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Early Morning Fire Destroys Adams Home
By Andy McKeever On: 08:54AM / Friday January 04, 2013
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No one was home when the fire broke out.

ADAMS, Mass. — Firefighters knocked down an early morning structure fire Friday that destroyed a home; no one was injured.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Fire Chief Paul Goyette said later Friday afternoon that the cause was believed to be a faulty light switch.

"The point of origin was at the top of the stairs in the center of the building," said Goyette. "It was a malfunction of a light circut due to, mostly likely, the grounding of the circuit."

The electrical fire had been smoldering for some time before the department was alerted to the by-then fully involved structure fire at 18 Brown St. at 5:30 a.m.

The single-family home is owned by Robert Wadsworth, who was at work at the time.

The house to the east on the residential street had some buckling of its siding because of the heat but other than that no other structures were damaged. "Really, we were fortunate there was not a large wind," said Goyette. "We did get a break in the weather.

The Brown Street house in a total loss and will have to be torn down, he said. The owner has a place to stay for now.

According to Fire Chief Paul Goyette, the department received a call of a well-involved structure fire on Brown Street at about 5:30 a.m.

The homeowner was not home at the time, Goyette said, and no firefighters were injured during the following two hours of fighting the blaze in the frigid temperatures.

Goyette said the department found heavy smoke upon arriving on the scene and prepared to mount an interior attack but just before entering the front door, the roof ignited and firefighters switched to the defensive.

"We were at the front door ready to go but the roof self-ventilated and I'm not going to risk anybody's life for a house," Goyette said, and later added that "it had a good start on us. It was smoldering in the attic until it had enough oxygen to break out."

Police had already identified and contacted the owner, who appears to be the sole occupant and was at work. North Adams Fire Department assisted in laying a hose across Howland Avenue and police closed the main throughway for a brief period of time.

"We have limited water supply down here," Goyette said.

Goyette said there was a hydrant, which worked fine, and the cold weather had "no effect whatsoever" on the department's ability to effectively fight it.

By 8 a.m., firefighters were packing up supplies but some will remain on scene to look for hot spots. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

Adams and North Adams ambulance services provided rehab service on the scene and the Cheshire Fire Department covered Adams' station.

Updated 4:50 p.m. with cause an further information from fire chief.



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Retired North Adams Worker Gives Signs of Esteem
By Tammy Daniels On: 06:58PM / Wednesday January 02, 2013
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Retired Wire & Alarm worker Robert J. Upton presents a sign dedicated to firefighters past and present to city firefighters and Fire Director Stephen Meranti, left. Also attending was Mayor Richard Alcombright, standing next to Upton.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Robert J. Upton was struck by inspiration driving home one day from his retirement job at Stamford Valley (Vt.) Golf Course — how to show his regard for his former city colleagues.

"People complain about our public safety all the time," said the former Wire & Alarm Division worker. "I thought it was time to do something good for them."

Upton is probably best known as the man who for years strung the Christmas lights along Main Street and on the city's two large trees — and the one who took them down afterward. He retired more than a year ago.

A couple weeks ago, he presented the Fire Department with a sign "Dedicated to all past & Departed Fire Fighters"; on Wednesday, he presented a similar sign to the Police Department.

Upton wanted a gesture that would be public and lasting and that would express his feelings about the nearly 30 years he'd worked along side the public safety departments.

"They could dispay them at the Police Department and the fire station and people would see it," he said of his decision to create signage similar to a plaque.

"Bob has always been thought of as member of our firefighting family," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti, who also oversees Wire & Alarm. "He has always been there when we needed him. We will display this plaque with honor in the station."

Upton said the design was created with the computer graphics help of Jessica Tietgens, who also works at the golf course. "She came up with the designs for me," he said. "She's a good person."

The first sign was created and donated by Michael Sacco and Peace Train Tees at the Berkshire Mall; Beck's Printing made the one for the police station.

"They are always right there when you need them," said Upton of the city's public safety personnel. "I just figured that somebody should show they're appreciated.

"Eventually, down the road, I'd like to give one to the ambulance service as well."



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False Fire Alarms Triggers Evacuation of C.T. Plunkett
Staff Reports On: 03:56PM / Wednesday January 02, 2013
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ADAMS, Mass. — The day at C.T. Plunkett Elementary School was interrupted Wednesday when the fire alarms unexpectedly sounded and students were evacuated to the First Congregational Church.

According to a statement released by Principal Michelle Colvin, the alarms sounded at about 8:45 a.m. and students and staff evacuated the building. Because of cold weather, the students were brought to the First Congregational Church to keep warm. There, all students were accounted for while emergency personnel determined that there were no issues inside the building.

