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Pittsfield Woman Dies In Apartment Fire
By Andy McKeever On: 12:08PM / Sunday April 01, 2012
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UPDATED April 2, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.

Investigators determined that the fire was accidental and caused by improper disposal of smoking materials.



Mayor Daniel Bianchi received a briefing of the incident from Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An Orchard Street fire that killed a city woman early Sunday morning is being considered an accident.

The body of Claudette Roberts, 59, was discovered by firefighters in her first-floor apartment at 91 Orchard St.

"Right now there are no flags pointing to it as suspicious," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski at the scene. "We're looking for an accidental cause. Most of the fire was contained to the apartment of origin."

The three-alarm blaze was reported by a number of 911 calls at about 4:16 a.m. Czerwinski said they were notified that someone was likely still in the apartment and firefighters mounted "an aggressive attack" on the unit.

It was not clear when the fire began but smoke was pouring out onto the porch and flames could be seen in the unit when firefighters arrived.

There was heavy fire damage to Roberts' apartment on the right side of the three-apartment building and to the rear of the second-floor. Czerwinski estimated the damage at about $100,000 but thought the building was salvageable.

Four people living in the other two apartments had to flee the building. The Red Cross was aiding them in finding shelter for the short-term. Roberts lived alone.

A state fire marshal was at the scene and North Adams Fire Director and Wire Inspector Stephen Meranti was inspecting the wiring at the city's request. The investigation is being conducted by the office of the fire marshal, the Pittsfield Fire and Police departments and the state police Crime Scene Services Section.

The Dalton Fire Department also responded to the scene and Lenox and Lanesborough provided backup.

According to the district attorney's office, Roberts' body will be taken to the office of the chief medical examiner in Boston, where an autopsy will be performed, likely on Monday.

There was some damage to the second floor apartment so the residents are displaced.




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Pittsfield Police Investigating Greylock Credit Robbery
On: 11:03PM / Friday March 30, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are looking for a woman who robbbed the Greylock Federal Credit Union branch located at 71 Elm St. on Friday afternoon.

The woman, dressed in dark clothing and wearing a baseball style hat and sunglasses, entered the branch about 4:30 p.m., according to police. She did not display a weapon and fled the bank with an undisclosed sum of money shortly afterward.

Several witnesses reported the suspect ran from the bank and in the direction of Harry's Supermarket. Somewhere near the supermarket, she possibly entered a dark colored sedan and left the area. 

All available patrol units responded to the scene and secured the bank and performed an area search for the suspect and witnesses. Pittsfield detective and Crime Scene personnel responded as well. Greylock Federal Credit Union personnel are cooperating fully with the Police Department in the investigation.

The investigatin is ongoing and police are actively pursuing all leads. Any citizen with any information pertaining to this robbery is urged to contact the Pittsfield Police Department Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705. 


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Slocum Sentenced To 101 Years For Murder, Arson
Staff Reports On: 02:08PM / Friday March 30, 2012
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The New York man found guilty of kidnapping a woman with local ties after killing his mother, her husband and her husband's son was sentenced to 101 years in prison.

According to the Albany Times Union, Washington County, N.Y. Judge Kelly McKeighan sentenced on Friday Matthew Slocum to 101 years for murder, arson and three other felonies.

On July 13, 2011, Slocum shot his mother Lisa Coon Harrington, her husband Dan Harrington and Dan Harrington's son Joshua O'Brien with a 12-gauge shotgun. He then set their Eagle Bridge, N.Y. home on fire and kidnapped his girlfriend Loretta Colegrove, who has family living in Berkshire County, and their 4-month-old son.

Police embarked on a multi-state manhunt and sent out Amber Alerts for Slocum. He was seen in Adams that morning at Colegrove's mother's home in Adams before being found that night in Gilsum, N.H.

Slocum was found guilty by a jury earlier this month to the crimes.


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Superior Court Briefs: March 26 - March 27
Staff Reports On: 12:20PM / Friday March 30, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, March 26.
 
John Gardner, 48, of Bennington, Vt. pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of methadone with intent to distribute, drug violation in a school zone and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent one day sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession and conspiracy charges. He was given a two year sentence on the school zone charge.
 
The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on November 22, 2010.
 
Margaret Pendlebury, 44, of Bennington, Vt. pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: possession of methadone with intent to distribute.
 
She was ordered to pay a $1,250 fine. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on November 22, 2010. Single counts of possession of methadone with intent to distribute and drug violation in a school zone were dismissed by the state.
 
Shaun Borden, 21, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, drug violation in a school zone, illegal ownership of a firearm, improper storage of a firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, possession of a stun gun, receiving stolen property and possession of oxycodone.
 
Borden was sentenced to one day sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the drug charges and concurrent two year sentenced on the other charges.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on July 21, 2011. One count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony was dismissed by the state.
 
Danielle Weed, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, drug violation in a school zone, conspiracy to violate drug laws, illegal ownership of a firearm, improper storage of a firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card,  possession of a stun gun, receiving stolen property and possession of oxycodone.
 
Weed was sentenced to one day sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the drug charges and concurrent two year sentenced on the other charges.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at her home on July 21, 2011. One count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony was dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 27.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 27.
 
Michael Taylor, 52, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and two counts of drug violation in a school zone. 
 
Taylor was sentences to concurrent one year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession charges and concurrent sentences on the school zone charges.
 
The charges stem from incidents in Pittsfield on June 15, 2010.


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North Adams Seeking Public Safety Commissioner
Staff Reports On: 07:12PM / Friday March 23, 2012
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city has posted the position for public safety commissioner.

The posting, on BerkshireJobs.com, is asking for a someone with a "strong background in public safety" including a at least a master's degree in a related discipline such as police, fire or management, and be a ranking member of a public safety department with relevant experience.

According to the posting, the commissioner will be oversee the police, fire, wire and alarm, public buidings, weights and measures, and health inspection. He or she will also be responsible for coordinating intermunicipal mutual aid, write grants and do strategic planning and budgeting.

The application deadline is April 16.

There had been some discussion of doing away with the commissioner post, one of the few in the state, but with current commissioner's time coming to an end, the adminstration asked to continue the post. The Public Safety Committee concurred.


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News Headlines
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
Holiday Hours: Thanksgiving
Holiday Raffle to Benefit Berkshire County Arc, NAMI Berkshire County
Watch What You Eat to Avoid ER This Thanksgiving
'Breakfast With Santa' Set for Dec. 7
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Stamford/Clarksburg CrimeWatch

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Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
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Williamstown 413-458-5733
West Stockbridge 413-232-7938
State Police  
Cheshire Barracks
413-743-4700
Lee Barracks 413-243-0600
Shaftsbury, Vt., Barracks 802-442-3263

 



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