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Ruberto Re-elected in Pittsfield

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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A happy Mayor James Ruberto and Roseanne Frieri at his victory party at Itam Lodge. (Courtesy Mayor Ruberto)
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor James M. Ruberto was able to fend off challenger Daniel L. Bianchi to squeeze out a win for a fourth term.

The Berkshire Eagle is reporting Ruberto won 6,658 votes to Bianchi’s 6,449 but Bianchi won 10 of the city's 14 precincts. Ruberto was reportedly trailing until getting a huge boost out of Ward 4 to win by 209 votes.

(Apologies but I did not receive the voting info from the clerk's office and I've been working on North Adams. Alas, one person can't do it all. I've noted who won by information gleaned from various sources; they are unconfirmed.)

Ruberto survived the "change" curse that's ousted plenty of incumbents across the country and in Berkshire County, including North Adams Mayor John Barrett III.

Not all the Pittsfield candidates were so lucky: Lewis Markham in Ward 1 lost to newcomer Christine Yon, Melissa Mazzeo pushed Matthew Kerwood aside for an at-large seat and longtime School Committee member Carmen C. Massimiano Jr. lost to another Yon, Katherine.

Michael Ward in Ward 4, however, easily kept his seat against Chris Connell. No surprise since he tallied more votes than both his opponents put together in the preliminary election. Peter White won in Ward 2 against Kevin Morandi; John Krol against David Murphy in Ward 6, and Joseph Nichols against J.D. Hebert in Ward 7.

This means the 11-person City Council will now have five new faces, all newcomers to politics. (Wards 3 and 5 were unopposed.)

Bianchi and Ruberto had a tumultuous campaign, with Bianchi accusing Ruberto of going negative and Ruberto insisting he was stating facts.

The two men went through nine debates — three for the preliminary and six for the general electon - and were quizzed primarily on economic development, crime and taxes.

Bianchi tried to make the case that Ruberto's priorities were wrong; voters disagreed, handing Ruberto a fourth two-year term.

Updated 6:45 p.m., Nov. 3, 2009

An estimated 40-45 percent of the city's voters were expected to go the polls, said City Clerk Linda Tyer on Tuesday afternoon. She said  poll workers described a steady stream throughout the day.

Voting was reportedly heavy in Ward 4, where Tyer was headed with extra ballots.

In Ward 1, poll worker David Colbert said the turnout was fairly typical, with about 460 votes cast by around 3:30 in Precinct A, with heavier expected after working hours. B was busier, with nearly 800 at that time.

Kevin Sherman gives 'Talk Berkshires' a call from Reid Middle School.
Both Ward 1 candidates, Markham and Yon, were at the polls at Reid Middle School along with supporters and other candidates, including Sherman.

The lineup was cordial — in fact Markham had commented on the "camaraderie" to "Talk Berkshires" on WBRK moments before. Mazzeo's Catering was offering up coffee from its van.

Yon was trying to wave and keep war. "It's been exciting. It's like there's excitement in the air," the novice campaigner said. "I've met lots of new people."

Original post on Nov. 2, 2009, at 10:53 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield voters have a lot of decisions to make Tuesday as they face a ballot stuffed with hotly-contested races.

The biggest race — and arguably the most argued race — is for mayor of Pittfield. Over the past three months, Mayor James M. Ruberto and City Council Daniel L. Bianchi have been slugging away at each other. They first made it to the top of the preliminary election with its 10 candidates and three debates, then met six more times on television and radio.

If the voters don't know where these gentelmen stand on the issues, they haven't been paying any attention.

Also on the ballot are races in five wards: In Ward 1, incumbent Lewis C. Markham takes on challenger Christine Yon; Ward 2, its newcomers Peter White and Kevin Morandi; Ward 4, incumbent Michael Ward and Chris Connell; in Bianchi's Ward 6, its newcomers John Krol and David Murphy; and in Ward 7, also newcomers, are J.D. Hebert and Joseph Nichols.

There are no races in Wards 3 and 5. The lineup on the ballot means at minimum three new faces on the Pittsfield City Council.

For the at-large race, the top four vote-getters in the five-way race will win. The candidates are incumbents Matthew M. Kerwood, Gerald M. Lee, Peter M. Marchetti and Kevin J. Sherman and challenger Melissa Mazzeo.

For School Committee, the top six vote-getters of the field of seven will win. Incumbents are Kathleen A. Amuso, Churchill Cotton, Daniel C. Elias, Carmen C. Massimiano Jr. and Erin Sullivan; newcomers are Alfred E. "Alf" Barbalunga and Katherine L. Yon.

The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A list of polling stations can be found here.

Bianchi's election party begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Italian American Club in Pittsfield; Ruberto's at 7 p.m. at Itam Lodge.

iBerkshires will be updating with news and photos throughout the day. Media partner Berkshire News Network begins election coverage at 7 p.m. on LIVE 95.9 and 1420 WBEC, 100.1 FM WUPE and 1230 WNAW.

WBRK Radio 1340-AM will continues its coverage of Decision Pittsfield 2009 with live election night results beginning at 7:30. WBRK News Director Len Bean will anchor the broadcast with the entire WBRK election team, including Bob Shade, Bill Sturgen, Sherman Baldwin and others providing analysis and final vote tallies as soon as the polls close. Coverage, which will simulcast on Star 101.7-FM, includes live reports from the candidates' camps before and after the final count.

James M. Ruberto Daniel L. Bianchi
 6,658  6,449
Recount:    6,662
Bianchi requested a recount of the 13,215 ballots cast in the Nov. 3 election. The six-hour count on Nov. 19, 2009, at City Hall confirmed Ruberto's win for a fourth term. Bianchi gained six votes in the recount to Ruberto's four but the change was insignificant to the final tally.

Ward 1
  Ward 2
Lewis Markham Christine Yon   Peter White Kevin Morandi
  707  1,083   695  537

Ward 4

Ward 6

Michael Ward Chris Connell John Krol David Murphy
 1,964  657   1,111  780

 Ward 7   
Matthew  Kerwood (I)
Gerald M. Lee  8,334
Peter M. Marchetti  9,086
Kevin J. Sherman
 Melissa Mazzeo  8,776
 School Committee
 Kathleen A. Amuso  Winner
 Churchill Cotton  Winner
 Daniel C. Elias  Winner
Carmen Massimiano (I)
 Erin Sullivan  Winner
 Alfred E. Barbalunga  Winner
 Katherine L. Yon  Winner
J.D. Hebert
Ward 5: Jonathan
N. Lothrop, 1,240

Joseph Nichols
Ward 3: Paul J. Capitanio, 1,732
No challengers to incumbents in Wards 3 & 5
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Owner of Abandoned Cats Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A woman accused of abandoning more than a dozen cats during snowstorm a year ago has pleaded guilty. 
Kelly Hathaway of Pittsfield pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of animal cruelty in Central Berkshire District Court as part of a plea agreement. Following the plea agreement, she was ordered to have a mental health evaluation and follow any after care as instructed by the court.
She was placed on two years probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. She is not allowed to possess any animals and was ordered to surrender any she has in her care. She is also prohibited from volunteering with any animal groups.
Hathaway and another defendant were charged last March with abandoning 15 cats on back roads in Richmond and Lanesborough after an investigation by Lanesborough Police, Lanesborough Animal Control and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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