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Mass Disturbance Follows Pittsfield Street Fair
By Joe Durwin On: 11:19PM / Thursday May 17, 2012
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Police made a number of arrests and used pepper spray to disperse the burgeoning crowd.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Melee broke out on Melville Street immediately following the conclusion of the first 3rd Thursday street fair of the season, resulting in extensive crowd control measures and multiple arrests.

According to the Police Department, the incident initially stemmed from a fight between two young women on the small side street just off North Street, then spiraled into chaos when two officers responding on the scene became surrounded by a large crowd of youths.

Capt. David Granger estimated that a crowd of more than 100 people, mostly teenagers, converged around the initial disturbance.

"They tried to break up the fight. A mob mentality took over, from the large crowd. Multiple arrests were made," he said.

Well over a dozen officers arrived on the scene, including three plain-clothed officers who emerged from an unmarked police vehicle as screaming teens ran in all directions. Pepper spray was used to push back the disorganized crush of onlookers, and several youths were seen leaving the scene showing visible signs of facial spraying. At least three young men were seen being subdued and handcuffed in the street and adjacent parking lot.

A number of the young people present at the disturbance voiced the opinion that excessive force was used in containing the initial incident.

"After 3rd Thursday, they told us we needed to get off the street, so we did, and there's some stupid people fighting," said one young girl, a relative of one of those arrested. "My nephew's standing there looking around, and nine cops tackled him for no reason. All of a sudden they're running around pepper spraying everybody."

Police ordered all pedestrians to clear Melville Street and intersecting North Pearl Street, opposite the Boys & Girls Club, a process made more complicated by a continuing stream of curious pedestrians from among the large crowd still circulating on North Street. The street remained closed for approximately a half-hour in the aftermath of the affray.

Granger said he would classify the incident as "a large disturbance" rather than a riot.





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Ex-School Counselor Pleads Not-Guilty To Rape Charges
Staff Reports On: 03:30PM / Tuesday May 15, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former elementary school counselor had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf in Berkshire Superior Court on multiple charges of child sexual assault.

Scott M. Muir, 36, of Church Street, Stockbridge, was arraigned before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday afternoon. He was arraigned in Southern Berkshire District Court last month.

Muir is alleged to have assaulted three different children between 2003 and 2005 while working as a student center support coordinator at the former Stockbridge Plain School. The allegations relate to three girls under the age of 14 at the time, including two who lodged complaints about Muir in 2004.

Muir had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of rape of a child with force and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child child under 14 in connection with incidents that occurred between 2003 and 2005 and involved a girl who is now 16 years of age.

He also had not-guilty pleas entered on three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child child under 14 and one count of attempt to commit a crime, to wit: indecent assault and battery on a child child under 14. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in 2003 and 2004 and involved a girl who is now 18.

Muir also pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape of a child with force and four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child child under 14 in connection with incidents that allegedly occurred in 2003 and 2004 and involved a girl who is now 17 years of age.

All the incidents are alleged to have occurred at Stockbridge Plain School. The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

The Berkshire Eagle has reported that the Berkshire Hills Regional School District has refused to release personnel records based on the 2004 allegations to the press, although school officials told the newspaper the district is cooperating with law enforcement. The allegations were forwarded to state authorities but no charges were filed at the time; the third girl who came forward prompted a re-examination of the evidence.

Muir is a town employee, working as facilities manager and emergency management director, as well as being involved in the Fire Department and the Lee Volunteer Ambulance Service. The Eagle reports that Muir has been suspended from his town posts with pay.

Judge Ford released Muir on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail on the condition he have no contact with the alleged victims or their families and not be in a caretaking role with children under 16. 


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Superior Court Briefs: May 7 - May10
Staff Reports On: 05:53PM / Friday May 11, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, May 7.

Brandon Wood, 31, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on a single count of unarmed robbery.

Wood was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $100,000 cash or $1 million surety bail. Wood is charged in connection with the bank robbery of Greylock Federal Credit Union on Elm Street in Pittsfield on March 30,.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, May 9.

