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WHERE IS CONOR BERRY? HIS VOICEMAIL SAYS HE “NO LONGER WORKS AT THE NEWSPAPER.” Plus, PLANET 8, FORCES OF DARKNESS 3; PEDA’s COREY THURSTON: NO EXPERIENCE or Here We Go Again?

BY DAN VALENTI

SECOND ADD, 4/4/11

The Planet has just posted the following notice on the “comments” feature of this website:

NOTICE TO ALL FROM THE PLANET!WE WILL NOT POST NOTES THAT GO BEYOND FAIR COMMENT. WE WILL TRY TO KEEP THIS SITE OPEN FOR A FREE EXCHANGE OF VIEWS, BUT, AS OUR DELETION OF ONE POSTER SHOWS, WE WILL POLICE THE SITE AS BEST WE CAN FOR UNSUPPORTED ALLEGATIONS. ALL TAKE NOTICE. WE ARE TOLERANT. WE WILL NOT, THOUGH, PERMIT ‘ANYTHING GOES’. WE THANK YOU FOR COMPLYING.

We will hold people to this standard to the best of our ability. The Planet realizes that the vast majority of readers and respondents, even those who strongly disagree with us, will abide the the standards that self-policed good conduct imposes. For the tiny fraction of recalcitrants, we will not permit your posts.

On another matter, it is the end of the day. No one from the Boring Broadsheet has returned our requests regarding the apparent termination of reporter Conor Berry. Yes, there are many ways to get the information, but The Planet wishes to proceed openly, through channels, and on the record, preferably in writing. We would ask BB managing editor Kevin Moran, executive editor Tim Farkas, or publisher Andy Mick to let us know what’s up. They have our number and e-mail address.

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FIRST ADD, 4/4/11

Kevin Moran, Please Phone Dan Valenti

It’s been two hours, and still BB managing editor Kevin Moran has not returned The Planet’s inquiries. We left a voice mail asking:

* To confirm what Conor Berry says on his voice mail (unless that has been taken down), that he “no longer works at the newspaper.”

* To tell us why he is no longer there

* And which reporter is taking over the police/crime beat.

When it came to reporting on The Little Guy, Berry coverage it legit. When it came to reporting any of the GOBs such as Massimiano, Stracuzzi, and the like, Berry had to finesse his work. This wasn’t his own choosing but part of the muzzle the BB puts on reporters when they cover “sensitive” people or “sensitive” topics, such as the use of steroids within the Pittsfield Police Department.

Berry said he had the information in early March. He did not publish anything until this website could confirm the information. Again, we have no reason to believe that was his call. More likely, the management of the BB didn’t want to touch this story. Too hot for them, apparently.

The Planet reminds all concerned, including the BB, the police, and anyone else interested in SteroidsGate: Good men and women want only the truth, whatever it might be. The Planet will be the happiest man at the police ball, to which we have no doubts we will be invited, if the story turns out that a sole PPD officer was using the juice. If that’s the extent of the story, hoorah! If not, We The People, as well as every good cop, needs to know how far up and down the chain of command the juicing goes.

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Final Score: Planet 8, Forces of Darkness 3

Remember the poll we took among the 11 Pittsfield city councilors on the three key questions of PCBs, Hill 78, and unfunded liabilities?  We waited, waited, and waited for the three stooges, and now we have a final, just in.

The final tally was eight responders, who lived up to their need to report, not to The Planet, but through us to We The People. We heard from Christine Yon, Peter White, Mike Ward, John Krol, Joe Nichols, Kevin Sherman, Melissa Mazzeo, and Peter Marchetti.

Uncle Gerry Lee, Jonathan Lothrop, and Ward 3 councilor Paul Capitanio decided that You The People were and are chopped liver. Remember this if J-Lo and Cappy run for re-election. The Planet reports that even Cappy’s challenger, Jeff Ferrin, gave his views. These three members, all our Right Honorable Good Friends, have been in a walking coma since the new term began. It’s time to pull the plug: brain dead, without hope, except for life as a vegetable. Lee is a cucumber. J-LO is  a beet. Cappy is a  squash.

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PEDA’s Corey Thurston: No Previous Experience

The Planet said we would give newly minted PEDA CEO Corey Thurston a chance to prove himself before we make a definitive judgment on his work. We will.

That being said, we are dismayed to learn what outgoing PEDA director Bill Hines confirms: Thurston has no experience in economic development.

Perfect, isn’t it? We mean the way the pattern repeats itself. Why on earth would a board serious about economic development select a new CEO who has no experience, no track record, and no indication that he will have anything more than the foggiest? Could it be that this person will prove easy to control?

Could it be that if PEDA HAD conducted a nationwide search, and HAD hired the sharpest person available, and DID give this person the power, that said person would quickly realize the problem that stinks up the joint over at Woodlawn Avenue. This sharp person would not put up with any crud from the board, would not care about the political considerations of the job.

