Article

MORE ON PPD STEROIDS BUST, a RHETORICAL CLARIFICATION; UNCOVERED: EVIDENCE OF CHEATING IN CITY FLAG COMPETITION, plus THE PLANET AND WBRK — COOKING

BY DAN VALENTI

The Planet has confirmed, through two three independent sources, that at least one Pittsfield police officer was busted in connection with illegal use/possession/reception of anabolic steroids. The latest confirmation, from a PPD source formerly of senior leadership rank, told The Planet:

“It is very true. It’s too bad for the [Department]. We don’t need another black eye. [Chief Wynn] is in over his head and is up Ruberto’s a**. The chief runs over to the mayor’s office for everything, instead of running the department himself. I’ve heard conflicting information that the place of the bust was the fitness place on Summer Street. First I heard it was, then no. The cop who got busted was in the drug unit. He was suspended for five days, taken out of the unit, and is now in uniform on the midnight shift. It’s too bad, because he is really a good cop. He’s a nice person, married, with two kids.”

Mayor Ruberto: ‘Age Catches Up with You’

In a phone call with Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, who’s on his way back to Pittsfield from Florida as we write, the mayor said he had heard of the arrest and that one officer had been charged in connection with steroids. The mayor then made a point that explained why a “good cop … a nice person, married, with two kids,” would do something like this. Speaking hypothetically, generally, and not about this particular case, Ruberto got to the heart of steroid abuse: “Age catches up with you. At 45, you don’t bounce back from a tough call the way you did when you were 25. The little injuries linger. [Steroids] help you recover faster. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.”

Great statement, because what seems a simple case of black and white, following the law versus breaking the law, has underneath it all of the factors and elements that make up a person’s life. Ruberto said that when a guy loves his job, he might be willing to submit to the temptation held out by steroid use.

Case in Point: NY Yankees’ Andy Pettite

We though of former New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettite, who admitted to illegal steroid use. Pettite said he took illegal drugs so he could bounce back from an injury faster, and begin contributing to the team. He talked about the guilt associated with being injured yet still collecting a fat paycheck. What ruined Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds actually helped Andy Pettite. He admitted his mistake, and the public forgave.

The Planet calls upon Chief Wynn to hold a press conference with the busted officer, or at least issue a press release, with the man’s permission, apologizing for the mistake. The city of Pittsfield will forgive and embrace this man. It will demonstrate an honesty and openness from the department that people will respect and love. We know The Planet will. But hiding it and trying to coverup up this type of law breaking, BY LAW ENFORCERS, lowers the morale of everyone who, in a community, lives public life together.

Admittedly, such a public strategy is unusual to say the least, but the symbolism will be enormous. Much good can also come by way of educating people about the dangers of illegal steroids, which are not a “little” drug. Athletics, police work , construction, and most any profession that is demanding physically will draw the steroids temptation in a magnetic way. Pittsfield could use this embarrassing and sad situation and make a lot of good come from it.

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Definition of Terms: “Arrested” and “Busted.”

Back later  after my hour of radio with Donna Todd Rivers, Bill Sturgeon, and Eric Vincelette on the topic of unfunded liabilities. More on that later. First, let me put in an editorial note on my use of the words “arrest” and “busted” in the case of the two officers, on a PPD man the other a state police trooper.

We do this in response to a comment left on this site by Conor Berry of the Berkshire Eagle, who today penned a piece (front page, above the fold) on the steroids case. The Planet simply means that the two officers have been caught in a compromising situation involving illicit drugs, and their respective units have taken disciplinary action. That is an arrest of two careers and two busts of professional momentum.

We’re Only Releasing What Can Be Officially Confirmed

The Planet has said nothing about legal proceedings via the criminal justice system, through the courts, and we will not, until such time as this happens and can be confirmed. All along in this story, we have been cautious, going with information we have confirmed. We shall continue that policy. Berry is correct in his post when he says The Planet probably has more on the story than he has or has been published, but the information is sketchy and will not be used until officially confirmed. If not, then it’s no harm, no foul.

The Planet repeats its call to Pittsfeld Police Chief Mike Wynn to get the necessary permissions and use this as a teaching moment about illicit drug use and about open government. Call a press conference with the officer affected and tell us exactly what happened and why. Issue a public apology. Do so, and you will find the citizens of Pittsfeld and Berkshire County a forgiving sort.

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Planet Network Uncovers Cheating in City Flag Competition

A common thread that weaves together many seemingly unrelated and disparate stories of The Naked City (But Thinks It’s Not) is that for the Little Guy, for Joe and Mary Jane Kapanski, for Joe and Jane Sixpack, and for We The People, the game is rigged. We see this on a scale as large as Pittsfield $331 million ticking time bomb known as unfunded liabilities down to a matter as small as the recent competition for a city flag.

One of The Planet’s most reliable spies, Round Jacket (RJ), has uncovered “smoking gun” evidence of cheating in the flag race. If you recall, the city got on board with this hokey promotion, and — naturally — the Boring Broadsheet promoted it like it was EV Worldwide bringing in 1,000 JOBS!! We you be shocked — shocked — to learn of scandal.

Cheating Matters and is No Small Deal

To head off the the apologists who will get on The Planet for “wasting time” on minutae, we grant the point: A city flag ranks on the PSI — the Planet Scale of Importance — directly above broken toasters. This misses the point, which is: Cheating and ignoring the rules seems to be an infectious disease in the land of Benigno Numine.

RJ, calling upon his vast network among youth and the younger set (BYP, hello), reports:

Members of a facebook event page created to support flag #5 in the contest were given instructions on how to cheat in the contest by the artist who submitted the design. The message given to them reads as follows:

“Hey everyone, tomorrow at noon, the voting stops. SO we need to really step it up today. If you turn off the cookies in your browser (under your preferences), you can vote an unlimited amount of times. So vote people and help me out. We can do this. PS — Thanks to everyone who voted for me.”

RJ concludes: This is proof that rigging was involved in the conteset (to say nothing of the poor quality of the designs submitted).

The Planet called upon all those involved in the judging of the flag contest to confront the artist of flag #5, and if our reports finger the truth, of which we have not the slightest doubt based on the reliability of Agent RJ, the artist should be unceremoniously kicked out of the competition, publicly flogged in Park Square, and be appointed immediately to the Committee to Rename Wahconah Park After The Man Who Wanted to Destroy It.

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A New Day is Dawning

As mentioned earlier, The Planet did an hour on WBRK in the morning with Bill Sturgeon and Donna Todd Rivers, joined also by financial advisor Eric Vincelette. Sturgeon took over the yawning void left when the flim-flam man Sherman Baldwin got a hotfoot and skipped town to sunnier climes.

Like we all had to do learning the beast that is daily talk radio, he stumbled at first, then less, before finding his “voice.” Starting a show, one soon realizes that it becomes a living creature, with a mind and soul all its own. It takes a while before these emerge. Sturgeon picked up the baton we left, the one that Baldwin dropped.

The Thrill of Open Air

The Planet wrote, produced, and starred in “The Dan Valenti Show” on WBRK for 14 years, from 1992 to the end of 2006. On our first show, literally our first seconds of flying solo, we forgot to activate the microphone’s “on” switch near the cough button. We started talking, but nothing was going out on the airwaves. Ron Lee, engineering on that fateful day, came rushing into the broadcast studio, Mr. Grumpy as always (but a lovable grump!), and bailed us out with the flick of a switch.

We didn’t look back after that. Thousands of shows later, we still get a thrill of being in front of a hot mike with listeners somewhere at the other end. We have nothing but good memories of our time at WBRK, and with the great people we met: Huck and Chip Hodgkins, Bullet Bob Shade, Michael Bunn, John Campoli, Len Bean, Ron Lee, Rick Beltaire, Cheryl Tripp Wood, and others. Most are still there, veterans to the core and offer more live, local programming than any other station in Berkshire County. That means something.

