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PLANET MEDIA BOOKS NEXT TWO OFFERINGS FOR SALE … MEET THE PLANET and WRITER JERRI CHAPLIN ON MONDAY, 1 p.m., at KI in PITTSFIELD … SILVER LAKE and HILL 78: IN NEED OF AN EXORCISM … plus … NEED A HOUSE? THE CITY HAS A GREAT DEAL TO PONDER

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, SATURDAY, OCT. 15, 2011) — Good news from PLANET MEDIA BOOKS: Our next title is now officially received, copies in hand, and beginning Monday, available for sale at the Red Lion Inn Gift Shop and on Amazon.com. You can also order at this website. Price is $17 plus $2 S+H.

The book is called VERTICALLY COASTAL by Jerri Chaplin. Jerri and her husband Peter live seven months of the year in Charleston, S.C., and five months in Pittsfield, Mass. The 110-page book includes poems that reflect these two locales (hence the title). It’s a fascinating study on how environs affect personality. This work contains brilliant writing presented in a lavish book with high production values. It would make a great gift for the lover of lit.

CHAPLIN, PLANET IN PERSON, MONDAY AT 1 p.m., KI IN PITTSFIELD

Jerri will be making two appearances locally before leaving for the South, where the book will be debuting there next month. On Monday at 1 p.m., THE PLANET has the pleasure of emceeing THE POET AND THE PUBLISHER, a one-hour presentation that featuers Jerri reading from the book. The event will take place in the auditorium at Knesset Israel on Colt Road. The public is invited. The author will signing copies. We will both be taking questions. The following evening, the two of us head to Lenox for a private party being held in the book’s honor. That’s by invitation only. Other events are being planned for the Berkshire in 2012.

THE PLANET is grateful to be in this position of publishing new and brilliant works, in small prints runs, that might not otherwise have a chance. Unless you’re Steven King or Danielle Steele, good luck with conglomerate commercial publishers. Having been published for years by two of the biggest (Viking Penguin and Bantam) we’ve been there, done that, and we vowed we would treat authors not as commodities but as Kings and Queens in our publishing company.

FYI, PLANET MEDIA BOOKS‘ third title, HOW MEN SEE THE WORLD by award-winning Dalton, Mass., writer Paul Milenski, will be coming out next month in time for the Christmas season. We will be taking advance order for that book beginning Monday as well. Our first title, SPRING’S THIRD DAY by Laura Smith Gross, Great Barrington, Mass., writer, has gone into the black and is now on our back list.

Our business model for publishing physical books in this day of Kindle proves it can be done without dumbing down to commerciality, keeping the artistic values high, and making a profit.

What a country!

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SILVER LAKE AND HILL 78: PITTSFIELD NEEDS AN EXORCISM

THE PLANET has received a ton of feedback on our continuing series on GE pollution, including this one today, which likens what happened at Silver Lake and Hill 78 to a place of horror, replete with ghosts. The writer mentions the mass grave, the burial pit in Becket, where the three bodies (or what was left of them) were dumped by the mass murderers. The writer mentions the need for an exorcism.

The idea is perfect, for GE left many ghosts in its wake, and not just those who contracted fatal illnesses as a direct result of the manufacturing toxins the “Good Life” company dumped into Pittsfield’s soil, water, and air and did not clean up or remove. A total cleanup, not a cover up, of Silver Lake and Hill 78 will be that exorcism. If the politicians and officials of Pittsfield do not force a reopener of the disastrous Consent Agreement to achieve these two actions, the ghosts will remain and no meaningful economic development will take place on the PEDA site that sits in between Silver Lake and Hill 78.

Here’s what THE STOOLEY writes (and remember: THE STOOLEY is the one-size-fits-all name for a large number of correspondents, informants, tipsters, spies, agents, Z-agents, and the like who belong to the PLANET’s Secret Squadron).

By THE STOOLEY

Dan, in a way Silver Lake and Hill 78 are a little like the burial pit in Becket. Both locations will always have ghosts, and folks will avoid occupying either location no matter how much human tissue is removed from the Becket pit or how many PCB’s are removed from SL and 78.
But I do think the lake and 78 should be cleaned up because regardless of the health risks, Pittsfield needs an exorcism of this issue as much as it needs remediation of PCB’s.
My next door neighboor is retired from GE, and he was a purchasing agent. He to has a lot of antecdotal knowledge about GE.
He purchased a lot of the PCB materials. He told me the reason GE used Pyrenol was to meet government saftey standards for transformers, and Pyrenol was the only available substance that met these standards. This reminds me of McDonald’s being coerced to use trans fats because they were believed to be healthier than beef tallow.
Kind of like the Hydra from Greek mythology.

The Stooley refers to the Hydra, the fierce snake-headed creature. If you cut off one head, the Hydra would grow two in its place. It took Hercules to figure out how to kill the Hydra. Locked in mortal combat, he drove his sword through her heart. Only a reopener, putting all terms of the cleanup back on the table, can kill the GE Toxic Hydra.

Curious, though, the way Peter Marchetti, Dan Bianchi, and practically all the state rep candidates and council candidates won’t touch this issue. Why?

