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Williamstown Closes Spring Street For 'Beeping' Package

Staff Reports

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Spring Street was shut down for just short of an hour Wednesday morning after the Post Office received a suspicious beeping package.

Police report that Spring Street was closed at 9:20 a.m. investigate the package because it was emitting a series of beeping sounds. The town's main shopping street was closed as police and firefighters inspected the item.

Chief Kyle Johnson said the noises were coming from an electronic game from what was a care package from a Williams College student's parents. Williams College Security found the student and determined what the package was.

The road was reopened shortly after 10 a.m.

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Jury Finds Former School Counselor Not Guilty of Rape

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A jury has acquitted a former school counselor of rape and indecent assault charges.

Scott M. Muir, 38, of Stockbridge was found not guilty after 2 1/2 hours of deliberation in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday of five counts of rape of a child with force and 14 counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

The charges date back to when he was a school counselor at the Stockbridge Plain School between 2003 and 2006. Five girls, between the ages of 8 and 10, claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Muir.

Muir was charged with the crimes in April of 2012. At the time of the charges, he held municipal jobs including Stockbridge's emergency management director and facilities manager, and was a member of the Board of Health and an emergency medical technician with the Lee Volunteer Ambulance Service.

Muir pleaded not guilty to all counts. In the trial that began last week, several of the alleged victims, now in their late teens, testified that Muir had fondled them. However, an internal investigation could substantiate the complaints made at the time.

The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

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Superior Court Briefs: January 21

Staff Reports

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, January 21.

John Poole, 52, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to five counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.

He was ordered to serve concurrent four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on four counts and give two to three years on the other - serving a total of six to eight years.

Poole possessed child pornography in Pittsfield on December 19, 2012.

Katie Lynn Denise Powers, 27, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

She was placed on one-year probation. Powers conspired with others to sell cocaine between December 22, 2009 and March 3, 2010.

Single counts of trafficking in cocaine and possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute were dismissed by the state.

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Pittsfield Firefighters Snuff Duplex Blaze

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Firefighters quickly snuffed out the fire in the outside of the building.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters snuffed out a two-alarm fire on Thursday afternoon as temperature hovered in the low teens.

The blaze began at about 3:15 p.m. in the basement of 38-40 McArthur St., off Onota Street, when the owner of the duplex attempted to fix water pipes using a blowtorch, according to Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski.

The wall caught fire and traveled up to the back of the exterior of the building on the 38 side.

"On arrival, our crews found heavy fire and smoke at the back of the building," said Czerwinski. "It really stayed on the outside and not on the inside. ... The fire really progressed on the outside to to the eaves."  

The owner, who lives on the 40 side, and a woman, who lives on the 38 side, both fled the blaze. Czerwinski said he was not sure how many people lived in the duplex but only those two were home.

Czerwinski added that the smoke damage would likely displace one of the families for a time, while the owner's side did not suffer damage. Two pets were also unharmed in the blaze.

No one was injured although a firefighter who took a took a tumble on the icy surface refused treatment.

"The guys make quick work of it," said Czerwinski.

All the equipment and about 18 firefighters responded, in part because of the frigid temperatures. Mayor Daniel Bianchi was also at the scene.
 

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Multiple Fire Departments Respond to Windsor Blaze

Staff Reports
Flames could be seen coming from the roof of a home on Cheshire Road.

WINDSOR, Mass. — Five local fire departments were braving frigid temperatures  on Wednesday to battle a structure fire at 1061 Cheshire Road.

The blaze was reported at about 3:23 p.m. at the single-family home along the rural road near the town line with Cheshire.

Dalton, Savoy, Worthington and Plainfield volunteer fire departments responded to the scene along with Windsor firefighters.

The home is owned by a James Lewis, according to documents on file at the Registry of Deeds.

Adams Fire Department and Forest Wardens are standing by for Windsor, with a firetruck and a tanker from the Forest Wardens.

Cheshire and Lanesborough departments were also asked to respond at about 5:40 p.m. Peru and Hinsdale, which sent a bus with portable heaters, also responded.

The Red Cross was also going to the scene to provide assistance to the family, two adults and a child.

Red Cross officials say the Lewises are being provided with emergency shelter at a hotel and emergency funds for clothing, food, shoes and winter coats. They were also provided with "comfort kits," which contain toiletries like tooth brushes and razors.
 

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Williams Men's, Women's Hockey Win

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