For The Record – Episode 11

Kameron Spaulding and I of the The Berkshire Record interview a special guest: blogger and educator Dan Valenti. A Pittsfield native, Dan now lives in Stockbridge and is outspoken on a number of issues, including Pittsfield city politics and school construction projects such as the proposed $115-million new Taconic High School in Pittsfield, the failed $51 million project for the Berkshire Hills Regional School District and a proposed $7.7 million repair for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District’s Mount Everett building.

But the bulk of our discussion focuses on OPEB, those expensive retirement benefits mandated for state and municipal employees by the state of Massachusetts itself. We have a big story on OPEB and its effect on South County towns this week in The Record. Most town and cities in the state have huge unfunded OPEB liabilities, eating up an increasing portion of municipal budgets and, in some cases, threatening the funding of other town services.

Check out Dan’s lively blog at PlanetValenti.com. And follow him on Twitter @planetvalenti. Dan just joined Twitter, so give him a nudge to start tweeting. He will, no doubt, be great at it once he gets going.

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For The Record – Episode 10

Kameron Spaulding and I talk about this week’s top stories in The Berkshire Record, including the controversial Elm Court development project in Lenox and Stockbridge, and the latest on the confusion surrounding the Mount Everett Regional School repair project in Sheffield. Also on the docket is the clear-cutting saga on Long Pond in Great Barrington and how public officials in that town are getting around state ethics laws.

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A Troubling Trend: Connecticut Is Losing People

More of my recent columns for CT News Junkie:

For The Record – Episode 9

Kameron Spaulding and I talk about this week’s top stories in The Berkshire Record, including pricey repairs to Mount Everett Regional School in Sheffield, where price seems to climb by the week. Also on the agenda is the status of the Elm Court development project, which is mostly in Stockbridge. Our story this week focuses on the developers’ dealings with Lenox, a town that will need to issue permits but that also stands to benefit a lot less from the project than Stockbridge.

In addition, we have stories on the drop in population of young people — not only in Berkshire County but regionwide. And there are stories on the battle to demolish Great Barrington’s tumbledown Ely Block, a generous gift from Dollar General to the Southern Berkshire schools and the big winners in Great Barrington’s CPA cash sweepstakes.

Plenty of fresh copies of The Record on the stands at the Big Y. I know. I checked.

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For The Record – Year In Review 2014

Kameron Spaulding and I have a bull session about this year’s top stories in The Berkshire Record. There is so much to talk about that we ran a few minutes over our half hour spot.

There is a historic bank robbery, a big school reconstruction proposition that failed, a river that will be disrupted by a huge dredging project and much, much more.

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For The Record – Episode 7

Kameron Spaulding and I talk about this week’s top stories in The Berkshire Record, including as much as $3.4 million in repairs needed at Monument Mountain Regional High School, former Lee police chief Joe Buffis refusing a plea bargain with federal prosecutors and a pair of public figures in Egremont duking it out verbally at a recent Select Board meeting.

Also on the agenda is one woman’s story in Lee about the devastating effects of drunk driving on her and her family and a new mobile app offer by the Lenox Chamber of Commerce.

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For The Record – Episode 6

Kameron Spaulding and I talk about this week’s top stories in The Berkshire Record, including the millions the town of Great Barrington loses in tax revenue from land owned by many nonprofit and governmental entities, environmental activists who want to see gas pipeline company Kinder Morgan expelled from the Berkshire Chamber groups and the huge environmental liability any future buyer of the abandoned Housatonic School will face.

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For The Record – Episode 5

Kameron Spaulding and I talk about this week’s top stories in The Berkshire Record, including an investigation into missing funds from the Lenox PTA, the town of Sheffield opening a probe of allegations of bullying in the Bushnell-Sage Library and how the Main Street reconstruction project in Great Barrington is winding down for the winter.

Also on the agenda is the possible sale of the abandoned Housatonic School, how the district agreement could be altered between the three towns in the BHRSD and the Connecticut DOT’s official position on the restoration of passenger rail to the Berkshires.

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Dan Malloy: The Porcupine We Know

More of my recent columns for CT News Junkie:

For The Record – Episode 4

Kameron Spaulding and I talk about this week’s top stories in The Berkshire Record, including the district agreement and what’s next after the rejection of the $51 million renovation project for Monument Mountain Regional High School. Also on the agenda is the arrest on vandalism charges of Bart Elsbach, the former chair of the Sheffield Zoning Board of Appeals and the developer of the Great Barrington Fairgrounds.

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