At 9 a.m. an automated call was made to all parents informing them of the situation and shortly afterward, the students were bused back to continue to school day. The alarm company was called to inspect the system.



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Superior Court Briefs: December 11 - December 21
Staff Reports On: 02:19PM / Friday December 21, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, December 11.

Jeanne Kuklewicz, 32, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of unarmed robbery, assault and battery on a public employee, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

She was released on $500 bail. Kuklewicz is being accused of unarmed robbery at Price Chopper in Pittsfield on Aug. 11. The other charges stem from her arrest the following day.

Joseph Baker, 30, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on a single count of unarmed robbery.

Baker was allegedly involved in an unarmed robbery at Price Chopper on Aug. 11. He was released on personal recognizance.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Friday, December 14.

Kevin Sadlow, 52, of Plainfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of Xanax with intent to distribute and possession of Ambien with intent to distribute.

He was sentenced to serve concurrent two to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The charges stem from an incident in Adams on Feb. 11. One count of operating under the influence of drugs was dismissed by the state.
 
Christopher Riddle, 28, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of armed robbery in connection with a robbery at Kirk's Variety in Pittsfield on July 10. He also pleaded guilty to single counts of unarmed robbery and possession of heroin with an incident that took place at Dunkin Donuts on Dalton Avenue in Pittsfield.

He was sentenced to seven to eight years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the unarmed robbery charge, He was also given concurrent six and a half to eight years on the armed robbery charge and a concurrent 10 day sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession of heroin charge.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, December 17.

Kijuame Taft, 32, of Waterbury, Conn. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of armed robbery, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and intimidation of a witness or other person. The charges are in connection with an incident in Great Barrington on Sept. 15.

He was released on $5,000 bail.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, December 18.

Jody Adamczyk, 38, of Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws.

She was sentenced to one year, suspended, at the Berkshire County House of Correction and placed on two years probation.  The incident occurred in Adams between November 1, 2010 and November 25, 2010. Three accounts of distribution of methadone were dismissed by the state.

Tina Haddock, 32, of Great Barrington pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

The case was continued without a finding for one year. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant in Great Barrington on Aug. 1. A single count of possession of heroin was dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, December 19.

Nicholas Rando, 24, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, breaking and entering in the daytime, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, fraudulent use of a credit card, uttering, forgery and larceny under $250.

The charges are in connection with incident in Pittsfield between June 25 and Oct. 27. He was sentenced to two and a half to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the breaking and entering, fraudulent use of a credit card, uttering and forgery. He was given a concurrent sentenced at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the assault and larceny charges.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, December 20.

Stephen Sitton III, 37, of Hartford, Conn. pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

He was sentenced to serve concurrent two to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.

The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 99 Howland Avenue in Adams on Aug. 10. A single count of being present where heroin is kept was dismissed by the state.

Sid Dudley, 40, of Adams pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

He was sentenced to serve concurrent two to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.

The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 99 Howland Avenue in Adams on Aug. 10. A single count of being present where heroin is kept was dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Friday, December 21.

Adam Pettijohn, 22, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of illegal possession of a firearm, two counts of discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling and a single count of assault by means of a dangerous weapon.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield on April 12 and Oct. 27.

Mahadi Thompson, 31, of Dalton had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of larceny from a person.

Thompson was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $30,000 cash or $300,000 surety bail. Thompson allegedly took money from employees of Convenience Plus in Pittsfield and 7-Eleven in Adams on Dec. 10.



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Lee Man Charged in Shooting
Staff Reports On: 03:13PM / Friday December 14, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Lee man is pleading not guilty in connection with a shooting Thursday evening in Lee.  

Phap Nguyen, 51, is being charged with shooting a 30-year-old man, whom police said is his stepson, at Nguyen's 175 Bear Mountain Road home.

According to the district attorney's office, Lee Police were called to the scene of the alleged shooting at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday. Officers from Lee, Lenox, Stockbridge and state police from the Lee barracks along with members of the Berkshire County Special Response Team responded.  

The victim, Jeremy Lee Deane, was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, where he underwent emergency surgery for gunshot wounds to his legs and abdomen. According to a BMC spokesperson, the victim is in stable condition.

It is alleged that Nguyen also shot and killed a dog belonging to Deane.

Nguyen appeared Friday afternoon in Central Berkshire District Court before Judge Michael Ripps.

He had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of armed assault with intent to murder and cruelty to animals. Ripps ordered that he be held without the right to bail and sent him to Bridgewater State Hospital for a competency evaluation.  

Nguyen is scheduled to be back in Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington for a pretrial hearing on Jan. 3, 2013.



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