WHO WILL STEP FORWARD FOR BE HERCULES FOR THE CITY OF PITTSFIELD??? and HOW LONG WILL THE CITIZENS OF THE CITY ALLOW THIS SIN TO REMAIN UNADDRESSED?

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NEED A HOUSE? THE CITY HAS A DEAL FOR YOU!

THE PLANET passes along this press release from the city of Pittsfield, the office of Deanna Ruffer and Justine Dodds. Look llike a great deal for someone in need of a home.

Single Family Home for Sale- 56 Circular Avenue

The City of Pittsfield is pleased to announce a fully rehabilitated, five star plus Energy Star rated, single family home at 56 Circular Avenue is now available for sale by lottery to a first time income eligible homebuyer.

The property, a former two family home, was abandoned by the former owner and acquired by the City through a lengthy tax title foreclosure. Due to the amount of time the property had been abandoned and vacant, the property required complete gut rehabilitation. The structure was stripped down to its shell and then rehabbed to new building code standards.   All new plumbing and wiring was installed and the house was completely refinished, including new bathrooms and kitchen. The property has been returned to its original single family floor plan. The house has a total of 1,506 square feet of living space, three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The first floor of the property is handicapped accessible. The maximum occupancy is limited to 6 persons, as set by the requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Sanitary Code, Article II, Section 410.400.

The completed house meets both Energy Star standards and complies with the City of Pittsfield’s Stretch Code.  Energy Star is a construction program based upon the energy efficiency standards developed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S.  Department of Energy.  In order to receive the Energy Star Certification, home construction must pass through three phases of examination: plan review, on-site inspection of insulation and other components, and a final inspection that measures air leakage into the building.  These inspections are independently conducted by the Center for Ecological Technology.  The property at Circular Avenue received a five star plus Energy Star rating, the highest possible rating under these guidelines. To achieve compliance with the City of Pittsfield’s Stretch Code, the property had to achieve a HERS rating of 70 or less.  56 Circular Avenue received a HERS rating of 45, which is 25 points better than required for  major renovation and 15 points better than the requirement for  new construction.  The property is the first major renovation in Pittsfield to receive a Stretch Code Compliant rating.    The additional costs in order to obtain the high Energy Star rating and stretch code compliance are estimated to be $5,522, which is anticipated to be more than offset by energy cost savings.  The energy efficiency of the property contributes to the affordability of the home by drastically reducing heating and utility costs for the future homebuyer.

Funding for this project was provided by a combination of Neighborhood Stabilization Funds (NSP) and the City’s HUD Section 108 loan funds.  NSP funds, received through the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and provided to the state through HUD, must be used to redevelop abandoned, vacant or foreclosed property.  The program was started to help communities with the extremely high costs of putting blighted properties that have a detrimental effect on surrounding neighborhoods back into productive use. With construction costs and materials at an all time high, the cost of new construction and gut rehabilitation are almost equal.

The appraised value of the rehabilitated property is $128,000. The property will be sold to a first time income eligible homebuyer for $108,800. The sale price represents a 15% discount from the appraised value. This discount will provide the homeowner with immediate equity investment in the property as well as helping applicants in obtaining conventional mortgage financing.

Families interested in purchasing this home must demonstrate to the City of Pittsfield’s Purchasing Department and Department of Community Development an ability to secure a mortgage. Applicants will also have to demonstrate they meet the established income guidelines and that they will occupy the property as their primary residence. The potential homebuyer will also have to have completed at least 8 hours of homebuyer counseling before purchase.  Applications must be submitted by   November 21, 2011.  The City will then conduct a lottery among the pool of qualified applicants to select the buyer. The property will carry a deed restriction for a period of 15 years that will ensure the property remains occupied by and affordable to an income eligible household.

The City’s NSP program has used a wide range of solutions to address foreclosed, abandoned, vacant properties, including construction of rental housing, acquisition costs for large scale rental development, and opportunities for first time homebuyers.

For more information about the project, including how to enter the lottery selection process, please contact Justine Dodds at 499-9367.

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AND WITH THAT, THE PLANET ENTERS THE REST OF THE WEEKEND, AS ALWAYS, ON A MISSION FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE AMERICAN WAy.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

21 Responses to “PLANET MEDIA BOOKS NEXT TWO OFFERINGS FOR SALE … MEET THE PLANET and WRITER JERRI CHAPLIN ON MONDAY, 1 p.m., at KI in PITTSFIELD … SILVER LAKE and HILL 78: IN NEED OF AN EXORCISM … plus … NEED A HOUSE? THE CITY HAS A GREAT DEAL TO PONDER”

  1. eric vincelette
    October 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    DV,
    I wondered if you or one of your readers could explain to me in SPECIFIC DETAILS, the process for reopening the consent decree and who can open it? Thanks for keeping this deal breaking issue for Pittsfield and Berkshire County in front of voters and our elected representatives. EV

  2. Ray Ovac
    October 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    DV, this may be a good real estate deal, and then again it may not. Are there any Cancer Clusters in the vicinity of Circular Avenue? It’s only a mile west of Silver Lake and a prospective buyer has a right to know.

