PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2012) — First, we brings you the great photo mentioned in a lively exchange of comments about Jim Brown, the greatest running back in NFL history, and Chuck Garivaltis, one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of Berkshire County.

Yes, He Made the Tackle

The picture shows Brown, running the ball for Syracuse University, sweeping around right end for an 11-yard gain. If not for Garivaltis, Brown would have gone for a 70-yard TD. CLICK HERE FOR PICTURE: GarivaltisColgateSyracuse1956

Garivaltis, #49 for Colgate, can be seen avoiding a would-be blocker. You can analyze the blocking scheme Syracuse has set up. The photo was taken at old Archbold Stadium on the SU campus. Better yet, let Chuck analyze it:

Everyone who sees this photo asks me if I got him. Indeed I did. Notice the caption says he gained 11 yards. I was defensive left halfback and if he got be me he would have gone 70 yards for a touchdown. Notice his look of determination. I got him in the knees and he went down. One of the few times that day he went down with a single tackle.

If I had hit Jim above the waist he would have carried me forward for another 10 yards or plowed me over and went for another 70 yards. I saw many pros wind up on their backs when they hit him above the waist.Notice the blocking. The play was designed for Jim to take the inside route. I was to be blocked to the outside and the route cleared to the inside.  Notice other Syracuse blocks. Jim made his move to the inside expecting the blocker to take me out.  I had to wave the blocker off and watch Jim, who expected his blocker to take me out clearing his way to the end zone. He was now a step away coming full speed. That’s 6’2″ 220 pounds at full speed. So it was get rid of the blocker and take a step forward in a crouch so I could hit him in the knees. Talk about split second timing.

Chuck adds: “Thanks, Dan, I love reliving this memory, and my family can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Garivaltis eventually signed to play pro ball, with the San Francisco Giants. He made it to the Giants’ Double A squad in Springfield, a team that included many players who went on to the Big Leagues. Chuck went on to the Big Leagues of life and public service. He served the city well in several capacities, including school committee, city council, and parks commission. Garivaltis was from a generation that made Pittsfield into a model small American city in the years WWII and the Korean conflict.

It is our pleasure, Chuck, to share this with out readers. The photo remains one of our favorites, for it show two of our boyhood heroes: Brown for SU and the Cleveland Browns, and Chuck, Pittsfield Wonder Boy.



We present some new information to our readers on the Nilan-Moore Case. First, an EXCLUSIVE report by our good friend and colleague, Conor Berry, ace reporter of the Springfield Republican and late of the Boring Broadsheet. That will be followed later this afternoon with information THE PLANET has fished out, again, in an EXCLUSIVE. You won’t want to miss our report. Here’s what Berry has filed for THE PLANET’s readers:

‘The Purloined Documents’ — Procedural Snafu or Something More Ominous?


Special to PLANET VALENTI News

As I was heading off-duty last week, I punted the story to colleagues, who apparently either didn’t get anywhere or didn’t have time to contact the courthouse. I’m back on duty today (right now, in fact), so we’ll try to hunt down the status of this “missing” documentation. My guess is that it’s not missing, but merely misfiled. And perhaps the material is back in the docket as I write this note to you; I’ll check with the clerk’s office when it opens later today.

Court dockets typically include everything from applications for criminal complaints to police affidavits to copies of search warrants, etc. That said, the file should include the paper trail showing the processes that took place leading up to Ms. [Meredith] Nilan’s arraignment, including a copy of the Pittsfield Police Department’s application for a redetermination of the original criminal complaints against the woman, Judge [William] Hadley’s ruling, and any other materials subsequently filed in the case, including the copy of Tim Shugrue’s motion to dismiss.

If The Republican/ can get copies of this case, surely [TimShugrue, the attorney representing the defendant, ought to be able to get his mitts on the paperwork. The file is, after all, a wholly public record of this case, and it should include a cradle-to-grave accounting of every step of the pretrial process. The DA’s office also surely must have copies of this paperwork.

When I last called the clerk’s office to inquire whether a motion to dismiss had been filed (after reading in The Eagle that Shugrue had planned to file such a motion), I asked what the stated reasons for the filing were, and I was surprised to learn the answer: No apparent record of any of the paperwork leading up to the arraignment. I’m no legal expert, but I’m not sure if that paperwork is allowed to leave the official docket under any circumstances, save for copying purposes. Then again, I just don’t know the protocol.