Capping the Floor: Who Pays

Such a person would, for example, fight to have GE pay for the entire capping of 150,000 sq. ft. of old factory floor on the site.

That large area must be capped with a layer of concrete to entomb the poisons still in the soil. Think of this: Not only does GE get to leave the ground saturated with a witch’s brew of industrial toxins, not only does PEDA accept capping instead of REMOVAL, but PEDA apparently wants let GE off the hook with a $750,000 ceiling on the capping costs. What if it costs more? Who pays? Gotta mirror.

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, a PEDA board member, asked who pays if the capping costs exceed $750K? Neither PEDA, Thurston, nor the board had the answer. It reeks of a fishy smell, oh my brothers and sisters. First, PEDA should insist on the removal of toxins, but if it must accept capping, it should put GE on the hook for the entire cost.

Thurston Can Prove His Mettle Early. Here’s How

We ask Corey Thurston directly: Will you fight for uncapped capping money from GE? Or will you roll over and play dead, thereby sticking the taxpayers of Pittsfield with another unfunded liability that could amount to $1 million or more? Which will it be, Mr. Thurston. The Planet awaits your answer. Will you man up? Will you prove you are not just an empty suit? Also, when is the last time you spoke to John Barrett? And about what?

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NEWS FLASH!!

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, April 4, 2011) — Where is Conor Berry?

The intrepid Berry, whose stories on then-Sheriff Carmen Massimiano, former Greylock Federal Credit Union president Angelo Stracuzzi, and more recently on use of steroids within the Pittsfield Police Department made headline news and gave the Boring Broadsheet a patina of credibility, “no longer work[s] for the newspaper.” These three areas touch nerve centers of political power in the city of Pittsfield.

Berry Delivers His Own Epitaph at 496-6249

Berry wasn’t late for his own funeral. He delivers his epitaph in his usual straightforward, reportorial way in a recorded message age his phone number: 413-496-6249. He offers no information as to his sudden departure, leaving a million questions hanging. Berry then directs the caller to managing editor Kevin Moran at 413-496-6215.

The Planet placed a call to BB managing editor Kevin Moran asking to confirm Berry’s departure. We also asked him via voice mail to explains the reasons for his leaving and we asked who will be assigned to cover the police beat in Berry’s wake. Of course, we want to know if Berry’s successor will be continuing the probe into SteroidsGate. Moran has not returned our call.

The buzz, and it’s just that, is that Berry was removed as a direct result of his coverage of SteroidsGate. That is speculative at this point, and The Planet has no factual reason to assume that is true nor have we seen anything to convince us that it is NOT true. We will hold judgment on Berry’s departure until we have more information. It is a fair question, though, to ask how aggressively the Eagle intends to pursue the white-hot story. The local daily, as the dominant medium in Berkshire County, can alone bring resources to bear on investigative stories of this ilk.

Will the Eagle Pursue SteroidsGate or Drop It Like a Hot Onion?

Continue to cover this story will require stamina, nerves of steel, resources, and a desire to uncover the truth. And what is truth, as Pilate famously asked Jesus? The truth of SteroidsGate has a possible scale of, at one end: No Other Use of Illegal Steroids in the PPD Beyond the Officer Already Disciplined Following the Internal Probe to, Widespread Use of Illegal Steroids that Involves Many PPD Personnel as Well as Those from Other County Law Enforcement Agencies. That’s the range. There are only three possibilities for the truth: those two extremes or something in between.

Berry’s hasty exit has the city buzzing.  We hope other local media pursue this story. We wonder, for example, if WBRK’s Bill Sturgeon Show will look into it? Will Larry Kratka at WBEC/WUPE news?

Berry’s leaving comes just as he was rolling up his sleeves to dig into SteroidsGate, a breaking story that involves a multi-jurisdictional federal probe into the use of illegal steroids that has included Berkshire County and the Pittsfield Police Department. It would certainly be an odd time to leave.

The Planet asks Conor Berry to get in touch with us as soon as possible.

The Planet will post more later, as developments warrant. This is a fast-moving story. Stay tuned.

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39 Responses to “WHERE IS CONOR BERRY? HIS VOICEMAIL SAYS HE “NO LONGER WORKS AT THE NEWSPAPER.” Plus, PLANET 8, FORCES OF DARKNESS 3; PEDA’s COREY THURSTON: NO EXPERIENCE or Here We Go Again?”

  1. scott
    April 4, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    I got the sense that Barry’s hands were tied, I mean you can see it in his reporting while he would write with an iron pen so to speak about the dredges of society but treaded more lightly when it came to those belonging to a more “upper class.”

    • Brian Gilbert
      April 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      If Connor Berry was fired would the Eagle let him change his voice mail? I don’t think so.

