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Adams-Cheshire Administrator Faces Drug Charge
Staff Reports On: 04:20PM / Friday January 25, 2013
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — A police investigation led to the arrest on Thursday morning of an employee of the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.

Supervisor of Special Services Kurt M. Garivaltis, 45, is being charged with possession of a Class B substance, Percocet. He is to be arraigned on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in Northern Berkshire District Court.

Superintendent Kristen Gordon confirmed on Friday that an employee was arrested after an ongoing investigation led authorities to do a car search in the school's parking lot and a search of the employee's office at about 7:45 a.m. on Thursday.

"At about 9 a.m., the authorities informed me they were going to make an arrest at that time and we put the school in a soft lockdown," said Gordon, who estimated the lockdown lasted about 11 minutes and was done to shield the children from seeing someone they knew in handcuffs.

She said at no time was anyone in any danger and the investigation had nothing to do with firearms or anything related to that.

"The authorities were extremely respectful of the fact this was an elementary school," she said, adding that the individual "is not working at the moment."

The arrest was made by the Berkshire State Police Detective Unit after executing a search warrant. According to a report filed in court by Trooper Daren W. Snyder, detectives discovered Percocet during the search "for which [Garivaltis] did not have a prescription."



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Superior Court Briefs: January 22 - January 24
Staff Reports On: 03:00PM / Friday January 25, 2013
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, January 22.

Raymond Brito, 20, of Bronx, N.Y. pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and battery.

He was sentenced to two years at the Berkshire County House of Correction, which will be served on and after a sentence he is currently serving in New York.

The incidents occurred at a residential school in New Marlborough between January 1, 2010 and March 6, 2010. Two counts of rape of a child with force were dismissed by the state.

Denzel Moody, 19, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of drug violation in a park zone and single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of ecstasy.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $2,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on Jan. 10.

Eyzaiya Moody, 29, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - drug violation in a school zone, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a public employee, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license - his second offense - negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stop for a police officer.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle chase in Pittsfield on Jan. 4.

Donald Thomas, 53, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: distribution of cocaine.

He was placed on six months probation. The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on May 5, 2011. A single count of possession of cocaine was dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, January 23.

Steven Signor Jr., 26, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

He was placed on one year probation. Signor conspired with others to possess with the intent to distribute drugs in Pittsfield on February 23, 2011. Single counts of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and drug violation in a school zone were dismissed by the state.

Brian Podavini, 42, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: distribution of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

He was sentenced to two to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Podavini conspired with others to sell cocaine in Pittsfield on April 3, 2012 and was in possession of the drug on the same date.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, January 24.

James Kerr, 23, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty on two counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, two counts of malicious destruction of personal property over $250, two counts of larceny in a building, three counts of intimidation of a witness, and single counts of receiving stolen property over $250 and common and notorious thief.

The charges stem from a series of house breaks in Richmond, Dalton and Pittsfield between October 21, 2010 and January 30, 2012. The intimidation charges stem from incidents in Pittsfield between May 18, 2012 and May 25, 2012.

Kerr was sentenced to concurrent two years at the Berkshire County House of Correction for the breaking and entering, malicious destruction, larceny and receiving stolen property charges. He was given a one year sentenced at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the intimidation charges, which will be served after the other sentence. He was placed on two years probation on he common and notorious thief charge.

Richard Rathbun, 43, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

He was sentenced to six months at the Berkshire County House of Correction. Rathbun assaulted a man who is now 50-years-old in Pittsfield on March 25, 1995. A single count of burglary was dismissed by the state.

Robert Smith, 35, of Dalton was found guilty of five counts of rape and abuse of a child, no force, three counts of rape and abuse of a child aggravated by an age difference, two counts of dissemination of obscene matter to a minor and a single count of inducing a minor to engage in sexual intercourse.

He was sentenced to concurrent 25 to 40 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The incidents involved a girl who is now 17-years-old and a boy who is now 14-years-old and occurred in Richmond between January 1, 2004 and June 10, 2010.



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Stamford Firefighters Respond to Report of Smoking Floor
Staff Reports On: 09:53PM / Thursday January 24, 2013
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Firefighters were at a home on Main Road on Thursday night for reports of smoke in a floor.

STAMFORD, Vt. — Firefighters were at the scene of a reported structure fire on Main Road on Thursday evening.

The call came in around 8:40 of a possible fire in the floor of 1085 Main Road, near a woodstove. The floor was reportedly smoking.

With temperatures hovering around 10 degrees, firefighters stationed around the house while some entered with equipment. Smoke could be seen through the open front door, where firefighters appeared to be cutting through the floor.