Donna TR: Queen of the Air in the Making

Donna Todd Rivers will be making herself comfortable in the Com and behind the mic, and the more she does it, the better she will get. After doing the show with her today, we can say: “Born to do it.”

One of the thing Bill, Donna, and I talked about after the show was the exhilarating immediately that’s shared by both radio and cyberspace. In fact, we foresee down the line a partnership of a more-than-informal nature taking place, to be announced sometime during this campaign season, between WBRK Local Talk and Planet Valenti. Together, The Planet believes that, combined, we can change the way media is experienced locally, the way politics are done, the way campaigns are conducted, the way news gets out, and the behavior of elected and appointed officials once they get into office.

Change is Afoot

The old, dark, dank days of drunken barroom politics is over. That’s what came in to fill the political, economic, and leadership gap once GE left town and took 14,000 high-paying jobs with it. Barroom politics let GE skip town without cleaning up the city it poisoned. Instead of wise, caring leadership, the residents of the city got the GOB Network, The Pittsfield 100, the Gay Mafia, and other assorted freaks of nature and of nature’s God. The Little Guy has been paying ever since.

Those days, fortunately, are ending. They better be, because if not, the city is doomed to bankruptcy, morally, politically, and economically.

There is a new light beginning to shine. Its penetration of the darkness is limited right now, but the illumination grows brighter by the day. A teaming of this website, which literally grows by the day, and a re-energized local talk component via WBRK, can perform wonders. We are living in exciting times.

STAY TUNED. WE ARE NOT YET DONE, PLANETITES! MORE LATER. LOVE TO ALL.

84 Responses to “MORE ON PPD STEROIDS BUST, a RHETORICAL CLARIFICATION; UNCOVERED: EVIDENCE OF CHEATING IN CITY FLAG COMPETITION, plus THE PLANET AND WBRK — COOKING”

  1. arpaint
    March 24, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    The question is did he break the law and was his case handled in the same way that any other person [not a police officer] would have been handle.

    • danvalenti
      March 24, 2011 at 11:54 am #

      It’s unclear, and unconfirmed. That’s why the chief needs to get out front of this story and clarify the many wild rumors that are now floating about. He certainly broke some law or formal code, as his disciplinary action indicated. As Deputy Barney Fife would advise Chief Wynn: “Ang, ya gotta nip it in the bud.”

  2. Conor Berry
    March 24, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Dan,

    As the version of events surrounding this story were told to me, NO police officers have been “arrested.” Simply put, these two officers have not been charged with a crime, and there’s nothing (no evidence, apparently) to suggest they will be charged with a crime.

    The person who was “caught” in connection with this investigation, the nuts and bolts of which have not been publicly revealed by any agency (local, state or federal), “dimed out Kirchner and the trooper” to perhaps get a better deal for himself, according to my source. Put another way, a guy gets busted for OUI, but tells the arresting officer that two other guys left the bar equally as drunk. The cop goes and talks to the two other “drunks,” but neither is drunk at the time, so they both go on their merry way.

    A bit simplistic, perhaps, but there’s no evidence to charge the two drunks because they’re not drunk. That same principle would seem to apply in this steroid case: There’s apparently no evidence to charge the municipal cop or the trooper with crimes.

    If someone, in an attempt to lessen the sting of their own pending criminal case, offers up names of other clients or customers or (fill in the operative word) … the named parties don’t necessarily wind up in trouble. Based on what I’ve learned, the officers in question have been disciplined in-house, and I detailed (as best I could based on scant information provided by law enforcement officials) the extent of that discipline: suspension and demotion for the municipal cop, and desk duty for the state cop.

    Do we know when these disciplinary actions took place, or how long they lasted? No, not at this time. Will someone, at some point, be charged with a crime(s) in connection with this steroid case? Perhaps, but my sources are telling me that it won’t be one of the cops. The only thing we DO know is that each officer was disciplined by his respective parent company — the City of Pittsfield and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    You, Dan, obviously have received information that I’m not privvy to; nobody I’ve spoken with (feds, state or local authorities) have indicated any arrests in connection with this case, which they won’t comment on beyond the few details they’ve so far offered. Will more information become available? One would hope so, for sure.

    A judicial source says no charges are pending locally, but perhaps cases have been transferred to other jurisdicitons to avoid possible conflicts of interest (what a refreshing concept!). That’s all I know.

    Meanwhile, good luck, Dan, and I look forward to learning more about what you learn about this interesting case.

    Regards,
    CONOR

    • danvalenti
      March 24, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      CONOR
      Thanks. I am using the words “arrest” and “busted” loosely to this point, and I will continue to use them in that sense, when, until, or if other information is offered that can be confirmed. Thus, we’re using the words in reference to the cases of the PPD officer and the trooper, that is, to the disciplinary action taken against them, which I view as arrests of their careers. That’s how we mean getting arrested and busted in this particular case. If our irony is confusing, we apologize, but we think it’s a fair use of the terms. You did have something I didn’t: That the trooper resides in Berkshire County but works out of the county. Thought your story was well done. Keep up the good work, man.

    • GMHeller
      March 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

      What a joke!
      Does ace reporter Conor Berry mean to imply that with all the resources at his disposal via The Berkshire Eagle, that he could find no one in Pittsfield or in any law enforcement agency anywhere to give him background information not for attribution that he could use in a report on what went down in Pittsfield last week to precipitate those two police officers’ demotions?
      With a single email one could have gotten confirmation from US Postal Inspecton Service of their investigation.
      Imagine what could have been obtained if Mr. Berry expended some actual shoe leather to uncover facts.
      Where’s the interview with the owners of Berkshire Nautilus or the surrounding neighborhood who may have witnessed events in the area?
      The lack of reportage on these matters says more about the current failings of The Berkshire Eagle than lack of any stories to report on these matters.
      Hey Conor, wake up, pal.
      There’s a federal investigation under way in Pittsfield by at least two separate law enforcement agencies.
      Where is your in depth reportage on that?

    • Joetaxpayer
      March 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

      Conner is it how the police make arrests and decide how and where to investigate a crime.If it was for the “diming out” the police would have a hard time investigating. Who wrote that for you diamond jim.

  3. Joe Blow
    March 24, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    How can he be a “good cop” if he is breaking the law?

  4. Conor Berry
    March 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Mr. Heller, No matter how many times we seem to hammer home this point, we’re bound by libel laws. We don’t publish “rumors,” the very language you used in your “investigative” piece, which threw a legitimate business under the bus without bothering to interview the principals.

    Yeah, I know; you called over to the gym. They told me. They also told me, in no uncertain terms, that you’re full of it. Read: No sting or bust or anything akin to a police action took place at the gym you name and, frankly, at last notice they were researching their legal options to find out why it is the blogosphere isn’t held accountable to the same rules and standards that apply to legitimate news-gathering organizations.

    I’m all for “citizen journalists,” but your full-time cyber gossiper. God only knows how you pay your utility bills! Bully to you for “breaking” news. But you don’t bother to verify anything. If you’d like, I’ll cut and paste the feds’ response to me, in which they clearly indicate that you ran with information they didn’t verify on the record. There was nothing ambiguous about Ms. Lindbohm’s language, and I’ll forward her message to me to you, considering it pertains to you, Mr. Heller.

    So, in fell swoop you sullied the name/rep of a local business, while connecting dots that haven’t been connected by anyone — not by the local cops, not by the DA’s office, not by the USPIS, not by the DEA, etc. In fact, the universal response from the above agencies, with the exception of the DEA (which didn’t return a phone call), was this: “We will neither confirm nor deny our involvement in an investigation.”

