(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, May 7, 2011) — Thinking ahead to Monday’s town election in Lenox, The Planet issues our endorsements. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Two incumbents — Kim Flynn and John McNinch — are competing against two challengers — Eric Vincelette and David Roche for two seats on the five-person select board. The Planet recommends Vincelette and Roche.

When we moderated the final debate among the candidates, The Planet engaged in a crash course on Lenox politics. They are small town politics are their best and worst. We talked to many people mostly about issues and not people. Thus, we had a rare advantage that we hardly ever enjoy: objectivity of issues and candidates. Full disclosure: The Planet knows Vincelette. We first met him through his father, former Ward 4 Pittsfield councilor Chuck Vincelette (who’s running for the seat again after a few years off). In the past year, we have developed a relationship with him. The Planet can honestly say, though, that if EV had embarrassed himself in this campaign or clearly was in over his head, we would NEVER endorse him. We are endorsing what we feel are the two most qualified candidates.

We like Vincelette’s freshness, his curiosity (seen in the questions he’s asked of the incumbents), his service (town finance committee), and his work ethic. He conveys to attitude of someone who “wants” the job without making it a fanatical pursuit. He has a life outside of politics, and this is important. Too often, candidates are full of the wrong kid of zeal, and they try to make up in public life what they are missing at home.

Roche brings business experience with him and, like Vincelette, seems to be a “private sector” leaning man. Roche has a statesmanlike demeanor, if that is the right way of putting it. We liked how, during the debate, he spent the time when he wasn’t speaking “listening.” He showed a good command of the issues and a straightforward way of communicating his understandings.

INCUMBENTS: Lots of Ho-Hum

As for the incumbents, they didn’t convey a freshness of approach. McNinch seemed to be bored, almost sleepy at times, far too laid back and cavalier for the occasion. Perhaps that’s who he is. If so, all the more reason to make a change. If there is a Good Ole Boy in this race, it’s McNinch.

Flynn had a slow start t the debate and got stronger as the night went on. There were too many “blanks” and silences from her when pressed on questions. She came across as if she was running for class president. that’s hard to quantify, but we will point out that her skirt was a tad too short and the heels of her shows a tad too high. On policy issues, she was defensive and vague. Again, The Planet recommends voters pull the plug on Flynn.




The Planet had the pleasure of being on campus today at Berkshire Community College to teach a composition class. We took the time to explore the area where an 18-year-old kid fell through a metal grate and took a 15-foot plunge into a concrete pit.

The site of the accident is the venting grate that runs along the north face of Koussevitsky Theater. The ventilation pit runs the length of the building’s north face, at hte base. It is topped by metal grate, in sections. The grate panels have been secured by a long, metal bar that is fastened at both ends of the pit. When one looks at the scene, you see a piece of plywood covering where a metal panel should be. That’s where the teenager fell in. The bar looks like it’s been broken there, which explain how the grate could have popped out of place. Here’s a key question: was the bar broken prior to the kid falling into the pit or was it broken as a result of him standing on it, causing it to snap?

Interestingly, the ventilation pit has been fenced off with fencing installed immediately after the accident. The fencing was not there prior to the kid falling into the pit. Now the pendulum starts swinging.

Who’s to Blame?

Where does blame fall? That’s hard to say without an investigation, but The Planet would dispute the statement of BCC’s PR person, Christina Barrett, that no one was at fault. If you take one look at where the pit is located and at its geometry, her statement is ridiculous. Either the kid was where he shouldn’t have been, the site was improperly secured, or both.

The pit and grating are not near the sidewalk. It’s an area of the campus where students ignore, without consequence, the No Smoking signs. Why was he standing on the grate? Was there horsing around there? Didn’t he realize that he was standing over a 15-foot deep pit? Was the metal grating not secured properly by the lock bar? Should it have been? Was there a situation that could have been prevented by routine maintenance.

