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SPRINGSIDE FRIENDS READY TO ROCK ON APRIL 21, PERMITS OR NO PERMITS … NORTH LL TO BE RENAMED APRIL 28 IN HONOR OF DON GLEASON …BEEPERS TEMPT FATE TWICE BY HAVING ‘SOCIALS’ AT TWO ALCOHOL EMPORIUMS … BB’s STORY ON LAUREN PURCHASE OF KB TOYS BUILDING A GOB SPECIAL … plus … NORTH STREET CONSTRUCTION RESUMES; DOWNTOWN PITTSFIELD INC. GIVES MERCHANTS DREADED ‘EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL’

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2012) — The Friends of Springside Park have scheduled their annual volunteer cleanup for Saturday, April 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For those who want more information, go to this link: http://www.facebook.com/FriendsofSpringside.

Friends, the Reich Fuhrer, and The Ramsdellian Gauntlet

THE PLANET brought you information about how Der Ruffer, czarina and reich fuhrer (German, respectively, for “kingdom” and “leader”) of Too Many Departments Under the Super Agency Known as the Office of Community Development (TMDUSAKOCD, to make it easier) has attempted to put the Friends through The Ramsdellian Gaunlet. The R Gauntlet refers to the ridiculous, byzantine, ponderous, and serpentine permitting process when citizens look to engage in subversive activities such as walking their dogs or cleaning up municipal parks.

The R Gauntlet is the antithesis of The Pennell Effect. The P Effect describes the “nothing” the city does when an absentee landlord allows a private building to rot into neglect, except to stick taxpayers for the demolition bill.

Please circle the April 21 cleanup date, and, prior to that, the April 15 date at Kirvin Park for the Toby II Dog Walk, which Ken Ramsdell has organized to honor Peter Moore‘s dog, Toby, and to allow pet owners to convene in the park for camaraderie and information sharing.

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DON GLEASON FIELD BECOMES REALITY APRIL 28; NORTH LL RENAMED AFTER MAN WHO GAVE SO MUCH TO CITY, PARTICULARLY YOUTH BASEBALL

Speaking of Pittsfield Parks, THE PLANET is delighted to share this news. On Saturday, April 28, the North Little League  will be renamed the Donald Gleason North Little League.

The Pittsfield Little League and Little League International approved the renaming of the league and the ball field on Springside Avenue for a man who gave countless hours of service to the youth of the city, particularly to those like THE PLANET who loved playing baseball. Don Gleason represents everything that is good about civic mindedness and public service.

Ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. We are researching some information on Don’s life and his contributions to the city, which we intend to share with our readers. Meanwhile, congratulations to the Gleason Family for this richly deserved honor.

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BEEPERS TEMPT FATE TWICE, SUBJECTING THEIR POWERFUL THIRSTS TO CONSECUTIVE BEER-HALL ‘SOCIALS’

This month’s copy of Berkshire Business News, a publication of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, depicts on page 10 the dutiful and well-scrubbed members of Berkshire Young Professionals at their recent “networking social” at Kelly’s Package Store in Dalton.

Six pictures taken of BEEPERS during the event show they know how to listen and respect their elders. You’ll recall that in the aftermath of the Dec. 8, 2011 events at Alium’s Restaurant in Great Barrington and subsequent incidents involving BEEPER officer Meredith Nilan, Chamber poo-bah Mike Supranowicz ordered Ashley Sulock, Chamber director of marketing and communications, that no BEEPER would henceforth be seen holding a drink in his or her paws.

The pictures show Sara Kelley, Ron Kelley, Ron Marcella III, Melissa Agosto, Jill Brothers, Jonathan Swartz, Joe Solomen, Jerrid Burdick, Lauren Cimini, Brad Felix, Dawn Syrko, Ryan Belanger, Bethany Pellitier, Darren Katz, Howard Marshall, Jenine Moro, Kelli O’Donnell, Amanda Bettis, Melissa Orazio, Allison Billard, and Michelle Lillie. Not one beverage, alcoholic or otherwise, is to be seen. Hands are properly held at the side or folded, the equivalent of  ventriloquist Paul Winchell drinking water by Jerry Mahoney sings.

Not one of these BEEPERS likely knows the Winchell-Mahoney references. They are a wee bit young, and the dew can be seen a trickling behind their ears. These young sharks, though, warm THE PLANET’s heart for showing how well they listen to their elders, particularly one who preaches verse and chapter from the GOB bible.

We will give BEEPER planners credit for spunk (though we hesitate to call it “irony”). Tempting fate, the April 4 “Networking Social” was conducted at Wandering Star Brewery in Pittsfield. WE don’t know if Meredith Nilan appeared at either of the two beer-hall “socials” or if she did, how she got there or got home.

