PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2014) — The biggest good news story will be when the police watch TOM (The One Man). TOM’s the busy guy who, according to Mayor Dan Bianchi ostrich-like view, is responsible for all of the crime currently plaguing downtown Pittsfield. While THE PLANET waits for The Empty Suit to deliver that good news, let’s deal in some actual currency.

Silver Lake Back in Play

The return of Silver Lake to the Land of the Living is one of the best stories to hit the city in some time. The reclamation of this spring-fed body of water seems like nothing less than a miracle to those of us who grew up in Pittsfield during the 1950s and 60s, at the height of GE production and the low-point of the pollution of that once-lovely body of water.

Talk to the old folks, the ones in their 90s, and they’ll tell you stories of fishing and swimming in the lake. That, of course, was before GE turned the lake into a fetid brew of industrial chemicals that used to inspire nightmares.

SILVER LAKE: Coming back.

We take this discussion beyond the usual concerns about capping the bottom of the lake instead to a removal of the foul materials that remain. THE PLANET does this simply as a matter of pragmatics. Despite the promise of Melissa Mazzeo to raise the issue of Silver Lake as a part of the attempted reopening of the consent Consent Decree, the council president dropped the issue  two seconds after winning re-election in the 2011 campaign. As council president and at no time during these past three years has Mazzeo shown any meaningful interest in the matter which so occupied her in her ravenous hunger for votes during the 2011 campaign. She sent a couple of blind, cold token e-mails a few years ago and presented that as her token of address.

Funny thing about politicians. When they need your vote, why gosh, they love you to death. After they win office, you are little more than road kill.

THE PLANET is more than content at this point to acknowledge the development of the lake’s reclamation from its previous state to its present one and hail it as good news, a rare note of hope and progress for the residents  of the city. The site has a fair ways to go. The multiple plantings of trees, shrubs, and greenery of enjoying but their first summer of growth. They will need a few years to fill in and reach their emerald shading. The choice of black, industrial fencing around the lake perimeter has proven less than inspiring. Perhaps the cap won’t hold. For that matter, some day the sun will explode.

A blue aquatic gem dots the city scape.

Nonetheless, THE PLANET loves what is as opposed to what was at the lake. This includes the cleanliness of the water, fit for fishing and swimming. No one should pull a Randy Rocca and drink a glass of Silver Lake at this point, but we wouldn’t recommend that for any body of water in the Berkshires, at least without the use of a industrial-grade water filter. Fact is, the lake is now ready for enjoyment again. This past winter, we saw skaters gliding along on an ice surface looking as smooth as if it had been raked over by a Zamboni. In fact, on one of the coldest days of winter, a friend and THE PLANET spread a couple blankets and picnicked on candy bars and coffee.

A paved walking trail meanders around 3/4 of the perimeter of the lake, from East Street and the boulevard to the Fourth Street area. It makes for a relaxing, reflective stroll. We’ve seen people fishing from the banks, strollers taking both brisk and sedate walks, and we’re still waiting for our first boat siting. Granted, it’s progress of a sort but progress nonetheless.

 ——- 000 ——-

Downtown Pittsfield Loses Pam Tobin, Gains Kate McGuire

Will Kate McGuire’s cup runneth over or will it be spilled in her affiliation with DPI? (Photo: Berkshireonstage)

Give it up for Kate Maguire, the indefatigable head of the Berkshire Theatre Group. She has taken on many challenges, not the least of which was the alliance of the Berkshire Theatre Festival with Pittsfield’s Colonial Theater. Though the jury remains out on the ultimate verdict on the alliance, the early returns have been promising.

Now Maguire has stepped up again to make a statement about her belief in the downtown. Stepped up? Some are saying she “stepped in it.” Time will tell. You can’t fault the woman, though, for trying.

As president of the DPI board, Maguire appears ready to take less of an advisory and more of an active role in trying to be a catalyst for downtown renewal. Pam Tobin, who came to Pittsfield fresh or stale from a parking-ticket scandal in Albany, resigned as DPI executive director on Friday.

She won’t be missed.

