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Swift Storm Knocks Out Power

Staff Reports

Cranwell Resort in Lenox tweeted us this photo of a large tree that fell after the storm came through. The pic was taken by the resort's director of sales, Dawn R. Jacobsson.

 NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Several sections of the county were hit by a fast-moving storm that downed trees and power lines. At 9 p.m., Western Mass. Electric Co. was reporting some 22,000 customers out of power in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties.


The wind split this tree in Williamstown.

Nearly all of New Ashford was reported out of power and nearly half of nearby Lanesborough. The hilltowns, including Becket and Washington, weathered the storm better, with no reported outages.

National Grid reported minor, scattered outages throughout, with about 31 customers out of power on Florida Mountain.

One our readers reported traffic lights out in Pittsfield shortly after the storm moved through and Cranwell Resort sent a picture of a large tree down in its driveway. "Tree down on road on our property — Our topnotch crew is already on the scene, removing debris," the Lenox resort tweeted us. A section of a large tree in Williamstown near the Dunkin' Donuts on Main Street also came down in the storm.

"Every county in WMECo's service area is affected, with the most customers without power in the towns of Sunderland, Agawam, Ludlow, Springfield, West Springfield, Hadley and Southampton," according to a press statement from WMECo.

WMECo reminds residents to treat all wires as live and stay a minimum of 10 feet away. Even getting close to an energized wire can have deadly consequences. Call 911 or WMECo immediately.

Home generators should always be installed by a qualified electrician. Improperly installed generators can backfeed into our lines, which could be deadly to our workers.

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New Police Officers in North Adams

Staff Reports

Officer Christopher Gelinas is sworn in by City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau in the City Council Chambers.

Two new police officers, Christopher Gelinas and Gregory Onorato, were sworn in at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The two men have been working with the force as reserves for some time. They will bring the full-time force up to 24 officers, not including Police Director Michael Cozzaglio.

Mayor Richard Alcombright shakes hands with newly sworn in Officer Gregory Onorato.

With most recent session of the Police Academy training already under way, the two men have received waivers to work until the next session begins. The force currently has two men at the academy and two in military service overseas, including Officer Brandon Lane, who was sworn in in February.

Mayor Richard Alcombright has revived the tradition of welcoming and swearing-in new officers and firefighters at City Council meetings. Lane and firefighter Matthew Davis were the first to introduced under the new administration.

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North Adams to Get 2 Additional Police Officers

Staff Reports

North Adams will soon have two additional full-time police officers, to be sworn in on Tuesday, April 13, at the City Council meeting.

According to an announcement issued by the office of Mayor Richard Alcombright, the move is "yet another step towards assuring that this new administration will continue to support law enforcement efforts with the end result being a safer community."

Other recent efforts to reduce crime include the development of a Neighborhood Crime Watch Program, which currently is underway with watch groups forming citywide.

Despite a "tight budget," Alcombright credited Commissioner of Public Safety E. John Morocco for his "creative methods that will allow this community to afford the new officers." According to the mayor's office, the city will use a state 911 grant to pay dispatchers' salaries, freeing up money in the budget for police salaries.

Commissioner Morocco stated that “while more police does not necessarily translate into an immediate reduction in crime, feet on the street are a very important to be certain that all shifts are properly staffed and that police can respond quickly and efficiently when multiple calls are being handled.”

Looking ahead, Alcombright said he hopes to implement methods of community policing, such as putting put police on bicycles and in neighborhoods this summer.

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North Adams Woman Killed in 91 Crash

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A 34-year-old city woman was killed, and three other people were injured Friday morning, March 26, in a two-car crash on Route 91 in Longmeadow.

Tracy Gomez was driving a 2000 Hyundai Sonata southbound shortly before 10 a.m. when she apparently tried to turn left from the far right lane to use the median turnaround at the .8 mile marker, according to state police from the Springfield barracks.

Her driver's side door was struck by a 1996 GMC Jimmy being operated by 69-year-old Karl Johnson Sr. of West Suffield, Conn., that was traveling in the left lane adjacent to the median, according a preliminary investigation by Trooper Christopher Keyes.

Gomez was pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger, 66-year-old Stephen Bowen of Springfield, was extricated from the vehicle and transported to Baystate Hospital in Springfield with serious injuries. The passenger of the Jimmy, 50-year-old Karl Johnson Jr. of West Suffield, and his father were taken to Baystate Hospital with serious injuries as well.

The accident was reported at 9:56 a.m. The left and middle travel lanes were closed for approximately two hours during the crash investigation.

The crash is under investigation by Troop B with the assistance of the Crime Scene Services Section, Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section and troopers from the Hampden County district attorney's office.

Troopers were additionally assisted at the scene by the Longmeadow Fire Department, AMR ambulance service, and MassHighway.

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Neighborhood Crime Watch Seeks a Young Artist to Design Logo

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Neighborhood Crime Watch seeks the participation of North Adams youth, not only at its meetings, but as a creative force.

The crime watch is soliciting logo designs for its program, and the winning designer will receive $100. The contest is open to students in grades six through 12 who reside in North Adams. The drawing/logo that will be chosen will be used on all Neighborhood Watch t-shirts, stickers and letterhead. It is important to think about using mediums that will transfer well into a logo or design that can be printed easily; thinking "outside of the box" is encouraged.

All drawings should be submitted on a standard white sheet of paper by April 10, 2010 and sent c/o NW Art, nbCC, 61 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Write your name, address and telephone number in black ink on the back of the submission.

The crime watch is a collaboration of the City of North Adams, North Adams Police Department and Northern Berkshire Community Coalition; it  has 17 captains throughout the city who are volunteering to help organize their neighborhood and make it a safer place to live by simply connecting and communicating with their neighbors.

For more information, contact Ashley Benson at 413-663-7588. 

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