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OBIT A DEAD DEAL AT $$-GRUBBING ‘BORING BROADSHEET’ … BYE, BYE BAGELS … A FOOLISH $600K SHOT IN THE DARK … plus … NOT-FOR-PROFIT? PUT ‘EM ON THE TAX ROLLS

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

NOTE: GLAD TO BE BACK! WE HAVE COMPLETED OUR MAINTENANCE OF THE SITE AND ARE NOW FULLY BACK IN BUSINESS. THE PLANET APPRECIATES ALL WHO INQUIRED. NOW IT’S ONWARD AND UPWARD, AS EVER UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED!

(THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION DEC. 16-18‚ DEC. 23-25, 2016) — It used to be The Boring Broadsheet published obituaries free of charge as a vital community service. The funeral director would call the newsroom, where a reporter or a rewrite person would take the information and compose the obit. Many a good and great reporter started out on obits.

Today, with ad revenues down and circulation plummeting, The BB now has to scrap for every filthy cent, even if it means stealing the pennies from a dead man’s eyes. It is unconscionable that a newspaper claiming to provide added value to its readers should charge them by the column inch for death notices.

In case you haven’t died lately, the obits run into the hundreds of dollars. A standard-length write up will set the bereaved back $600. That fee only covers publishing. The actual writing is left to others, usually the family or the funeral home. Ironically, obits — along with coupons, comics, and Dear Abby — are about the only reasons people read or buy the paper.

Ripping off readers with a predictable, dull, and unrelieved product is one thing, but to carry the inferiority over to robbing the grave is another.

Bagels Too Leaving Downtown, Too

It is another blow for downtown Pittsfield that Bagels Too, long a fixture at 166 North Street, will be closing. Owner Susan Gordon made the announcement Thursday, saying she will close the iconic shop “in early 2017” after being unable to reach agreement on a new lease.

Chalk another one up to the city of Pittsfield’s prohibitive taxes. At nearly $40 per thousand, landlords have two choices: They can either eat the higher costs or pass them on to tenants. Either way, the choice ensures more closings of the Bagels kind.

Gordon says she will attempt to sell the business. If she can’t find a buyer, she says she will auction off the store’s equipment.

Downtown will miss Gordon, who has been on North Street for 40 years. From 1977 to 1996, she owned Your Kitchen, a housewares store at 170 North. In 1987, she opened Bagels Too. For 28 years, THE PLANET had our offices a couple doors down from Bagels Too. We and our employees enjoyed many a meal and drink there. Gordon’s activism and involvement in business and in the community have been exemplary. This city would be better off with more of that kind of passion. We wish her well.

Bang Bang

As you may have heard between upchucks, our Right Honorable Good Friends on the Pittsfield City Council did it again. This time, they blindly agreed to rent unproven technology designed to record and transmit to police real-time incidents of gunfire. Cost, a mere $600,000.

Half the money will be picked up by Berkshire Health Systems, a bag of shells for the local healthcare leviathan aimed at buying more political cover for its multi-multi-million-dollar monopoly over health care in the city and county. As for the other half? Mayor Linda Tyer says that while she will scour nationwide for a grant, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski could be picking up the tab.

Y’all know what that means, Little Guys. They will be coming after another $300-Large.

All of which leads us to a riddle: Whose buried in grant’s tomb? Answer: The city of Pittsfield.

Not for Profits Must be Audited

Speaking of not-for-profit operations, fathom a guess at how much property the city has on the books that will not pay one farthing in taxes?

Answer: a rounded $704,000,000.

That’s not a typo. That’s the figure taken directly from the city’s own accounting, dug up by Supercitizen Terry Kinnas. At the business rate of nearly $40/thousand, the tax-free status amounts to well north of $28 million in taxes not collected. Meanwhile, taxpaying businesses and citizens are getting clobbered.

It’s time to review tax-exempt status for every business, agency, and organization who claims that sainted privilege. Putting more of these corporate moochers on the tax rolls would do citizens a world of good.