    • Steve Wade
      October 16, 2011 at 7:14 am #

      Why are you always so negative? It must be hell liveing in your tormented world.

      • scott
        October 16, 2011 at 11:34 am #

        I’d say it’s far enough away just don’t drink the water.

      • Ray Ovac
        October 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

        Yeah, tormented world is right! It’s sheer hell living in an area free of PCB’s, Hexavalent Chromium, and Dioxins. You don’t realize how lucky you really are to be able to climb Hill 78 whenever you get the urge. I bet on clear days you can even see Altresco’s exhaust towers 150 yards to the south. Lucky bastard!

        • Steve Wade
          October 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

          So move.

        • scott
          October 17, 2011 at 3:43 am #

          Do you think wanting to clean this pollution is a radical idea? Some do I think it’s very far from radical and more on the side of common sense the crap shouldn’t be there.

  3. Remington Steele
    October 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Buyer beware. That’s the inevitable footnote to any business who would even think of coming to Pittsfield and any body who would even think of buying a home in the city. We lived there for years, got out when the going was good, and now watch from Arizona, with sadness more than anything. My dad worked all his life for GE. What a horrible company to do what it had done to Pitts.

  4. Ray Ovac
    October 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    “The appraised value of the rehabilitated property is $128,000. The property will be sold to a first time income eligible homebuyer for $108,800.”
    Why not auction off the property? Since this has been a government subsidized operation from the getgo, let the free market determine the sale price and by definition its fair value. If it goes for less than the appraised value, it’ll mean that Pittsfield’s assessments are overvalued in general. The GOB’s and tax collector won’t like that.

    • Real Deal 2
      October 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      Plus, the house being on Circular Avenue will give the new home owners all the opportunity to clean up the empty 40oz beer bottles, used needles and crack pipes, that the Tehti’s weekend crowd has to offer. I wouldn’t pay $108 to buy a place there, nor would I ever think of living there.

      On a side note, I think as punishment for his many ethics violations, Mayor Jimmy Ruberto should be forced to live there for a year. This way he could get the “flavor” of downtown Shittsfield.

  5. danvalenti
    October 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    This appears to be legalese required of the wording. Remember, Sal, that the bureaucrats are involved.

  6. beezer
    October 16, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    Good Luck to the happy home buyer!

  7. PITTSFIELD BELIEVER
    October 16, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    On Fri Gov DP came to town to stump for TFB. All well and good. Tricia is the best candidate for Boston.

    Afterward, guess where Mr and Mrs Guv ate: At a catered private dinner at The Hero of The Little Guy, Mr. Valenti. Kim and Jim Taylor there at posh Valenti manor as well.

    Dan, how can you be taken as the voice of the little guy when you pal with the biggest of shots, or is that part of your ambitious master plan? We know the caterers thats how we know this.

    • scott
      October 16, 2011 at 11:32 am #

      interesting but I will say I do not ever recall Dan endorsing one politician on his site he simply gives input on all of them. He does after all have a right to choose a candidate and be a part of any political group he chooses. Have you read the eagle today?

      • Steve Wade
        October 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

        Hello He has endorsed Miller for State Rep!

        • scott
          October 17, 2011 at 3:41 am #

          If he did lean towards Miller he never said hey you guy’s should too and he also covered everyone else. I feel his coverage was ethical more then we can say about the eagle.
          I’m voting Jester.

    • danvalenti
      October 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

      Ridiculous, of course, but, let me quote the Sage: “Don’t chase criticism, even when it bears no relation to reality.” — Peter Arlos

  8. eric vincelette
    October 16, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    So with all this talk of the importance of dredging Silver Lake and removing Hill 78 and the need to open the consent decree to accomplish this important and needed task, can no one on this site speak to the process that needs to happen and by whom it needs to be taken by in order to execute the re-opening? Is it true that the EPA holds ALL the cards in the deck in this matter? And that NO matter the political will and stomach of The People and Pols of Pittsfield, if the EPA doesn’t want to play ball and re-open the Decree, then there ain’t no Game?
    Come on, tell me someone knows the answer to this crucial question and will answer it…

    • scott
      October 16, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      I would like to know as well excellent question.

    • danvalenti
      October 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

      My understanding is that all parties must agree for the re-opener. One signatory can’t unilaterally reopen, at least as fare as I know. THE PLANET will try to research this further in the midst of a time crunch that makes shelled walnuts look like marshmallow!! The agreement has been reopened about 10 times previously, but not for anything approaching a redress of the pollution. It COULD be, but how would you get GE, the EPA, and the DEC to agree? Only one way: political pressure, and the way the government in the county seat is bought and paid for, that’s not going to happen. THE PLANET’s point, though, it that it CAN happen. We have our ideas on various strategies, but those are not for now. Fact is, low turnout and apathy lets the pols do what they want, or rather, what GE wants.

      • Ray Ovac
        October 17, 2011 at 8:04 am #

        Does Housatonic River Initiative still have standing in this matter and can HRI take legal action to reopen the Consent Decree? Sand plainly ain’t going to cut the mustard in Silver Lake and Hill 78 is a travesty.