Clerk [Christopher] Speranzo wasn’t at work yet, hence my “couldn’t be reached for comment line.” In fairness, I called the clerk’s office shortly before 8 a.m., so I don’t know if the boss is even on the clock at that hour.

I’m surprised The Eagle, the paper that first mentioned Shugrue’s plans for a dismissal motion, didn’t follow up when said motion was filed. I realize it’s just a procedural wrinkle in this drawn-out process, but I thought it might be worth a graf or two.

We’ll try to sort things out today, hopefully, so please check back.


We shall indeed check back, and folks, check back for our report, later this afternoon. Not enough time now. FYI, Andy Poncherello, the organizer of the REAL Pittsfield Benefit for Peter Moore and Family, reports that the event raise about $4,000. Finally, for now, we share these remarks by Susan Moore in response to an utterly ignorant comment about Peter Moore, one that implied he was faking his injuries for insurance purposes:


My step son was mowed down in the evening of December 8th 2011, 3 months ago today and it was also a Thursday I believe. Most of his injuries were to his head and neck –if you have not seen the photos of Ms. Nilan’s car please refer to her windshield for evidence. He had brain injuries and broken bones in his face and neck which required surgery and the neck brace until the end of the month. His doctor has instructed him to walk, even as his broken leg mends, as it is better for him to stay as fit as possible –his great physical condition is what saved his life that cold winter night. Walking with Toby is part of getting a little bit of his life back even if it will never be the same as it was on December 8 in the morning.
As for the totals for the benefit you need to ask Andy. I know that the raffle was very successful and my husband said you could not have fit another person in at some points during the afternoon. How many people pre-bought tickets or bought using his pay pal account I do not know. Only Andy has the complete totals.

We thank Susan for that heartfelt response to a heartless comment.



It’s later in the afternoon, and we can tell you we’re waiting for one more returned phone call or message before we will go with the information we are receiving regarding the Nilan-Moore Case. Tomorrow, we will share what we have learned. Don’t expect earth-shaking developments (at least, we don’t think so), but do expect additional revelations that will shed light on the case, the nature of the actions of people in the case, and the tortuous route of pursuing justice in the criminal justice system when the accused is a family member of a Big Shot.







  1. spectator
    March 8, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    What do you think would happen if it’s determined that Cliff Nilan had a hand in helping said documents disappear? There can only be so many, and certain people with access to this paperwork right?

    Would that be considered larceny of some kind? Obstruction of Justice? Someone is really playing with fire here. Can’t the police subpoena Cliffy to testify under oath as to the whereabouts of the paperwork? Aren’t there security cameras throughout the courthouse that someone could look at to see who may have accessed the file?

    It sounds like a whole new ball of criminal activity to me…

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      That’s speculative, but as a thought experiment, let’s go with it. It that was determined, it would — in most jurisdictions — mean an egregious abuse of power, malfeasance, obstruction of justice, and some serious time in the stripey hole. Of course, Pittsfield, as we have seen in this case, is not “most jurisdictions.”

      • spectator
        March 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

        I will speculate with you on this matter enthusiastically until the truth is revealed.

  2. Jim Gleason
    March 8, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    I’ve seen a couple pictures of Chuck tackling Jim Brown in the same series, one with his arms around Brown’s knees and the one you published today. Chuck was one of the best all around athletes to ever come from Pittsfield, playing Football, baseball and basketball against other great Pittsfield athletes like my Dad and with Larry Bossidy at PHS. His service on the council and school committee were well appreciated and his time on the Park Commission was spent as the only one, in my opinion, who cared about the kids and families in Pittsfield, not their image or following a pre prescribed agenda. Good job Chuck and keep up the good work.

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      Thanks, Jimmy. Chuck was and is all you say. And nice talking to you on the air today.

  3. Bull Durham
    March 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks to Susan Moore for that very good comment and response to one of a small handful of clearly callous individuals who love to blame the victim of a horrific hit and run. I know Peter quite well, and his injuries were devastating. He is certainly doing better, but he has a long road ahead of him, and his ultra positive attitude, which was in place well before this incident, is carrying him through this very challenging time.

