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The Licensing Board meets briefly on Monday afternoon.

Former Pittsfield Councilor Urges Licensing Board to Be Tougher

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Former City Councilor Joseph Guzzo wants the Licensing Board to be a little tougher.
Guzzo attended Monday's meeting to express his frustration with the board's recent decision when it comes to license violations. Particularly, Guzzo disliked the board's recent decision to suspend A-Mart's license but to wait until after the holidays.
"I don't think there should be any consideration for their pocketbooks," Guzzo said.
In December, the board suspended the North Street package store's license after allegedly selling to a minor during an Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission sting. A-Mart had previously been accused of selling to an intoxicated individual in May but that suspension was held in abeyance. 
When the new incident was brought to the board, the Licensing Board imposed the three-day suspension related to the May incident. But, the board agreed to push off that suspension so that it didn't interfere with the busy holiday season. During the hearing, the board and representatives from the store held a back and forth to determine the days for the suspension.
"There was way too much effort on your part to find out when it would have the least impact," he said, adding that the board had previously gone out of its way to look out for the store in the past as well.
Guzzo added that this isn't the only occasion he felt the board was being too lenient but it was the one that led him to come to the meeting to express his frustration.
The item wasn't on the Licensing Board's agenda and therefore couldn't be discussed at length. But member Thomas Campoli said he appreciates the feedback about the board's decision.
In other business, the Licensing Board approved an entertainment permit for Ken's Bowl to have music. Owner Gerald Gillette said the intent to have a disc jockey or an acoustic guitar player perform when bowling leagues end.
"It is basically for my league bowlers," Gillette said.
Chili's received its permits as well. The company needed an entertainment license to have flat-panel televisions, to update its manager of record and set the hours from 11 to 11 on Sunday through Thursday and 11 to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Changes of managers were also approved for Hotel on North and Vong's. 
The Licensing Board is also asking for continual updates on the former Crowne Plaza's switch to a Holiday Inn. The license is still in the Crowne Plaza's name and needs to be switched to the Holiday Inn.
Manager Charles Burnick said the hotel hasn't fully transformed into a Holiday Inn yet, even though the signage has been changed at the hotel. He said there are still some inspections and paperwork to be filed before the South Street hotel is truly a Holiday Inn. 
"We are about three months from completion," Burnick said.
The hotel is currently operating under Berkshire Plaza Hotel and the board questioned whether it would ask Burnick to change the paperwork to reflect that, or just wait until the Holiday Inn is in place. Ultimately, the board decided to keep the item on the agenda and have an update next month.
"Just keep up updated on what is going on and when it is going to be official that it is a Holiday Inn," member Richard Stockwell said. 
Next month the board will also be asking for some clarification on the license for the Home Plate. The bar has been closed and board members said the license could be tied up in an estate at the moment. 

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New Wahconah High Going Up Fast

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

School Building Committee co-Chairman Tom Callahan, left, with MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy. The old high school is in the background.
DALTON, Mass. — A traditional topping off ceremony was held on Thursday to mark the completion of the steel skeleton for what will be Wahconah Regional High School. 
School officials gathered to mark the milestone with the sounds of construction and sparks from welding giving proof that their vision was being made reality after a  long and arduous process. 
"As far as this building goes, the process by which to make it happen to get the vote was an arduous one," said Principal Aaron Robb. "I would say that this building was willed into existence. Absolutely 100 percent willed into existence."
Robb had only been principal three days when news came that the high school had been accepted into the feasibility stage with the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The four-year process to get to Thursday was fraught with division as the seven towns in the Central Berkshire Regional School District last year weighed the worth of the $72.7 million project.
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