THE GOOD NEWS ON PETER MOORE … PLANET’s FREE SCREENING OF ‘THE HAUNTING’ … PHOTO OF GREYLOCK ROBBERY SUSPECT LOOKS NOTHING LIKE ANGELO … PLAY CHARADES; FILL OUT SCHOOL DEPARTMENT’s ‘SURVEY’ ON NEW SUPT. … FINALLY, SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES ARE REASONABLY UP TO DATE (KINDA SORTA)
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 2012) — Today let us share a trio of good news clusters to start things off in the right direction, north by northwest minus the corn field and crop duster.
(1) PETER MOORE’S PROGRESS — You will be delighted to know (and if not, we pity your cindered heart) that Capt. (ret.) Tom Moore, stalwart father of Peter Moore, reports the following about his tough-as-nails son:
Peter had a CT Scan this morning and the prognosis is excellent. The cervical vertebrae fracture has healed well enough that he is now able to discard the neck brace. It was suggested that he wean himself from it over the next month but after that there should be little or no restrictions on his physical activity. His goal is to be able to participate in the Manchester Thanksgiving Road Race. — Tom
We thank Tom for that report. You’ll recall that Peter Moore was run down by a hit-and-run driver on Dec. 8, 2011. Police have accused Meredith Nilan of criminal activity in connection with the incident. Nilan was arraigned in Pittsfield District Court on Feb. 29. Her lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf, since she didn’t make a public appearance that day. In fact, she has made no public appearance, statement, apology, or anything since being charged.
The pre-trial conference scheduled for March 21 was postponed at the request of prosecutor Joe Quinlan, according to Tim Connolly, communications director of the Worcester DA’s Office.
“Mr. Quinlan requested the delay so he could get up to speed on the case,” Connolly told THE PLANET. “He was just appointed to handle it.”
On behalf of all our readers, we wish Peter Moore, godspeed in his continued recovery. For Meredith Nilan, we wish a visit from Lady Justice — no more, no less.
PUBLIC INVITED TO A SHOWING OF THE HAUNTING — As part of Prof. Valenti‘s Composition II course, we will be screening the 1963 Robert Wise film The
Haunting, regarded by critics as the greatest haunted house film of all time, the Citizen Kane of ghost stories. Director Wise, incidentally, served as film editor of Kane. The film will be shown beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Koussevitzky 111, the mini-auditorium, at Berkshire Community College.
The Haunting stars Richard Johnson, Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, and Russ Tamblyn. Here’s a brief on the storyline:
Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of ghosts, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent death and insanity. With him are the skeptical young Luke, who stands to inherit the house, the mysterious and clairvoyant Theodora and the insecure Eleanor, whose psychic abilities make her feel somehow attuned to whatever spirits inhabit the old mansion. As time goes by it becomes obvious that they have gotten more than they bargained for as the ghostly presence in the house manifests itself in horrific and deadly ways. Written by Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You will have to put up with a brief lecture and some housekeeping notes by the professor at the start, but they will be painless for those not taking the class! We welcome all.
KOCAK BOOK AVAILABLE NOW — Author Paul Kocak, who contributed that great (and greatly received) piece on his experiences at Game One of the 2010 World Series as part of our examination of MLB today, has a new book out. Baseball’s Starry Night: Reliving Major League Baseball’s 2011 Wild Card Night of Shock and Awe recounts the wild events of the final day of the 2011 baseball season.
A press release says “Baseball’s Starry Night gives you a fan’s-eye view of a night that many have called the most exciting night in the history of Major League Baseball. Going beyond a standard retelling of the balls and strikes and homers and webgems, the book hears from 20 fans in their own words. Loyal fans of the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays provide exciting and deeply personal eyewitness accounts — either from the stadiums or their living rooms or even in Italy. Get the “you-are-there” feeling by ordering the paperback version right here or the e-book here.”