    The USPIS confirmed the existence of an ongoing investigation, but the agency didn’t indicate if it was in Tuscaloosa, Athens or Dublin, for that matter. Yet, you’ve managed to fine tune this investigation right down to a business in Pittsfield proper, whose principals adamantly professed complete ignorance about any/all details pertaining to this case.

    So, keep up the good work!

    CONOR

    • danvalenti
      March 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      The Planet adds that we never named a business in connection with this case. We have, at all points in this story, gone with information we confirmed. We will also add that our call for a statement from the Boston Postal Service Investigative unit has not yet been returned. Our calls into Police Chief Wynn have not been returned. This puts journalists in a tough spot. Here, we knew we had a story. A ton of rumors were floating around. When you call the appropriate agencies of offices, you expect an answer or at least a return call or e-mail. It’s long been a tactic in this city to stonewall the press on any hot matter. After a while, a compliant press gives up. Like magic, the story goes away or doesn’t appear at all. Cyberspace is changing those rules as well as the rules of fair comment. Cyberspace is unregulated space, and as a free speech advocate, The Planet believes it should remain that way.

      The Planet also would on the one hand like to see some of the disciplines of traditional journalism brought to the web but not the constraints. The Planet is walking that tightrope. We believe it to be the type of cake we can have and eat as well. It’s interesting to note that Alan Chartock, on his show today, took up the matter of bad cops. This story came up, and Alan referred to the Eagle article. He said some things that sounded unjustified in terms of the facts of the case, but it’s radio, and The Planet follows this dictum: “Don’t Edit Speech.”

      The other point is that when officials try to hide these stories, as Pittsfield officials have done and are doing, you can expect misinformation to be revealed. The rumors take on a life of their own. Again, cyberspace opens comment up to “fair” and “unfair.” It’s neither good or bad It’s the nature of this technological beast.

      The police — it’s command ranks, that is — had the chance, early on, to share the information of this case with the public and dispel ANY rumors. It did not do that. The denizens of cyberspace found out that SOMETHING happened, and that’s all they need: they post. Welcome to the Brave New World.

      I’m sure the Planet, Conor Berry, and Glenn Heller can agree that sunshine is the best disinfectant. It’s a question of how much of the shades do we raise, in a free society that, allegedly, values free speech? We like full sun. I thank the two gentlemen for this discussion.

      • Scott Moore
        March 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

        Dan, keep in mind that the supreme court ruled that it is not illegal for the media to intensionally lie and deceive the public. I though media sources were protected against libel under the second amendment??? While we’re busy trying to protect the second they’re perverting the first!

    • GMHeller
      March 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      Conor,
      Excuse me, but did you bother to go down to Berkshire Nautilus to interview customers who might have seen something last week; have you gone to the neighborhood to interview residents and passersby who might have observed anything out of the ordinary?

      Further, Conor, you fail so far to report on just what it was — a bust, an informant, or whatever — that resulted in those two police officers being demoded.
      Mr. Berry, just how did two otherwise unblemished officers from two separatepolice jurisdictions happen to get caught up in the web of a federal investigation into anabolic steroid use?
      What common thread connected them?
      From whence did their names surface and just how did those names come to the attention of superiors?
      For an ace reporter you sure do leave a lot of obvious questions unanswered.
      So far, The Berkshire Eagle’s reportage has been dismally limited to just those two unfortunate side effects of the larger federal investigation.
      It’s as though you are reporting on a couple after-effects of the tsunami in Japan without reporting that there ever was an earthquake.
      When are you going to report on exactly what transpired in downtown Pittsfield last week that generated all those nasty rumors about town?
      C’mon, Conor, The Eagle hasn’t expended one drop of soy ink on the investigation itself or reported just whose information led to the officers’ demotions.
      Conor, why don’t you camp out in front of the officers’ houses until they agree to talk to you off the record.
      Take photos.
      If this were Boston or New York (which now appear to have less crime per capita than Pittsfield), do you think reporters for the tabloids would sit idly by and be silenced merely because the people at the top give standard denials and no comments?
      Not likely, Conor.
      So please stop with the lame excuses.
      If this is the best news product your newspaper can put forth then it is painfully obvious that the newspaper is failing miserably to cultivate local police and civilian news sources.
      Conor, one other point, everything here is searchable in Google.
      At some future time when you inevitably move on, a prospective employer will no doubt appreciate how you have repeatedly flubbed reporting major local news stories.
      Need you be reminded that The Eagle still has yet to report on the nature of the original criminal charges against Angelo Stracuzzi that resulted in his getting canned by Greylock Federal?
      Please Conor, no more excuses, just get out ahead of stories, report the news, and this way you will avoid having Internet bloggers scoop The Eagle on matters which should have been reported days ago.

      • GMHeller
        March 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

        Conor,
        These are all the emails between myself and USPIS.
        Note the context was never Tuscaloosa, nor Athens nor Dublin.
        Rather, the context was always Pittsfield, and always specifically Berkshire Nautilus and its customer base.
        Is there any doubt that the USPIS Public Information Officer’s answer was responsive to those questions?

        ————————————————————-
        SUBJECT: Media Inquiry

        Sunday, March 20, 2011

        Ms. B. Lundbohm
        c/o United States Postal Inspection Service
        Boston, MA

        Dear Ms. Lundbohm,

        Thank you for returning my call so promptly.
        I am doing research for an article that would be published within the next few days in Berkshire Blog.
        I would like to obtain confirmation or denial on the question of whether U.S. Postal Inspection Service personnel were present at, or involved in, an investigation conducted within the past fourteen (14) days into anabolic steroids allegedly being delivered via U.S.Postal Service (or other package delivery service) to an address at or near an enterprise doing business as Berkshire Nautilus (a so-called fitness center), which firm is located at 42 Summer Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201.

        Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this request.

        Glenn M. Heller, editor
        BerkshireRecordDotCom — http://www.berkshirerecord.com

        Blogs:
        Berkshire Blog — http://www.berkshireeagle.blogspot.com

        Snail mail:
        P.O. Box 5711, Bethesda, Maryland 20824-5711

        Telephone: 202-973-2141

        —————————————————————
        SUBJECT: Media Inquiry – UPDATED REQUEST

        Monday, March 21, 2011

        Ms. B. Lundbohm
        c/o United States Postal Inspection Service
        Boston, MA

        Dear Ms. Lundbohm,

        I would like to update and slightly expand my media inquiry emailed yesterday regarding the research for an article that would be published within the next few days in Berkshire Blog.
        I would like to obtain confirmation or denial on the question of whether U.S. Postal Inspection Service personnel were present at, or involved in, an investigation conducted within the past fourteen (30) days into anabolic steroids allegedly being delivered via U.S.Postal Service (or other package delivery service) to home or work addresses associated with customers of an enterprise doing business as Berkshire Nautilus (a so-called fitness center), which firm is located at 42 Summer Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201.

        Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this updated request.

        Very truly yours,

        Glenn M. Heller, editor
        BerkshireRecordDotCom — http://www.berkshirerecord.com

        Blogs:
        Berkshire Blog — http://www.berkshireeagle.blogspot.com

        Snail mail:
        P.O. Box 5711, Bethesda, Maryland 20824-5711

        Telephone: 202.973.2141

        —————————————————————-
        SUBJECT: Media Inquiry — CORRECTED UPDATED REQUEST

        Monday, March 21, 2011

        Ms. B. Lundbohm
        c/o United States Postal Inspection Service
        Boston, MA

        Dear Ms. Lundbohm,

        I would like to update and slightly expand my media inquiry emailed yesterday regarding the research for an article that would be published within the next few days in Berkshire Blog.
        I would like to obtain confirmation or denial on the question of whether U.S. Postal Inspection Service personnel were present at, or involved in, an investigation conducted within the past thirty (30) days into anabolic steroids allegedly being delivered via U.S.Postal Service (or
        other package delivery service) to home or work addresses associated with customers and/or members of an enterprise doing business as Berkshire Nautilus (a so-called fitness center), which firm is located
        at 42 Summer Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201.

        Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this corrected updated request.

        Very truly yours,

        Glenn M. Heller, editor
        BerkshireRecordDotCom — http://www.berkshirerecord.com

        Blogs:
        Berkshire Blog — http://www.berkshireeagle.blogspot.com

        Snail mail:
        P.O. Box 5711, Bethesda, Maryland 20824-5711

        Telephone: 202-973-2141

        —————————————————————–

        RE: Media Inquiry

        From:
        “Lundbohm, Bernadette M”

        To: “editor@berkshirerecord.com”

        Glenn,

        This is an ongoing investigation. I am not at liberty to discuss at this time.

        Bernadette Lundbohm, CPP
        Postal Inspector-Public Information Officer
        Boston Division
        (617) 556-4489

        From: Glenn M Heller [mailto:editor@berkshirerecord.com]
        Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2011 2:15 PM
        To: Lundbohm, Bernadette M
        Subject: Media Inquiry

        Sunday, March 20, 2011

        Ms. B. Lundbohm
        c/o United States Postal Inspection Service
        Boston , MA

        Dear Ms. Lundbohm,

        Thank you for returning my call so promptly.
        I am doing research for an article that would be published within the next few days in Berkshire Blog.
        I would like to obtain confirmation or denial on the question of whether U.S. Postal Inspection Service personnel were present at, or involved in, an investigation conducted within the past fourteen (14) days into anabolic steroids allegedly being delivered via U.S.Postal Service (or other package delivery service) to an address at or near an enterprise doing business as Berkshire Nautilus (a so-called fitness center), which firm is located at 42 Summer Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201.

        Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this request.

        Glenn M. Heller, editor
        BerkshireRecordDotCom — http://www.berkshirerecord.com

        Blogs:
        Berkshire Blog — http://www.berkshireeagle.blogspot.com

        Snail mail:
        P.O. Box 5711 , Bethesda , Maryland 20824-5711

        Telephone: 202.973.2141

      • Conor Berry
        March 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

        Mr. Heller,

        I stopped by a cop’s house in an attempt to get his side of the story. I also reached out to his superiors, hoping they’d give me a clearer sense of what’s at stake hear: Criminal charges? Admonishment?

        I learned that the officer in question was suspended and demoted, but no specific details were provided. We’re awaiting more details and have made formal public records requests. The MSP will not release the trooper’s name, and it remains unclear if/when he will be charged.

        Suffice to say, I don’t think the Pittsfield officer will be reaching out to the media, particularly if he’s not facing any criminal charges. No one but those conducting this investigation know to what extent the municipal cop or the state cop were involved. I did my due diligence to learn the facts and, yes, the information I used as a template came from the information you published. In other words, no one dropped me a dime. What I also learned, however, is that nobody wants to discuss this case on the record/for the public record.

        So, the info you received apparently encouraged or empowered you to provide specific details that simply were not extended to me or any of my colleagues. The sources who spoke to me denied that any sort of police action/raid/bust took place at a local health club, and the business bolstered that contention.

        Perhaps we’ll learn more if/when someone is charged. As it stands right now, none of the law enforcement agencies that I contacted are discussing who was charged, who might be charged, when they might be charged, or where they might be arraigned. In other words, no big, splashy press conferences as of yet.

        In terms of the “context” of where this all went down, the feds typically don’t offer any identifying info when they deliver their stock we-will-neither-confirm-or-deny line. Of course I tried to get them to pinpoint the targets of the investigation, but they don’t bite.
        CONOR

        • danvalenti
          March 24, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

          CONOR
          You have done due diligence and The Planet accepts your listing of the efforts you made to get information. We, too, have reached out to various official sources, only to receive “no comment” type comments or flat out no reply. We have tried to help them get in front of this story and share the facts, you at the paper and me on The Planet. They haven’t cooperated. The story, however, has morphed into a Gorgon of rumor, speculation, and the like. Are there shards of truth? Likely. I do have an interesting confirmation of a vital fact in this case, which I shall publish tomorrow. The more the Eagle pushes the way you’ve done on this story, the more it will help create a rising tide of accountability that will lift not just media boats, for they don’t matter, but the morale of We the People. One thing appears certain: there appears to be much more to this story than one PPD officer and one state trooper. Keep digging. The Planet will, too. What the officials in Pittsfield don’t seem to understand is how the interactivity and connectivity of cyberspace has changed everything. Everyone with a smart phone is a potential news gather. They can transit text, pictures, and film instantly. SOMETHING happened in this steroids case. That SOMETHING led to a wildfire of rumors. Officials pretended like nothing was happening. The web denizens don’t care about that. In a case like this, truth often first pokes it head into view as an unsubstantiated rumor.

        • GMHeller
          March 25, 2011 at 2:11 am #

          Conor,
          Please confirm or deny:
          Were either of the police officers you cite in your article members of, clientele of, or have any affiliation whatsoever with Berkshire Nautilus?

          Question: When you interviewed the owners of Berkshire Nautilus, did you ask the question and were they able to explain just how it was that their business establishment became part of the focus of some many rumors regarding the ongoing federal investigation into anabolic steroids use in Pittsfield?

        • Dusty
          March 25, 2011 at 2:13 am #

          Conor, I would just like to say that I do not think it is right that Joe regular guy gets his or her name splashed in the paper with life details when the police arrest someone but proclaim themselves immune from public scrutiny when one of their own steps outside the law.

          I really resent the city’s confidentiality blanket when it comes to “personnel” matters. They are no better than the rest of us just because they work for the city.

        • Scott Moore
          March 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

          Can we meet up sometime at teo’s and will you sign my turkey baster??? Thank you kind sir of the classy Berkshire eagle elite!!!

          • Conor Berry
            March 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

            Scott,

            A woman is charged with assaulting her wife with a turkey baster. The story goes virtually international, but that has nothing to do with class or pedigree or elitism. It has to do with the fact that a lot of people prefer to read about shark attacks, pit bull maulings and carnival mishaps, like when a roller coaster goes careening off the tracks into a crowd and kills a Sunday school teacher.

            None of this has anything to do with me, thanks be to God, or the publication I work for. I, alone, can’t class up Pittsfield’s criminal element. I covered a dime-a-dozen assault case, which just so happened to have some legs. The “lurid” elements of the case are actually a matter of perception.

            For conservative who don’t like the idea of same-sex marriage, here’s a chance to mock a same-sex domestic dispute. For the anti-artificial-insemination lobby, here’s an ample example of what can go wrong. For anyone who doesn’t like renters, here’s a chance to bash folks who live in squalid digs in one of Pittsfield’s poorest neighborhoods.

            Whether I write about a CEO of a $1.3 billion credit union running afoul of the law in Maine, or a priest who raped altar boys in the Berkshires a quarter century ago has absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with life in 21st century America. And, yes, we do have crime here in the Berkshires, a corner of the world tucked between the Empire State and the “rest of Massachusetts.”

            Simply put, the reason a reporter would write about a domestic assault of this variety is precisely because it’s not your garden-variety assault. Hence, my opening bit about shark attacks (a rare occurrence), pit bull maulings (a fairly rare occurence), and so on down the line.