Update: Fire Chief Paul Ethier emailed us the particulars Friday morning.

The call came in as a structure fire.

"The couple that lived at the home came home and found their house filled with smoke," said Ethier. "When we arrived on scene, we found fire burning through the floor structure below the woodstove in the living room. We knocked that down pretty quickly with one handline."

Ethier said the fire was contained to the area of origin but the home did sustain some minor structural damage. In addition, some electrical wires in the area were also damaged and will have to be replaced.

Firefighters removed two pets from the home; no one was injured.

"Our firefighters did a great job and were able to keep damage to a minimum," said the fire chief. "We initally called for mutual aid from Readsboro and Clarksburg, however, once we were able to get on scene and knock down the fire, firefighters from Readsboro were canceled."

Clarksburg firefighters stayed on the scene with their airtruck and refilled the SCBA bottles. The North Adams Ambulance Service was also on scene.



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Cheshire Home Severely Damaged by Fire
By Andy McKeever On: 05:10PM / Thursday January 24, 2013
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Firefighters cut holes in the roof to access to the flames.

CHESHIRE, Mass. — A single-family home on School Street was severely damaged by fire on Thursday afternooon.

Firefighters responded to the call at about 3 p.m. of a fire in the basement.

"When they got here the fire had spread into the walls and up into the ceiling," said Fire Chief Tom Francesconi. "The first crews found heavy smoke, not a lot of fire at first, but when they made entry into the back of the house they found heavy fire near the furnace and in the chimney area."

Francesconi said it took about a 30 to 40 minutes to knock the visible flames down; firefighters were still mopping up at about 4:30.

Lanesborough and Adams fire departments also responded, Dalton covered the Cheshire fire house and North Adams Ambulance brought its rehab unit.

The fire chief said no one was injured but the homeowner's cat was said to be missing. Earlier reports from the scene were that the house was unoccupied at the time, but Francesconi could not confirm that.

According to the documents on file at the Registry of Deeds, the house has been owned by Michael Gallagher since November.

The fire is believed to have started in the basement at the back of the house but the cause has not yet been determined.

"There is heavy smoke damage," said Francesconi, who added he had not yet been inside. But had walked around the perimeter. "The backside of the house has quite a bit of fire damage. ... Definitely a lot of smoke and fire damage on the bottom, as you can see, the bottom skirt area. The fire got into that crawlspace and went right up the walls into the attic."

The fire chief said single-digit temperatures were not a hindrance but were taxing for firefighters. They were taking advantage the rehab unit's heated tent.

"There's heat and everything in the tent, so we've been rotating firefighters in and out of the tent," he said. "It's helped a lot."



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Adams Woman Convicted of Credit Union Embezzlement
Staff Reports On: 08:24PM / Wednesday January 23, 2013
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BOSTON — An Adams woman and former credit union employee was convicted on Jan. 17 of embezzling nearly $160,000 and making false entries into the books of the credit union.

Patricia Piscioneri, 67, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor to a 30-count indictment charging her with embezzlement of funds by a credit union employee and false entries.

She faces up to 30 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release and a $1 million fine.

While employed as the manager of the former Adams Municipal Employees Federal Credit Union (AMEFCU) between 2001 and 2005, Piscioneri embezzled credit union funds by creating fraudulent loan accounts in the names of credit union members and depositing the proceeds of these fraudulent loans into her own account(s), her husband's account(s), or other family members' account(s), or used the proceeds to pay off previously obtained fraudulent loans.

In an attempt to avoid detection, Piscioneri created fraudulent loan documentation, such as loan applications and promissory notes, and forged signatures on the fraudulent loan documentation. Additionally, Piscioneri created false entries in the AMEFCU accounting system and advanced the payment due dates of the fraudulent loans.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 25, 2013.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Boston Field Division, made the announcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle L. Dineen Jerrett of Ortiz's Health Care Fraud Unit.



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News Headlines
Larabee, Giorgi Honored With 'Frankie' Awards
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Armory Takes Lead in Torchia Softball League Final
Legislative Q&A: State Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli
MCLA Women's Soccer Ties; Tennis, Volleyball, Men's Soccer Win
Holiday Hours: Labor Day
Clarksburg Weighing Bridge Plans, Preparing Special Town Meeting
MCLA Men's Soccer Rolls in Opener
'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For': Graphic, Indeed
Register now for Ys Superhero 5K Challenge on Sept. 13
Crimewatch Links

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Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
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Lee 413-243-2100
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