Please go to www.baseballstarrynight.com to find out about Paul’s book. If you love baseball or if you are a fan of compelling writing, you will want to add this book to your library. The book has received glowing, pre-publication reviews, such as this:
“Sept. 28, 2011. It was a night that will forever be frozen in baseball time. A night of miracles. A night of magic. A night of heartbreak. A night for the history books. Somebody needed to write a book about that night. Thankfully, Paul Kocak volunteered for the job. And in this beautifully written book, he takes us not merely inside the astonishing ups and downs of this unforgettable evening, but inside the hearts and minds of ‘ordinary’ people — the fans whose pulse rates haven’t come down yet.” — Jayson Stark, ESPN.com Senior Baseball Writer
Thanks, Paul, for this contribution to baseball literature. By the way, we love the nod to Vincent Van Gogh‘s “Starry Night” painting in the title and in the cover art. THE PLANET has known Kocak since the mid-1970s, when we were both news hawks employed by the Syracuse Post-Standard. Over the years, as way led to way, our careers diverged but the friendship remained on the One True Path. How do you thank people like Paul Kocak for a million laughs and the gift of friendship? You don’t. You humbly accept the gift with grace and gratitude.
TELL ‘EM ANGELO SENT YOU — THE PLANET brought you first word of the robbery of the Elm Street branch of Greylock Federal Credit Union, delivered here by one of the elite in the Secret Squadron, who shared the information in a comment over the weekend.
No one likes to see any local businesses ripped off in any manner … but in this case, we shall make an exception, if for no other reason that Greylock Federal’s name shall be forevermore linked with that of Angelo Stracuzzi, the company’s former president and CEO, convicted child molester, and probation dodger. Stracuzzi, you will recall, got busted by police in Biddeford, Maine, in July 2005, for incidents that occurred on two separate days involving two different teen-age boys, one 13 and one 15.
The cops charged Stracuzzi with two counts with the word “prostitution” in them and two counts of assault and battery. Officials dropped the prostitution counts, and Stracuzzi pleaded guilty to the assault charges. To the best that we can determine, he never served his court-ordered year of probation or received his court-ordered psychological counseling, the former courtesy of his good buddy, Clifford Nilan. Yes, that’s Meredith Nilan’s father.
Both Nilan and Stracuzzi were kicked out of their officer positions at Greylock in 2010 following the revelations of Stracuzzi’s arrests five years previous.
John Bissell, executive VP at Greylock, said at the time that neither he nor anyone on the board of directors (which included Nilan) knew anything of Angelo’s preferences for young boys as revealed by the Biddeford incidents. When the news of Stracuzzi’s arrest, conviction, and skipping probation were uncovered five years after the fact, mainly on the dogged reportorial work of Conor Berry, Bissell, like Claude Raines in Casablanca, was “shocked, shocked.” Bissell never divulged how much of a settlement Stracuzzi received to tender his “resignation.” Right. Rumors had it in the millions. A figure has never been officially revealed by Greylock to its shareholders.
As for the weekend heist at the Elm Street branch, Bissell told the Boring Broadsheet‘s Ned Oliver, “Our staff responded exactly the way you would hope a well-trained and well-prepared team would respond in situation like this.” As you can see, Bissell’s still spinning like a top. It’s funny, but you could use this quote and apply it to the aftermath of the the company’s public statements in the Stracuzzi case. In a real hurry, most of our sources at Greylock got a fast case of Deaf-and-Dumb — most, but not all, and we were able to extract certain tidbits from the story, to add to Berry’s work.
Police are still looking for the robber. THE PLANET can reveal with certainty that the robber was NOT Angelo Stracuzzi. The robber was female, but that is not convincing enough. The teller at Greylock who handed over the dough said she “got chills all over my body” from the “freaky” robber. Some people might want to use this as a clue to accuse Angelo of the crime, but we vouch for Angelo’s innocence in this case.
Remember, Stracuzzi had already cleaned out Greylock of millions of dollars during his years of fraudulence masquerading as a Community Pillar. This does not include any settlement money he shook out of the Greylock board in exchange for his “resignation.” Because of this, Stracuzzi had no need to nickel and dime a stick-up like the one on Elm Street, right John Bissell?
Anyone with tips on the suspect or information about the heist can call the Pittsfield Police Department Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.
SUPERINTENDENT SURVEY A CHARADE — You have to laugh at the charade.
Isn’t that the correct word to describe the Pittsfield school committee‘s public opinion survey regarding the opening for superintendent of schools? The survey, posted online recently, reflects the work of Glenn Koocher. He’s the honcho from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees who’s working with the local group.
We don’t doubt Koocher is doing his best, but we doubt Koocher knows how the GOBs operate in this part of the state. He’s from Boston and the big time, and while he likely realizes the tilted nature of his work for Pittsfield, he’s probably laughing at the Amateur Hour.