            Apparently, you yourself bothered to read the “turkey baster” story. Why is that?

            Regards,
            CONOR

      • Conor Berry
        March 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

        Mr. Heller,

        I have repeatedly told you that it was not my decision to sanitize or withhold any information regarding the Stracuzzi matter. A crime is a crime, and I certainly don’t care if it’s committed by a citizen, cop, Catholic priest or CEO.

        That said, the state of Maine ultimately only pursued two misdemeanor charges against Stracuzzi and chucked out the other charges, which The Eagle has now reported on multiple times. As I’ve also repeatedly told you, no one in the Maine law enforcement community would characterize how those charges disappeared. A plea deal? The government had a weak case? The witnesses recanted their stories? The witnesses wouldn’t testify? Who knows, really.

        I reached out to the alleged victims, but locating them was virutally impossible without more assistance from law enforcement officials, who aren’t in the business of facilitating out-of-town reporters.

        Obviously, Mr. Stracuzzi hired a good attorney (and not the poor woman you keep mentioning; she was not the lawyer who handled this prolonged Maine matter). I could get into a long conversation about the CEO’s attorney, specifically how he came to hire the lawyer and who put him in touch with him, but I won’t bore you.

        I haven’t flubbed anything, Mr. Heller. I’ve introduced stories into the public domain that have informed citizens about alleged misdeeds and bonafide misdeeds by their neighbors. With the exception of the Massimiano story, which was based on unprosecutable allegations, the crime stories I write about are based on government prosecutions. And when the government fails to do its job, or has its handiwork undone by an appellate court, I write about those instances as well (O’Laughlin, Demagall and Piccone, to mention a few).

        For the sake of argument, Mr. Heller, what if some/most/all of the details in your latest posts are wrong? What happens? Nothing, I’m guessing. Do you offer a mea culpa? Do you feel a pang of guilt or shame? Just curious.

        Reporters have to consider myriad issues every time they set out to report a story, including the impact it will have on all involved parties. If the crime story of the hour pertains to a so-called good guy going bad, there’s an excellent chance that information will not be as readily available as it would be if the bad guy was an acceptable bad guy or somebody who fit the so-called profile.

        Society ultimately holds law enforcement officials to a higher standard, and for obvious reasons. My line of questioning doesn’t change depending on who’s in the hot seat (a Catholic priest, a CEO, a cop, etc.).

        CONOR

        • GMHeller
          March 25, 2011 at 1:06 am #

          RE: Maine v Angelo Stracuzzi

          Conor, please confirm or deny:
          Did The Berkshire Eagle publish the facts surrounding the ORIGINAL set of complaints filed by State of Maine against Mr. Stracuzzi?
          Did The Eagle publish the report filed by the Biddeford Police?
          Did The Eagle publish the ages of those two ‘young males’ involved in the two sets of complaints against Mr. Stracuzzi?

          • Conor Berry
            March 25, 2011 at 4:50 am #

            Mr. Heller,

            The Eagle eventually published the nature of the original charges lodged against Stracuzzi. They were not highlighted because (A) they were already 6 years old, and (B) those charges were dismissed.

            It would be like The Eagle writing about your past brushes with the law, Mr. Heller. At this point, in 2011, what’s the point of reminding people about G.M. Heller’s past legal woes, which date back to your days in Brookline and the Berkshires.

            Stracuzzi may or may not have some issues, but as far as the state of Maine is concerned, he is not the person you and others have portrayed him to be in numerous online diatribes. My opinion of whether the underlying charges, the ones that were dismissed by the DA’s office some six years ago, is irrelevant. I’m not entitled to an opinion as a reporter. You, as a blogger, Mr. Heller, can opine away.

            Whether someone’s legal problems went away as a result of a plea bargain (I believe your charges were dismissed, just like Stracuzzi’s? Please verify) or some other legal outcome doesn’t matter all that much. As you well know, Mr. Heller, to be accused of a crime and convicted of a crime are two different realms entirely.

            CONOR

      • GMHeller
        March 25, 2011 at 1:24 am #

        Conor,
        Confirm or deny:
        Did any reporter for The Berkshire Eagle bother to go down to Berkshire Nautilus (or hang out on the sidewalk outside the place) to interview customers or passersby who might have seen or heard something going on last week (and ditto for the building directly across the street)?
        Did any reporter for The Eagle go to the homes across Center Street to interview residents who might have observed anything out of the ordinary happening on Summer Street last week; and ditto for the house at the corner of Union and Center behind Berkshire Nautilus?
        Did any reporter for The Eagle interview anyone at The Elks Lodge who might have seen or heard something going down in the area last week?

        • GMHeller
          March 25, 2011 at 8:23 am #

          RE: Maine v. Angelo Stracuzzi

          Conor, you still fail to answer the questions I posed above, so once again, please confirm or deny:
          1. Did The Berkshire Eagle publish the facts and circumstances surrounding those ORIGINAL set of complaints filed by State of Maine against Mr. Stracuzzi?
          2. Did The Eagle publish the report filed with the court by the Biddeford Police?
          3. Did The Eagle publish the respective ages of those two ‘young males’ involved in the respective two sets of complaints against Mr. Stracuzzi?

          Still waiting for your response.

  5. toto
    March 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Conor,what do you mean you don’t publish rumors? What about the Massimiano fiasco. Surprised he hasn’t sued you and your rag yet.

    • Conor Berry
      March 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

      What rumor? The Eagle reported these facts: On two separate occasions in the past decade, Pittsfield police detectives interviewed a man regarding his allegations against Massimiano.

      We had been looking into other similar allegations made by other individuals — yes, that’s an “s,” making it plural — and during the course of cultivating sources, interviewing people, etc., we learned that the local cops took a local man’s allegations serious enough to interview him not once, but twice. The man was then told that the vintage of the alleged “crimes” was too old to pursue criminally, and that he should pursue civil action. The man decided not to go the civil route.

      This same man later went on live radio, and through the facilitation of an on-air radio host, made the same allegations against Massimiano that he made two PPD detectives twice in the past decade. What ensued was roughly four weeks of attempting to get Massimiano to address the allegations that were made on live radio. Massimiano never contacted The Eagle until after the paper published a story, which by then was old news, considering the morning radio program had already “broken” the news a few weeks earlier.

      That’s how it went down. Libel is tough to prove (Sullivan vs. NYTimes), and The Eagle certainly did not come anywhere close to crossing that threshold. So, the radio host gets fired, and the story vanishes into thin air.

      • Scott Moore
        March 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

        Did the advertising dollars for his campaign to run for sheriff again help??? What did that one ad run him???

        • Conor Berry
          March 25, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

          Again, Scott, you’re obviously a casual reader of the paper you enjoy criticizing.

          Massimiano bowed out of the race for sheriff before he paid for any ads criticizing The Eagle. In these ads, he threatened to sue me, the publicatioin I work for, and my boss. The merits of any legal action aside, Mr. Massimiano would have a hard time making his case.

          Since you think I work for a “classy” paper, chock full of elitists, how’s this for classy: I only ever learned that I, and my reportage, were the subject of a full-page color ad in The Eagle because somebody in the newsroom stumbled upon a proof of a patently dishonest ad in which my character was attacked (remember, I never attacked Mr. Massimiano’s character. I reported on allegations made on a live radio program, and I confirmed that the PPD, at one point, looked into the allegations against the former sheriff).

          So, the classy paper I worked for threw me under the boss, and my boss, and also took Mr. Massimiano’s money. Damn, those elitists are good!

          Incidentally, the price of that ad was roughly two-thirds of my annual salary at The Eagle. Despite being thrown under the bus by my employer, I actually had the audacity (elitist audacity?) to write about the ad, including its cost. You should check out The Eagle’s archives (for a fee, of course).

