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BLACK FRIDAY GIFTS FOR COUNCILORS, MAYOR, & CUPPLA OTHERs … plus … A TRIBUTE TO JIM’s HOUSE OF SHOES

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION, NOV. 29-DEC. 1, 2019) — THE PLANET officially opens Black Friday with heavily discounted gifts for city “leaders” (a word that now requires quotation marks thanks to idiot pols like the emotional Pee Pee Pete Marchetti, who with some of his colleagues was in fine form at this past Tuesday’s council meeting). We offer, then, gifts of songs and sponsors.

  • Helen Moon, Ward 1 — “How High the Moon,” Les Paul and Mary Ford. Corporate sponsor: Spacely Space Sprockets.
  • Kevin Morandi, Ward 2 — “The Barber of Seville,” Gioachino Rossini. Sponsor: Gillette Razor Co.
  • Nick Caccamo, Ward 3 — A tune reflecting his gravitas and work ethic: “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” Pattie Page. Sponsor: La-Z-Boy.
  • Chris Connell, Ward 4 — “Kung Fu Fighting.” This guy packs a punch. Sponsor: Gold’s Gym.
  • Donna Todd Rivers, Ward 5 — “Take This Job and Shove It,” Johnny Paycheck. Sponsor: Ex-Lax.
  • John Krol, Ward 6 — “I’m Outta Here,” Johnny Lee Hooker. Sponsor: Airstream Trailers.
  • Tony Simonelli, Ward 7 — “Bye, Bye Love,” Everly Brothers. Sponsor: Rawlings Sporting Goods.
  • Melissa Mazzeo, at-large — “Don’t Look Back,” Boston. Sponsor: Gorilla Glue.
  • Pete White, at-large — Theme from “The Invisible Man,” Franz Waxman. Sponsor: Caspar the Friendly Ghost.
  • Peter Marchetti, at large — “She’s Too Fat for Me,” Frankie Yankovic. Sponsor, the Goodyear Blimp.
  • Earl Persip, at-large — “Moon River,” as in ” … wider than a mile,” Andy Williams. Sponsor: Dumpster(R) Rentals.
  • Linda Tyer, mayor — “Round and Round,” Rolling Stones. Sponsor: Huggies.
  • Mike Wynn, police chief — “Theme song from Car 54, Where Are You?” John Strauss.  Sponsor: Brinks Security.
  • Jason JIV McCandless, school superintendent — “School’s Out,” Alice Cooper. Sponsor: Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.
  • Kufflinks Kerwood, finance director — “They’re Coming to Take Me Away,” Napoleon XIV. Sponsor: Depends Diapers.
  • Kristen Behnke — finance director, schools — “Thinking ‘Bout the Way the You Lied,” Dave Clark Five. Sponsor: Leona Helmsley.

May our Right Honorable Good Friends enjoy these bequeathals with the spirt in which they were given.

And now to an “In Memoriam” for an anchor business in downtown Pittsfield that gave citizens its heart and soul. We speak of Jim’s House of Shoes. Back in the day, THE PLANET practically lived in Thom McCann Hush Puppy desert boots with that translucent sole that put a foam-cloud under both feet. North Street will now be missing that type of modest store, where your name came first and great value came last to round up deals that were always fair, personable, and satisfying.

Why did Jim’s leave? We went to the source, THE PLANET‘s good friend, Jim Shulman.

Here’s what he told THE PLANET:

Jim’s House of Shoes is bittersweet for me as I grew up with the store in Morningside, and the store and community became my second home. There really is no “behind the scenes” story beyond retirement. It is smarter to go out of business than to try to sell it as a retail family business on North Street these days.

Owner Marc Abecassis, who was married to my late cousin Joyce Levine, turned 70 this summer. He has two sons, one in Boston and one in Nashville. Both boys, like nephews to us, are very successful in other careers and  have no interest in a downtown aging Pittsfield shoe store. In the fifties and sixties with over 100 retail businesses including a dozen shoe vendors and the City population approximating 60,000, North Street was the best place for family businesses. Other than five and tens and a few chains, almost every business was owned by a family. Now there are only a handful of those kind of retail businesses around. It amazed me that Marc would stay open so many years.

My Dad, Irving Shulman, named the store for his infant (me) 73 years ago when he opened it in the mid-40s. In 1952 his brother in law, Murray Levine, joined him in a lifelong business partnership along with their wives. When the partners retired, the two couples each had a daughter and son-in-law working in the business with two stores on North St. They consolidated into one store and opened another one in the Berkshire Mall.  My cousin Joyce and husband Marc operated North Street, while my sister, Marge, and her ex ran the mall. When they decided to close the mall store, my sis sold her share of the business to pursue her career as a teacher.  Sadly 11 years ago our cousin Joyce passed away from leukemia. It was very hard on Marc and their sons, but being a close-knit family there has been a lot of support. Of the four original partners, my aunt, Cecily Levine who is 93, is the only one still living. She and my sister, Marge, share a home.

