Stuff That Happened in Pittsfield This Week (March 18-24)

Pittsfield, along with five other localities, became the first of Massachusetts new “Cultural Districts”, out of more than a hundred communities who’ve already applied. The distinction features new dedicated signage and an according listing on the State’s tourism website. While this does not bring with it any special funding, the designation is a tool that city cultural venues can use to bring in more money through grants and major gifts, as well as being an expected boost to overall tourism.

Mass. Treasurer Steven Grossman w/ Mayor Bianchi @ Taconic HS

Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman visited Pittsfield Friday, stopping in at Berkshire Bank, Starbase Technologies, and Luma’s Muffin and Mug, as well as taking a tour of facilities at Taconic High. Grossman viewed some of the results of the Small Business Banking Partnership he rolled out last may, and as a member of the state’s School Building Authority told local officials that “Pittsfield has waited long enough” for a new high school facility.

100-150 people, many in hoodies, turned out to Park Square Friday [TV coverage: WYNT or YNN ] to protest the injustice surrounding the death of Florida’s Trayvon Martin. My op-ed yesterday delves into why I think that not only is it important to express solidarity on this occasion, but it is imperative to locallly internalize the truths that are made apparent by Martin’s death and its aftermath.

Berkshire County continues to struggle with service shortfalls and limited services that impact the availability and use of public transit in the county, according the BRPC’s updated Human Services Transportation plan.  The update, which is mandatory every 3 years to maintain federal funding, comes at a time when the state continues to struggle with a massive transportation budget deficit and ongoing controversy over MBTA services in the eastern part of the state.

A heated battle with the Park Commission predicted by one of the area’s more hysterical pundits, over a park permit for the Pittsfield Positive People and Proud Pets event set for Kirvin Park, did not come to fruition Tuesday as the Commission approved the event in a manner similar to that of all acceptable park events which seek permission through the proper channels.  Robbed of all real controversy to harp on, the Berkshire Blusterer and his pals then turned to sour grapes hemming and hawing about various technicals, like the lack of flags present in City Hall’s 203 meeting room, an issue which of course has nothing to do with the Park Commission, one of many boards and committees who utilize the room for meeting space.

In the courts, a hearing was postponed and additional details revealed about the charges against Meredith Nilan in the hit and run injury of Peter Moore; 3 young men are being held on 25K bail at the House of Correction after pleading not guilty to charges after allegedly stealing multiple cars and setting fire to a Dalton Ave business; and Springfield cocaine dealer Terrance Brown was sentenced to 10 to 12 years on charges from the 2010 killing of Jahda Martin

Also this week, a public school employee and her young accomplice were issued a slap on the wrist following findings that the two orchestrated a number of prank calls to her ex-husband, a Pittsfield Police Officer, which included death threats.

Finally, the Berkshire Eagle partially indemnified itself against those who’ve said a sudden expose on Congressional candidate Andrea Nuciforo two weeks ago has caused it to look unbalanced in its coverage of the 1st Mass. District race. A story yesterday, also by investigative reporter Ned Oliver, revealed that Neal employed his son Brendan Conway Neal as an employee in his last two campaigns, to the tune of $28,500. Neal is one of 82 members of Congress who have used campaign funds to pay relatives for various functions, according to a recently released report. While this is in no way illegal, and Neal’s press secretary has defended the action, this could potentially crop up as a talking point in an election conversation that has mostly hinged on money.

Coming soon: Has the third Democrat vying for this seat, Alford’s Bill Shein, FULLY DISCLOSED HOW MANY DUCKS HE IS RAISING?

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