          Good luck, Scott.

  6. toto
    March 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    The new FLAG’ should depict a four hundred gallon drum with the lettering pcb being loaded onto an eighteen wheeler, with Silver Lake or Hill 78 in the backdrop. If I win, the Planet’ can donate the award to Pittsfield’s favorite charity. BMC.

  7. Bill Sturgeon
    March 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Dan:
    Thanks for coming on the show this morning. We will be contacting you to do another show on the topic of unfunded liabilities. It is clear that it is an important topic and we need more time to discuss it.

    Eric and you have a wonderful understanding of the issue.

    Thanks again,
    Bill

    • danvalenti
      March 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      BILL
      Many thanks to you and Donna TR for allowing air time to this vital issue. We could do four hours and still not have enough time. I wanted to get into the national and international aspects of the topic, which are of great relevance locally, but we didn’t have time. Though Donna did superbly! She’s “got it.” The Planet wlll love to be back.

    • reality check
      March 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      Bill you say Dan has a “wonderful understanding of the issue”. Have you asked anyone on the Pittsfield retirement board about this? Maybe the answers they give will be different from Dan’s. Be a good journalist and do your home work before you state everything as fact. The laws and the truth might suprise you…

      • danvalenti
        March 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

        @RC
        As your post shows, the sunlight of truth may be uncomfortable to the Vested Interests, for whom you seem to be shilling, but WBRK is to be commended for taking up The Planet’s lead in bringing about discussion of the issue. You comment illustrates the value of this exercise, as the Pittsfield Retirement Board should speak up … since its fingerprints are all over the “crime scene.”

        • reality check
          March 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

          Dan you sound like Henny penny. ” The sky is falling ” In reality the Pittsfield retirement system is in a very healthy and stable condition. Your $380 million dollar liabiliity is if every employee retires today.. Not gonna happen… Your are just trying to get people nervous and upset. State the truth that all expert financial advisors will say about the health of the system! Its in fine shape! By the way will you please clear up the information for your bloggers , that Mass employees pay more than 10% of their salary toward their pension! Most of your fans think its a free ride on the tax payers back.. If any of the private secture took 10% of their pay and invested it in a 410k hopefully they would have a relatively good pension. Plus they would be able to get social security also. Dan stay with the facts, your a smart man you don’t need to print half truths to get people to read your blog..

          • SALTY
            March 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

            Heard Dan on Sturgeon show. Sorry rc, but he’s got you on this one.

          • danvalenti
            March 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

            @RC
            Funny you are using $380 million, when the state uses $331 million. You have just confirmed my statement made in cyberspace and on the air today that the $331MM figure is a low-ball estimate. You have established my credibility, my good friend. We agree: not everyone will retire at the same time, and the money won’t be due all at once. But the demographics show a wave of increasing retirees, leaving their jobs at younger ages, and living to be older than ever before. The money that will be needed, if changes are not made, will overwhelm the system. Yes, state public employees contribute 10% to their pensions. That means taxpayers fund 90%. Not a bad deal. As for Social Security, true, public employees don’t collect. On the other hand, they haven’t had Uncle Sam pick their pockets every paycheck for 40 years and confiscate their money. The problem is real. It’s getting more worrisome by the day. And public officials are pretending everything’s OK: You know, we have “a very healthy and stable” retirement system. That cannot be true if the state’s own figures show the city with an unfunded liability of $331 million, or, to use your figure, even worse at $380 million. Appreciate your thoughts, though.

  8. Bill Sturgeon
    March 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Dan:
    You will certainly be back. DTR will be able to do her solo flight very soon. She is very talented person.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  9. Bonnie
    March 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Conor, I have read many articles you printed based on lies and rumours. You stink and give reporters a bad name. Everone knows you are a Ruberto a** kisser

    • Conor Berry
      March 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

      With all due respect, Bonnie, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the mayor is not a fan of mine, either. That said, I fear you’re a wee bit off base.

  10. Mandatory 2 years
    March 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    This happened within the 1000ft “drug free zone”.

    I’m sure DA Capeless will institute his BLIND justice and seek the MANDATORY TWO YEAR PRISON Term for BOTH of the officers.

  11. toto
    March 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Hmmm. Maybe if King James gets back on time he can throw up the first ball ay the Globetrotters game tonight.

  12. toto
    March 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Just wondering what the Surgeon thinks of Angelina’s grinders?

  13. peter
    March 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    I have been reading this web site recently and have one question for GMHeller “why are you hiding behind a picture of DanRather. You seem to have all the facts and answer so come out with your true identity. Or are you afraid?????

    • GMHeller
      March 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

      Yes, afraid, and incredibly homely.

    • GMHeller
      March 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

      Could this anonymous poster ‘Peter’ make a more ridiculous and disingenuous argument?
      GMHeller is indeed my true indentity, so what’s yours, Peter?

  14. toto
    March 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Charlie Sheen is married, is a nice person, and has two kids. WINNING! Gotta go, big dinner bet on the Globetrotters tonight. The Planet says there a shoe in, mortal lock. peace, my brothers!.

  15. Payroll Patriot
    March 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Palookaville snow job 2: BREAKING SMOKE SIGNAL, BREAKING SMOKE SIGNAL: SPRING 2011

    Chief Hot Air Ruberto returns from land of real hot air with Big Wind from North to save the village from the gods and some Pony Express Pinkertons. Chief Hot Air Ruberto wants to convince the tribe that squaw with the name and temperament of Badger be given much wampum because it feels good. { Remember, from snow job story: Fast forward Big Wind from North still in Palookaville, now known to some as Assistant Chief Hot Air 1. More to follow.} Now this is the more to follow:

    Squaw identified with name and temperament of Badger will be known as Assistant Chief Hot Air 1, but really 2 : no application or Hot Air 1 posting, many braves and squaws in the village go WTF like the wampum paid for high test. Big Chief Hot Air senses that this much BS needs the direct intervention of his Big Hot Air. Little squaw princess Yon who sit on little chiefs council for all of tribal lodge 1 also in line for wampum increase. Brave of Little squaw princess Yon given job with much wampum with no application and Brave does not have proper warrior skills as former FIX It Brave Fortini. From BIG VILLAGE of Beantown where BIG smells come from: Real big chiefs are starting to wonder if too much firewater has been consumed. Big Chief Disaster Hot Air Doyle also had much to do with firewater and controller of animals. Maybe, more to follow? Make one hell of a campfire story.

    Not enough BS: keystone cops investigated by Pony Express Pinkertons and found Braves with super firewater without water along with Beantown appointed keystone cop. FIREWATER WITHOUT WATER NOT ALLOWED for braves that are to protect village and all of tribe. All braves, squaws and papooses depend upon this protection for survival of tribe. In real tribal law warrior braves that let tribe down are no more warrior. Nice guy excuses only for Hot Airs that do not want to be real chiefs.

    Tribal runner of news has turned from proud Eagle to garbage vulture that supports BS

    All BS will cost super wampum and nothing will change for Promised Land.

    • danvalenti
      March 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      Heap bug phunny!

  16. PCP
    March 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Could someone produce the detailed facts? The state had to come up with the 331 million dollar figure with some basis in fact, I hope. This is not rocket science; just produce the details and we can work out a solution. The solution may be painful, but it will help all involved.

    • danvalenti
      March 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      The $331 million is a hard number (but low because of unrealistically rosy estimates made on the cost of health care for retirees).

  17. Joetaxpayer
    March 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Would really like to know if officer Kirchner was paid during his suspension.If he was tested for steriods and if he failed why is he not being charged.Chief Wynn has lost my respect in this case.Also wonder if this did not leek out on the internet if the Berkshire Bird cage would have reported on it and Chief Wynn would have kinda commented on the sticky issue.