THE PLANET thanks our good friend.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

———————————————————————————————————

“An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes better soup” — H. L. Mencken.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views and opinions expressed in the comment section or in the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not necessarily endorsed by the operators of this website. PLANET VALENTI assumes no responsibility for such views and opinions, and it reserves the right to remove or edit any comment, including but not limited to those that violate the website’s Rules of Conduct and its editorial policies. PLANET VALENTI shall not be held responsible for the consequences that may result from any posted comment or outside opinion or commentary as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and this website’s terms of service. All users of this website — including readers, commentators, contributors, or anyone else making use of its information, hereby agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice. When PLANET VALENTI ends with the words “The Usual Disclaimer,” that phrase shall be understood to refer to the full text of this disclaimer.

 

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Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Downtown Pittsfield is NOT a nice place anymore. It may have been in the 1950’s – 1960’s, but that is a long time ago now. During the day, North Street is called “Social Services Alley”. After hours, North Street is downright dangerous! If someone offered my one million U.S. Dollars to walk up and down North Street at night, I would decline. But if I really wanted the million, I would poop my pant many times over in fear of being mugged, assaulted, propositioned, and the like. I cannot believe that Jimmy Ruberto and now the lovely Linda Tyer gave millions of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski’s hard-earned dollars to downtown arts, culture, and mostly failed business ventures. No living wage jobs were ever created by Ruberto’s “renaissance”. In closing, most people avoid downtown Pittsfield.

flogging molly
flogging molly
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

You are obsessed with poop so cut the crap. You haven’t been in Pittsfield for years so stop with the drama Melle. North St is about as scary as you visiting Hooters. Go take your meds.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  flogging molly
6 months ago

I am not worthy. I’m not worthy. I follow Pittsfield politics from my perch in New Hampshire, where there are no Hooters restaurants for me to scare the would be beautiful youthful waitresses. However, I know well enough that North Street is, indeed, very scary for good old Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. I guess I will follow your advice and take my meds then head to bed for the night.

canem bonum
canem bonum
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Read today’s editorial in the Eagle. I work on North Street and the editorial’s statement “North Street has bern coming back with an eclectic mix of stores” makes me question if the Eagle even knows North Street anymore. Ask Steve Valenti, who while walking on North Street had to endure a street regular’s profane rantings.

juicylucy
juicylucy
Reply to  canem bonum
6 months ago

Freddy Rutberg lives on the Main Street of STOCKBRIDGE, just around the corner from Dan Valenti, who lives on the corner of Prospect Hill.

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

I would be a millionaire.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Off topic. I read that Trump is fundraising for Republican Party U.S. Senators’ campaign coffers prior to their role in the impeachment process next year of 2020. I wonder if this is business as usual, or is Trump trying to buy their votes to acquit him of the impeachment charges, or possibly all of the above?

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Dems don’t have anything impeachable on Trump.

Their 2 year dog and pony circus has produced nothing but: leads to the Clinton Crime Cartel , Obamas Posse, and Joey Biden and his corrupt Son.

Trump 2020, make Liberals Cry Again!

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  Mad Trapper
6 months ago

Its illegal to withhold my tax dollars to extort a investigation into his rival by asking a foriegn country..Does anybody on this site believe it was the Eukraine that was meddling for Trump in 2016

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  The school committee
6 months ago

Who on the planet believes the Eukraine meddled in the 2016?

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  The school committee
6 months ago

What the hell is the Eukraine?

CC The Maze Sun
CC The Maze Sun
6 months ago

“I’ve got a whole lot of things to tell Her When I get home“ “But still they lead me back to the long winding road You left me standing here, a long long time ago“ “ You and I have memories Longer than the road that stretches out ahead Two of us wearing raincoats Standing solo In the SUN You and me chasing paper Getting nowhere On our way back home We’re on our way home We’re on our way home We’re going home [We’re going home, you better believe it. Goodbye.]” “Once there was a way to get back Homeward, Once there was a way to get back HOME!” “Smiles await you when you rise” “Get Back (1), Get Back (2), Get Back (3) to where you once belonged Get Back (1), Get Back (2), Get Back (3) to where you once belonged”… Read more »

CC The Maze Sun
CC The Maze Sun
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

Home is where the heart is.