These are questions for the investigators and maybe lawyers. For now, it look as if both the kid and the college share in the negligence. The blessing is that the boy wasn’t seriously hurt.




It was a glorious late morning and afternoon at Beloved Wahconah Park (BWP) as 79 young men showed up for day one of a two-day tryout. There were scouts from the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Frontier League, the New York State League, and, of course, the Can-Am League.

Pittsfield Colonials manager Jamie Keefe and his pitching coach Chad Peronto led the ballplayers through their tasks. Players ran sprints then played in a marathon simulated game, where hitters squared off against live pitching. These young men were grabbing at a dream that, for some, will die on the field at BWP. For others, they will catch someone’s attention and be given an invitation to return tomorrow for Day 2 of camp. In some ways, every pitch thrown and every cut inside the batting cage dripped with a drama and importance reserved for Game 7. The pitchers knew, literally, every pitch was being charted. They had three batters against which to show their stuff. Hitters had an at bat or two. A whole lot rode on each movement.

That is drama. That is intensity. That is baseball. The game isn’t a MLB spoiled brat making $10 million a year and bitching about it. It’s these 79 young men, many from major collegiate programs and Major League organizations, paying their own way to show up at BWP, daring to grab at opportunity, standing on the threshold of a dream.

At Tim McCarver might way, ya gotta love it.

The Colonials open at home later this month, with a home stand beginning on Opening Day, Thursday May 26.



Finally, we share this from the Associated Press.

We invite your views.

By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER, Associated Press – Fri May 6,

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – Colin Powell told graduates of South Carolina’s premier historically black university that they were graduating during a tumultuous time that saw a royal wedding, a pope’s beatification and a U.S. military assault that killed Osama bin Laden, “the worst person on earth.”

But the former secretary of state and Joint Chiefs chairman told South Carolina State University’s 400 graduates on Friday that he particularly enjoyed another recent event: “That was when President Obama took out his birth certificate and blew away Donald Trump and all the birthers!”

The stadium roared in approval of Powell’s comments on the president’s move last week to quell the doubts of those who don’t believe he was born in Hawaii. The retired Army four-star general endorsed Obama’s 2008 presidential bid






  1. just saying
    May 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    1. Trump is just an ass who likes to see his name in the news.

    2. If he really questions Barry O’s place of birth fine, but the real point is that Obama’s father was not a citizen. There in lies the real issue.

    3. Trump is no Conservative, he may be rino, but he has donated quite a lot of money to democrats running for office. Of course he would probably donate to anyone he felt would help him.

    • GMHeller
      May 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      @Just saying,
      The latest Obama birth document release, that alleged copy of Obama’s original long-form “Certificate of Live Birth” creates more questions than it answers.

  2. GMHeller
    May 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    You write:
    How so?
    You actually think Barack Hussein Obama would ever have released his alleged long-form birth certificate without the prodding of Donald Trump or some other immediate factor?
    Why has it taken more than two years?
    Why all of a sudden?
    And where is the release of all the other records this ‘most transparent presidency in U.S. history” is withholding about a whole mess of other subjects including Obama’s university transcripts, writings, etc..

    Either it is because Donald Trump has been raising the awareness level on the matter, or it’s because Obama is trying to head off the effect of the soon to be released book entitled, “Where’s the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President” by Jerome Corsi, set to be released in just ten days on May 17.

    And by the way, RINO Republican Colin Powell’s endorsement of anything Barack Obama says or does is totally meaningless on the national stage ever since Mr. Powell showed his true political sympathies by supporting a Liberal Democrat for President in the 2008 election.

    Mr. Valenti, will you be reviewing Mr. Corsi’s book for your readers?

  3. GMHeller
    May 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    Incidentally, Jerome Corsi’s book is currently ranked as follows by

    # Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
    * #1 in Books > Nonfiction > Law > One-L
    * #1 in Books > Nonfiction > Government
    * #1 in Books > Nonfiction > Law > Constitutional Law

    #1 — in three separate categories — not bad for a book that has yet even to be released.

