For The Record – Episode 14

Kameron Spaulding and I talk about this week’s top stories in The Berkshire Record, including the grim proposed Berkshire Hills Regional School District budget, signs of optimism in the tiny but embattled Monterey police department and the recently announced return of the Great Barrington Farmers Market to downtown from the fairgrounds.

Also on the agenda is an abandoned solar project in Lee and the ongoing saga of the Elm Court project in Lenox and Stockbridge.

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P.S. The video was mislabeled during upload to Vimeo. Despite what it says on the thumbnails, this is indeed episode 14!

Selectman Blechman’s Journalism Class

Of course, it is standard journalistic practice to confront public officials with rumors and ask them to confirm or deny. You would think Blechman, who brags about being a graduate of the Columbia J School “with honors,” would know that.

For The Record – Episode 13

Kameron Spaulding and I have a freewheeling discussion about this week’s top stories in The Berkshire Record, including a controversial petition presented to the embattled Berkshire Hills Regional School District, a major road salt shortage affecting Berkshire County, the continuing troubles of the Monterey Police Department and a rally for passenger rail service in Connecticut that could have major implications for Berkshire County residents and visitors.

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For The Record – Episode 12

Kameron Spaulding and I talk about this week’s top stories in The Berkshire Record, including the blizzard that never was (#Smowmageddon2015), big tensions in the tiny Monterey police department and an initiative in Connecticut that could have implications for the return of passenger rail from NYC to the Berkshires.

Also on the agenda is the ongoing clear-cutting saga on Long Pond in Great Barrington and the reluctance of towns to sign on to the Wired West broadband initiative.

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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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