PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Nine people have died from domestic violence in Bekshire County in the last three years.
Requests for restraining orders is 33 percent higher in Berkshire County than in the rest of the state.
"Those are indicators that we have a problem," says District Attorney Andrea Harrington, describing it as a public health issue as much as a crime issue.
Harrington's office, through the Berkshire Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force, is bringing award-winning journalist Rachel Louise Snyder to Pittsfield to speak about her latest book, "No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us."
Snyder will be at the Colonial Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The presentation is part of the task force's "One Book, One Community" project in conjunction with the Elizabeth Freeman Center.
Harrington said the book had been recommended to her and that she had been "blown away" upon reading it.
"It offers a road map of what it is that I would like to do here in Berkshire County to address the problem that we have of domestic violence," she said during a recent interview. "And we do have a serious problem here with domestic violence."
The task force, established by her office, and working with partners had ensured that copies were made available locally, especially to law enforcement and judges.
There have been more than 30 book club events related to the book since October and some 300 people have already reserved seats for the presentation.
"This is a great way for our community to work across many different sectors on a really significant public health challenge," the district attorney said.
Harrington said the book shows that there are solutions to domestic violence, once you throw out the old gender stereotypes.
"If we have good investigations, if we have effective laws, if we have people who are communicating across the community ... if we ask ourselves why does the perpetrator continue to use violence against loved ones?" she said.
Snyder's book offers a guide for systematic change in how to address the issue of domestic violence. She determined proven strategies after years of studying cases and analyzing best practices to address the issue.
Her research looks at abusers and the abused, caseworkers, investigators, mental health and poverty, and the "myths" of domestic abuse.
"The stories are devastating, but Snyder keeps us reading by pointing us toward possible solutions," write The Washington Post in its review.
The Berkshire Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force organized the event. Greylock Federal Credit Union, Williams College, The Berkshire Eagle, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Berkshire District Attorney's Office, Berkshire Health Systems, Berkshire Theater Group, MountainOne, Berkshire Community College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, A-List Luxury Vehicles, 18 Degrees, the Berkshire Immigrant Center, Beacon Cinema, Images Cinema, Triplex Cinema, and Hotel on North are sponsoring the presentation.
First responders, health providers, and educators will receive continuing education credits for attending; 18 Degrees is providing child care and the Berkshire Immigrant Center is providing Spanish and American Sign Language interpretation.
A reception and book signing will follow with catering from Naturally.
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Pittsfield Seeks Input For Draft Bicycle Facilities Master Plan
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City of Pittsfield is requesting public input for its draft Bicycle Facilities Master Plan.
The city is seeking input for the Bicycle Facilities Master Plan, which aims to establish a safe, comfortable and connected bicycle network throughout the city that is accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
"With this project, the City of Pittsfield is taking a significant step in its steadfast commitment to plan and implement a safe and accessible city-wide network for people who bike for various reasons to a range of destinations throughout Pittsfield," City Planner CJ Hoss said. "The development of this master plan will be a collaborative process, and we are seeking to hear from the community."
The Bicycle Facilities Master Plan will allow the city to develop a long-term citywide vision for a bicycle network and grow beyond a ‘one-street-at-a-time’ planning approach, Hoss said. The city has retained Kittleson and Associations, Inc., a nationally renowned transportation focused consulting firm, to lead this project.
The board voted last week to issue a statement that essentially mirrored current policy that states maneuvers designed to reduce blood or airflow are not authorized or trained by the department.
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School officials voted in August to eliminate the name, but the item was placed on the agenda again in September after a group of alumni and residents communicated that they were unclear that a vote would take place. They wanted a chance to speak to the matter.
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McCandless said he took issue with some of the comments made and noted the administration made sure cafeteria employees were kept working through the outset of the pandemic and the summer.
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