New Marlborough Woman Was Stabbed to Death

Staff reportsiBerkshires
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PITTSFIELD - A New Marlborough man has been charged in the murder of 55-year-old mother, Donna Agar.

Agar was stabbed to death, according to an autopsy conducted Tuesday in Holyoke by Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Sexton.

Rodney M. Ball, 35, of Clark Way, New Marlborough, was arraigned Monday morning in Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington on one count of murder.

A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf and Judge James McElroy ordered he be held without bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction. A pretrial hearing has been set for April 24.

According to Berkshire County District Attorney David F. Capeless, at about 1:30 Sunday afternoon, state troopers from the Lee barracks received a call to conduct a well-being check at Agar's home at 1660 Clayton Mill River Road, Southfield. When troopers arrived, they discovered her body in a pool of blood. 

Agar "died from multiple sharp force trauma resulting in loss of blood," according to preliminary autopsy results released by the Capeless' office.

According to court documents, Ball told state police that Agar committed suicide by stabbing herself in the neck with a knife.




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The investigation is being conducted by members of the New Marlborough and Sheffield police departments, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, troopers assigned to the Lee barracks and state police Crime Scene Services.

Another New Marlborough resident, William S. Demagall, 24, is serving 25 years to life for the 2006 murder of George Mancini of Hillsdale, N.Y. New Marlborough has less than 1,500 residents.

Updated on March 17, 2008, at 1:55 p.m.;  March 18, 2008,  at 5:15 p.m.
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Wetlands Derails Restoration of Pontoosuc Beach

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Wetland issues have derailed planned improvements to Pontsoosuc Lake Park.
 
The Friends of Pontoosuc Lake received $15,000 from the Community Preservation Act with the intent to restore the beach on the Hancock Road side. The city's Parks, Open Space and Natural Resource Program Manager Jim McGrath, however, said it was found that the former beach has essentially turned into wetlands.
 
"We can't disturb that area of Pontoosuc Park," McGrath told the Parks Commission on Tuesday.
 
McGrath said the way the drainage currently is in the park has led to wetland soils and plants covering the former beach so it is now treated as a resource area. McGrath said options now would be to re-orient the stairway and create another beach in another location. But, "it is going to be an involved project."
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