PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary


Our main posting today concerned the Peter Moore Benefit that took place yesterday. Please scroll down for that.

Two, Count ’em, Two Toby Moore Dog Walks

We now want to say more about the Toby Moore Dog Walks. Notice the use of the plural: “walks.” There are two walks. One was conducted yesterday. That was the unofficial, impromptu dog walk (read details about that below). The second is The Official Toby Moore Dog Walk, which — if the Parks Commission approves the permit — will take place April 15. If the Parks Commission, which includes Clifford Nilan, does not approve, THE PLANET will personally foment revolution in the Land of Benigno Numine. In that case, there won’t be an ash upon a cinder left standing in Pittsfield.

The Official Toby Moore Dog Walk, to take place to honor the most famous dog in Berkshire County for his heroism on the night of Dec. 8, 2011, was necessitated by a single complaint of an anonymous “concerned citizen” that 4,177 dog walkers had been invited. The city then rained bureaucrats upon the dog-walk organizer, Ken Ramsdell, in for form of official demands that he obtain “the proper permits.” From Linda Tyer to Deanna Ruffer, they were all good soldiers, taking up the Nuremberg Defense for having to lean on Ramsdell. They were all simply following orders.

Ramsdell, being a good citizen, complied. He personally walked his dog yesterday at Kirvin Park, as did 19 other pooch owners. Our spies who were there told us that everyone who attended, including Capt. Tom Moore (ret., Hartford police Department) and Toby, has a good time enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, and a chance for people to express (a) their concern for  Peter Moore and (b)to tell the city what they could do with their demand for a permit. No cops showed up, and if truth be told (don’t tell anyone you heard this here), but the Pittsfield Police Department would not have shown up even if 4,177 dog owners did. We got that one on what we can call Good Word.

Toby Leaves Editorial Comment in Kirvin Park

Toby, in case you didn’t see the video, posted his own editorial comment on how the city of Pittsfield officialy handled the first dog walk and also on the Nilan-Moore Case.

Toby’s comments can be seen here. You’ll have to put up with a commercial first, but what Toby has to say is priceless and can stand as the most trenchant comment on the behavior of Meredith and Clifford Nilan in this instance:



The Wheels of the Gods Grind Slowly but Exceedingly Well

Today, Ramsdell told us he intends to go to City Hall for procedural matters pertaining to The Official Toby Moore Dog Walk. Ramsdell says he wants to have the event on April because (1) It will raise awareness of the importance for responsible pet ownership, (2) to celebrate National Pet Month, (3) it’s tax day and a good one for We The People to be able to enjoy on of THEIR public parks, (4) It’s close to Patriots’ Day when people celebrate revolution, and (5) It’s spring time, always a good time to do anything outdoors.

As for his meeting with the Parks Commission (John Herman, chair; Nilan; Simon Muir; Michelle Matthews; and Tony DeMartino), Ramsdell said, “We’re going to follow procedures. We intend to be on the agenda that night, as we are hoping for public support.”

According to the city’s website, the Parks Commission meets the third Thursday of each month in Room 203 at city hall. That would make the next meeting March 20. When Ramsdell appears to state his case, we’re hope to pack the place and force the meeting into council chambers to accommodate the crowd. For now, folks, keep March 20 circled on your calendars as the day Toby Moore Gets His Day (because we know that every dog has one).

THE PLANET expects Nilan to recuse himself from participating in the discussion on the Toby Walk for obvious reasons. We suggest sending for first assistant clerk magistrate Nathan Byrnes to be brought in to sit in his place. We hear Byrnes is impartial and can be relied upon as a neutral observer when it comes to deciding matters involving the Nilans.


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, FEB. 27, 2012) — A huge success.

That’s what we can call Sunday’s REAL Pittsfield Benefit for Peter Moore and Family. Up to 300 people packed Chameleon’s nightclub at 1350 East St. in Pittsfield to show their support for the victim of a callous hit-and-run driver, who nearly killed him then drove off and left him for dead.

Their presence made a statement about the REAL Pittsfield and the good people who live there. Peter Moore, the innocent victim, attended, as did his father, Tom, and many other members of the family. Toby Moore, the heroic little dog that stayed with his master, Peter, for several long, cold, dark hours on the fateful night of Dec. 8, 2011, earlier that day attended an informal dog walk at Kirvin Park.