  4. Jonathan Melle
    May 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Lenox politics isn’t as bad as Pittsfield politics with the exception of “Smitty” PIGnatelli.

  5. fan Dan Go
    May 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    It’s both funny, phunny and pathetic to see the rabid right such as heller so desperate now that President Obama has done what W failed to do he bouught bin laden to justice. it just irks Obama haters that we actually havea president who can “mission accomplish.” notice how heler still clings to the birther issue. how desperate can a guy get?

    • GMHeller
      May 7, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

      @fan Dan go,
      Then why, two years after his election, did Obama choose now to release that long-form ‘certificate of live birth’?

    • scott
      May 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      They’ve known where he was all along the CIA and military are the same intelligence as they were under Bush Obama really didn’t DO anything but take all the credit kind of a coincidence that it happened so close to election time. I think it’s good we got him but with the declining dollar value, a crappy economy, high gas and food prices as well as out of control spending I mean what does it really matter? Can we pull our troops out of the desert now? Can obama do anything he said he was going to? (No I am not a republican.)

      • GMHeller
        May 8, 2011 at 7:51 am #

        Why aren’t you a Republican?

        • scott
          May 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

          because I’d only be chasing my tail.

          • NFM
            May 9, 2011 at 11:43 am #

            You have a tail?

  6. fan Dan Go
    May 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    go colonials too!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Joetaxpayer
    May 8, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Speaking of Pittsfield politics,Joe Nichols letter to the editor was the best thing I read in todays eagle.Very well written Joe.Like your aproach,But how is Pittsfield with the highest commercial tax rate in berkshire county and limited commercial property(EXCEPT PCB LADEN) going to attract new bussiness.If tax breaks are given doesnt that defeat the purpose of raising funds to lower taxes for all.

  8. Obie
    May 8, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Nichols has his heart in th right place but when it comes down to it, neither he, walto, or the million other wanna bes who will clog up the primary will matter it’s bianchi vs marchetti . Marcheti is the choice of the GOB network, handpicked by ruberto and the rest to do their bidding. Bianchi is goingto win big.

    • Joetaxpayer
      May 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      Obie,must agree with you,cannot see Bianchi,losing this one.Although you never know with Pittsfield voters.Would like to see Joe make it past the primaries.

  9. Guy N
    May 8, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    I was in Lenox yesterday and all the locals could talk about was what a jerk Dan was at the debate. They couldn’t believe how much favoritism Dan showed to Vincellete. Dan you did Vincellete no favors by backing him. My prediction Vincellete comes in dead last!

  10. Dusty
    May 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Marchetti has too much baggage. I predict the GOB will put forth a new candidate before too long. and he/she will stand out like a sore thumb. However, the GOB is now wearing a scarlet letter themselves and smart folk are avoiding connecting themselves with them…especially business men who don’t want to risk a huge boycott of their stores..

    look for Greylock to keep a low profile… perhaps even keeping any donations behind the scenes

  11. GMHeller
    May 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    You write:
    “The Planet recommends Vincelette and Roche.”

    The Planet may want to reconsider its recommendation in re: Eric Vincelette. indicates that Mr. Vincelette has heap big financial problems — or he did at least as recently as August, 2010.
    Included amongst the various judgments against Mr. Vincelette are debts owed Ford Motor Credit (presumably on a vehicle), and foreclosure on property at 98 Plunkett Street in Lenox.
    The implications for Eric Vincelette are that, good candidate or not, should he be investing valuable time running for local election and if he wins serving as a Selectman, or should he be getting his fiscal house in order?

  12. fan Dan Go
    May 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    We too went to Lenox and found people enthralled over the debate valenti did for the PAC. people we talked to said they had never found out so mcuh about candidates in any other election from anyt other show. way to go berkshore greens. way to go The Planet.