Here’s a quote from her that tells you everything you need to know about Tobin: “I am grateful for all of the opportunities bestowed upon me by the DPI board, our constituents and colleagues, especially to truly lead all involved to strategically be an economic engine in the community we serve,” she said. Now what the f@%* does that mean? During her tenure as DPI executive director, Tobin did little more than hide behind her desk, collect her paycheck, and stay away from downtown business owners. If we exaggerate, it’s only by a tad.

——- 000 ——-

As DPI searches for a new executive director, Maguire has the intelligence and the integrity to realize several things about her new task:

* The downtown is unsafe. Recently, there have been a rash of burglaries hitting downtown businesses. Source differ on the number, but the numbers fall into a distressing range, from a low of a dozen to a high of 20. Sources say Mission Tappas alone has been hit four times during the current spree, Dotties five times. Even the Colonial Theater has been burglarized. TOM is a pretty clever thief.

Kate Maguire: Beware the Ides of Bianchi (Photo: Valley Advocate)

* The Empty Sit will be of no help to Maguire. Bianchi has been an enemy of the Colonial Theater from the early discussion of its refurbishment. Unlike his predecessor and his wife, Jimmy and Ellen Ruberto, TES has no love for the theater or the arts, especially at the Colonial, and he still has resentments that he has been on the losing side of the discussion for so long. He will show no hesitation to make things difficult for Maguire politically.

* Small business owners in the downtown are thoroughly disenchanted with Downtown Pittsfield Inc. DPI has to date been an entirely political subsidiary of the corner office, hiring political hacks like Tobin instead of searching for competency and professionalism. The recent of meeting downtown businesses at Dotties illustrates the degree of distrust they have for DPI. Maguire needs to realize, and we think she does, that the first task in making DPI a viable organization will be to reach out to small business owners, acknowledge past mistakes, and acting — acting — to forge a new way of operating. What is that way? That, my friends, is the challenge. We do know this: The downtown is long past its “Best if used by” date.

* There are people, mostly the mayor and his allies, who would love Maguire to fail. Again, this can be explained by the city’s swamp politics. THE PLANET has known and has worked with Maguire for nearly 20 years, and we would issue what we think is a superfluous word of warning, given her business smarts and her strong instinct not only for self-preservation but for growth and advancement. We would urge “caution, with abandon.”

Downtown Pittsfield Inc. eats up at least $50,000 of taxpayer’s dollars. Until now, that yearly expenditure has been a colossal waste, meant more to feed the egos of The Suits and provide safe cover for hacks. All that must change, and the smart money will be willing to bet that Maguire will change it.


“I’m an old cowhand, from the Rio Grande. But my legs ain’t bowled, and my cheeks ain’t tan. I’m a cowboy whose never seen a cow.” — “I’m an Old Cowhand,” various artists, including Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.




  1. outfox
    June 16, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    Given his statement that slavery is “fiscally responsible” and “cost effective” on the front page of this week’s Berkshire Courier, I would think that TES would prefer not TOM but rather several perpetrators that he could incarcerate and then use as free/slave labor, regardless of the fact that none of these people has been sentenced to hard labor. Until we the people are provided with the numbers—how many slaves were used to pour and rake all those tons of asphalt, and over how many days was their 390 hours of labor, this must be called slavery. I am in no way naive about the machinations of the American criminal justice system and the prison/industrial complex and the tribulations that the incarcerated must endure, but come on, Pittsfield pols! We are better than this.

    • Scott
      June 17, 2014 at 5:41 am #

      Is’t it genius though. You take a person that you hold back socially and economically make laws designed in nature for them to fail then put them in jail for it under strict conditions to the point they’re begging for work release programs and will happily rake asphalt if it means not being inside those walls. Then you charge them room and board. I have a question if a prisoner works off days and say gets 3 months knocked of a year sentence or whatever does the facility still get awarded the pay for the original term of the sentence?

    • Rafael
      June 17, 2014 at 7:24 am #

      It’s not even close to being slavery unless they were forced to perform the work. And even then, if you can’t do the time (or work) don’t do the crime!