    • danvalenti
      March 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

      JOE
      You raise fair questions. Why has Chief Wynn been hiding on this? The Planet again advises the chief: hold a press conference and just give us the facts. This case has generated crazy rumors that are at this point in meltdown and are taking on a form of false life.

  18. Dusty
    March 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Turned off Sturgeon a year ago…he seemed like he was far up Rubertos anal canal like so many others. Are you saying he has done a 180 and is now a person of the people Dan???

    I find that rather unlikely

    • danvalenti
      March 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

      DUSTY
      All I’m saying is that WBRK and The Sturgeon Show have of late shown an admirable interest in such stories as unfunded liabilities. My other point, that I tried to make indirectly, is that local talk radio is a difficult beast to do on a daily basis (I’m talking about REAL talk radio, not “Tomorrow we talk about the upcoming Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast” fluff radio). In a town like Pittsfield, you need Big Brass Ones. I applaud Bill and the station for recognizing the importance of having local talk. The show may not be 100% to your liking, but I have a feeling that it will continue to get sharper and edgier. Thanks for the question.

  19. Joetaxpayer
    March 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Who knows maybe the officers thought they were taking flaxseed oil and arthritic cream you never can trust your trainer.

  20. Bill Sturgeon
    March 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Reality Check:

    Good suggestion I will be checking with the Retirement Board.
    Thanks,
    Bill Sturgeon

    • danvalenti
      March 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      BILL
      I would recommend that, too. Of course, understand that the info you get will come from a vested interest that has every reason to tell you what rc told me: that all is well and couldn’t be better and don’t ask too many tough questions. That’s how they are used to it around here. I say the time for the media being complicit in this game of coverup needs to be over. Caveat Emptor. Keep up the good work.

  21. just saying
    March 24, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    @ C. Berry

    Sir,
    I understand that your reporting (or lack of) is dictated to you and your fellow “reporters” by the ‘mis’management of the Eagle and its parent company.
    Your publication has once again reflected its bias and allegiance to the GOB network here in the Berkshires.
    You and your employer have been quite consistent as of late with your lack of reporting on scandals that involve some of the major players here in our County.
    Your editorial page is a leftist farce in reality, your contributing columnists are so far left as to be laughable.
    These facts alone do not condemm the publication. It is the lack of honesty in the stories that are covered, and more so the ones that are buried that lead a person to see the Eagle as a joke.
    The removal of “Topixs” and the addition of “Disquis” or whatever its called are one more nail in the coffin of the Eagle.
    A once fine publication has devolved into a partisan hack, biased tabloid.
    Sad for the residents of this fine County.
    Thanks to DV and the Planets readers and posters some bit of reality can be restored to local events.

    • Conor Berry
      March 24, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

      Sir,

      I cover crime for the paper. I write about crimes of every imagineable stripe, some so disturbing they can keep you up at night. And I’m not even the guy who’s dealing with these people up close: That honor falls to the cops, the detectives, the victim advocates, the prosecutors, the SAIN interviewers and various therapists and doctors who get to interview a 3-year-old rape victim.

      The politics of The Eagle’s editorial board, or its parent company for that matter, play no role in my desire to go out and honestly report what’s happening on the crime-and-punsihment front. If you have a beef with the paper’s City Hall coverage (and I suspect you might), or its editorials, I suggest you contact the City Hall reporter and the Editorial Page editor.

      If you have a beef with crime coverage, then beef away to me. My name, phone number and email address appear after every article I write, and I’ve never shied away from a meaningful discussion in my life.

      CONOR

      • just wondering?
        March 25, 2011 at 5:26 am #

        Mr. Conor,
        You state that your job is to cover crimes in Berkshire County for the Berkshire Eagle.
        Are those crimes limited to the larger crimes alone or does your job also include following the cases that are being heard in the BCDC house?

        • Conor Berry
          March 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

          Sir,

          I’ve never heard of the “BCDC.” I’m sorry I can’t help you.

          CONOR

          • let me clarify
            March 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

            ‘BCDH’ = Berkshire County District Court

          • let me clarify
            March 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

            ….sorry, Berkshire County District Court House.

      • just saying
        March 25, 2011 at 11:43 am #

        Sir,

        The Eagle picks and chooses which stories it will cover.
        The BB as Dan calls it, has refused to dig into several
        crime stories lately. That is up those that run it, that’s fine.
        I’m quite sure you are aware of the crime stories I refer to.

        • Conor Berry
          March 25, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

          Sir,

          I cover the criminal justice system in Berkshire County, including so-called breaking crime stories, such as stabbings, shootings and other assautls.

          We typically cover all big cases until they are adjudicated.

          Of course we “pick and choose” which stories to cover. That’s standard operating procedure for any daily newspaper in America, from the NYTimes to the BB, as Mr. Valenti refers to it. We are NOT, however, the Crime Times. There are actually people who do good things, and they get plenty of coverage in the BB’s pages.

          I’m a crime reporter; I write about crime. In terms of refusing to dig into several crime stories of late, I don’t know what you mean. If you want to drop a dime, be quoted in an article, or report malfeasance, feel free to contact me. My number and e-mail address appear after every story I write, and I do my best to respond to every inquiry, criticism, tip I receive.

          CONOR

          • just saying
            March 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

            Conor,

            I know full well what you cover, and the things that you cover are mostly well done.
            This is certainly not an attack on you or YOUR coverage.
            That said, the BB does not do justice to its readership when it comes to the “elite” of the County.

            Carmen M. Child abuse, the BB said almost nothing.

            Angelo S. Again zero.

            On these two, you only stated what was already known by those savvy enough to look at other media outlets.
            Your Eagle (BB) writings cast no new light on the subjects at hand.
            The Eagle is clearly controlled by a few vested interests.
            The articles in your publication have no problem digging dirt on the little people. Why don’t you guys try a little equal justice on the people you report on.

      • Joetaxpayer
        March 25, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

        THEY ARE THE FILTER!

    • GMHeller
      March 26, 2011 at 5:02 am #

      @’Just Saying’
      You make excellent points.
      In RE: the change from Topix to Disqus:
      I may be wrong about this from the technical aspect but it seems to me Disqus comments don’t even formally ‘exist’ on the Internet.
      I’ve never, so far, been able to find them during Google searches.
      Whereas, Topix postings are eminently searchable.
      It’s as though as soon as The Eagle cycles out an article from its database (90 days?), then Disqus comments attached to that article are no more.
      Whereas, Topix comments appear to stay in their searchable database, so far for years.
      The Eagle is plainly not interested in honest dialogue nor opposing points of view.
      For weeks now,The Eagle has forbidden me from posting on its Disqus pages.
      When I login to Disqus, I currently get the message: “The site has blocked you from posting new comments.”
      I’m not sure what the brainiacs at The Eagle think they’ve accomplished since posting on Topix, on my own blogs/websites, and on PlanetValenti has proven, if anything, more fruitful than posting on The Eagle’s Disgus pages.
      Let’s be honest, had PlanetValenti and Berkshire Blog not broken the story first, when exactly does anyone believe the Joseph Pulitzers and Horace Greeleys at The Eagle would have finally published a report about the Fed probe into illegal sales of Anabolic Steroids in Pittsfield?
      And does anybody actually believe that The Eagle has gotten out in front of the story?
      SEE:
      http://berkshireeagle.blogspot.com/2011/03/fed-steroid-probe-whos-next.html

  22. peter
    March 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    GM Heller When I start to give my opinion and think I know about everything I will give my name. However is was not so much your name but what you look like behind that Dan Rathers picture Chill out a little GM Heller life to short

    • GMHeller
      March 25, 2011 at 1:37 am #

      Peter, chill out yourself.
      Why should someone display what one looks like to people without the stones to post their actual identities?
      Like too many others on these threads, you’re being plainly hypocritical.

