By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
ADD 1, THURSDAY JAN. 15
The PEDA board meeting is tomorrow at 8 a.m., at the PEDA offices, 81 Kellogg St., near Woodlawn. Mike Ward, who has engineered a petition to fight the stupid use of the sight as a B- or C-level Big Box manufacturing site (sign on at
Spread the word, people. One tells two. Two tells four. Four tells eight. Let’s show up tomorrow at 8 a.m. (a time selected deliberately to keep you away). Let’s give them a taste of The People.
THE PLANET thanks WBRK’s Chip Hodgkins and morning host Bill Sturgeon for the invite to be on today and with frequency in the future. We feel comfy cozy at our once-radio home. Bill and THE PLANET gave a full-throated discussion to PEDALS and to the resignation of Jake Eberwein.
THE PLANET will next be on from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Jan., 19.
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JAN. 5, 2012) — MR. MITT FLYING HIGH — Mitt Romney‘s win in Iowa puts him a step closer to where he will ultimately be. And you all know where that is, don’t cha? “My fellow Americans …”
PEDA MEETING FRIDAY — They don’t want you to know about it, but the PEDA board meets Friday at 8 a.m. at its Woodlawn Avenue offices in Pittsfield. If you go to the Bog-awful website of this Agency of Pointlessness as currently managed, you will find no mention of the meeting. This “quasi-public” agency has “news” as old as Gerry Staley and little else. The home page has a blurb in tiny type that tells us “PEDA’s work must be transparent, fiscally and socially responsible, socially and environmentally sustainable, consistent, inclusive, equitable, and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver.” We made up that last part. All seriousness aside, does Corydon Thurston and the others actually expect their cobbled efforts of mush to create the interest of outside investors? Really, Corydon? Don’t you also love how they meet at 8 a.m., to assure no one will make it? On the Friday agenda: MountainOne, Action Ambulance, and Waterstone Development.
APOLOGISTS IN BLOOM — Jake Eberwein got the job as Pittsfield Superintendent as much on the basis of the city’s incestuous politics than on any outstanding ability. He had the requisite degree and the requisite number of years in the city school system, plus he had connections with “the right people.” It didn’t make him Montessori‘s gift to our Kinder Gartens. It did bring a lot of political loyalty, as you can read in the remarks of those who are required (for good standing) to sings Jake’s praises. The guy didn’t see to the utter demise of the Pittsfield Public Schools. We’ll give him that much. Besides, deadbeat parents are doing a pretty good job of that. And example of the unabashed praise can be found in this Facebook posting from my Right Honorable Good Friend, the Ward 6 representative:
Jake faced taking the reigns of the school system. He has ushered in significant improvements in the drop-out rates, MCAS scores, the most diverse range of AP courses in the county, his leadership instilled greater pride and confidence in our schools among teachers, students and the entire community. He’s also been incredibly effective in identifying young talent to serve as principals who provide forward-thinking, innovative leadership in our schools. This has created a great new team of leaders for the future.
Uh, right, John Krol. You can stop talking now, the mic is dead. Krol conveniently sidesteps the net loss of $3 million plus due to school choice, the unrestrained money grab, unimpressive testing, inability of graduates to do college level work, the PHS Prank Night scandal, the lack of accountability in the system. As long as politicians like Krol want to insist on the greatness of mediocrity, Pittsfield shall continue its journey into the depths.
THEATRICALLY SPEAKING, ONE WAS TONE DEAF AND ONE WASN’T
A few days ago, THE PLANET received this comment from Max:
That’s how Max ends, for your opinion, and we invite it as well.
We share Max’s amazement at the incredulous statement of Ms. Clarkin: In 2007, Barrington Stage was awarded a loan of $500,000 and the Colonial Theatre was awarded a loan of $1M through the City’s GE Fund. Let me clarify that this was not tax payer money–it was actually given to the City by GE. MICHELLE, my belle, let THE PLANET clarify: Every hard-earned penny in the $10 million GE Fund was indeed taxpayer money. We don’t know you. We guess that you are either a young 20-something who is clueless of local history, a gopher-type not adept at customer relations, or genuinely tone deaf. We shall forgive your mistake, but remember, when it comes to public funds, it’s ALL taxpayer money. Compare that community tone deafness with what the Colonial Theater just pulled off with its production of “A Christmas Carol.” We present the press release of Colleen Hughes of The Colonial’s PR staff: Pittsfield, MA—Berkshire Theatre Group’s Annual Community Production of A Christmas Carol finishes its run leaving an indelible mark on all who experienced it.
Kate Maguire, Artistic Director/CEO, comments “This holiday community production has exceeded our expectations in every way. We are so grateful to the Berkshire Community for their tremendous support and enthusiasm for the production. We were so happy to be able to give back to our community through the food drive and ticket donations. We are also incredibly thankful to the Taylors and the entire cast for their dedication to this project. What a wonderful end to our first year as the newly merged Berkshire Theatre Group.”
James and Kim Taylor added, “It was a remarkable experience, not just getting to work with our own children, but joining a cast that gave their heart and soul to this endeavor; from Eric Hill and Gray Simons at the top, to our beloved Tiny Tim. The whole production was an extraordinary tour de force in large part to Kate Maguire’s presence and leadership. It’s hard to think about next year at this point but never say never.”
Over 10,000 people came from 22 different states to see A Christmas Carol this year. Our incredibly supportive Berkshire community accounted for more than 75% of total ticket sales. Ticket revenue was approximately $175,000 with a significant donation amount raised from sponsors and individuals to go directly towards the Berkshire Theatre Group Education Fund. For the month of December over 14,500 people attended events at the Colonial in Pittsfield or Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge.
Berkshire Theatre Group embraced the idea of giving back during the holidays with several philanthropic initiatives in conjunction with A Christmas Carol. In collaboration with Greylock Federal Credit Union, Berkshire Theatre Group has provided donations of non-perishable food from audience members to local Berkshire food banks. Greylock matched these donations by donating $1 for every pound of food donated to the local food banks.
Berkshire Theatre Group donated tickets to local organizations to ensure that people, who may not normally be able to attend the theatre, could enjoy a live performance of A Christmas Carol. The organizations that received tickets are, Habitat for Humanity, Adult Learning Center/Family Literacy Center, Conte Community School, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Community Health Programs/WIC (Great Barrington), Youth Alive, Berkshire Immigrant Center, Berkshire County Residential Program for Adults with Mental Retardation, Helen Barube Teen Parent Program, Berkshire Children and Families and the Boys and Girls Club of Pittsfield.
Finally, at each performance before Christmas, a fresh, local turkey, donated by Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, was raffled off. Six lucky audience members were chosen to receive a turkey to complete their holiday dinner.
A Christmas Carol Founding Sponsor was The Fitzpatrick Family, Production Sponsor was Greylock Federal Credit Union, Supporting Sponsor was Berkshire Life, A Guardian Company and Performance Sponsors were Laurin Publishing, Comalli Group, Inc., Interprint, Inc., Toole Insurance, Onyx Specialty Papers, Dominion Dealer Solutions, Carr Hardware and Lee Bank.
Food and beverage partners were The Meat Market, SoMa Catering and Wandering Star Brewery.
Now THAT’s how you serve a community. We’re not saying you have to get James Taylor to rip every ticket, but please, before you as the recipient respond with a comment dealing with taxpayer handouts, get the facts straight. For the record, we will say your production of GUYS AND DOLLS was the best we saw in 2011.
AND SO, SUFFICIENT FOR THIS DAY AS WE FIND THIS DAY’S WORRIES TO BE, WE BID YOU ADIEU, AND …
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL