BCArc Names Executive Vice President

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — BCArc has named Sonja Haecker, Ed.D, Executive Vice President. In this new position she will oversee the Agency's Community Services programs, including Adult Family Care Program, Family Support & Advocacy, Employment & Vocational Services, Day Habilitation programs, and Community-Based Day Services. She will also oversee the Clinical Department, and Respite Services. 
 
In addition, Sonja will assist the President & CEO with strategic planning initiatives. 
 
Prior to this position, Sonja was Vice President of Community Services, where she expanded the Adult Family Care program, strengthened Family Support Services, and successfully spearheaded several new Agency initiatives.
 
"Sonja has demonstrated incredible leadership, and has implemented numerous innovative initiatives," said Maryann Hyatt, BCArc President. "We look forward to Sonja bringing her talents and skills to this new position."
 
Sonja has presented at conferences statewide and nationally, and has been recognized by the Arc of Massachusetts for her Leadership in Family and Individual Supports. She is a Massachusetts Ambassador for the national initiative "Charting the LifeCourse," and serves on the Berkshire Community College Human Services Advisory Board. She holds several training certificates in areas such as Positive Behavior Supports, and the Parent Consultant Training Institute.
 
Sonja worked with at-risk youth and low-income families before joining BCArc.
 
She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of New England, a Master's in Education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where she is a Distinguished Alumna, and a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from the College of Saint Rose.

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Owner of Abandoned Cats Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A woman accused of abandoning more than a dozen cats during snowstorm a year ago has pleaded guilty. 
 
Kelly Hathaway of Pittsfield pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of animal cruelty in Central Berkshire District Court as part of a plea agreement. Following the plea agreement, she was ordered to have a mental health evaluation and follow any after care as instructed by the court.
 
She was placed on two years probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. She is not allowed to possess any animals and was ordered to surrender any she has in her care. She is also prohibited from volunteering with any animal groups.
 
Hathaway and another defendant were charged last March with abandoning 15 cats on back roads in Richmond and Lanesborough after an investigation by Lanesborough Police, Lanesborough Animal Control and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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