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Judge Overturns Pittsfield Hit-and-Run Ruling
Staff Reports On: 02:12PM / Monday February 13, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The daughter of the county's probation chief will face charges in an alleged hit-and-run accident.

Meredith Nilan, the daughter of Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford Nilan, will face charges of leaving the scene of personal-injury accident and negligent operation of a vehicle. Nilan is being charged with hitting 45-year-old Peter Moore on Winesap Road with her father's Subaru Forrester on Dec. 8, 2011.

Initially, Westfield District Court Assistant Clerk-Magistrate Nathan Byrnes ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge Meredith Nilan but Pittsfield Police appealed the decision. On Friday, Springfield District Court Judge William Hadley overturned the decision made by Byrnes, who was brought in to avoid conflict of interest.

Nilan allegedly left the scene of the crime and police records indicate that Clifford Nilan reported the incident and said his daughter believed she hit a "deer or dog." Moore, who had been walking his dog, did not seek medical attention until early the next morning. He was treated for a traumatic brain injury, a broken neck and a fractured calf bone.

The show-cause hearing held by Byrnes had included Nilan's attorney, but no representation for Moore.

"Although much of what is alleged here is circumstantial in nature, after considering the allegations and applying the relatively low threshold required to establish probable cause, I find that the complainant is entitled to a redetermination, and the application for a criminal complaint is allowed," Hadley said in the ruling.
Springfield Ruling in Nilan Case 2012
Pittsfield Police Report in Nilan Case 2012

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Massive Fire Destroys Vermont Lumber Yard Building
Staff Reports On: 02:47PM / Saturday February 11, 2012
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STAMFORD, Vt. — Firefighters from five volunteer fire companies spent more than eight hours battling a massive blaze at Eagle Lumber Co. off Route 100.

The fire consumed a 12,000 square-foot structure, known as the process building, at the sawmill at 220 Robillard Ave. Firefighters were on the scene more eight hours containing and dousing the blaze at the family-owned sawmill.

"We don't have a cause ... the state fire marshal will investigate," said Fire Chief Paul Ethier, but there were no indications it was suspicious. "This fire is not suspicious. There is no suspicion here whatsover but we have yet to determine the cause."

The fire was reported at 4:23 a.m. and firefighters arrived just four minutes later to find the fire raging.

"The entire factory was fully involved," said Ethier. "We kept it from spreading to five other buildings."

"It got a good head start on us. We had a good water suply with large diameter hose, so once we got the water established we were in good shape."

Fire trucks from Stamford, Readsboro and Whitingham, as well as Clarksburg and Florida, Mass., lined Robillard in the morning darkness. Hoses snaked up the driveway and across the yard between outbuildings to reach the inferno. Large stacks of lumber and flooring could be seen ablaze inside the building.

A neighbor on nearby Brookside Drive said he was making coffee when the power flickered at about 4:20; he looked out the window and could see the orange glow to the south.

The electrical flickering shut off small appliances throughout town but apparently had nothing to do with the fire but with a problem Green Mountain Power was working on in Readsboro.

The sawmill has long been owned by the Potvin family. The building housed planers, saws and other sawmill equipment, as well as lumber. Ethier said the building was insured but the owners were determining with their insurance company on whether all the equipment was covered.

Firefighters cleared the scene at about 1:30. North Adams (Mass.) Ambulance Service also responded to the fire.

The weather cooperated as snow was light and the temperatures moderate, making fighting the fire somewhat easier. However, slippery conditions caused two injuries — a firefighter and an emergency medical technician — who both took falls. Both were taken to North Adams (Mass.) Regional Hospital. 

More photos here.


Editor's note:  Wording changed referring to the fire chief's comment on not knowing cause of fire to more accurately reflect what he said.

Original Post: 6:46 a.m., Feb. 11, 2012

STAMFORD, Vt. — A massive fire early Saturday morning destroyed a warehouse building at Eagle Lumber Co. off Route 100.

Stamford volunteer firefighters were aided by nearby departments, including Readsboro and Whitingham and Clarksburg and Florida, Mass., in containing the blaze and preventing it from jumping to nearby buildings at the sawmill.

The fire at 220 Robillard Ave. started before 4:30 a.m. and was fully involved when firefighters arrived. The cause was not immediately available and firefighters were expected to be on the scene for some time. North Adams Ambulance was also on the scene.

A neighbor on nearby Brookside Drive said he was making coffee when the power flickered at about 4:20; he looked out the window and could see the orange glow to the south.