Jerry Davis, 30, of Pittsfield was found not guilty of two counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and a single count of armed assault with intent to murder.

The charges stem from an incident on Memorial Drive in Pittsfield on June 10, 2010 that injured a 33-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman.

Prior to the trial, two counts of intimidation of a witness, two counts of threat to commit murder and a single count of assault and batter by means of a dangerous weapon was dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, May 10.

Francis Willor Jr., 39, of North Adams pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws.

The drug charges are in connection with the execution of a search warrant at his home on November 6, 2009 and the assault charges stem from an incident involving a man in North Adams on March 7.

Willor was sentenced to concurrent three to three and a half year sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.


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Three Charged With Robbing Two North Adams Bars
Staff Reports On: 02:30PM / Thursday May 10, 2012
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Three city men are charged with pilfering booze and equipment from two neighboring establishments.

Timothy Domina, 27, Stavri Yanka, 25, and Zachary Mazza, 24, are all charged with breaking and entering in the nighttime and larceny over $250 in connection with a burglary at the Mohawk Tavern and the out-of-business restaurant Rub in the early hours of March 19.

The three allegedly stole nearly all of the Mohawk's hard liquor, many bottles of beer, an entire keg, shot glasses and a guitar and a cash register, television and stereo equipment from Rub.

According to court documents, Domina was the ringleader of the break-ins. He entered an admission of sufficient facts in Northern Berkshire District Court  on April 13 and was sentenced to two years at the Berkshire County House of Corrections. Yanka and Mazza were charged via subpoena but had not yet appeared in court.

Police reported that the three men were living together upstairs from the Marshall Street bars and that Domina had broken a window at Rub after midnight on March 19 and began grabbing items. He then allegedly had his roommates help him carry the items upstairs.

After receiving arrest warrants, police found Domina and chased him to Bracewell Avenue, where he was arrested. During the arrest, police said they found a knife and prescription drugs on his person. Domina was later charged with possession of a class E substance and possession of a dangerous weapon but those counts were dismissed by the state, as well as single counts of destruction of property and receiving stolen property.


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School Union Ex-Workers Charged With Embezzlement
By Andy McKeever On: 06:28PM / Wednesday May 09, 2012
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Two former Northern Berkshire School Union employees were charged on Monday with making nearly $30,000 in unauthorized purchases with the union's credit cards.

Carol Fryc, 71, of North Adams and Donna Burdick, 57, of Florida, were both arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court after a state police investigation revealed $29,631 worth of unauthorized purchases. They are being charged with single counts of larceny over $250.

The two worked in the small school union office in North Adams; the school union includes Clarksburg, Florida and Savoy schools.

According to court documents, Fryc, the school union's business manager, used the credit cards for an array of purchases — from veterinarian bills to digital cameras to candy for the office — at both Staples and WalMart. Some of the purchases were work-related but "unauthorized" while others were for personal use. Burdick allegedly used the credit cards for purchases from Staples.

The charges date back to 2004 — and some $8,000 is still questioned — but wasn't discovered until last fall when then Clarksburg Selectwoman Debra LeFave suspected that invoices were being forged. The School Union Superintendent Jonathan Lev filed a police response and both women were fired.

The largest unauthorized expenditures came from gift cards. More than $12,000 of the purchases were for Staples gift cards, which were later used for various purchases.


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News Headlines
North Adams Church Welcomes New Pastor & Music Director
Lanesborough Outlines 250th Celebration Calendar
'Dumb and Dumber To': It Sure Is
Williamstown Chamber Executive Director Departing
Selectmen May Seek Peer Review of Dollar General Traffic Study
Oh Be Thankful Pie Auction Raises Funds for Charities
Pittsfield Council Accepts School Budget Law, Denies Hiring Authority Plan
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Holiday Raffle to Benefit Berkshire County Arc, NAMI Berkshire County
Watch What You Eat to Avoid ER This Thanksgiving
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