THE PLANET likes the word “charade” because, while it has a suppositional nature, it nonetheless aptly fits the known facts for how Pittsfield goes about selecting the Capo di Tutti Capi of the city’s public schools. Historically, the search pretends to be nationwide in scope while actually being decided well before hand from a pool of inbred aspirants. Virtually all of the activity regarding this current search for the next superintendent fits this historical pattern. We won’t recount the time- or action-lines. Anyone who has been following the process of hiring the new Super with a modicum of objectivity would have to agree: All signs point to The Fix Is In.
This would suggest, then, that the survey will be dutifully completed by interested people, that the school committee will”monitor” the results, and the comments by Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski will be duly ignored. The local GOB and intelligentsia don’t fill out surveys nor do they care what the Little Guy thinks. They work in secret and decide things unilaterally, because they know what’s best for you. They know that Mary Jane and Joe are too stupid to have input.
For what it’s worth, we will share what our “wise guys” are still telling us: The Fix is in, and the gal they are pushing — according to our Veddy Well Placed Source — isBarbara Malkas. She landed on her feet in the Pittsfield system after what the BOring Broadsheet called a “brief tenure” with McCann Tech in North Adams. Check around up there someday, and you’ll hear something interesting tales about Malkas’ ability and integrity.
The school committee received nine applications. THE PLANET already told you what no one else wanted you to know about one of them, namely, the ordeal of Christine Canning Wilson. Ms. Wilson, who possesses a stellar resume and background, was muscled out of the picture by the city’s attorney for her whistle-blowing past. Canning, we hear, showed too much independence and smarts (the good kind) for the GOBs’ comfort. The Boring Broadsheet probably knew about this development, but they didn’t report it, because, as we hear it, certain parties didn’t want this known.
They wanted the Canning canning to go “nice and quiet, like.” It didn’t. We got wind of it, and we believe in the right of We The People to self govern. THE PLANET doesn’t think the information flow should be as the GOB wants it. As we have repeatedly proven, “They” can no longer control the information flow. “They” can no longer order the BB to spike a story and have that story disappear. The BB, of course, will meekly obey, but anyone with a computer and information can now contact websites like this and spill what they know.
A New Era has dawned, and it’s making “Them” scared. When “They” get scared, it’s always good for We The People.
THE PLANET receives lot of tips, and we only use a few — the ones that come with supporting details, with names, with contact information, and with some measure of credibility. This doesn’t mean we get it right 100% of the time, but we do lead the league in reliability.
Oh, you’ll be pleased to know that the survey is available not only in English but also Spanish, Turkish, and French. We can’t expect people who wish to have a say in our democratic processes convey their thoughts in this country’s language, now, can we?
For those of great faith or who want to kill a little time, we present this link to the survey:
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PUBLIC INPUT SURVEY: SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH SURVEY
All Pittsfield Public School staff, parents and students, as well as all community members, are encouraged to click on this link and submit your input through this survey. Or click on the image or links below to download, read and fill out the survey, which can be returned by mail to: MA Association of School Committees, Attn: Glenn Koocher, Pittsfield Public Schools, One McKinley Square, Boston, MA 02109. Survey results must be received by 9:00 am, Wednesday, April 11.
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Have a ball.
MINUTES POSTED, FINALLY — THE PLANET is pleased to report that after our chastisement of the Pittsfield School Department for its lax approach to posting minutes to its meetings, someone got on the blower and read the riot act.
The minutes are reasonably up to date, to Feb. 15. We do wonder, though, this being the Age of Cyberspace, why there are no minutes yet for the March 14 and March 28 meetings? It can’t be that difficult, can it?
In any case, here are the minutes of the Feb. 15 meeting:
February 15 minutes, pages 28-41
February 15 minutes, pages 42-53
February 15 minutes, pages 54-65
February 15 minutes, pages 66-79
February 15 minutes, pages 80-89
We will offer suicide prevention counseling to anyone who wishes to take the pipe after reading all of this.
You will be pleased to know there won’t be a spot quiz on any of this material.
NOW, MY DEAR FRIENDS, WITH KENTUCKY CROWNED NCAA HOOP KING, WE SAY THAT SILENCE IS BETTER THAN SPITE, FOR WHO CAN COMPLAIN, AS LONG AS THEY CAN WRITE?
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.