President of Enviro-Labs Faces Additional Charges
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — William Enser Jr., the president of Berkshire Enviro-Labs, was back in Superior Court on Tuesday facing new charges.
Enser previously pleaded not guilty to 15 counts of knowingly falsifying reports submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection and 15 counts of willfully making false reports to MassDEP. He allegedly backdated drinking-water sample analysis to cover up misconduct and feign compliance with environmental laws.
He now faces an additional 14 counts of willfully making false reports to the MassDEP and another 14 counts of knowingly falsifying submitted reports, all of which he pleaded not guilty to in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday. The additional charges brings the total counts up to 58.
According to Attorney General Martha Coakley, Enser, 63, of Lee, continued to work at the lab through February 2013 and failed to submit required sampling that showed bacterial contamination in drinking water samples.
Enser allegedly hid samples that revealed contamination and instead took multiple samples and sent only passing results to the state. Authorities say that in one instance in October 2012, Enser directed an employee to report a drinking water sample which had come from the tap in the Enviro-Labs’ office instead of the public water source.
The lab's certification for testing samples has been revoked by the state.
"These additional charges allege that this defendant failed to submit water sample analysis that showed bacterial contamination to the MassDEP," Coakley said in a press release issued on Tuesday. "He is now prohibited from being involved in the operation of the company and is no longer able to tamper with water testing reports and potentially put people at risk."
After the first arraignment, Enser was prohibited by the court to act as the drinking water system operator, take drinking water samples, conducting water testing or reporting water data. But, he remained active with the company and Judge Daniel Ford ordered receivership of Enviro-Labs. Enser is prohibited from being involved in the company in any way.
"The Environmental Strike Force's continued investigation into the activities of Mr. Enser, who has already been indicted for falsifying drinking water reports, has now revealed evidence of additional fraud," said Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell of MassDEP. "MassDEP is committed to upholding the integrity and the safety of drinking water programs across the Commonwealth."
The investigation began in September 2012. Enser is due back in court in June.
Pittsfield Police Seeking Suspect in Bank Robbery
Pittsfield Co-op's Dalton Avenue branch was closed Monday afternoon after it was robbed. Above, the suspect in the robbery captured by cameras leaving the scene.
UPDATE: Tuesday, April 2, 2013: Police have released photos of the suspect.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are searching for a suspect in the robbery of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank's 110 Dalton Ave. branch.
According to Pittsfield Police, the robbery occurred at about 1 p.m. when a man passed a note to a teller. Police say no weapon was shown but they have not revealed the contents of the note.
An undisclosed amount of cash was taken and the suspect left on foot on Dartmouth Street.
Police Chief Michael Wynn said no one was injured in the incident.
"In a very quick period of time, patrol responded, had good information, description information," he told the Police Advisory Board on Monday evening. "K-9 tracked to an adjoinng street where the suspect, they believe, got into a car."
The suspect is described as a white man, in his late 30s to mid-40s, approximately 5-feet-8 and weighing between 200 and 210 pounds. He was wearing a yellow "Pelle Pelle" T-shirt, tan cap and black rectangular-frame glasses.
The Detective Bureau is reviewing video from the bank and adjoining businesses.
If anyone has information, call the Pittsfield Police Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.
Local Animal Advocate Offers Reward in Adams Cat Case
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Allen Harris, president of Berkshire Money Management, is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the recent cruel and sadistic treatment of a cat in the vicinity of Howland Avenue in Adams.
The young cat, named Cleo, was found left to die in a makeshift setup to hang the animal. Luckily, a passerby heard the choking cat, called 911, and saved its life.
"This is a heinous crime. I recognize that without some additional incentive the perpetrator or perpetrators may not be brought to justice," said Harris in a statement. "I implore anyone who knows something, anything, that may be helpful to law enforcement to do the right thing and report it."
Those with any information about the crime should call Adams Police at 413-743-1212.
Harris said he was shocked and appalled reading the details of the despicable acts. Such cruel behavior should not be tolerated, whether the victim is a cat, dog or any other living creature.
Harris and his wife, Stacey Carver, have been longtime supporters of vulnerable animals in the community. They have dedicated time and resources to several causes including Berkshire Animal DREAMS, New England Basset Hound Rescue, Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter and others. Carver is a board member for Animal DREAMS and New England Basset Hound Rescue Inc. and Harris is a member of the city of Pittsfield Animal Control Board.
Cleo has recovered from her trauma but is still uneasy around humans. She is seeking a kind and loving home. Find out more about her here. A benefit to offset the costs of Cleo's care is being held by Northern Berkshire Cat Rescue on Feb. 24.
Pittsfield DPW Building Destroyed By Fire
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — One firefighter was taken to the hospital during a blaze at the city's highway department building Monday morning.
According to Deputy Chief Bruce Kilmer, the fire began on the upper floors around 9 a.m.
While attempting to knock down the flames, one firefighter sustained a burn on his neck. He was transported to Berkshire Medical Center for Treatment. No other injuries were reported.
As of 11 a.m., the fire was still burning but was mostly contained.
"The major body of the fire is down. We're just working hard to get in there at this time," Kilmer said of the fire that was smoldering in the attic.
"It's just a hard fire to get at," he said.
Pittsfield Woman Injured in Snowmobile Crash
WOODFORD, Vt. — A Pittsfield, Mass., woman was taken to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington after her snowmobile struck a tree on Thursday evening, Jan. 3.
According to state police, Chelsea Hawksley, 27, was traveling west on a Vermont Association Of Snow Travelers (VAST) trail in Woodford when she lost control of her 2012 Ski-doo 600, left the trail and struck a tree.
The crash was reported at about 7 p.m. Hawksley, who had been wearing a helmet, was transported to the hospital by Bennington Rescue with unknown injuries. She was reportedly still at SVMC on Monday. The snowmobile was totaled.