A Salute to D-Day Heroes

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, June 6 into 7, 2011) — On this 67th anniversary of D-Day, we pause and give thanks to the veterans of that campaign and all the battles of WWII. They aren’t called The Greatest Generation for nothing. They were our fathers and mothers. They gave us a good example by which to live.

Those who stormed the beaches along the French coast on that fateful day, those who braved the hellfire of arms and bombs, those who swallowed fear and forced themselves out of Higgins boats to do the fighting all did it for our precious freedoms. They weren’t thinking that nobly on the day, of course. In war, as one veteran put it, you are fighting for your life and that of the guy next to you.

Nonetheless, their actions extrapolate into victory and victory into a win for freedom over totalitarianism. Sadly, these are the same freedoms that, in 67 years, we have either squandered or lost.

Want to prove The Planet wrong? Then get we urge everyone to get involved in this campaign season and, finally, put office holders in power with a fair vote. In our business, that’s 70% turnout. In truth, we will be satisfied with 50% plus 1.

The Dance is Nearing Over in Promgate

The Planet continued to investigate Promgate, and — much to the contrary of the rosy reports of the “Fairy Tale” ending for the wasteful dance that the BB featured in its pandering coverage to prom parents — we must report these new developments.

A source who is a teacher at PHS says that PHS principal Tracy Benson and vice principal (don’t you love the concept!) Frank Cote gave permission and authorization to PPD officer Russ Quetti to let a large number of kids into the building after hours on the Wednesday of senior prank day the week before last. This important revelation takes officer Quetti off the hook and at the same time hoists Benson and Cote on the tightness of their own purple-and-white petards.

It suggests a new level of poor judgment by the two top leaders at PHS. In the Dreaded Private Sector, that kind of error gets you fired.

Whose Responsible for the Loss of 10 Grand? Nobody??

The question now for the Pittsfield school committee is what will the level of accountability be for this gross and inexcusable miscalculation? Is it another case of “no harm, no foul”? It can’t be. There was much harm — some $10,000 worth. So who’s on the hook for this? Who is responsible for the loss?

A reading of the teacher’s contract with the city seems to exonerate the equally careless PHS English teacher. Quetti can’t be blamed for following the order of Benson and Cote. Are the two PHS administrators protected by performance bonds? Who makes the $10 grand whole again? Funny how no one has addressed these fundamental questions.

We also have leared:

* That the thief or thieves who broke into the English teacher’s desk used a crowbar to gain access. They forced the lock on the desk. The door to gain access to the classroom, however, was not forced, suggesting that a master key was used.

* There is a lot of what one source calls “background noise” about this incident. This is information The Planet would classify as a many levels above water-cooler scuttlebutt and but  below confirmed fact.  Among the noise are these items:

— The culprit was a student or students who somehow obtained possession of a master key. That would explain why the classroom door was not forced.

— There were kids in the building not just from PHS but also from rival Taconic High School.

— Most of the $10,000 was cash, with some of it in money orders.

— Up until the last day tickets to the prom were sold, students were paying the teacher in question with cash, in the classroom where the crime was committed. At times, the line snaked out the door. This means that plenty of students saw lots of cash being put into the desk drawer.

Several  other questions remain, with no answers forthcoming:

(1) Why is this investigation taking so long and what is its status?

(2) What did the surveillance tapes from that evening reveal?

(3) Who has seen those tapes?

(4) Who has possession of those tapes?

(5) Will the contents of the tapes be made public? The Planet contends that the surveillance tapes from the night of the crime are public documents, available for public viewing. Unless they have been sequestered by the police department as evidence in an ongoing investigation, The Planet requests that Benson make these tapes available immediately for showing on public access TV. The Planet volunteers our services as host for any public access TV show that will air these tapes.


SEE YOU AT BWP 10:30 a.m. for the game between your PITTSFIELD COLONIALS and the NEW JERSEY JACKALS. It’s school day. The joint will be jumping.




  1. Jeffrey Turner
    June 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Dan, do you think this was the first prank night? I guess they don’t do stuff like that in Stockbridge. The problems arose this time because adults and Taconic students got into the building. Maybe if you read the “Boring Broadsheet” you might learn something.

  2. Demitrius T. Gladiator
    June 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Gosh, what a jerk Turner is!! He’s the rube who fell off the turnip truck!! Hes hilarious hes so stupid. He calls the robbery of ten thousand dollars “a prank.” Planet I love it when you get the craw of idiots like him!!!

    • Marcus Borealis
      June 7, 2011 at 6:21 am #

      Agree. His comments to dan are creepy.

    • Jeffrey Turner
      June 7, 2011 at 9:47 am #

      The robbery wasn’t a prank. But Prank Night had been happening for years without any problems like this. Now Dan is exercising 20/20 hindsight to go after the principal because the school isn’t run like an old parochial school. He should stick to proselytizing for the New Hampshire Deadbeats.

  3. Paul Smith
    June 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Enjoyed your foray in to philosophy. The prom theft was done by students aided by an adult. The teacher is the adviser to one of the classes. She teaches English. Mr Benson and Mr Cote showed total negligence in allowing the “break in” of the building by so many students. OFfcr Quetti, just one man, cannot supervise more than 100 students running wild at night insie such a large building.

  4. Tangies
    June 7, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    Yes, why the creepy comments?

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

      @T and MB
      I can’t answer for that. At The Planet, the “comments” section has been a work in progress since the get go. Some advised not having one, because of how easily the internet environment succumbs to the crazies. I went with it and still want it, because most people can contribute without spitting into the punch bowl. We have since redrawn our internal policies, and we will not hesitate to keep the crazies out. Anyone who wants to contribute to the discussion with relevance, thoughtfulness, and assertion is welcome.

  5. brian c marquis
    June 7, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    I am wondering if Officer Quetti thinks for himself. He is a sworn police officer, right?! He’s paid to make impromptu judgment calls, without first checking with school officials? Does he first check with officials if he needs to effect a A&B or drug arrest?

    The inherent dangers of permitting a large group of student in the building, uncaperoned [sic], during prank week, is exercisable poor judgment on Mr. Quetti’s part. Just sayin’.

  6. danvalenti
    June 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    DTG and MB
    Appreciate your support, but in defense of Jeff Turner, he is using his own name and he is expressing his views, which I support. I understand the fact that he is “out there” with his views and respect him for that.

    The line that sometimes gets crossed in posts is the one that ventures into wildly unsupported accusations, ignorance, personal insults that have no relevancy, and material off topic.