The Greeting

Monday, Jan. 14, 2019

Good morning, Berkshire County. This edition of TheBeat is packed with hard-hitting news, so I hope you're ready to read.

Leading the list is a story that not only affects us all, but is also affected by us: recycling. Why are costs going up? Where is all this recycled material going? Read here to find out.

And more tales of neglect at Sweet Brook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Williamstown, as additional former clients step forward to share their horror stories about the elder care and rehab facility.

Patrick Muraca, the Berkshire businessman who took clients for hundreds of thousands of dollars for business ventures that never materialized, will spend more than two years behind bars in a federal correctional facility.

The Rev. Richard J. Ahern, who died in 2001, is not listed as an abusive priest by the Springfield diocese, despite multiple claims that he sexually abused young people. He served in Pittsfield for about six years.

But, wait! There's more:

GROWING POT PRESENCE: Marijuana bylaws and store openings abound in different parts of the county. 

AIRBNB BRINGS BEAUCOUP BUCKS: How much did Airbnb rake in for the county? A whole lot.

MUSEUM OF DOG PLAYS DEAD, FOR REAL: After the abrupt exit of the dog friendly museum in North Adams, former workers say owner David York always worked on a new project before finishing the last; exaggerated his successes; and was constantly worried that city officials or his own employees conspired against him. 

When public officials aren't held to account, it can be like a kid with their parents' credit card. Thankfully, we're here to make sure that doesn't happen. Don't starve the watchdog. Subscribe today.

Very best,

Noah Hoffenberg,
Eagle online editor

The News

Why recycling costs are piling up

Two years after China began constricting the types of recyclable materials it will import from the U.S., the effects of that lost market are taking hold: While recycling was once a promising revenue … more

'Nobody ever showed up'

Mark Johnson says he endured his first night at Sweet Brook Rehabilitation & Nursing Center struggling to sleep beneath a urine-soaked blanket no one would change. When Edward Gibeau was admitted … more

Look Ahead, Pittsfield: Recreational marijuana makes landfall in Pittsfield

Our city in the woods will get a glimmer this week of what the green wave will look like. The city's first recreational cannabis sales will commence 11 a.m. Tuesday at Temescal Wellness, 10 Callahan … more

Retail marijuana marquis issue on West Stockbridge special town meeting warrant

WEST STOCKBRIDGE — Will the marijuana industry be welcomed into town Monday night?Voters at a special town meeting will decide whether to approve a marijuana overlay district that provides for … more

Uncertainty still looms on future of Stockbridge Fire Department

STOCKBRIDGE — With Fire Chief Ernest "Chuckie" Cardillo remaining on partial paid administrative leave, the future leadership of the town's fire department remains a "front and center issue, a burning … more

Accused priest not on the list

PITTSFIELD — The Rev. Richard J. Ahern isn't on the Springfield diocese's list of clergy who sexually abused young people. But the priest, who served in Pittsfield, died in 2001 with a stack of … more

Questions follow abrupt exit of North Adams dog museum founder

NORTH ADAMS — David York has a bone to pick with the city of North Adams.York says his efforts to launch the Museum of Dog and other ventures were obstructed by the city — and people … more

Muraca sentenced to 27 months

NEW YORK — A federal judge this week sentenced former Berkshire entrepreneur Patrick Muraca, who was convicted this summer of defrauding investors, to more than two years in prison. In August, … more

Berkshire Arc's brain injury work sparks new opportunities

LEE — Deb Lindsey can't wait to rise from her wheelchair and ride a Harley-Davidson again.A stroke victim seven years ago, the 52-year-old self-described motorcycle mama is learning to walk … more

Musical interlude Berkshire Music School open house draws interest of young and old

PITTSFIELD — Abby and Autumn Welker, 7-year-old twins, peeked inside a piano at the Berkshire Music School on Saturday, trying to figure out how it worked. Then they took turns playing the … more

The Weather


Click here for today's obituaries.

The Business

Airbnb hosts in the Berkshires earned $9.8 million from 61,000 short-term rental guests in 2018

Airbnb has reported a banner year in Massachusetts, with 1.2 million guests using its services in 2018, up from 893,000 in 2017. Statewide, hosts earned over $256 million, the company announced … more

New Chili's to open in two weeks

PITTSFIELD — The new Chili's Grill & Bar in the Berkshire Crossing shopping center on Hubbard Avenue will open on Jan. 21, according to 1Berkshire, citing information that it received from the … more

Berkshire Gas goes outside firm for new president

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Gas Co. has gone outside the firm to appoint a  25-year veteran of the utility industry as the 11th president in the firm's 166-year history.Franklyn D. Reynolds, … more

Federal oversight of nursing homes rolled back by Trump administration

State advocates are concerned that reduced federal regulation of nursing homes will remove incentives for facilities, including a poorly rated Williamstown nursing home, to improve the care patients … more

The View


Our Opinion: End of Life Options Act merits a vote in favor

As the legislative session neared its end on Beacon Hill last spring, a bill that would have legalized medical aid in dying was sent to a committee for study, which is where bills go to die as time … more

Ruth Bass | In very little time, 2019's resolutions will vanish in the ether

RICHMOND — It's that time of year again, the January thing when we resolutely resolve and, within days or weeks or months, discover that our good intentions have silently dissolved. Still, it's … more

Letter: Are some above law in Great Barrington?

To the editor:The Jan. 6 Eagle story "Frustration as Great Barrington post office locks doors early to keep homeless men out" reads as if the Great Barrington police, Select Board and the courts are … more

The Landscape

Berkshires theater's best storytellers in 2018

Stories don't tell themselves, especially in theater where storytelling is a collaboration among writers, composers, lyricists, performers, directors and designers. So, here's a shout-out to the … more

'Delirious Matter': Sculpture and surroundings meet

WILLIAMSTOWN — They weren't made for here.You're walking in the Library Quad on Williams College's campus, and you have to remind yourself that the two monumental Diana Al-Hadid sculptures … more

The Plan

Berkshire Calendar: Check out what's happening today, tomorrow and this weekend!


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The Snap

Paul Gordon and his daughter Margot, 8, dance at the Father Daughter Dance at Bloom Meadows in Hancock to benefit the Hancock Fire Department on Saturday.

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