Time Warner Will Keep NECN in Channel Lineup

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass.— A statement from U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey's office says Time Warner Cable has reversed its decision to cut New England Cable News from its package.

"Christmas has come early for the Berkshires with Time Warner's decision to continue carrying NECN in its channel lineup," said Markey. "NECN is a valuable source of information for Massachusetts and New England news and keeps the western part of the commonwealth connected to the larger region. I commend Time Warner for listening to its customers and reversing its decision."

The cable company had planned to end its carriage of NECN in the Berkshires by the end of the December but has been pressured by local and state officials keep the news network on. The Berkshires' presence in the Albany, N.Y., viewing area means NECN was one of the few outlets for news about Massachusetts and New England.

The Berkshire delegation called for help from U.S. Sens. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal in keeping the channel in the Time Warner lineup last Friday. The congressmen wrote to Time Warner urging it to keep NECN in its service in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts.

Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said he applauded the cable company's reversal.

Tags: cable television,   NECN,   Time Warner,   

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Ethics Commission Alleges Conflict Violations by West Stockbridge Chief

WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The Enforcement Division of the State Ethics Commission on Wednesday filed an order to show cause alleging that West Stockbridge Fire Chief Peter Skorput, a former Select Board member, committed multiple conflict-of-interest law violations, including setting stipends for himself, his daughter and his nephew; voting as a Select Board member to reappoint himself fire chief; and terminating a firefighter who had filed a complaint against him.
According to the order, shortly after Skorput was elected to the Select Board in 2013, a West Stockbridge official contacted the town's counsel about conflict-of-interest law exemptions available to Skorput regarding his serving both as a Select Board member and fire chief. 
Allegedly, town counsel advised the official that Skorput follow the requirements for a particular conflict-of-interest law exemption that would allow him to accept pay for both positions, and this was communicated to Skorput. From the time he was elected until January 2017, however, Skorput did not meet the exemption requirements and violated the conflict of law by continuing to hold his compensated fire chief position after his election to the Select Board, according to the order.
The order further alleges Skorput violated the conflict-of-interest law by participating officially in matters involving his own and his daughter's financial interests. In 2013, Skorput allegedly voted as a Select Board member to reappoint himself as fire chief. Also, as fire chief, he allegedly decided the amount of firefighter stipends for himself each December in 2013-2015 and for his daughter in 2013 and 2014, and as a Select Board member signed the pay warrants for his daughter's stipends. Additionally, at several Select Board meetings in 2015 and 2016, Skorput allegedly participated as a Select Board member in the board's review of complaints about his performance as fire chief.
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