in the street and adjacent parking lot.

A number of the young people present at the disturbance voiced the opinion that excessive force was used in containing the initial incident.

"After 3rd Thursday, they told us we needed to get off the street, so we did, and there's some stupid people fighting," said one young girl, a relative of one of those arrested. "My nephew's standing there looking around, and nine cops tackled him for no reason. All of a sudden they're running around pepper spraying everybody."

Police ordered all pedestrians to clear Melville Street and intersecting North Pearl Street, opposite the Boys & Girls Club, a process made more complicated by a continuing stream of curious pedestrians from among the large crowd still circulating on North Street. The street remained closed for approximately a half-hour in the aftermath of the affray.

Granger said he would classify the incident as "a large disturbance" rather than a riot.

Aggressive Pittsfield Fox Tests Positive For Rabies
On: 10:26AM / Wednesday May 09, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The aggressive fox put down over the weekend tested positive for rabies.
The attacks happened in the vicinity of upper Williams Street, Pine Grove Drive and Harryel Street on May 4 and 5.
"This positive diagnosis does not mean that there is going to be an outbreak of rabies within the city," said Merridith O'Leary, the public health director. She does advise, however, to make sure pets are properly vaccinated.
The Pittsfield Health Department also suggests for people to not keep wild animals as pets, to avoid feeding your pets outside, and to securely cover your garbage.

There is no evidence that rabies is increasing in Pittsfield, in Western Massachusetts, or anywhere else, according to O'Leary. The state Department of Public Health issues quarterly reports on numbers of rabid animals and in the first quarter (Jan. 1 – March 30) of 2012, out of the 14 specimens that were sent to the lab for testing from Berkshire County, all specimens tested negative for the rabies virus. 

"In Massachusetts, raccoons are the animal most likely to carry rabies. Rabid raccoons are most likely to infect another raccoon; however, because the virus causes animals to behave abnormally, they may sometimes attack another species and spread the virus," she said. "This is termed a 'spill over' event and it is extremely rare to see a 'spill over' event result in more rabies cases."

Rabies is a very serious disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of fur bearing mammals, including humans.  Though rabies is usually a disease of wild animals, it can spread from an infected animal to a person. Transmission of the rabies virus occurs only when the saliva from a rabid animal is infectious and if a person or animal is exposed to that saliva from a bite, in a scratch, or in their eyes, nose or mouth. 

Anyone who may have had direct contact with saliva from a fox or any other wild animal, should first wash out the wound with soap and water for ten minutes, then immediately contact their health-care provider, the Health Department, or state Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800.
Anyone who may have witnessed aggressive behavior by a fox in this area, or who may have been exposed to this animal, should contact the animal control officers at 413-448-9700, Ext 335.

Pittsfield Police Put Down Aggressive Fox
Pittsfield Police On: 06:32PM / Monday May 07, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An aggressive fox was put down over the weekend after several attacks.

The Pittsfield Police Department's Patrol and Animal Control Units responded to multiple calls involving an aggressive fox in the outer Williams Street area on Friday night, May 4, and Saturday morning, May 5. 

The department responded to or investigated three separate incidents involving one dog and two people who were bitten.

During the Saturday morning incident, the fox was put down by patrol officers and the remains have been transported to the state lab for testing.

Anyone who may have witnessed aggressive behavior by a fox in this area, or who may have been exposed to this animal, should contact the Department's Animal Control Officers at 413-448-9700, Ext 335.

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