    Shame on anyone who tries to put the blame on him for being the victim of reckless driving. It’s just awful to see that people on the Nilans’ side of this would resort to such a horrible tactic to try and remove the blame from where it belongs – on the driver of the car that hit Peter.

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      A classy, kind, and caring statement — as always — from a beautiful woman.

  4. levitan
    March 8, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    As they say, “don’t let the bastards get you down.”

  5. tito
    March 8, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Chuck’s accomplishments are truly great, however, even the great Garivaltis cannot match Cliff NIlan and teammates only team to win the State Championship (Pittsfield High class of 66).

    • Dave Bertolozzi
      March 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm #


      The 1982 PHS team(Buddy Pellerin’s last year as coach) was never given the chance to be sole state champs due to Prop 2 1/2. The tournament ended with an eastern champ and a western champ(PHS). The banner in the PHS gym has co-champs listed for 1982. I don’t at all mean to diminish the feat of the 1966 team, just once would like to see an asterisk mentioning this fact.

  6. tito
    March 8, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Syracuse will have it’s hands full with Uconn, today.

  7. tito
    March 8, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Dan is always wrong on his prediction’s.

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      Really? Check the final score!
      Incidentally, your use of the words “prediction’s” is improper. In your usage, the words is not in the possessive case. A plain, simple “s” at the end, with no apostrophe, will do.

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        March 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

        @ DV…Just finished watching the ‘Cuse/UConn game…The ‘Cuse did have their hands full with the Huskies that’s for sure.

        @ Tito..what prediction were you talking about? The Syracuse prediction I presume? I think DV said they would win the NCAA’s. Not that they wouldn’t be challenged in The Big East Tourney…Correct me if I’m wrong

        • danvalenti
          March 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

          Yes, we picked the ‘Cuse to win the national title. Big East tournament has no consequences for the Orange, although every win is sweet, especially the tough ones, like today’s with UConn.

      • Molly
        March 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

        And for you, DV, a plain simple “s” at the end of the word “word” is improper as well. A plain, simple “d” at the end will do…

        • danvalenti
          March 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

          As for you, MOLLY babe, we quote the late, great Bard, Jerome Howard:
          “Bee ay Bay, Bee E Bee,
          Bee I Bicky Bi B-O Bo
          Bicky Bi Bo B-U Boo
          Bicky Bi Bo Boo.”

          • Molly
            March 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

            LOL – I’m actually impressed that you could type that!!! 🙂

  8. James C. Papadakis
    March 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    I remember Chuck teaching me how to hold a bat while I was a young man in Canada. I remember him as the best cousin one could have and what a fantastic person! Playing footaball or baseball was the icing on the cake.

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      I remember watching Chuck, Coach Zavie from NASC, Touchdown Tony F, Paul Procopio, etc. working with the lads in the workouts leasing up to Jim Bouton’s stages his sell-out Vintage Baseball Game at Wahconah Park on ESPN. Great teaching and great stories. Zavvy had me rolling on the dugout floor with his tales from Lincoln, Neb., in the Pirates’ chain, hitting next in the order after the late, great Dr. Strangelove himself, Dick Stuart. I remember Chuck and Zavvy standing behind the cage and watching the hitters. They didn’t mess with anyone’s swing, answered all questions, and could in a fatherly manner share a tip here and there based on something they noticed. Ah, such great stuff.

      • Chuck Garivaltis
        March 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm #


        Jim Bouton and Chip Elitzer introduced the Pittsfield Hillies to a community anxious to see baseball, The game drew almost 6000 fans to Wahconah Park .It was a wonderful show fans still talk about. There were two more coaches who are no strangers to Pittsfield sport fans.They are Ray Woitkowski and Itch McMahon.Yes, indeed, it was great stuff.

        • Molly
          March 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

          Jim Bouton’s book “Foul Ball” was an excellent book as well.

          • Silence Dogood
            March 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm #


          • danvalenti
            March 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

            THE PLANET was one of the characters in the plot. Did you notice how we were/are one of the good guys. We always looked good in white.

          • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
            March 9, 2012 at 5:57 am #

            I’m actually re-reading it…Great book. Nice to see the Planet’s role as independent good guy on the side of the people and against the forces of evil

        • danvalenti
          March 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

          Yes, Itch and Ray. Those sunny days practicing at Wahconah Park with the creme-de-la-creme of Berkshire County baseball and with a pitcher such as Jimbo were baseball nirvana.