‘Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski’ Were Well Represented

“It was a good time had by all,” said Ken Ramsdell, community activist who is behind the Official Toby Moore Dog Walk, now rescheduled for April 15 (more on that later in this post). “Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski packed the building,” he said, referring to THE PLANET‘s mythic “ordinary, good, and decent” couple who make up the vast majority of Pittsfield.

These are precisely the people, of course, who feel steamrolled from both sides: from above, the tiny few known as the GOBs, who make large salaries, wield power, often abuse that power, and live by two sets of rules — one for them and one for the rest of the peeps; and from below, by the drifters, the drug users, the drug pushers, the criminals, the welfare moms, the deadbeats, those who have fallen through the cracks, and the “gimme” crowd that expects the world to provide them a living while they sit on their kiesters and live off the gravy train.

Of the second group, THE PLANET says little, except that the members of the group increasingly have eaten into the peace of mind and resources of what used to be the productive, law-abiding middle class in the city of Pittsfield. Of the first group, the GOBs, a couple of comments must be made.

We saw this group in operation in the aftermath of Meredith Nilan‘s near killing of Peter Moore on Dec. 8, and what appears to have been the coverup attempted to first hide the incident and second, when this website exposed what appears to be The Fix, of the attempts at damage control. That included bringing in a ringer magistrate, Nathan Byrnes, who found “insufficient evidence” for the Nilan-Moore Case to go to trial. This unbelievable determination came after a secret show-cause hearing that kept out the press, the public, Moore, and Moore’s attorney. It was after that secret hearing that the outrage of entire community caught fire. It may prove to be the GOBs big mistake and an action that blows open a whole lot more than the Nilan-Moore Case.

The Pittsfield Police Department, which had originally brought criminal charges against Nilan, appealed Byrnes’ decision. Greenfield Appellate Judge William Hadley, working out of Springfield, overturned Byrnes’ ruling, essentially and skipping the legalese finding if ridiculous. Nilan is scheduled for arraignment this week, on Wednesday, Feb. 29.

One aside: There needs to be a finding on who recommended Nathan Byrnes for the job of filling in for Berkshire County magistrate Christopher “No Show” Speranzo. That, we trust, will come out in a criminal trial. If it does not, for whatever reason, the District Attorney needs to investigate this, independently.

Plenty of People, Businesses to Thank for Answering the Call

Back to the Peter Moore Benefit: There are too many people to individually thank, but we must thank organizer Andy Poncherello, who responded to THE PLANET’s call for the fund-raiser. We ourselves acted upon a suggestion to conduct a fund-raiser from a reader of this website. THE PLANET went with this as a suggestion, and that same say, Poncherello responded. Andy Poncherello is the REAL Pittsfield.

We thank the owners of Chameleon’s nighclub, for making their facility available. We thank Ken Ramsdell, who organized the Toby Moore Dog Walk (the informal one and the official one to occur on April 15). We thank Tom and Susan Moore, Peter’s wonderful mom and dad, and all the members of the Moore family. We thank Peter’s coworkers from Berkshire Health Systems, who showed up in support on Sunday. We thank all the businesses who donated items or services, including Mazzeo’s Restaurant, the Red Lion Inn, the East Side Cafe, and THE PLANET’s book publishers ( Viking-Penguin, Bantam Books, and Planet Media Books). Finally, we thank our good friend and colleague Derek Gentile, who story (with photos) ran today in the Berkshire Eagle. Every once once in awhile, the newspaper reverts to respectability, and one of those times is when Derek Gentile’s byline is on a story.

The GOBs pretty much stayed away from the benefit on Sunday, although Mayor Dan Bianchi was conspicuously absent. It would have been a grand gesture by the mayor to have attended, but he will have another chance at the Official Toby Moore Dog Walk on April 15. The only city councilor that we know for sure attended was Melissa Mazzeo. If others attended, we are not aware.

“It was a good, respectful day,” said Ramsdell. “There was no Nilan bashing. There was only retrospective thinking and lots of positive energy going forward, wishing Mr. Moore the best today and in the future with his recovery. The good people of Pittsfield showed their care and compassion.”