FYI, on Sunday, April 22, BEEPERS will be helping out with the 7th Annual Race to Stop Child Abuse, 5K, run or walk. We wonder if they will try to get Angelo Stracuzzi as the grand marshall.

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BORING BROADSHEET CONTINUES SPINNING FOR GOB, or EVERYTHING IS HUNKY DORY

You have to love it, when the Boring Broadsheet spins for the GOB, as we recently read in Tony Dobrowolski‘s article on Lauren Publishing‘s purchase of the KB Toys Building. Here’s Tony’s opening and supporting paragraphs:

PITTSFIELD — The departure of KB Toys three years ago left a gaping hole in the city’s business community, especially on West Street where the company’s world headquarters was located.

Now, the wound that symbolizes the Great Recession in Pittsfield is about to heal.

After three years of sitting vacant, the four-story building with more than 70,000 square feet at 100 West St. finally has a new owner — a new local owner.

RKE Realty LLC, which is associated with Laurin Publishing Co. of Pittsfield, has purchased the building for $1.1 million from Pittsfield Mass Associates, according to documents on file at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds.

Laurin Publishing plans to move to West Street from its current location in the Berkshire Common complex on South Street within the next few months, company president Thomas F. Laurin said.

According to Eagle files, the building’s 1986 construction cost was $6 million. The building is currently assessed by the city of Pittsfield at $5 million, while the entire 1.9-acre parcel is valued at $5.3 million, according to records on file at City Hall.

Laurin Publishing only plans to occupy part of the massive structure.

“We’ll probably take a third of the building, then look for other tenants,” Laurin said. “We’re entertaining people already.”

Nowhere do we read the obvious point that needs to be explored, via followup interviews with downtown boosters and critics: What about the flip side of the story, namely, the vacancy that Lauren Publishing will leave in the Berkshire Common, where it has had its offices for decades. The move to the KB Building leaves a gaping hole in the Common, former site of the old Wendell Hotel (think Pittsfield would want to have that beautiful building back?).

Not to be outdone, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce is also leaving the Berkshire Common, where it has offices. The Chamber will be moving to 66 Allen Street (the old firehouse) on April 16. The Stevenson Insurance Company will be fleeing its long-time home next to the old Berkshire County Savings Bank Building on North Street for the new Jetson-like structure being built on East Street at Silver Lake Boulevard.

While we do think it’s a good sign for businesses such as Lauren and Stevenson to have new facilities, THE PLANET fails to see how this is a gain, net-net, for the Berkshire County or Pittsfield economies. The pieces are merely being shuffled around. No new pieces are coming. That’s a part of the story the BB is never interested in, of course, since that would mean an honest confrontation with the facts.

We can only sympathize with our good friends and colleagues such as Tony D and others, who have to keep their mouths shut and swallow the garbage being fed to them by their bosses.

Things at the BB are not good. Entire departments will be soon shuttered, with a round of layoffs set for this spring. It’s only a matter of time before the “newspaper” sinks as fast and as surely as the Titanic.

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NEW DOWNTOWN PITTSFIELD INC. HEAD GIVES DREADED VOTE OF CONFIDENCE TO NORTH STREET MERCHANTS AS DREADED, BUSINESS-SAPPING CONSTRUCTION RESUMES

We read a piece from Pam Tobin, new executive director of Downtown Pittsfield Inc., the political action committee that disguises itself as a downtown advocacy group. That’s not to say there haven’t been good people working with the group (there have, and plenty), but historically, SPI has been saddled with political hacks who place Party Loyalty before service to the downtown.

We haven’t met Tobin, and so we must keep an open mind about here loyalties. We have to smile, though, when she writes in the Chamber newspaper, that “Downtown is OPEN FOR BUSINESS and will remain open during the construction.” The bold face and capitals are Tobin’s and not THE PLANET’s.

The “construction” she refers to is resumption of the Great North Street Tear Up. Last season, the Tear Up drove businesses out of their minds and some … out of business. The restaurant next to the Beacon Cinema, Brulees or Bruce Lees or whatever, bit the dust. Many other businesses saw their customer traffic shrivel to bare bones. Still, they remain in survival mode. This next round of construction won’t help them much.

You can be sure, though, that the roads will be clogged with men, machines, and plenty of cops drinking coffee. Whether any businesses will be left by the time the work is finished is a matter for the future. When Tobin tells business owners that “The City, contractor, Mass DOT, and Downtown Pittsfield Inc., are committed to working with you to ensure minimal impact,” we cringe.

In the past, like year for instance, that has meant: “Expect unreasonable disruptions that will kill your summer.”

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WHEN THE GUN YOU FEEL YOU’RE UNDER, TAKE YOUR FEAR AND TURN ASUNDER. THERE IS ENOUGH TIME. THE RUSH YOU’RE FEELING IS AN ILLUSION. REMEMBER THAT, EH?