Before we go, THE PLANET thanks Mayor Tyer and Roberta McCulloch-Dews for being on the telly with us Thursday night. The show can be seen again Friday at 9 a.m., 4 p.m., and 9 p.m. or anytime at the PC-TV website. With that, we leave you to your devices and to The Comment Line. Have a great weekend, everybody! Merry Christmas to all!

———————————————————————————————————–

“For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”H. L. Mencken

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views expressed in the comment section or opinions published within the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not those of PLANET VALENTI or endorsed in any way by PLANET VALENTI; this website reserves the right to remove any comment that violates its Rules of Conduct, and it is not liable for the consequences of any posted comment as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and PLANET VALENTI’s terms of service.

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Richard Backer
Richard Backer
4 years ago

Finally someone has figured out one of the major financial problems non profits not contributing their share of taxes congrats now maybe you can get the city council to actually address the issue

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
4 years ago

comment 1

heh heh
heh heh
4 years ago

Does the Berkshire Eagle have an explanation for what seems to be an exorbitant charge for obituaries? Seems like they are really taking advantage of families who are grieving. If this is their business plan why ever would I want to subscribe to their paper?

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  heh heh
4 years ago

The greedy Left Winged turds socked it to me when I had to come up with funeral expenses out of pocket to bury my Mother.

And yes they will charge you by the number of letters and photos.

Main problem is there is no alternative if you live in Berkshire county.

The owners/administrators can rot in hell for all I care.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Mad Trapper
4 years ago

Why would you expect this for free?

Ham Anex
Ham Anex
Reply to  Shakes His Head
4 years ago

It’s news and it sells papers

heh heh
heh heh
4 years ago

From a moral perspective it is pretty low. But we knew that because of their being embedded with the special interests politicians in town. These people are not your friends so why would you support their business?

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

Horrible MA Attorney General Maura Healey promising to fight Trump every step of the way and she and her fellow progressive Dems are pushing Charlie Baker to renounce Trump and his cabinet picks. Healey, whose advice to women who don’t want to share their bathrooms with men who feel like women on any given day was to “hold it”. Yes, this lovely lady wants to run again for Attorney General thinking she is a rising Democratic star, which frighteningly in this state she probably has become.

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

Donald Trump is supposedly having trouble getting sour grapes Hollywood entertainment to play at his inauguration. Bruce Springsteen who in the 70’s and 80’s made his fortune singing about the working man in America now shuns the people who voted for Trump now that he is in tight with the progressive Democrats who care nothing about rural and struggling middle class America. Trump says he will have lots of the people who elected him at his inauguration. Good for him. The Hollywood and progressive elites can sip their lattes in Manhattan and the west coast while the working people of this country celebrate their victory of common sense over progressive lunacy.

Hillary won the popular vote only because large progressive states like California and the heavily populated progressive northeast gave her the edge. Getting rid of the electoral college which many progressive now want to try to do, would take away a voice from the lesser populated areas of the country and progressives know this, but are trying to fool people.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

Trump will have his billionaire cabinet members and his other billionaire friends. He don’t need no stinking regular people. He needs to drain the swamp of regular people and he will.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  heh heh
4 years ago

It’s the progressive Dems who don’t need no stinking regular working people. The working people won against the billionaires on November 8th. The progressives spent billions trying to win the election for Hillary only to be shot down by the poorest people in the country. It’s the billionaires on the progressive side who are the big losers.

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

The billionaires will never be the big losers, be assured. Don’t know who the losers will be but it won’t be the rich.

Linda
Linda
4 years ago

Dan glad to see The Planet up and running again! Merry Christmas. As to the issues I agree it is reprehensible for the Eagle to change so much or at all for obits. BTW thats when I cancelled my subscrip. I get me news from iBerkshries and The Planet.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

I watched the Mayor speak about spending on parking meters and shotspotter and I will say this she is never cutting taxes because she just loves spending money.Linda has an allowance and is going to spend it.
As I have informed this board many times Crosby school should be shut down.And the adults that are in charge will not put a plan together a plan because Linda’s on a shopping spree.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

I watched that also. She said taxes are a way of life and the look on her face pretty much said “tough shit people”. So same old political hack methodology ripping off the less fortunate.

Tricksie
Tricksie
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

TSC – LT actually was on Krol and said that the spotshotter technology is a deterrent to crime because criminals become aware of the technology will be less likely to fire a gun…that statement tells me volumes regarding her intellect and awareness of the real world – I guarantee the 3 mile radius we are paying for will include all gated communities in West Pitty !!!
Merry Christmas nameless bloggers – bring on ’17, gonna be a fun one !!

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

I have heard some Harley guys laughing about the fact that their bikes will set off the waste of money shotspotter. I’m looking forward to that. Then add the fireworks and our PD will look like keystone cops.

Ham Anex
Ham Anex
4 years ago

Who needs black top? In Pittsfield we pave with good intentions.

h
h
4 years ago

Pittsfield will be needing an Obit pretty soon.

Ham Anex
Ham Anex
Reply to  h
4 years ago

Yeah, but who’s gonna pay for it?

Bill Q
Bill Q
4 years ago

Evertime I enter a North St.. Establishment there is always a fresh scent of cigarette smoke

Tequila Mockingbird
Tequila Mockingbird
Reply to  Bill Q
4 years ago

Pretty disgusting

Spagirlfrommass
Spagirlfrommass
4 years ago

Merry Christmas Friends!

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  Spagirlfrommass
4 years ago

Merry Christmas peeps. Enjoy this one cuz unless you are a friend of Trumps the next one might be a tad less cheerful

May Hemm
May Hemm
4 years ago

Merry Christmas to ALl and a $pexial Merry Christmas to the Gated Ommunities.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  May Hemm
4 years ago

AHHHH ROGER that MH and Merry Christmas to the new Beacon chairs. May they bring comfort and joy to all the asses that perch on and fart into them.

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  heh heh
4 years ago

Pete White will pass the first gas and announce it on facebook

Miss Vito
Miss Vito
4 years ago

Right on Heh, Merry Christmas to everyone and let’s give Covanta a big round of applause as the taxpayer bought them a new Boiler while taxes were raised to the hilt, but what is a half million amongst firiends. Special shout out to the Bored of Health by not wanting into issue a cig license to a business that is willing to foot the cost of a dump cleaning on their new property at no expense to the city.

H
H
4 years ago

Just one question about spotty?. If the gadget determines there is No shots fired and through some miracle there actually was a shot fired, do the cops respond either way,also, will they continue to go to the fireworks calls.Are there any other sounds similar to a shot that will make it diffcultto determine 100 percent.

Trumped Up
Trumped Up
4 years ago

Only one Man can tell us about this…Super Citizen.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Crosby must close….Mzz yon and Taylor don’t have a clue.

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

Merry Christmas to everyone!!! Check out the story in the BB several days ago in which Williamstown is worried about pot clinics and pot stores spoiling the image of the town. I happen to agree and think these types of shops are seedy. I can’t imagine a store selling pot candy on Spring Street in Wiliamstown.

Local Yokel
Local Yokel
4 years ago

When pot comes to Williamstown,Williams College will turn into Kent State..

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  Local Yokel
4 years ago

Er, there is no pot in Williamstown? What a bunch of good boys and girls up there.

Local Yokel
Local Yokel
Reply to  heh heh
4 years ago

Wouldn’t it be more prevelant with less risk than before heh, just sayin.

H
H
4 years ago

The poor guy over ar the Tahitti apartment fire died, sorry to hear this.

Knock Knock
Knock Knock
4 years ago

Wasn’t he the gentleman that was threatened during a fight at the restaurant!? I believe he was quoted as saying someone threatened to kill him, read it in the Eagle…Pittsfield version of the National Enquierer.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Knock Knock
4 years ago

Very suspicious that he is first attacked at the Tahiti Restaurant and then later dies in a fire within a three week time frame. Anyone would say that is too much of a coincidence.