      • danvalenti
        April 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

        ABG
        Excellent point. It’s clear CB changed the answer on his VM after he lost his job. It would imply, though not prove, that CB left as his decision.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    April 4, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    So much for the 1′st amendment in Pittsfield. We have cops searching for the informants that are leaking stories to the reporters, jouralists and bloggers that are shinning light to the truth of what is happening. Reminds me of the movie a ” A Few Good Men “, “all you did is screw up a city Valenti!, that’s all you did ” Keep up the good work and hopefully Connor left on his own initiative and wasn’t let go by the BB. ” Did you order the steroids testing ? You’re Godded Damned right I did ….

    • PPD
      April 4, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      Its called RATS Are you a RAT Ron?

  3. GMHeller
    April 4, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    If you are in the neighborhood (Downtown Pittsfield), why not walk into Andy Mick’s office at The Berkshire Eagle and ask the guy point blank what was the basis for the contretemps with Conor Berry and who is taking over Mr. Berry’s investigative research at The Eagle into the fed probe and the apparent widespread use by public employees in Pittsfield of illegal anabolic steroids?
    Oh, and remember when you go, the advice in Revelation 22:22: “He that carryeth a camera will receiveth the fruits of digital images.”

  4. rick
    April 4, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    man, this sounds like a town that cant lie straight….we have g.e telling us how much they will pay to cap toxins that lhey are responsible for. police trying to shut up police on a scandle, and a news paper(if you want to call it that) not letting reporters report the news. i think if rod sterling was still alive, he could use this on the twillight zone. now i see why the bb does what the do, if anyone read what goes on in this soap opera theyd stay away. its a tangled web we weave when we practice to decieve.

    • GMHeller
      April 4, 2011 at 11:51 am #

      The Twilight Zone episode to which you refer was the one about being sent to “the corn field” if one did not kowtow to the child in charge.
      There also is a Star Trek (original series) episode about if one is not “of the body”, then that person must be shunned or destroyed.

  5. rick
    April 4, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    also as we learn in life, lies will be found out especially now with everyone watching and asking questions…. its time to fess up and face the music g.o.bs. your ass is grass and valentis the lawn mower.

    • CONCERNED
      April 4, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

      huummmm is right Scott. You can’t tell me you don’t work for law enforcement, maybe even ppd, or somewhere in that building, or you have a Office, dispatcher shoveling you all the dirt. Very interesting huummmmmm

      • Scott
        April 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

        Ha,ha ,ha far from it lady I’m a convicted felon!

        • Who cares
          April 5, 2011 at 11:00 am #

          Jail house lawyer uh. Don’t think so. Yee
          knows too much inside info that we big new someone inside ppd feeding info to a convicted felony. Ummmmmm

  6. danvalenti
    April 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    NOTICE TO ALL FROM THE PLANET!
    WE WILL NOT POST NOTES THAT GO BEYOND FAIR COMMENT. WE WILL TRY TO KEEP THIS SITE OPEN FOR A FREE EXCHANGE OF VIEWS, BUT, AS OUR DELETION OF ONE POSTER SHOWS, WE WILL POLICE THE SITE AS BEST WE CAN FOR UNSUPPORTED ALLEGATIONS. ALL TAKE NOTICE. WE ARE TOLERANT. WE WILL NOT, THOUGH, PERMIT ‘ANYTHING GOES’. WE THANK YOU FOR COMPLYING.

  7. Zoe
    April 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    I heard Berry left to go the Springfield Republican. He lives over there and its more money. He wasn’t fired, and he gave a few weeks notice. Don’t see the big deal or the reason for all the conspiracy theories. People at the courthouse will miss him, though. Super nice guy.

    • edconnect
      April 5, 2011 at 4:10 am #

      If this is true I wonder why he wouldn’t have told of his pending job change, especially during his debate with heller last week. To just up and leave seems not only strange but it hurts his credibility.

  8. PCP
    April 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    WHY is it when individuals ask questions they are termed negative,
    WHY are people in police dept that expose corruption and want required drug testing termed negative, and the new one, WHY was the former personel director for the school department asked/directed by the school committee during a public meeting to overlook cori testing records?

    Could someone educated me. Thanks

    • Jim Gleason
      April 5, 2011 at 7:05 am #

      In whose case was CORI testing overlooked? Or in what kind of position if you can’t or don’t want to say who? When did this happen and who was personnel director when it did?

      • PCP
        April 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

        Ask the two at the top, they were are directly involved. Administrative type position.

  9. Bonnie
    April 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Please tell me why the good people in Pittsfield is allowing the worst of the worst to run it?

    • GMHeller
      April 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

      @Bonnie:
      PCB’s bring out the very best.
      It’s the air around Silver Lake.
      What else could explain Palookaville behavior by so many on such a continual basis?

      • PCP
        April 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

        Try DCC. And what does Palookaville really mean?