      • Scott
        June 17, 2014 at 7:55 am #

        I understand that the perception is not that of slavery but it doesn’t make it moral. Especially since jails are full of non violent people who need help in developing social skills not hard labor. But like I said a few weeks locked up and you’ll wish you were breaking rocks anything but being stuck inside with violent ignorant thugs. Jails keep political agendas with the sole purpose of profiting while projecting the illusion to society it’s necessary and for our own good. That’s how you end up with kids in jail for two years just for sharing a doobie with their friend on school grounds. Ten what 29 years or more later the crap is basically legalized and out governor throws the mandatory minimums out on the basis that they incarcerated the very people the law was implemented to protect.

        • joetaxpayer
          June 17, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

          Scott,sounds like a lot of excuses to me. The judges around here are very much into slapping people on the wrist. Its pretty simple, don’t break the law stay out of jail.

          • outfox
            June 17, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

            I think the reporting of the story is lacking in details, but then again,once back behind the walls, the prisoners, assuming they WERE given good time for their labor—this is not made clear in the article— face the loss of that time off their sentences for even the most minor of infractions, even though they have truly earned it through their sweat and labor, in which case, it does become akin to slave labor. American prison are both notorious and unaccountable for this type of labor . Anyway, who doesn’t have a friend or relative who has been incarcerated these days? What happens at BCHC should be of concern to all of us, as it has a direct, economic effect on our community. Able bodied, and mostly willing to, workers are being systemically disenfranchised for a full decade after incarceration, which is when one can apply to have their record ( mostly) sealed. Granted, there are not enough jobs as it is, but declaring a large part of a local workforce unemployable due to CORI checks rends the fabric of our community. As Scott points out, the majority of the incarcerated are there for non-violent crimes. Violent crimes in Pittsfield get sentenced to anger management at the Brien Center. Yeah, how’s that working out for us??

          • Scott
            June 18, 2014 at 2:13 am #

            I’m not making excuses just my opinion.

    • danvalenti
      June 17, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

      TES is “fiscally responsible” to The Suits. To The People, he’s a disaster.

      • outfox
        June 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm #


  2. Jonathan Melle
    June 16, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    How much money did former Mayor Jimmy Ruberto spend on Downtown Pittsfield revitalization during his 8 year reign over Pittsfield politics? From what I understand, the financial number is in the many tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, including a couple million from GE’s economic development fund. How many jobs were lost in Pittsfield from 2004 – 2011 under former Mayor Jimmy Ruberto? There were hundreds of lost jobs in Pittsfield. K B Toys went bankrupt, GE sold its plastics division to Sabic, which downsized its workforce, and the local economy tanked during the great recession. Thousands of people moved away from Pittsfield during the Ruberto regime, which raised taxes above the rate of inflation every single year. Jimmy Ruberto’s vision of a touristy downtown didn’t work!

  3. Jonathan Melle
    June 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    Open question to Dan Valenti:
    Would Jack Welch swim in Silver Lake?

  4. Gene
    June 16, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Nice piece DV. I agree on Silver Lake. Good development although M. Mazzeo used it solely politically. She never meant a word of her promise. As for downtown, Ms. Maguire is top notch but does she know the political can of worms she just stepped in?

    I agree that BIanchi will try to see that she fails.

    I also jsut figured out why the mayor is never in his office at city hall. He’s hot on the trail of TOM!

    • danvalenti
      June 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

      TES chasing TOM, but he’ll never catch him.

  5. outfox
    June 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Now that TES has realized the “cost effectiveness” of slave labor— 162 hours of labor readying Wahconah Park for opening day performed by prisoners May 5-9. A seven day week is 168 hours.—TES is hoping for many, many TOMs.

  6. Generalissimo
    June 16, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    I jus want to say only juan thin to da people of Peesfield:

    The people, they luv da Generalissimo and Generalissimo, he luv da people.

    Tank you verdy much.