  1. GMHeller
    February 27, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    So that we all got this straight: The Berkshire Eagle reports a news story about a dog walk which the City Clerk told the organizer was not supposed to have taken place.
    The Eagle is plainly reading PlanetValenti and Topix.
    Where does this leave Pittsfield’s elected City Clerk?

    • Andy
      February 27, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      The official dog walk will take place later. I wasn’t at the park Sunday morning, I was working and then made way to the club around noon, but from what I understand it was an informal event on Sunday morning. So much had been publicized about it that people just showed up not knowing anything had changed.

      It was a good crowd all day both speakers, Tom Moore and myself, were very much on point and were focusing on Peter’s situation rather than bringing up Ms. Nilan’s name in any way shape or form.

      I had a great time and I told Derek that while I am getting good at doing these things, I hate doing them only because I shouldn’t have to do them in the first place. It shouldn’t come down to this but if anything is to come out of a tragedy and it IS an event like this, then again, I’m happy to do it.

    • Steve wade
      February 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      So The BIG question …….Did Heller show up?

    • Scott
      February 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      The Berkshire Eagle staff definitely read this site.

  2. GMHeller
    February 27, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    ‘Community pitches in to help accident victim’

    By Derek Gentile, Berkshire Eagle Staff

    Photo Caption: Peter Moore, right, who was hit by a car on Dec. 8, his wife, Robin, and their daughter Megan, 10, celebrate their dog Toby’s loyalty at a community dog-walk and dog appreciation day with fellow dog owner Barry Lobovits at Kirvin Park in Pittsfield on Sunday. Later in the day, Chameleons hosted a fundraising event to help pay for Moore’s medical expenses. (Stephanie Zollshan / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

    Monday February 27, 2012

    PITTSFIELD — The liquid sound of the steel guitars of Spurs USA, a local country band, filled the dance floor and bar at Chameleons nightclub on Sunday afternoon. Children and young women danced. The place was packed.

    “I am overwhelmed,” said Peter Moore, who was spending most of his time meeting and greeting supporters.

    Moore, 45, is still recovering from injuries suffered when he was struck by a car while jogging with his dog on Winesap Road on the evening of Dec. 8.

    He suffered a fractured calf bone and a broken vertebra, as well as a concussion, trauma to the left side of his body and a number of abrasions. The driver, Meredith Nilan of Pittsfield, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday
    on charges in connection with the accident.

    With his wife, Robin, at his side, Moore said he “feels pretty good. I still have a ways to go, but I’m OK.”

    Moore said he is back to work part-time, walks his dog again and “to be honest, I think I push the envelope a bit, sometimes.” He still wears a neck brace.

    Prior to Sunday’s concert, a community dog-walk was held at Kirvin Park in appreciation of Moore’s dog, Toby, who stuck by Moore’s side for hours until he regained consciousness. Moore and his family members dropped by the park to thank
    participants who turned out to show their support.

    By 2:30 p.m., more than 200 supporters had visited Chameleons to listen to the music and to support Moore and his family.

    “There are friends, family, neighbors,” said Robin Moore, who said she and her husband were grateful for the turnout. “It’s wonderful. I can’t say much more; I’ll get emotional.”

    “This is amazing,” said Jeremy Moore, Peter’s younger brother. “The support of this community blows me away.”

    Event organizer Andy Poncharello said he was unsure of how much money would be raised. The funds will be used to help Moore with his ongoing medical bills. In addition to a $10 admission fee, local businesses raffled off merchandise and services.

    Poncharello said he did not know Moore personally, but when he heard of the accident, wanted to help. He has organized several other local benefits previously.

    “I’m getting good at it,” he said, laughing. “I’m happy to do it.”

    He added that he is an animal lover, and his interest in Moore’s plight was further heightened when he learned Moore has a dog.

    Poncharello put a plea on Facebook, and a number of bands and musicians answered almost immediately. All agreed to donate their services. The owners of Chameleons, Dan and Melissa Sweener, were also happy to host it.

    “We own two other local businesses and we have seven kids,” said Dan Sweener. “We’re a part of the community. We’re glad to help.”

    Dona Federico, lead singer for Spurs USA, credited Poncharello with organizing the event relatively quickly.