Shakes
Shakes
6 months ago

Back to body shaming for the planet. That Stockbridge class oozing out.

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
6 months ago

What a great story. Happy retirement.
I do think for day to day activities parking does matter because it can make it harder for employees. That could be wrong. I love thinking of Bob Dylan playing a concert at Wahconah Park. Thanks for writing.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Kermit Frog
6 months ago

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, at Mama’s Dream Away Lodge. Not a show, a visit.

Back when Mama and Terry ran the place………. 8 course Italian dinners, bring in your wild game deer/fish Terry would cook it up for you…….. Take off your muddy boots!!!

CC The Maze Sun
CC The Maze Sun
Reply to  Mad Trapper
6 months ago

MT I used to live right near Dream Away Lodge. Went there every weekend. Back when Mama was alive.
Had a few meals with her and her daughters.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  CC The Maze Sun
6 months ago

We covered Oct MT state forest, hunting, fishing, dirt bikes….. I know the whole acrerage from Housitonic River, to Cripple Creek Store (out of business?) on Rt 8, to Rt 90, to Woody’s Roadhouse.

The OLD Dream Away is a lost gem. Mama/Terry cooking up special hot fried potatoes…….

The new owners are offensive to me. Food sucks, and entertainment is not like Terry taking up an instrument, then the crowd/musicians joining in……… Arlo, used to make a cameo, once in a while…

At least it is not “developed” , yet…..

CC The Maze Sun
CC The Maze Sun
Reply to  Mad Trapper
6 months ago

I used to have the 45 record that Mama made with Arlo. She even signed it for me. One of those things that got lost over the years that you never remember what happened to. I have good memories of Dream Away. It was fun.

Even been up there in the day time and sit around her pond. She had giant goldfish in it at the time.

“I remember [Dream Away Lodge]
and a strange, strange pond
You see the sides were like glass
In the thick of a forest without a road
And if any man’s hand ever made that land
Then I think it would’ve showed
Seems like a dream
They got me hypnotized”
– Fleewood Mac (Hypnotized)

Thomas More
Thomas More
6 months ago

au revoir Jim’s. In the block between Columbus and Summer that once hosted Berk. Hills National Shoe, Thom McCann Comet’s Frankie Martin’s, Engstrom’s and a couple of others is now reduced to Ad-Lib and the House of India with a Nail Shop and tailor sandwiched between. Candle Lanes, once the Jeff’s is also gone.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Thomas More
6 months ago

Democrats running/ruining Pittsfield.

Turning recession into depression

Carr 51
Carr 51
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

Carr hardware will close all north street retail operations in the new year.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Carr 51
6 months ago

That will be another nail in North Streets coffin.

Too bad they could could not support that as a retail outlet, along with their new store in Lenox.

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Carr 51
6 months ago

Carr, where did you get that info or is just bs?

NostrilDamus
NostrilDamus
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

The furniture store will be gone in 5 years as well as Steve Valenti and Hotel on North, I predict

Robem
Robem
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

House of India is moving up the road into the Central Block building. I saw the sign in the window.
Before the election you mentioned you were on MAC Finance Little League team. I was also on that team. I remember coach Bridges, but also had another coach my last year.

Robem
Robem
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

I remember Bob Bridges playing when I did. Didn’t he also play 1st base? If he left the same time as you, then we were on the team together. I played mostly outfield, center or right.

CC The Maze Sun
CC The Maze Sun
6 months ago

Dan, just curious as to why comments are deleted here? Non-offensive comments. Just wondering why?

CC The Maze Sun
CC The Maze Sun
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

The one I was referring to is there now. My apologies. You can redact this one. Thanks Dan.

UAlbany
UAlbany
6 months ago

“you can never go home”, has never been more true than in Pittsfield. it was a great place, is a great place just a different place. let’s embrace what we have and stop searching for things we cannot attain. we have great schools, parks, lakes, world class cultural destinations etc. too many decision based upon relationships and not the needs of the community. let’s go to a city manager and board of selectman. Pittsfield is a dying business and needs a new leadership style and a little objectivity.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  UAlbany
6 months ago

Schools are a major disaster. McJackass is a farce

Parks are drug/gang infested shooting galleries, and dumpsters.

Silver lake….. Hi Gerry Doyle

Culture? Is that code, for don’t walk the streets at night?

City/town mis-managers, are just a cushy job that hires 4-6 underlings that do the work, the mis-manager, gets paid for. Figure a million a year for the cabal………that don’t do squat!!!