  7. Ron Kitterman
    June 17, 2014 at 3:25 am #

    This was taken from Mayor Kelton Miller 1913 address to the citizens of Pittsfield Kelton B. Miller

    “Last year, In my address, I advocated action that would result in the establishment of bounds and beautifying the shores of Silver Lake. A Committee was established to take up the matter but owing to the conditions of the finances and to my belief that the city debt ought not be created for the improvement, I did not urge the matter. I am confident that an arrangement can be made this year with The General Electric Company, The Pittsfield Electric Company and Gilbert West who controls with the city one half of the lake shore whereby this half of the plan can be put in legal shape and work begun on the East end. This years work ought not to cost much and would be laid out in such a way as to make it a continuation of Parker Street under the railroad and thence southerly to East Street, which thoroughfare would take place of Woodlawn Avenue, which would discontinue for the benefit of General Electric Company. These two great improvements should go hand in hand, although the extension of Parker Street under the railroad may have to be delayed for a few years for financial reasons. “

  8. Bill Sturgeon
    June 17, 2014 at 4:32 am #

    If “Downtown Inc” can be fixed Kate will fix it. I hope that the City Fathers and Mothers give her the support that she needs to get her job done!!!! Best of Luck – Kate!!!!

  9. Mad Trapper
    June 17, 2014 at 4:47 am #

    Dan, MORE toxins( STILL) in Silver Lake than what was removed from Love Canal.

    Source, someone who worked for GE “enviroMENTAL”

    • Scott
      June 17, 2014 at 5:42 am #

      GE “Good Things To Life” the story of our town GE and PCB’s is an excellent film.

    • Mad Trapper
      June 17, 2014 at 6:29 am #

      And why bother cleaning up “the rest” of the River when they have not cleaned up the GE cesspool still polluting it?

      They never touched the brook behind GE plastics, Silver Lake is a sham, and there is still a HUGE plume migrating towards the river from the site. The (closed) bakery had oil seeping into the basement, across the railroadtracks and street. Then there is the buried stuff underneath the old buildings and a Toxic mountain (Mt Doyle) next to a grade school.

      And how is the City doing with the Pennel Property? That is a GE CESSPOOL too.

      • joetaxpayer
        June 17, 2014 at 9:06 am #

        Always wondered why those doughnuts tasted so good!

        • Thomas More
          June 17, 2014 at 9:50 am #

          Can’t say for sure but I think the longest lived people in the city are in Lakewood. This includes DV’s parents.

        • danvalenti
          June 17, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

          The jelly donuts at Borgo’s were out of this world.

    • Mad Trapper
      June 17, 2014 at 6:41 am #

      One more Melissa Mazzeo

      More full of crap than a Thanksgiving Turkey.

      You are welcome, Mel

      • Sparkie
        June 17, 2014 at 11:11 am #

        Good observation of her Honor, umm, you know, Prez Motor Mouth Mazzeo, whatnot. Great example of a person who knows how to use social capital and empty promises to get elected. However once elected is clueless.

    • levitan
      June 17, 2014 at 8:52 am #

      Love Canal at least used leaky drums.

  10. Rock paper scissors
    June 17, 2014 at 5:50 am #

    Everyone here seems to love Kate.
    Everyone here loves Dan.
    Everyone here loves Generalissimo.

    I thought Allen said there are only haters here.

    • CJ
      June 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

      Oh yeah. Aren’t I supposed to be Allen.

    • danvalenti
      June 17, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

      We feel the love!!

  11. Rafael
    June 17, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    “Sources say Mission Tappas alone has been hit four times during the current spree, Dotties five times.”
    The only way all these multiple break ins can occur is if the police are not doing their jobs. Perhaps they are waiting for the Sheffield police to catch TOM?
    In my experiences with the PPD, you call them to report a crime. They show up. They fill out a report. Then they leave. Note to PPD: filling out a report has never caught a perp, ever.

    • dusty
      June 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

      If Dotties has been broken into 5 times in the current spree she might consider consulting with a lock smith. And does she consistently leave money lying around? Because if I am the exalted “only burgurgular in town , after the fourth try finding no money I move on.