Bill Q
Bill Q
4 years ago

Did any of the incidents prevent the poor man from losing his life, or was it inevitable, it does give pause for concern.
What exactly is the main purpose of the shots poster, seems like the mechanism should be fool proof before purchasing.

chuck garivaltis
chuck garivaltis
4 years ago

Nice story today in the Eagle about an Indiana high school that won their state championship in 1954. A movie ,”Hoosiers,” perpetuates their fame. Here’s one you may not know. The Adams High School basketball team of 1945 went one better by winning the Mass. championship and came within seconds of winning the New England Championship.This team was coached by Art Fox, Sr., a great and legendary coach who prepared many athletes for college and professional baseball.

The “45 team won Mass. championship be beating mighty Sommerville High in the Boston Garden. There was a New England tournament at the time and Adams won 2 games against other state champs before falling by a point in the championship game to always powerful Hillhouse High, New Haven, Ct.

It’s impossible to capture in print the excitement generated by this team. All Berkshire County rooted for their success. It is now a team forgotten, all first team players are gone. Only old timers remember them.

It is fresh in my memory. Every time I read about the Milan, Indiana team or hear about movie, Hoosiers, I think of that 1945 Adams team that surpassed accomplishment of Milan and wish name of that movie was “The Hurricanes”. They were that good.

May Hemm
May Hemm
4 years ago

Great Story Chuck and Movie. Chuck, any idea who Adams had on that team?

chuck garivaltis
chuck garivaltis
Reply to  May Hemm
4 years ago

May, I remember Dale Long. Many others had long Polish names that are as difficult to spell as long Greek names. I have asked Art Fox, Jr., yes, son of the coach, and Adams sports star, Bob Armata, for help.

Dilly Dally
Dilly Dally
4 years ago

You’re almost right on the New England game Chuck, it was 31- 29 Hillies.

mi
mi
4 years ago

if you guy’s are thinking sports, there is a great sports movie on channel 627-IFC it’s called Rudy, on e of the best. 3-530

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
4 years ago

Wish BMC would have spent there $300,000 on a study to lower medical costs to patients. Instead they help pay for a wasteful shot spotter machine that will end up costing the taxpayers. Thanks BMC.

VillageKnight
VillageKnight
Reply to  joetaxpayer
4 years ago

I do agree about BMC, however we need people to come and speak their mind on City Council Meetings, not just on the web only.
Mr. G should be given Man of the Year 2016 Award for real fight
for Taxpayers money at City Council Meetings.

chuck garivaltis
chuck garivaltis
4 years ago

May, I heard from Art Fox, Jr. He is retired and lives in Florida. Art was an outstanding athlete at Adams and Colgate U. and knew the Adams guys. The great team was composed of Joe Mikutowicz, Bob Charbonneau, Ed Olzowy, Dale Long, and the sixth man was Jim Urquhart.

Dilly, Thanks for correction. Let me if I am right on this: last two minutes Hillhouse has ball and goes into a weave. Then one of their little guards gets ball and incredibly goes into a long and fantastic dribble for about a minute until time runs out and they win game and New England championship.

MI, I saw Rudy. Terrific football movie. In line with what we are talking about here. The underdog is no pushover.

chuck garivaltis
chuck garivaltis
Reply to  chuck garivaltis
4 years ago

May,
Sorry, left one player out. His name is Casimir Salisz.

Trumped Up
Trumped Up
4 years ago

Ah yes, the Great Cazzie Salisz. Used to know a fellow at G E last name was.Mikutowicz.

chuck garivaltis
chuck garivaltis
Reply to  Trumped Up
4 years ago

I believe Miktowicz is the one. From Adams to Holy Cross College
then a career at GE.

Roman Knows
Roman Knows
Reply to  Trumped Up
4 years ago

You are right that was him!

Linda
Linda
4 years ago

I have enjoyed this conversation started by Chuck on that great basketball team. My father used to talk about it.

chuck garivaltis
chuck garivaltis
4 years ago

Linda, To this day I meet with guys who talk about that team. Art Fox, Jr. today sent me names of Adams players. Here’s another interesting tidbit about this team. Some will remember. The home court gym they played on in Adams was a 2 x 4 band box. Yet they played and won at the Boston Garden and other professional courts at the New England Tournament.