P.S. Towns got Mis-Managers, because the selectmen were too lazy too do their own work. Take as an example, Federspiel in Lenox, most useless POS ever paid by Lenox…… the new one, Ketchup, is much the same, teats on a bull, 57 flavors of Heinzs……turd

juicylucy
juicylucy
Reply to  Mad Trapper
6 months ago

Gerry Doyle, THE BAR STOOL MAYOR of Pittsfield and Boston during the G.E.Consent Decree was kicked out of St. Joseph’s High School only to become a product of Taconic High School and graduated because his history teacher felt sorry for him and “passed the kid” . The CORRUPT politics of Pittsfield.

Andre Benveradimotappino
Andre Benveradimotappino
6 months ago

Let’s give thanks to all that helped to prepare meals for those unable to,thank you. I didn’t use the fuel but who knows someday I might.

Queen Bee
Queen Bee
6 months ago

DV funny nd toucvhing column.. For the gifts, you forgot Lady Boots Yon, song “Go Ugly, Early” Merle Hagard, sponsor Janitor in a drum. Also great tribute to Jim’s.I was one of Jim Schulmans carvers on the carousel. What a sweet gently good man.

juicylucy
juicylucy
6 months ago

City Hall locked up tight. I went to pay my water rates and the CABAL has the doors locked.

Fine Ance
Fine Ance
Reply to  juicylucy
6 months ago

Water bill day? They’re closed. Monday will be a snowstorm.

The school committee
The school committee
6 months ago

Troy Northampton Holyoke Schenectady are dumps and Pittsfield has the most attractive downtown of all of them. Pittsfield was a dump in the 60s and 70s with GEs 12 smokes stack going full steam ahead droping poison during the night when nobodies lookin…..Giving Hankcock Shaker Village 500 k for no reason tells you what is wrong in pittsfield.

Della Gearres
Della Gearres
Reply to  The school committee
6 months ago

They’re called shitholes,I believe.. Hess Forest for instance is a shithole.

For Ugoots
For Ugoots
Reply to  Della Gearres
6 months ago

Home invasion? Not good

BabyBoomer
BabyBoomer
Reply to  Della Gearres
6 months ago

Back in town to see the folks. Left after school in late 70’s. This city’s a shit hole all right . It’s on life support. So glad I left and never looked back. Feel bad for you Kaspanskis. Get out if you’re still young.

Mr. X
Mr. X
6 months ago

51—Carr Hardware is not leaving North St. Bart assured me this the other day.

Morris T
Morris T
Reply to  Mr. X
6 months ago

Carr’s how it should be done. Wasn’t there an emmzlement there a while ago? I think it was covered up?

The school committee
The school committee
6 months ago

Pittsfields number one problem is financial leadership.Hiring 35 new employees was a disaster that you will never be told about at the schools.The cost of keeping school students whos sole purpose is a school disruption in the building with non disruptive kids is in the millions taking money from non disruptive kids who need therapy. Eberwien and Curtis put this in place 10 years ago.Those two administrators were willing to sacrifice all other students to keep the absentee numbers higher.I believe a audit of the school department books will absolutely shock people when its done.It will not be done because nobody wants to expose how money is spent…..Maybe White Caccamo Moon join Morandi in a attempt to show Pittsfield residents how they take their taxes seriously. Most taxpayers give the equivalent payments in taxes as that of a luxery car or suv every year…..Tyer… Read more »

Morris T
Morris T
Reply to  The school committee
6 months ago

Well that’s the thing. The Councilors think they work for the five thousand the Mayor received for votes,they don’t,they work for all the taxpayers regardless of who is Mayor. Why have a City Council if they vote the Mayor initiatives 100 percent? Well, I can answer that,the voters elected the Mayor and most of the taxpayer stayed home. In protest presumably…..

Benigno Numine
Benigno Numine
6 months ago

I’m giving a case of Chap Stick to Caccamo, Persip, White, Marchetti, Moon, Cohen and Lampasi, The only reason they are there is to kiss Tyer’s ass.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Pittsfield politics will tell Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski to assume the position on Tuesday evening when they predictably raise the Kapanski family’s municipal taxes once again. The Mayor and City Council only have $10 million of the Kapanski family’s taxpayer dollars in reserves so they need to ask the Kapanski family for more of their hard earned money.

Dee Anna Gerare
Dee Anna Gerare
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Where’s the Salt?

Ozias Vincelette
Ozias Vincelette
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Hi Jon
You’re not making the case that LT is the best Pittsfield mayor EVER!!!!’ The mayor and the CC should agree to transfer $875,000 from free cash to help lower the tax rate.
Without further compromise, taxpayers will be in a worse position (mainly nothing gets transferred).

Mr. Fritz
Mr. Fritz
Reply to  Ozias Vincelette
6 months ago

I disagree. They should transfer 1mil from free cash to ease the tax burden.