      Do they know where the guy that hit the mayors safe is mooring himself these days? Cuz my understanding was that he was not taught a very meaningful lesson, as is par for a connected son of the elite.

  12. Still wondering
    June 17, 2014 at 6:12 am #

    It is true that Pam Tobin was a petty pain in the a*s. Anyone new would be an improvement.

  13. Nota
    June 17, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    Wasn’t Silver Lake groomed to be the location for the movie On Golden Pond?

    • Mad Trapper
      June 17, 2014 at 6:47 am #

      They wanted the frogs to have the normal number of limbs and feet.

      GE thinks 3 legged ( I have seen them) amphibians are EVOLUTION.

  14. Thomas More
    June 17, 2014 at 6:52 am #

    “Talk to the old folks, the ones in their 90s, and they’ll tell you stories of fishing and swimming in the lake.” I assure you that no one alive can remember Silver Lake not being polluted beyond hope. My grandfather told me of people fishing it, pre-1900, but it was sketchy then as it was the recipient of all kinds of dyes and whatever from the Tillotson mill on the northwest shore in the area where the jail thing is now. He was born in 1864.

    • danvalenti
      June 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

      There people alive who knew people alive who remembered the lake when it was clean. I heard the stories as a kid, from impeccable sources.

  15. GMHeller
    June 17, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    In re the alleged safety of the waters of Silver Lake.
    Pardon my skepticism, but is there any document in the public domain which attests to the current chemistry of the lake water, and also to the quality of the air immediately above the water surface?
    What, for example, are the specific levels (in parts per billion) of the various PCB formulas and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) which comprise the bulk of the GE/StanleyWorks/BerkshireGas originated muck present in thick layers immediately beneath the much-ballyhooed “cap”.
    Is this data accessible on the Internet and how often is that lake chemistry tested and retested and the results posted?

    It remains to be seen just how long any layer of capping material is going to withstand the test of time, and whether it will be able to resist nature’s tendency to move anything and everything about.

    And just what is going to cleanse the chemically-saturated ground water flowing throughout the surrounding neighborhoods?
    (Where is the current chemical data on all those test wells GE/EPA dug in the half-mile or so radius around Silver Lake?)
    Recommend that despite what appears to be an extensive PR campaign and feel-good hype emanating from the spinmeisters in Pittsfield, in Boston, and in Fairfield CT, that Pittsfield residents (and even tourists visiting just once a year) should avoid the Silver Lake area if at all possible — and absolutely positively do not — REPEAT, DO NOT — expose children to the lake waters (or even the surrounding air).
    Better to take that recreational walk or bike ride around one of the many other local lakes and parks.
    Whether the spinmeisters wish to acknowledge the simple reality, there remains a veritable “Love Canal” brewing just feet beneath Silver Lake’s surface.

    • Rafael
      June 17, 2014 at 7:26 am #

      My family and I still plan on avoiding Silver Lake completely. In Gov’t do not trust.

      • Silence Dogood
        June 17, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

        rumor is that a local restaurant is planing moonlight catered cruises on silver lake

        • danvalenti
          June 17, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

          Good idea.

          • Silence Dogood
            June 17, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

            yeah but Dunkin Donuts is the restaurant

  16. amandaWell
    June 17, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    Heard stories of a fire on Silver Lake and a three eyed fish, rumors or truth? The Generalissimo should do a skit drinking the water at the ol pond, it’d be funny!

    • levitan
      June 17, 2014 at 8:53 am #


      I believe it is safe to trust your instincts on this question.

  17. amandaWell
    June 17, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    WIlutts can be the overseer, Tri counties Mother Theresa.

  18. Lipstick on a pig
    June 17, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    They can make a corpse look good with makeup. You see people saying at wakes “gee, doesn’t he look good”.
    Fact remains they are dead.

    Capping the lake is just makeup on a toxic problem.

    Sure you can paint over rotted wood and it may look nice for awhile. However, it does not make the problem go away.

    Underground aquafers carry this deadly toxic waste possibly to surrounding neighbors properties. Much like filling in pristine wetlands forces that water onto someone else.
    Capping the lake and thinking it solved the problem is folly.

