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Acting Police Chief Paul Storti, a 26-year veteran of the Great Barrington Police Department, has been appointed as the town's next chief of police.

Great Barrington Appoints Permanent Police Chief

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Acting Police Chief Paul Storti, a 26-year veteran of the Great Barrington Police Department, has been appointed as the town's next chief of police.

Storti, 53, was among 30-plus candidates screened by a Police Chief Search Committee, comprised of town residents and led by the recruiting firm Community Paradigm Associates LLC, headquartered in Plymouth. Storti was the only internal job candidate.
 
"After interviewing three finalists for the position, Paul Storti emerged easily as the very best candidate to build on the progressive groundwork laid by Chief Walsh," said Town Manager Mark Pruhenski, referring to retired Chief William R. Walsh Jr.
 
Pruhenski said that during his 10 years as a sergeant, and in a few weeks as acting chief, Storti has earned the respect of other officers and has been a leader in advocating for a department open to change and 21st century policing practices.
 
Storti has been serving as acting chief since Dec. 23, when  Chief William R. Walsh Jr. retired after 40 years in the job. He joined the Police Department in 1995 as a full-time officer after working part-time in neighboring towns. In the community, he's also been a volunteer coach and referee for community and school sports teams.
 
"I'm excited and ready for this challenge," said Storti, who was born and raised in Housatonic and now lives in Great Barrington with his family. "I have big shoes to fill, but Chief Walsh mentored me and gave me the tools to bring the department to its next level."
 
Storti's priorities: more focus on mental health in the community and among first responders, diversity in hiring and new methods of traffic enforcement, as traffic matters pose quality of life issues for many town residents.
 
He is developing a new department position — community outreach and education officer — to act as a liaison with area groups and residents, with the goal of expanding Police Department communications with underrepresented citizens and various groups and individuals that make up the local community.
 
"Every day we can work to better serve people, and we must go the extra mile to build and maintain trust," Storti said. "My goal is to strive to make ours the best police department in the county."
 
Pruhenski offered thanks to the volunteer Police Chief Search Committee and to Community Paradigm Associates for their thorough work in the search process.

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Rebelle Offers a New Kind of Cannabis Dispensary Experience

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Rebelle says its committed to inclusivity and social equity.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The owners of cannabis dispensary Rebelle say they are bringing a normalized cannabis retail experience to the Berkshires while prioritizing social, racial, and environmental justice.  
 
Rebelle — woman and minority-owned — sits across from Guido's Marketplace in a renovated townhouse that Wild Birds Country Store previously occupied.
 
Through its parent company Community Growth Partners, Rebelle is committed to the creation of internship and career opportunities with nonprofit partners. This includes recruiting a workforce from disproportionately impacted communities like Pittsfield and North Adams, an expungement fund that works to overturn or set aside low-level cannabis convictions in Massachusetts, and partnering with non-profit organization Roca.
 
Founder and CEO Charlotte Hanna, who has a background in non-profits and worked on Wall Street, explained that the boutique cannabis dispensary believes in inclusive, equitable capitalism that benefits shareholders and employees alike.
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