    “He worked his tail off,” she said.

    Federico, who also works at radio station WAMC, said she and her band had no qualms about donating their time. She said she, too, has a pet.

    “We’re animal lovers and human lovers,” she said.<<<<<

  3. Andy
    February 27, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Paul Capitanio was also in attendance.

    • Dead to Rights
      February 27, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      Thank you Cappy for showing up and donating. You are a good man.

      • danvalenti
        February 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

        We thank Paul Capitanio attending and donating gift certificates for East Side pizzas.

  4. Dead to Rights
    February 27, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I have to say this. The BB story didn’t mention Valenti at all. If it weren’t for Dan Valenti none of this happens not the dog walk or edpecially the benefit. The comunity owes a huge debt to him and his website. I wirte as someone who doesn’t always agree with DV but come on. As someone mentioned earlier, the BB wouldn’t have known squat about the walk or benefit if they didn’t follow every words of this site, Dan ought to be on the payroll for all the “tips” he gives them.

  5. dusty
    February 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    i would not be too quick to fall all over the Eagle just because they mentioned that this event took place. Chameleons may have some advertising dollars they want. If the Eagle has done anything in the last 15 years that was not self serving I must have missed it.

  6. danvalenti
    February 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Thank you, Dead, for this acknowledgment. Once we heard about the incident and realized what was going on, we had no choice but pull out all stops in the cause of truth, justice, and the American Way.

    • Gary
      February 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm #


      I may not always agree with you, but I certainly respect you.

      You are a good man. You have always been there to help
      others during their time of need.


      • danvalenti
        February 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

        Thank you, my good friend.

  7. Susan Moore
    February 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Ken had some good shots of the blustery wide open park –I think 4000 dogs could fit in there — that he was able to provide live via a phone web cam. It was wonderful to see and hear the 2 and 4 legged participants from my warm seat in FL! And Tom called me several times during the afternoon so I could hear the LOUD crowd at the Event!! What a success made even more remarkable by the short timeframe you gave yourselves to pull it all together. Yankee ingenuity at it’s finest 🙂 And yes, a front page story above the fold this morning! Tom is bringing home a copy. Had it not been for Dan and all of you on this site non of it would have happened. Thank you doesn’t seem to be sufficient, but thank you all!!!!!!

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      You are seeing the REAL Pittsfield. The REAL Pittsfield is not the greedy GOBs who think the world revolves around them … who think they can nearly kill people and walk away without consequences … but the people who showed up at Kirvin Park and at Chamelon’s yesterday. The good thing is we get to do it all again, to honor Toby, on April 15, providing the Parks Commission listen to We The People … and they had better.

      • Bonnie
        February 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm #


  8. Jethro Bodine
    February 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Great job by all: The Planet, Andy P, The Moore family, everyone who attended, Toby and all his canine buddies, all the people who attended both events. Fantastic. That, Mr. and Ms. Nilan is the real Pittsfield, not what you represent.

  9. Jethro Bodine
    February 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Oh yeah, and forgot, Mr. Ken Ramsdell great job with the dogwalk. We will be following your adventures with city hall on the April 15 event. We wish you all the success. We will be there with our little Maxie!

  10. Molly aka Nancy
    February 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Yay! I am SO very happy that the benefit went so well! Thank you, Pittsfield, for showing your true self! Thanks also to Melissa Mazzeo and Cappy for attending – that says a lot of good things about you both! Thanks and “good job!” to everyone who worked so hard on this.

    p.s. I wonder why the BB didn’t report on the last minute insistence that the dog walk be cancelled? I AM glad, though, that they reported on/had pictures of the dog walk — you’re absolutely right, Heller – I’ll bet Linda Tyer (and a few select others) were “in meetings” most of today… Geeee – it’s looking like the power of the GOB’s is fading and fast! Damn…

  11. fundraiserlover
    February 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    Andy Poncherello does a great job with fundraiser. I really enjoyed the ones he threw for Ruberto and Marchetti.
    How come the benefit he put on for the Bartlett Ave fire victims last month didnt get a single mention on here?

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      THE PLANET can’t cover EVERYTHING, you know, nor do we wish to. Discrimination is not a bad word!