Eagle Lumber Co. is a long-held family business operated by the Potvins. The building housed a variety of equipment and lumber, including flooring. Large stacks of lumber could be seen stacked inside the burning building.

More photos here.



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Superior Court Briefs: February 1 - February 2
Staff Reports On: 06:15PM / Monday February 06, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, February 1

Richard Carnevale Jr., 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of oxycotin with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Carnevale was sentenced to five to right years on all charges except one count of conspiracy, which he was sentenced to a concurrent Berkshire County House of Correction term.

Carnevale was trafficking in cocaine on March 3, 2010 and was in possession of cocaine, oxycotin and marijuana with the intent to sell when he was arrested. He also conspired with others to sell cocaine between December 22, 2009 and April 15, 2010.

Three additional counts of trafficking in cocaine and one additional count of conspiracy to violate drug laws were dismissed by the state.

Jaclyn Carnevale, 29, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of oxycotin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

She was given a two year suspended sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction and placed on one year probation.

Carnevale conspired with others to sell oxycontin between December 23, 2009 and March 5, 2010. An additional county of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute was dismissed by the state.

Michael Hill, 36, formerly of Pittsfield was found guilty on two counts of aggravated rape, two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon and single counts of kidnapping and threat to commit murder.

Hill was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail pending sentencing. On Thursday, Hill was sentenced to concurrent 22 to 25 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the aggravated rape charges and concurrent jail time on the remaining charged.

The incidents occurred in Pittsfield and Lenox between February 1, 2010 and February 20, 2010 and involved a 21-year-old woman.

Hill was found not guilty on additional counts of aggravated rape and threat to commit murder.


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North Adams Native Murdered by Florida Boyfriend
Staff Reports On: 04:41PM / Tuesday January 31, 2012
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A city native living in the state of Florida was shot and killed by her live-in boyfriend on Saturday, Jan. 21, at their mobile home in St. Petersburg.  

Shelley I. Gold, 52, was the victim of a murder-suicide committed by Thomas P. Cappadona, 51. According to reports in the Tampa Bay Times, Cappadona killed Gold before turning the gun on himself. Neighbors described him as frequently drunk and combative. They were together about seven years.

"She was just always helpful and quiet," her landlady Paula Bouseman told the Tampa Bay Times.

Gold was born in North Adams in 1959, daughter of the late Richard Gold and Janice Belouin Gold, and was a 1977 graduate of Drury High School. A Florida resident for more than two decades, she had been employed for 22 years at Cody's Original Roadhouse.

She left a sister, Susan Bonin of Pittsfield, and a niece and nephew, Ashley and Andrew Bonin, and many friends in Florida.


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Pittsfield Police Investigating Early Morning Shooting
By Joe Durwin On: 09:38AM / Tuesday January 31, 2012
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Update: Jan. 31, 2012, at 4:14 p.m.

Pittsfield Police remained tight-lipped throughout the day about a shooting that occurred in the vicinity of Memorial Drive near Wahconah Street this morning.

As of Tuesday afternoon, details surrounding the shooting, which occurred sometime before 5 a.m. Tuesday, remain sparse. Investigators would not divulge the identity of the 40-year-old man who was shot in the chest.

"It's a shooting, it's still under investigation, and that's all we're going to release at this time," said Lt. Michael Grady of the Detectives Bureau.

Police Chief Michael Wynn told The Berkshire Eagle that the victim had given his assailant's first name but information on the shooting, including the time and place, weren't matching what investigagors were finding.

Representatives of Berkshire Medical Center, where the victim was taken, said they were unable to disclose any information about the man's condition.


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Police were called to Memorial Drive off Wahconah Street around 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday, after getting a call that a man had been shot in the chest.

Few details are known at this time but according to broadcast reports, police responded to the scene and found a man described to be in his early 40s, with a possible gunshot wound in the chest. The victim was transported to Berkshire Medical Center for evaluation. Nothing more was known about the victim.

Police were reportedly looking for a possible male suspect and had some footprints and tire tracks in the fresh snow to look at, but nothing further has been released.    
— Larry Kratka, Berkshire News Network


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Mount Greylock Debates Lanesborough School Union Vote
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Atlas Private Wealth Management Moving to North Adams
Lanesborough Officials Debate School Spending
Adams Seeks Fix to Visitors Center's Ineffective Geothermal System
Mount Greylock Committee Taking Up Delayed Superintendent Search
North Adams to Williamstown Bike Path Public Meeting Set
Pittsfield Schools Review Teacher Evaluation Process
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