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

17 Responses to “SPRINGSIDE FRIENDS READY TO ROCK ON APRIL 21, PERMITS OR NO PERMITS … NORTH LL TO BE RENAMED APRIL 28 IN HONOR OF DON GLEASON …BEEPERS TEMPT FATE TWICE BY HAVING ‘SOCIALS’ AT TWO ALCOHOL EMPORIUMS … BB’s STORY ON LAUREN PURCHASE OF KB TOYS BUILDING A GOB SPECIAL … plus … NORTH STREET CONSTRUCTION RESUMES; DOWNTOWN PITTSFIELD INC. GIVES MERCHANTS DREADED ‘EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL’”

  1. Still wondering
    April 11, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Ah yes, the construction on North St. It has now exceeded the end date by a YEAR. I wonder how Ms. Ruffer can look anyone in the face who works on North St.

  2. R.A.
    April 11, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Can report with confidence that Ms. Nilan was not at the recent BYP social event, held at Wandering Star Brewery-I was and did not see her.

  3. Nomad
    April 11, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    The only difference between the BB and the Titanic is the Titanic had a band.

    • Norman
      April 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

      So the BB has life boats!?

      • danvalenti
        April 12, 2012 at 6:46 am #

        Yes, but only half as many as needed. Many will perish.

  4. Gene
    April 11, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    The Titanic also had good-looking actors. Excellent comments here especially about North Street’s poor merchants. I know of three (maybe four) businesses in deep trouble. They will be gone by end of year, so too, I hear, of the BB. No one will mourn that loss, that’s the only difference.

  5. Joe bloW
    April 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    When I want to walk around and shop downtown, I take a drive to North Hampton.

  6. kevin jennings
    April 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    I drove down North St. today. First time in a while. It looked like Kabul.

  7. Jim Gleason
    April 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Dan, Thanks for writing about my Dad’s honor. It is richly deserved and way too late, but thanks again.

    • danvalenti
      April 12, 2012 at 6:48 am #

      My pleasure, Jim.

  8. dusty
    April 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Not sure how it works now but in the olden days (Ruberto days) Lauren Publishing would have gotten huge tax credits for operating out of a new building.

    and I believe Stevensons Insurance was bought out by a mega company which is setting up on cheap land by the toxic waste land on East street.

  9. Chuck Garivaltis
    April 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    It was a nice piece Dan Valenti wrote about Don Gleason.You have reason to be proud, JIm.Your dad was a great athlete who devoted his life to the well being of children.
    I remember Don from the Boys’ Club days when Mr. Keegan was superintendent. For youngsters basketball was played in two courts called the cages.Court dimentions were brick walls.Don played for Al’s Variety and was outstanding even then. He was known as having a great eye.This meant when he shot at the basket the ball went through the hoop most of the time for two points. He was a court leader, a basketball star, a respected youngster and man. He went on to star at St. Joe’s HIgh and played at Providence College.
    Don was a family man, worked at the Catholic Youth Center, and was a Little League leader in Pittsfield and New England for 40 plus years. It was all for youngsters. They don’t make men like that anymore.
    I knew Don from Boys Club days.He was a friend and I miss him a lot.

    • danvalenti
      April 12, 2012 at 6:47 am #

      Thanks, Chuck, from this eyewitness report on a great man. I think the city is ready for Chuck Garivaltis Field.

  10. dusty
    April 12, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    Whatever happened to the construction that was supposed to start two weeks ago on south street? I have been avoiding it only to find out no one is digging anything yet.

    • danvalenti
      April 12, 2012 at 6:46 am #

      Not Gone with the Wind, that’s for sure. Probably waiting until North Street construction gets to its fullest so as to ensure maximum disruption for poor motorists. That’s The Pittsfield Way.

  11. Jim Gleason
    April 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Saw earlier this week in the BB an article about Cal Ripken baseball coming to Pittsfield. To start, the BB tells the leaders of Little League in Pittsfield that it has no room for their announcements or notices and when they print them they’re not what was sent in and then prints an article about the rip off Ripken league coming here. WE DON’T NEED THEM HERE!! Pittsfield has been more than well served by Little League since 1950 and doesn’t have enough fields to house the league already here so why would the leaders here encourage another group to come in? The Park Commission a few years back, when Minor League dissolved due to bad management and shady monetary actions, asked my Dad to take over the baseball for kids under 9 years old, which he and some others did in a pinch and with very little time to organize.I don’t know if the present incarnation of the Park Commission has given this group (Ripken) permission to move in here but if it has it’s a slap in the face to my Dad and his memory and to the people who got them out of a pinch back a few years. Again, WE DON’T NEED OR WANT YOU HERE RIPKEN, GET OUT!!

    • dusty
      April 13, 2012 at 1:05 am #

      Considering past behavior of the Parks commission anything is possible. In Pittsfield, if there is money to be made under the table the politicos will sniff it out.