        • danvalenti
          April 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

          Palookaville, a derivative for “Palooka,” an informal usage referring to a dumb musclehead who frequents barrooms, cheats on his wife, and has the moral character of what Keenan Wynn Jr. called a “prevert” in Kubrick’s “Dr. Stangelove.” Originally, the name referred to boxer Joe Palooka, in the comic strip of the same name.

          • PCP
            April 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

            What does it mean as a reference for Pittsfield?
            DCC also?

    • danvalenti
      April 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

      They have given up, beaten down by 25 years of such “leadership.” The remedy is the opposite: engagement, participation, and high voter turnout.

  10. edconnect
    April 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Steroids in my town
    Conor was hot on the trail
    Good old boys make leave

    FORGET THE FLAG! MY SUBMISSION FOR PITTSFIELD OFFICIAL HIAKU

  11. Bonnie
    April 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    Dan, Someone suggested on one of the forums that you and Glen and Conor should get together and start your own paper. Now that would be a hoot I think we could use a good newsspaper. It has been a very long time since Pittsfield with the exception of the Gazette; has had a good paper.

  12. GMHeller
    April 5, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    Mr. Valenti:
    Time to add another question to the “must have” answers from candidates:
    Do you support random mandatory drug testing for heroin, canabis, cocaine, methamphetamines, anabolic steroids for all public employees of the City of Pittsfield?
    Will you seek to include that provision in all collective bargaining agreements signed with city employee unions?
    And what specific penalties will you support for any public employee who fails or refuses such test?

    • Sherrie
      April 5, 2011 at 3:59 am #

      I support drug testing for all public employees, and elected officials. Refusal of such testing should diminish their job as it would any other company.
      No matter what the cost here, these are the people who are running our towns, making decisions for us and how our money is spent. None of them should be opposed to such testing if they have nothing to hide. I feel it’s a start in getting rid of the dishonest & keeping the good & honest employees who are truly looking out for our best interest, not their own best interest.
      Thanks for asking.

      • danvalenti
        April 5, 2011 at 6:54 am #

        SHERRIE
        Agreed. That will be included in the next round of polling of my Right Honorable Good FRiends on the Pittsfield city council: Two Qs — (1) Do you advocate capping or cleanup of Silver Lake, and (2) Do you support random drug testing for all city employees?

  13. andy
    April 5, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    this nonsense about berry is indicative of your usual style of writing opinion? take a wild guess at why someone would move on from the eagle and write about it because there’s “no reason NOT to believe it”? that’s the way the talking heads on fox think.

    whenever i’ve had first-hand knowledge about what you happen to be spouting off about on a given day, i’ve been shocked by the extent to which you overstate facts or mischaracterize the comments and connections of your “anonymous” sources.

    i’d peripherally heard a few weeks ago that he’d gotten a job at masslive. i wouldn’t begin to speculate about his motives.

    you are spot on that the eagle is usually boring and timid, but that is obvious to anyone who has plunked down the change for a paper.

    • danvalenti
      April 5, 2011 at 6:51 am #

      ANDY
      Thanks for the feedback.

    • GMHeller
      April 5, 2011 at 8:24 am #

      @Andy,
      Recommend you not get your underwear in a wad over the way news breaks on the Internet.
      Mr. Valenti, if anything, is quite cautious in his reportage, one could even say he has a tendency to ‘understate’.
      Please provide one example to back up your claim that Dan Valenti is prone to “overstate facts” on PlanetValenti.

      In RE: Conor Berry, the facts are posted in my comment below.

  14. Quetza Coat All
    April 5, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    with all the steroids histeria, people have forgotten about the peda move with cory thurston. right, another guy with no experience with eco. develpment. the ge site is poisoned to the gills that’s why there’s no businesses there in all the yeras since 1998

  15. GMHeller
    April 5, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    FLASH!
    In RE: Conor Berry
    Conor Berry is now employed by The Springfield Republican.
    Mr. Berry’s reported for his first day of work yesterday, Monday April 4, at 3PM.
    He is not working at MassLive, which though affiliated with The Republican and though carrying the bulk of The Republican’s news feed, is located in a separate building.
    Mr. Berry has not yet been assigned a telephone extension at The Republican but can be reached at, of course, the news desk.

    • danvalenti
      April 5, 2011 at 10:02 am #

      Yes, The Planet found out about this last night. We wish our colleague well, and we wonder, since the federal probe into steroids is trans-jurisdictional, if Berry will be pursuing the story for the Republican.

  16. danbeaut
    April 5, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    Thank you G M ! Now we know the “rest of the story”.

  17. rick
    April 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    good luck conor at the republican …. now i know why u were writing on dans site………you had nothing to lose, u were moving on to bigger things, thanks for all your input about the steroid story. how about the rest of the story, in sure you have pages that havent been seen.