    I agree that Mazzeo is a huge dissapontment. She betrayed her promises to the people. What is that makes one into GOB once they get elected? She started off good but has joined sides with the suits against the people. She cannot be trusted.

    How many times are the people going to let politicians lie to them just to get elected and close their eyes to it, pretending this is normal? If a politician does not make good on their campaign promises, they should be fired, not made President.

    Martha Stewart was put in prison not because she engaged in insider trading but for LYING to investigators. Why is it ok for govt reps to lie to the people but not ok for people to lie to them?

    • Silence Dogood
      June 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

      Martha Mazzeo?

  19. PopKornSutton
    June 17, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Maybe someone can google Third Eye Louie and send the three eyed fish to the Planet website. Amanda is not far off, they’re really was a three eyed fish at Lake Nipissing in Ontario, Canada.

  20. The Count of Monte Crisco
    June 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    Melissa knew full well that the people were not happy with the shady backroom deal resulting in the concent decree. Thats why she ran on that platform, promising the people she was going to do something about it. Thats why we voted her in.

    Two emails? Two emails. What a discrace!

    Doesn’t it sort of backfire when people see that you lied to them and you have egg on your face?

    How can you sit and chair the city coucil meetings when the entire city looks at you knowing exactly who you are and what you are?

  21. chuck garivaltis
    June 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    Lot of nostalgic postings related to Silver Lake glory days. I’ll stay with nostalgia for this posting. Baseball fans know the NCAA College World Series is now on in Omaha, Neb. It is a nice memory to this writer because in 1955 two Pittsfield High graduates playing for Colgate University played in this tournament. Larry Bossidy and this writer were teammates on this great club. With a break or two we could have won it all. Larry pitched a 4 hitter in the opening game losing to eventual tournament champion Wake Forest. We won 2 games before being eliminated. One of our victories was against Southern Calif. Yes, that So. – The Trojans. Larry pitched in relief and stopped a So. Cal rally. It was and remains a historic victory for Colgate. We had 1300 students at that time. So. Cal. had 30,000. How about that? Larry is one of the all time great pitchers from Colgate. He is a Colgate Hall of Famer.

    • Roman Knows
      June 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      And the Vice Chairman of GE and the CEO
      of Allied Signal

      • chuck garivaltis
        June 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

        Roman, You are correct. Now to keep the record straight Allied Signal under Larry’s leadership became Honeywell, Corp. When Larry retired he retired from Honeywell, Corp.

    • danvalenti
      June 17, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      Thanks, Chuck.

  22. Jamie
    June 17, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Great memory Chuck. I enjoyed it. Didn’t Pittsfield have a team in 1960 or early 60s that “made some noise” on the national scene.

    As for Silver Lake I have to agree that its better than it was (planet’s point) but not as good as it should be. Get rid of cap and take out the toxins.

    Don’t know Ms MaGuire but I wish her well.

    • levitan
      June 17, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

      That would require draining the lake and excavating all soil and wetlands in a two mile radius, hundred feet deep.

      • levitan
        June 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

        Additionally, any conservation attempt is an instruction in how easy it is to keep something clean, but how insidiously impossible to actually remove contamination.

    • chuck garivaltis
      June 17, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      Jamie, You are remembering the American Legion team with Mark Belanger, future major leaguer, playing shortstop. This team won the eastern seaboard championship and played in the American Legion World Series in Hastings, Neb. They did well. Won 3 games before being eliminated. Red Pleu was coach, Ray Haughey was mayor who traveled to Hastings to support the team, and Roger O’Gara was on location to report and write daily stories about the team. I think WBRK was on location, too for daily timely radio results. On return home the team was surprised with a fire engine parade down North Street and greeted by thousands of cheering fans in Park Square.

      • Silence Dogood
        June 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

        the golden glove with the lead bat

    • Silence Dogood
      June 17, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

      the toxins will slowly move to the river

  23. Silence Dogood
    June 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    Fats Domino got his thrill on blueberry hill but doyle sealed our fate on hill 78