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The city's new firefighters are introduced to the City Council on Tuesday.

Pittsfield City Council Brings on New Firefighters

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city welcomed 10 new firefighters to the force and accepted a nearly $50,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
"Tonight we have a great addition to the Fire Department," Fire Chief Thomas Sammons told the City Council on Tuesday. "We have 10 hardworking guys." 
Jacob Rand, Robert Reynolds, Marc Rosa, Katrina Medders, Jared Carchedi, Shane Aitken, Matthew Healey, Michael Lynch, Ryan Ziter, and David Orsi were appointed as permanent firefighters.
The council also accepted $46,768.18 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to go toward the purchase of a new cascade system to fill air packs.
"It is for filling air bottles -- the one we currently have is from the '80s," Sammons said. "It is showing its age."
The city must match 10 percent of the total cost of the equipment and will pay $4,676.82. This will come from the departmental budget or the capital improvement line item.
The Fire Department has nearly 100 employees. Sammons was appointed as permanent chief earlier this month.
In other business, the City Council made some movement on eminent domain takings for permanent drainage easements on Saddle Ball View and Overlook Rd that have been sitting on the agenda for almost two years.
City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta said the city installed a drainage line years ago that terminated on private property without permission.
"It dead-ended on their property and permission was not obtained for that to be done so we needed to work our way back to get that resolved," he said. 
The order in regard to the Saddle Ball View property belonging to Gloria Leavitt taking was filed while the communication asking council permission to take the Overlook Road parcel owned by Sandra Levardi and Michael Dellert was approved after an executive session during which Pagnotta discussed another cost to the city he could not yet divulge in public.
"We have an agreement it is not fully settled so stipulation of has yet to be filed in court," he said.
Council President Peter Marchetti said no votes were taken in executive session.
In the council packet, the city asked to appropriate $9,970 for the purpose of awarding damages to Leavitt or her heirs for the property.
Also in the packet was a request to allocate $2,435 for the purpose of awarding damages to Levardi and Dellert or their heirs for the Outlook Road property.

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Pittsfield Panel Wants Public Participation on Pot Growing

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Ordinance and Rules subcommittee will take up outdoor marijuana cultivation in residential zones once members can meet in person.
The subcommittee voted to table an agenda item Wednesday that would restrict marijuana cultivation in residential zones until meetings can be opened more fully to the public. 
"I think it is important that we can meet in person," Chairman Nicholas Caccamo said. "If you attended the meetings before, there was a lot of community involvement and a lot of neighborhoods are involved in this."
In February, the Community Development Board acted on a petition from Councilor at Large Earl Persip III who wanted to restrict outdoor marijuana cultivation in residential areas.
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