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Pancho's Mexican Restaurant on North Street was allowed to extend its hours of operation on Monday.

Licensing Board OKs Extended Hours for Panchos Post Suspension

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A North Street eatery was rewarded for its compliance after a liquor license suspension in December.

The Licensing Board on Monday gave Pancho's Mexican Restaurant the OK to close one hour later — extending last call to 12:30 p.m. and closing at 1 a.m. There have been no reported incidents since the weeklong license suspension.

Attorney Loretta Mach reported that manager Gabriel Columna took it upon himself to hire a security company for contracted hours between 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., maintaining the crowd and herding people out of the establishment when needed.

"There has been now for approximately three months last call at 11:30, closing at 12, no instances according to my client," she said.

Chair Thomas Campoli was impressed with the added security.

"From my perspective, No. 1, it's great that there haven't been any problems there and that's wonderful. No. 2 I think it's a great idea to have a security company in there," he said.

"Obviously, you've been popular and you want to continue to be popular but you want to have it be safe so from my perspective, that sounds like a great idea."

Police Capt. Matthew Hill reported that there have been "no problems" but warned against having patrons in the building after closing. Many of the incidents that led to Pancho's suspension occurred after midnight and, earlier this year, officers reported seeing people inside after hours.

"The only thing I would like to make clear at this moment is that closing time means no patrons in the building," he said.

"I don't have anything that I can present to the board but I did get a report that one night it appeared from the midnight shift that there may have been a patron or two still in the building but they had to go to another call so they couldn't investigate but I just want to make that clear at this moment closing means no patrons in the building."

He said the observation was "definitely after December" and had to be in January. The officer noticed that there was an unusual amount of cars near the eatery and the lights were still on around 12:20 p.m.

"I think it's a good thing you've hired a security company but it seems like, and I'm not saying it happened but it seems like you've had people in the bar when they shouldn't have been there after you hired the security company," board member Kathy Amuso said.

"So I think we're all saying here this is a warning. That's what you've hired them to do and this is what is should happen. You need to make sure that they're doing what you hired them for."

Mach hoped that the board wouldn't confirm something that officers did not investigate as fact, pointing out that people could have been cleaning and we "just don't know."

"I agree with your point but in the interest of just this working out, I think it's something worth talking about and we've done it now," Campoli said.

Pancho's license was suspended for 10 incidents ranging between August and December that included projectile vomiting and talk of a gun. The events began to occur only months after Panchos reduced hours because of a "large-scale disturbance" earlier in the year were lifted.

 Most of the reports were of intoxicated fighting outside of the establishment after midnight.

After more than an hour of testimony, the board voted in favor of the suspension and mandated that the restaurant has last call at 11:30 p.m. and closes at midnight until February. Last March, it had been ordered to temporarily reduce hours and was given a weeklong suspension that was held in abeyance.

Tags: license board,   license suspension,   

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Arbor Day Celebrations Planned in Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Department of Community Development Parks and Recreation Program will be hosting two community Arbor Day events to celebrate the life and achievements of Robert L. Presutti.
Presutti is a longtime city resident who volunteered many hours with both the Parks Department and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
The first ceremony will take place on Friday, April 26 at 12 p.m. at the Berkshire Athenaeum, Bartlett Avenue side of the building. On Sunday, April 28 at 12 p.m., the city will host a Bob Presutti Tribute Day at Springside Park, located at 874 North Street. 
Both events will happen rain or shine and light refreshments will be provided.
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