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North Adams Man Arraigned on Child Porn Charges

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — David B. Harris of North Adams was arraigned on Wednesday in Berkshire Superior Court on single counts of possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.

He had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf before Judge Daniel Ford. He was released on $2,500 bail.

The 66-year-old former headmaster was arrested July 18, 2010, after police executed a search warrant at his Marion Avenue home. Police say they found USB drives with pornographic materials and a laptop with links to pornographic sites involving young boys. He is alleged to have disseminated child pornography on Jan. 24, 2010, and to be in possession of the materials on July 18. 

State police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office had been conducting a two months-long investigation, with assistance from both the Massachusetts and New York Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, as well as state police with the Middlesex district attorney's office and with the New York attorney general's office.

The Middlesex and New York police were involved because Harris was head of school for the Cambridge Montessori School, a private school for children from preschool to ninth grade, in Cambridge until his arrest and a trustee of one New York private school and former headmaster of another. He spent a decade as headmaster at Pine Cobble School in Williamstown until leaving in 2000.
 

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Roof Repair Scam Reported

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Police Department is warning North Berkshire residents that a couple of home-improvement scammers are on the loose.

Police say two people posing as roofing contractors are telling homeowners that they've done work on their homes before. They gain access purportedly to check the house for any visible water leaks in the ceiling. One gets into the house with the owner, makes sure no one else is home, then asks the homeowner to walk around the exterior to survey for any roof damage

While the owner is occupied, the second scammer searches the house for cash and valuables.
 
Police report one victim to this scam in the North Adams area. The suspect who approached the victim used the name of Billy Wood. When he left the house, he got into the passenger side of a silver pickup truck with tinted windows driven by a second suspect.

Anyone with information about the scammers or who may have been approached by individuals offering a simiar story, is urged to contact their local police agency. Business numbers for county police departments can be found on the righthand side of the Blotter.

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Man Struck, Killed by Train in Richmond

Staff Reports

RICHMOND, Mass. — A 28-year-old man was struck and killed by a train in Richmond late Tuesday afternoon. The man's name had not yet been released pending notification of kin.

According to an eyewitness, it appeared that the man jumped in front of the moving train.    

State police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, in charge of the investigation, say the CSX freight train struck the man about 4 p.m. in the vicinity of Town Beach Road. Dr. Benjamin Glick, a local state medical examiner, pronounced the man dead at the scene.  

State police investigators were assisted at the scene by state troopers from the Lee barracks, members of the Pittsfield Police Department and the Richmond Volunteer Fire Department.  

Update: Police on Wednesday afternoon released the man's name. He was Nicholas Van Alstine of Amesbury. He was strucked and killed by a CSX freight train. According to eyewitnesses, it appeared that Van Alstine jumped in front of the moving train, and investigators are treating his death as a suicide.

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North Adams Welcomes 5 Reserve Officers

Staff Reports

Officers Kerry Columbus, Brad Vivori, Trevor Manning and Nicholas Kaiser pose outside the City Council Chambers after being sworn in.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Kerry Columbus, Nicholas Kaiser, Trevor Manning and Brad Vivori were sworn in as permanent reserve officers at Tuesday's City Council meeting. A fifth officer, Jacquelyn Mason, was not able to attend.

The four officers were sworn in by City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau and pinned by Mayor Richard Alcombright. The mayor said the new reserves will help beef up the force which is down by six officers: two are serving overseas, two are out on injuries (suffered during bicycle training for a community policing program) and two are attending the academy.

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Basement Fire Damages Clarksburg Home

Staff Reports

Photo by Seth Shepard
Emergency vehicles blocked Middle Road for about an hour on Monday afternoon as firefighters doused a basement fire at 96 Middle Road.

 CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A smoky basement fire on Monday damaged a home on Middle Road not far from the town border with North Adams.

Firefighters from Clarksburg and Stamford, Vt., responded to an apparent electrical fire at 96 Middle Road at about 4:30. Witnesses said smoke could be seen pouring from the back of the building.

Emergency vehicles blocked the road for about an hour as they contained the blaze. Pumper trucks used the small pond across the street from the gray house to send water shooting into the back yard.

Firefighters had to cut through the back wall near the rear entrance to get to the blaze, which was doused within a half-hour. North Adams Ambulance also responded but no one was reported injured. No further information was immediately available.

 

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