The Greeting

Monday, Jan. 7, 2019

Good morning, Berkshirites. Hold on to your winter hats, because it's a newsy day here at Eagle HQ in downtown Pittsfield.

Startling news out of Williamstown, where Sweet Brook Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for grievous violations; the care facility now sits at the bottom 1 percent of nursing homes in Massachusetts.

From our Fin, Feather, Fur and Fang Desk, we have a follow-up report on mountain lions, oft-spotted but rarely verified as living in our neck of the woods. State officials and experts agree that the mountain lion is not breeding in Massachusetts and has been deemed officially extinct in the Northeast; at the same time, three sightings between 1997 and 2016 have been confirmed by scat, DNA or tracks, according to a nonprofit group that studies the movements of the big cats.

The daughter of a man suspected of setting a series of arson fires in Pittsfield is concerned for his well being; he's on the cusp of being returned to the justice system here by the state of Vermont, where he's been held for months.

The ukulele, everyone's favorite plucky little instrument, was front and center in an annual celebration Sunday in Williamstown.

In Great Barrington, a mother whose son says he was sexually abused at a former Sheffield school put up a billboard seeking to reach others who suffered in the same way. The Sheffield Police Department is aware of the case but hasn't pressed charges because of a lack of evidence and the passage of time.

The Berkshire Eagle brings you these other fine stories:

LETTER LOCK OUT: Great Barrington residents used to be able to stop in at the post office to mail letters after hours; after complaints about homeless people in the lobby, patrons are now finding the doors locked at night. 

BABIES ON THE JOB: Six female employees have participated in Greylock Federal Credit Union's "Baby on Board" program. It allows Greylock's working mothers to nurse, play and bond with their babies on the job after returning from maternity leave until their youngsters are 6 months old.

A SHOWCASE FOR THE BODY, SPIRIT AND MIND: The recent Body, Mind & Soul Expo at the Berkshire Plaza Hotel featured more than 40 vendors, demos and info about health and wellness.

BAKER IN THE COUNTY: The governor paid a visit to the area Friday, touting employment as his No. 1 priority for the region.

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

Correction: Friday's story on Quincy Davis should have stated that he plays for the Monument Mountain boys basketball team.

The News

'America's lion' needs wild space, less hunting, for a Northeast comeback

GREAT BARRINGTON — Keep wilderness intact and stop the killing of them in the West. Then, maybe mountain lions will make a real comeback here, according to one expert.Ecologist Susan Morse, who … more

Daughter of arson suspect concerned on eve of extradition

PITTSFIELD — For three and a half months, questions about the mental state of a Pittsfield arson suspect held up his return to Massachusetts, forcing the governors of two states to get … more

Concern about care lingers after violations found at Williamstown nursing home

WILLIAMSTOWN — A year after inspectors found evidence of patient neglect, including medication errors and calls for help being routinely ignored, a Williamstown nursing home continues to … more

Frustration as Great Barrington post office locks doors early to keep homeless men out

GREAT BARRINGTON — For more than 20 years Cora Portnoff has been mailing letters in the post office lobby at night, on her way home from Pittsfield.But after trying the inside lobby doors on … more

In visit to Lee, Baker touts employment pipeline to Berkshires

LEE — One day after the inauguration for his second term, Gov. Charlie Baker already had decided what his administration's top priority would be for Berkshire County over the next four years. … more

Billboard directs question to students of Sheffield school

GREAT BARRINGTON — The mother of a man who believes he was sexually assaulted while a student at a Sheffield school wants to know if others were, too.So, she took out a billboard, alongside a … more

It's the small strings in life at 8th annual Berkshire County Uke Fest

WILLIAMSTOWN — Mary Bauman never gave much thought to taking up the ukulele, until Christmastime rolled around.Before wrapping as a gift one of the diminutive string instruments last month, she … more

The Weather

The Business

Credit union's 'Baby on Board' program strengthens bonds, nurtures employees

PITTSFIELD — Walter Maronde is an energetic, rambunctious youngster who always seems to be moving. Walter, just over the age of 2, likes to crawl, climb and jump. He playfully body-slams a … more

Berkshire Business: Firm converts inn into new office space

PITTSFIELD — A growing local investment group recently marked its 20th anniversary by purchasing an inn on South Street and converting it into office space.Balance Rock Investment Group is now … more

Community Television for the Southern Berkshires executive director announces retirement

LEE — Leo Mahoney experienced a career culture shock 16 years ago when he left a broadcasting corporate giant for a community access television station.On Jan. 4, 2003, the Lenox native … more

Well, well: Body, Mind & Soul Expo offers tools, tips for a healthier lifestyle

PITTSFIELD — Whether visitors were looking for tips on getting in shape, relieving stress, straightening their teeth or freezing away their fat, the Body, Mind & Soul Expo on Saturday had a … more

The View


Our Opinion: New Senate leader may shake up Beacon Hill

The state Senate, a generally progressive body that has found itself stymied in recent years by the combination of the moderate House and conservative governor, has had enough. That, at least, is the … more

Letter: Awaiting resolution of MoCA's paint-over

To the editor:Recently, this writer received an email from Joseph Thompson director of Mass MoCA, responding to my email concerning MoCA's illegal paint-over of the children's art work on the … more

The Score

Miller, Looman race to wins in second cross-country ski meet of season

WOODFORD, Vt. — The Mount Greylock girls may have helped to create a major rival. Meanwhile, the Greylock boys have their own monster in-house.Jakin Miller stormed back from a one-second defeat … more

Patella settling in with Vermont men's basketball team

ALBANY, N.Y. — Bailey Patella scored five points in Vermont's win Saturday night at the University at Albany. But it wasn't a shot that got him smiling. It was taking a charge."I had been out … more

The Landscape

A look back at fashion on the slopes

Looking fashionable on the slopes hasn't always been easy. At the beginning of the 20th century, ski wear was more function than fashion. Heavy wool garments — sweaters, trousers and jackets … more

Backcountry Film Festival captures the power of humans - and winter

WILLIAMSTOWN — Fat bikes swerve through snow mounds. A surfboard glides around ice chunks. Ice-climbing boots claw a frozen waterfall.On Friday, Jan. 11, the free Williamstown edition of the … more

The Plan

Berkshires calendar for Jan. 7 and beyond

Check out our calendar of events by clicking here.

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The Poll

The Snap

Amy Kucharik leads the intermediate workshop during the 8th Ukelele Festival and Workshops held at the Williams Inn on Sunday.

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Phone: (413) 447 - 7311
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