      • Scott
        February 28, 2012 at 5:23 am #

        Dan, how about some coverage on the National Defense Authorization act of 2012 which includes a provisions to not only detain “terrorist” without a trial on American soil but putting the squeeze on Iran’s bank and penalizing anyone who does business with them. Now I know Iran is enriching uranium (wmd’s!) but they have a lot of oil too! Obama is the same as GW but at least Bush gave out stimulus money and shared the wealth!

        • danvalenti
          February 28, 2012 at 6:04 am #

          We may take this up. Thanks for the suggestion. The problem with the NDA Act of ’12 and legislation like it lies in the definitions. Who’s a “terrorist” or “suspected terrorist.” The ability to apply loose definitions makes too many ordinary citizens suspects. In the hands of the wrong set of coyotes, this type of power may someday end democracy as we know it, if democracy as we know isn’t already dead. As for Iran, last time I checked, it was a sovereign nation. I mean, it’s not like they are the only nation in the world that either has or wants nukes. The U.S., against the advice of the scientists who knew about the power of the atom, decided to unleash the genie on the world. He won’t be going back into the bottle anytime soon.

          • Scott
            February 28, 2012 at 7:23 am #

            That’s why I put “terrorist” in parentheses also wasn’t the whole lie behind the Iraq war cloaked in terror and wmd’s when all we really wanted was the control of a commodity? They’re good at using fear to strip away rights of Americans. We could wipe al qaeda off the face of the earth if we really wanted to.

  12. Ray Ovac
    February 27, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    DV, you write, “There needs to be a finding on who recommended Nathan Byrnes for the job of filling in for Berkshire County magistrate Christopher ‘No Show’ Speranzo. That, we trust, will come out in a criminal trial. If it does not, for whatever reason, the District Attorney needs to investigate this, independently.”

    DV, are you so certain it was not DA David Capeless himself who recommended to Chris Speranzo to call in Nathan A. Byrnes from Westfield?
    Also, we still have yet to hear from Mr. Capeless’ own lips just what advice he had to give to Magistrate Byrnes regarding closure of the show-cause hearing to the press, to accident victim Moore and to Moore’s lawyer.
    If Capeless was not involved in the choice of Byrnes, why then hasn’t he gone on the record and said so at this point?
    It certainly would not hurt his public persona to be seen as having been against the choice of Byrnes.
    It’s Capeless’ silence on the entire matter which is most troubling, especially when in the past he has been so vocal concerning prosecutions.

    • dusty
      February 28, 2012 at 2:15 am #

      This echos my thinking. Who else even has the power to make such decisions? And if they do would they do so without his advice or input?

      I see him as the elephant in the room.

    • Andrew
      February 28, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      Magistrate Byrnes is an absolute professional who has been smeared by these “questions”, accusations of misconduct, and other baseless claims. He made a decision in good faith but because people like you didn’t agree with the decision it must be because he’s corrupt in some nature. With people like you the absence of evidence is evidence itself, which is simply absurd.

      • Dead to Rights
        February 28, 2012 at 11:07 am #

        Then let magistrate byrnes respond to the questions that have been raised here. Not saying peep sends a message all its own. Also, look at the photos of the vehicle. E-vi-de-n-ce.

        • Joe Pinhead
          February 28, 2012 at 11:39 am #

          If Mr. Byrnes was to simply answer the questions regarding the case he would go a long way towards solidifying his position as a professional. I am not saying he isn’t a professional. I’m just wondering since he isn’t accountable to “We the People” every few years rather to “him the Governor” who appointed him to a lifetime job, could he please explain the circumstances that are unusual surrounding the case? Such as the Victim not being allowed to give testimony? What he thinks the cause of the damage to the windshield is? I’ve spent time down south and seen some pretty big winged insects but please. See if the fix wasn’t in as you say; I now have to wonder about his Judgment, however once the case goes to trial and we too can see the evidence we will be better able to answer that for ourselves, however due to the nature of the appointment process we will have very little effective recourse.

    February 28, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    Capeless wouldn’t be involved at that stage of a criminal complaint. It had to be either Judge Rutberg, No Show, David Kearns or Linda Barry that called Nat the Fixer in to hear this case.

  14. Dead to Rights
    February 28, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Nate the Fixer. That’s perfect, concerned