  9. Chuck Garivaltis
    March 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Hi Tito

    True enough. We did not win a high school state championship but in ’52 and ’53 PHS won 42 games and lost two. The Pittsfield American Legion team in ’52 won the New England championship and continuing a glorious run in ’53 won the All-American Amateur Baseball Tournament in Johnstown, Pa. This tournament had teams from New Orleans, Buffalo, Brooklyn, etc.,and players like Al Kaline and Frank Torre. This group of Pittsfield baseball players were second fiddle to no one. You will be happy to hear the 1950 PHS team won the Mass. state championship.

  10. Chuck Garivaltis
    March 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Sorry, I’m off in saying PHS won the state championship in 1950. It was 1949.

  11. tito
    March 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    That is ok, Chuck, your a good man! Top five of all time, for sure. And a gentleman!

  12. tito
    March 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Yes HillBilly2…. Syracuse has a good team, but NCAA champs?

  13. Chuck Garivaltis
    March 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    What a treat! Jim Papadakis wrote from Chicago, Ill. Jim’s father and my mother are brorther and sister. I am named after Jim’s father. We have not communicated in years. Thanks to we are in touch.Thank you Dan Valenti.
    Jimmy, love to the Chicago wing of the family. I have wonderful memories of our family reunions, though they were long ago. Love you, cousin. Stay in good health.

    March 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Susan Moore. Glad everything went well. Glad to hear Peter is getting better, and we keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      CONCERNED speaks for 99.999 percent of THE PLANET’s readership.

      • Susan Moore
        March 9, 2012 at 6:28 am #

        Thanks Dan and Concerned. We all know that and really appreciate the support! I felt the need to give that individual the correct information. Hopefully when any of you see Peter and Toby out for their walks you will give a honk and a waive to encourage them rather than a snide remark. Peter still has a very long way to go and after 3 months of this he is getting impatient. TBIs do not go away over night.
        The back bone of this planet and The Planet is, and always will be, the 99%.

  15. ambrose
    March 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    remenber Kordana’s Midgets Chuck with Dave Campbell etc.?in the old midget league,long before little league and all the parents screaming – the maroon and white shirts that Jimmy’s father bought for us – probably our first uniforms – and then there was mr. o;brien at pomeroy – i put semi-colon instead of an apostrophe in obrien, let’s see if dan catches it

    • Chuck Garivaltis
      March 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      I remember the midget league and the players who were good friends. Jimmy Kordana Frank Reid, Dave Campbell, Doug Hugabone, to name a few at Pomeroy. You mentioned Mr. JaamesO’Brian who was a teacher and coach. The Jr. High teacher coaches were wonderful men. Mr. O’Brien ws not only a good coach but a teacher who spent a lot of extra time mentoring budding athletes. He was a teacher who made a difference. There were many times and many hours he spent helping me and visiting my parents to keep me in line. God bless this man.

  16. tito
    March 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Planet, did you know who the team Manager was on Cliff’s State Championship team? None other than Judge Daniel Ford!

    • Silence Dogood
      March 8, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      did Cliffy loose the lineup cards?

      • Fan Dan Go
        March 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm #


    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

      Woah. DIdn’t know that. Most interesting.

  17. Molly
    March 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    So after your putting out “teases” every day for a week on exclusive and important “Stooley” info on the Nilan case, now it will be tomorrow (Friday) — I could’ve and should’ve said that on Monday… And now it’s not earth shattering. Conor didn’t tell us anything other than apologize to me for the “missing papers case” getting dropped and that he will pursue it — this in response to my inquiry to him. Not sure that I would call that a “planet exclusive” – “Special To Planet Valenti News”, but ok…

    Does anyone have any results for the Ward 3 Democratic elections where 3 members of the Nilan family were running?

    • Silence Dogood
      March 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      I think if you make the ballot and get one vote you quallify….a ward committee can have 35 voting members who were elected or added afterward. within 40 days of the election ward committees are required to elect a chairman, secretary and treasurer.

      • danvalenti
        March 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

        Kinda like an election in Russia.

        • Silence Dogood
          March 9, 2012 at 8:11 am #

          usually ward and town committees of any party in western ma tend to be small due to our low population. there is actual competition in say boston or worcester.