  23. peter
    March 25, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    GM oh boy do you need a life and get off your high horse Your the one that put your face behind Dan Rathers so if you can’t joke about it, oh never mind.

  24. SALTY
    March 25, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    Im not a BB fan but I respect the work of conor berry. He is their best reporter. My guess is hes also dealing with a exec editor mr farkas who is afraid of his own shadow and had put the kabosh on invetigative reporters, Keep doing your good work, mr berry

  25. peter
    March 25, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    GM oh I forgot you have a great day

    • GMHeller
      March 25, 2011 at 8:46 am #

      Peter, I will indeed have had a great day if I can get some more of these anonymous posters here to own up to their respective comments by at least posting with their real identities.

      It’s one thing if one is worried about recriminations from the incendiary nature of the information one is supplying, but it’s another thing altogether if one is simply a gutless wimp.

      Dan Valenti posts his identity and he writes incendiary stuff.
      Conor Berry posts his identity.
      I post mine.

  26. eric vincelette
    March 25, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    I must also say that I respect Conor Berry’s work @ the Eagle as he balances & weeds out his own personal opinion, bosses demands & rules, public opinion ,rumors & innuendo & FACTS, which I believe he digs for & reports to the best of his ability within the constraints placed upon him by his employer.

  27. peter
    March 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Gm Thats fine but I have not posted any “stuff” I did post a joke to you but you can’t take it By the way if that “gutless wimp was for me it does not fit as when I as you say post “stuff” you’ll see Again have a great day and keep digging. I will also and then I’ll put my name with the stuff I dig up

  28. Conor Berry
    March 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    ‘Just Saying,’

    Hate to break it to you, but the high-profile stories about the county’s elite running afoul of the law, or attracting the interest of lawmen, were broken by The Eagle.

    The Stracuzzi story was broken by The Eagle, which shed light on his out-of-state criminal record and what happened once the case was transferred to Massachusetts.

    The Massimiano story was partially broken by The Eagle. By that, I mean, the fellow who made the allegation against the former sheriff did so on live radio, forcing us to follow after careful consideration, consultation with attorneys and hours of due diligence on our end. The Eagle had already been looking into this fellow’s allegations and other similar allegations made by other local men, none of whose stories ever saw the light of day.

    Numerous interviews were conducted and numerous sources were cultivated. I went to Mr. Massimiano’s home to get his side of the story more times than I care to remember. I left my calling card in his screen door at least a half-dozen times. I looked for his car at the jail, I called his PR man, I called his spokesman, his executive secretary, his friends, his enemies, his employees.Then, I called them all again. And, again. I even took a ride down to his house on the Cape to check for signs of life.

    During all of this, we learned that the PPD had interviewed one of Massimiano’s accusers not once, but twice. The first interview was a mere statement given to two detectives. The second, conducted a few years later, was a videotaped statement to the cops. That was the news we led with because it didn’t pertain to the live, on-air revelation on WBRK, a radio station that’s run by a friend of Massimiano’s (That may explain why the radio show host who coaxed the fellow to identify his alleged assaulter during a live broadcast no longer works for the station).

    Obviously, The Eagle strives to be competitive, and not to follow what another media outlet has already reported, which is why the “new” information topped the newspaper’s report and the radio revelation was burried down deep.

    In each instance — the Stracuzzi affair and the Massimiano matter — numerous articles were written, each one seeking to expand upon the previous one. Critics of The Eagle’s reportage are entitled to criticize, of course, but there’s just no validity to the notion that we rolled over and played dead on either of these matters.

    Am I disappointed that The Eagle shied away from reporting ALL relevant details regarding the Stracuzzi case? Yes, I am, but that was not my decision. In the end, though, the newspaper did eventually report on the dismissed charges, the ones on which Mr. Heller remains so heavily focused.

    CONOR

    • Scott Moore
      March 26, 2011 at 4:35 am #

      You guys didn’t break the Angelo story until the globe reported on patronage in the probation department almost a decade after it happened and only when other sources revealed what really happened you guys followed suit. Also I read your paper for the sheer entertainment value like one would watch Jerry Springer I don’t believe a word you guys print and you continually plaster people names and information as soon as their arrested and you take the arresting agencies word for all of it and thats the extent of your “investigative reporting”. Also the media is protected by the second amendment please stop perverting it. You have freedom of the press so use it and use it fairly for all. Also I’d like to point out in reference to your reply to my inquiry about signing my turkey baster. You definitely showed your true colors. I think You just admitted to exploiting these people for shock and entertainment value.

      • Joetaxpayer
        March 26, 2011 at 6:30 am #

        Scott do not forget the orange bag excellent for picking up dog crap,and the content which comes in handy for lining a bird cage.

      • Conor Berry
        March 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

        Scott,

        I write about crime. That criminal case was an interesting criminal case. Apparently, a few hundred-thousand people agreed. You read it, too, but now you stand in judgement of its “classiness.” Go figure!

        IN terms of the probation department scandal, The Eagle was looking for a local “hook” and obviously the Nilan-Stracuzzi issue was a strong hook. It was what it is. The Eagle can’t force people to break or follow the law.

        Amazing how reporting on favortism and possible corruption is akin to an episode of the “Springer” show. Turkey baster assaults are certainly tabloid fare. But I’m guessing if we didn’t cover such low-brow stories, we’d be accused of elitism. Isn’t that what you said I was a few posts back — an elitist?

        CONOR

        • Conor follower
          March 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

          Ok Connor Berry …. You know what you know now so investigate because there are many more. Do what you said you would do. We are watching and all we want is the truth… Not another stracuzzi cover up. Make us trust and believe in you cause Really really want to

        • Scott
          March 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

          No I did not call you an elitist I simply stated that you exploit the people who have less of a voice. My reading it says nothing about me but you writing it has a whole lot to say about you. I think you come off snide and holier than tho.

  29. Scott Moore
    March 26, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    I can grab free penny savers from the grocery store and dog crap is biodegradable! I read the eagle for free online and anyone can go to the library to view the archives for free as well.

  30. Roscoe K Barrett
    April 13, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    Yo Danny V,

    I realize at this blog post is buried beneath a half of months worth of corruption and scandal however I was hoping to resurface an issue outlined here. Long story short, today’s BB finally announced the winner of the “FLAG CONTEST” for Pittsfield’s official flag. Needless to say how can one not be disappointed. The Planet broke word on cheating weeks ago by winning flag’s designer in a push to boost vote numbers. There are just so many things wrong with the contest that I don’t know where to begin. Truthfully, while not a fan of designs at all, I am more annoyed to see the winner happened to be the one in question.

    Kudos to RED JACKET for breaking this story to you. I hope that if you see this post amongst the flurry of Heller v. Berry spats that you can maybe renew this post or the excerpt on the flag to let the public know exactly what went down. Also I had this thought that really gets under my skin about the winning flag. The flag depicts 4 buildings. 2/4 buildings are BERKSHIRE BANK buildings. Seems like self promotion to me. There are so many great businesses in Pittsfield. Its unfortunate Berk Bank gets the limelight and I can almost guarantee that they will use it to their utmost advantage and publicity associated with it. More troubling is that according to the BB, voting results won’t be disclosed.

    I ask you to do what you do best and get us some answers make the public aware of this.

    • danvalenti
      April 13, 2011 at 9:12 am #

      ROSCOE
      Thanks. I will post something.