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

Is it true that John Barrett is being called in ride herd on the Pittsfield snow plowing operation Monday morn? Or will Pittsfield have a bank clerk or school crossing guard running snow removal operations? Make sure to keep your scanner on for what may be the initial clusterfruk of the Pittsfield road circus entertainment venue which is now unintentionally becoming part of the cities cultural arts programming.

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

Highway department is being used by Tyer to keep taxes low by underfunding them by at least 1.5 million.This is the only fund the state allows the city to balance at a later date with free cash.This is the reason Mayor Tyer wont use free cash to keep taxes low.All the CC know it from White to Marchetti Moon Caccamo……..Tyer is betting on the weather and she is off to her worst start in 3 years.She is nervous she might need more than the 2.3 last year.This is not highways fault that she and Marchetti White and Kroll gamble millions on the weather…..We need a spending report 2 times a month

Robem
Robem
Reply to  The school committee
6 months ago

Correct me if I am wrong. They play games with public safety to make the numbers look good.

The school committee
The school committee
6 months ago

Tyer needs to have the school department audited and get it back on the straight and narrow.They buy next years supply with this years budget which always allows for some leeway the following year to transfer that money around.The school committee thinks it has OKd a budget for one year and dont realize they are spending into the future but always keeping that supply budget the same.Maybe Yon could go down that path .The school committee pretends to know the spending habits of Behnke and Curtis but they dont and Cameron has a good idea what they do the in the business office and it not right.

Pat
Pat
6 months ago

Climate protesters (cultists) protest Black Friday shopping. Some were putting shopping baskets in front of check out registers so shoppers couldn’t pay for their items. They are saying textile production, but also driving to and from stores is creating climate change. Yet these are the same people who order everything online so that trucks are continually making individual deliveries to their homes for each item. Which method of shopping is creating more traffic? Such hypocrisy.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/11/29/black-friday-climate-strikes-protest-consumerism/4330799002/

Shakes
Shakes
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Easy boomer, nobody is going to stop you from buying cheap Chinese goods.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Shakes
6 months ago

I can’t afford to shop in the upscale shops like some in Berkshire County. So called cheap goods have worked just fine for people for quite some time until the far left wants everyone to shop for their version of what is best and being so bold as to use baskets to prevent people from checking out is just plain rude.

Magic
Magic
6 months ago

I’m on Hancock Rd. Sanding truck is out. Is it better to have sand down before snow sticks?

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Re: Open letter to blogger Dan Valenti

Why is Pittsfield politics going to raise municipal taxes on this Tuesday, 12/3/2019, evening when they already have nearly $10 million of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski’s hard earned tax dollars in reserves? In addition, Pittsfield will be receiving millions of additional state dollars for its public school district in 2020. Raising municipal taxes on all of the fixed and low income residents in Pittsfield doesn’t make any financial sense to me!

Gobsig
Gobsig
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

The Gobsigs get their power by having a huge slush fund.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

December 1, 2019 Hello Patrick Fennell, I appreciate that you respond to some of my emails about politics. Massachusetts’ many Registrar of Deeds and Sheriffs all make well over 6-figure taxpayer-funded incomes, plus other luxurious taxpayer-funded benefits such as great healthcare insurance, plus lucrative pensions when they retire. The only catch is that one has to be politically-connected to work for the state government. I concur with your statement that the bigger a disaster a city or town is means the more taxpayer money they receive. I have long called Pittsfield politics a practice in “Perverse Incentives”. In brief, Pittsfield would rather have federal and state aid for social services programs and under-performing public schools than a middle class population with living wage jobs. Over 3 decades ago, Pittsfield decided that teen pregnancies and welfare caseloads doubling the statewide average in Pittsfield brought in… Read more »

Saul Tedawhey
Saul Tedawhey
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Sanding or breakdown of equipment is an account where you can go over as much as you want. What would be the benefit of NOT knowing how much salt they really used?Think about it Dummies? Where’s the Salt?

Auto Phil
Auto Phil
6 months ago

Congratulations to the City Council on sticking to their guns and insisting on $1 million in free cash to offset the tax rate. It appears that Mayor Tyer finally got the message that it’s not her way or the highway.

She is putting forth an order for the appropriation of an “amount not to exceed $1 million dollars” from free cash to be submitted at Tuesday’s meeting.

Brayden Antinonolisiuo
Brayden Antinonolisiuo
Reply to  Auto Phil
6 months ago

She pretty badly was going with that all along.

Momassomis Carmengea
Momassomis Carmengea
Reply to  Auto Phil
6 months ago

Next year make it two million