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

      There’s no pleasin’ everybody, so we don’t try. We had an obligation to confirm certain news that would be blockbusting, and still may yet be. It’s called due diligence. Unlike what the fantasy landers say about our efforts, we apply the tools of old fashioned, show leather journalism. Often, it’s not fast enough for cyberspace. Fact is, we have spoiled many readers with our photons. Don’t become one of them. As for Conor Berry, of course it was an exclusive. It wasn’t available anywhere else, and a careful reading of his remarks contains much new info. RE: Ward 3. We’ve been far too busy to find out those results.

      • Molly
        March 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

        It was first on in reply to my inquiry, but it doesn’t matter – I just got a chuckle out of it. The ward results aren’t listed anywhere — of course not on the pittsfield website, no online newspapers, not on the state election sites — it’s just not out there yet. Which makes me guess that yes, they all got elected!

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      March 9, 2012 at 5:55 am #

      Jeez Molly, I’ve always liked your posts, perspective and tenacity, even if we haven’t always agreed but you seem to be gettting a little impatient and testy..

      • Molly
        March 9, 2012 at 9:20 am #

        I will admit that the truly vulgar attack on women here ticked me off, including Dan’s continued prompting of it, all in the name of creating controversy to get more “hits” on this site. Yes – that made me testy and, in my opinion, took a lot of respect for this site away. If any of us want that kind of trash, we have Topix. I, for one, find it disappointing.

        And impatient? Every single day Dan put a note that “tomorrow we will have” some big blockbuster news on the Nilan case. Every day he said “tomorrow” — again just to string people along and get more people here. More comments, more replies, more individual logons seems to be the one and only goal. And then yesterday, it was “it will be later today – still waiting on one more call” and of course, with today being Friday, there was no way it was going to be yesterday afternoon. And then since he built it up so much all week long, then he had to reset expectations and so now it’s “not earth shattering”. And to use a reply to me from Conor Berry, that was originally put on (and Conor was nice enough to also put it here so that I would be sure to see it), as a “Planet Exclusive”, “Special To Planet Valenti News”, truly made me chuckle! And Conor only said that he mistakenly dropped the ball and didn’t have anything to report but would look into it! LOL

        Yes this is DV’s website and he can and should run it however he chooses, and obviously does. I’m merely just stating my opinion that any of us can get that kind of trash on Topix and his NOT being that way was what has attracted more people here to read about the Nilan case and other happenings in Pittsfield.

  18. Pete G
    March 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    In a time when everyone was playing football , baseball, and other sports, Charles Garivaltis stood out as one of the best, if not the best, to ever come out of Berkshire county. Back then, you had 100 kids trying out for the football, and other sports teams. Nowaday’s you have to ask kids to play. With that level of competition, only the best played. The fact that he stood out in high school, and later at colgate, is a testament to Chuck himself.. Nice article Dan, keep them coming…

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

      We’re glad we grew up when we did. My time was late 50s throughout the 60s. I remember constantly playing ball (baseball, whiffleball, run-the-bases, roly poly) football, king of the hill, capture the flag. With baseball, we lived at Deming Park all summer long. I remember days when you couldn’t get a field. There would be games going on the scrub field, the softball field, the LL field, the BRL field, and the two makeshift “diamonds.” The wonder is that none of these were organized games. They were pick up ball, organized by the kids themselves. Man, you could get a 100 at bats a day and get a lot of glove work fielding grounders and chasing fly balls. Making LL was a big deal, because there were so many talented ballplayers. Today, EVERYONE makes the team and EVERYONE gets a trophy. We were on the air today with Bill Sturgeon for 90 minutes, and we touched upon the negative forces that have sent the kids off into a dark, vile, and nasty wilderness that masks as pop culture.

      • Scott
        March 9, 2012 at 5:10 am #

        Dan did you hear “Snooky” is prego? OMG I don’t know what I’m gonna do!

        • Molly
          March 9, 2012 at 9:23 am #

          Why – are you the Daddy??? 😉

          • Scott
            March 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm #


  19. Judas Priest
    March 9, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Chuck Garivaltis and Dan Valenti now that’s a double play combo that would turn two every time. Thanks guys for a great story and a great remembrance of a better time in the life of our belved city.