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Members of the Pittsfield Police Department will work overtime this week to quell concerns over a group of BB gun-carrying young people.
City leaders and countywide law enforcement officials also pledged support to that effort last week after the rash of youth violence sparked widespread worry.
We can expect word this week from national accreditors regarding the fate of
Berkshire Community College’s two-year nursing program. Earlier this month, the college decided not to enroll new students in the program as it works to address problems cited by national and state regulators, which launched separate reviews of the program last year.
The national board, ACEN, could decide to deny the program's accreditation outright, to extend its conditional status for another year or upgrade its status to full accreditation if it finds no further issues.
On the election front, the field of mayoral candidates has grown to five after Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo announced her bid to unseat Mayor Linda Tyer last week. Also in the running are retired Pittsfield police officer Karen Kalinowsky, Rusty Anchor owner Scott Graves and wastewater management advocate Craig Gaetani.
The Ward 6 race is also heating up — Dina Guiel Lampiasi, chief of operations for the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, took out papers last week — after sitting Councilor John Krol announced his plans to step down. Former City Councilor Joseph C. Nichols is positioning himself for a run in the ward, as well as Gaetani and Ed Carmel, chairman of the Homeless Prevention Committee.
Mazzeo’s mayoral bid also clears the way for new blood in the council’s at large race. So far, incumbent councilors Peter Marchetti, Earl Persip and Pete White are running against Gaetani and Alex Blumin for four at large seats.
And the School Committee race is off to a slow start. So far, incumbents Josh Cutler, Daniel Elias and William Cameron are the only candidates to emerge in a race for six available seats.
ShotSpotter, school needs and marijuana moneys
This week the City Council trains a spotlight on ShotSpotter, the acoustic surveillance technology that detects gunshots and alerts police officers to their precise location.
The tech was first installed about two years ago and costs about $200,000 a year, which has so far been subsidized with gifts to the city from entities like Berkshire Health Systems. Now, Ward 6 Councilor John Krol is calling on the city to review the equipment’s job performance to-date.
The City Council's Committee on Public Health and Safety, which meets at 7 p.m. Monday, will hear a presentation from Police Chief Michael Wynn in response to Krol’s petition.
The city’s School Building Needs Commission will reconvene Monday to consider the state of the city’s school buildings. Commissioners will review tasks to be wrapped up at the new Taconic High School, as well as take a look at what’s next for the district’s aging structures.
Superintendent Jason McCandless has said that among the current considerations is downsizing the district from 12 schools to 10 or 11.
The City Council’s Finance Committee will review third quarter financials during its meeting on Tuesday. New revenues from the city’s cannabis retailers is sure to come up, given the city recently got its first check — the city earned $10,532 in marijuana taxes in January alone.
A clean heads up
A new post-overdose program could be coming into town, as County Ambulance is poised to make its pitch to the Board of Health this week. Leaders at the organization hope to launch a new program in which they follow up within 24 hours of an overdose to help patients connect with services.
They’re looking for backing from the board as they pursue an application with the state.
Downtown Pittsfield Inc. will throw its 21st annual spring cleanup from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday. Scores of volunteers representing city businesses and organizations will descend on downtown, competing against each other to see who can achieve the highest clean.
What’s up in Pittsfield? Tell me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 413-496-6296. Follow me on Twitter @amandadrane.