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October 2018

Berkshire DA handling of sexual assault evidence under fire

by Eoin Higgins, special to the Greylock Glass

CONTENT ADVISORY: The materials contained in the ancillary documents contain subject matter describing sexually traumatic experiences that some readers may find disturbing

NOTE: This story has new developments. View the updates here.

The Berkshire County District Attorney race is seeing the convergence of #MeToo, the midterms, and criminal justice reform become a major campaign issue in the final days of the campaign as the DA’s handling of sexual assault at a prestigious local college is raising questions in the community.

(from left to right) Former Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless and incumbent candidate for District Attorney Paul Caccaviello; photo courtesy mass.gov, background image by Jason Velázquez
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Life and Death in a Backyard

The greens have been washed, carrots pulled and leeks chopped and frozen. Nothing sets me in motion faster than a hard freeze warning. My small garden is now devoid of living things aboveground, and the earthworms who have multiplied and prospered belowground are heading south and into the composting ditches I have dug in circles around the crabapple tree. I grew an amazing amount of food in a tiny space this year, and I am expanding for next.

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Catharsis #1: Beatriz Buarque on Bolsonaro victory

by Eoin Higgins, special to the Greylock Glass

In this launch episode of our newest podcast, Catharsis, Eoin Higgins hears from Brazilian journalist Beatriz Buarque about Jair Bolsonaro’s once-unthinkable victory in Brazil’s runoff election on Sunday, October 28. Editor Jason Velázquez joins the conversation and welcomes Eoin to the Greylock Glass.

President Elect Jair Bolsonaro; photo by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ Agencia Brasil; [CC BY 2.0]; via Wikimedia Commons
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TLC #68: 2020 Regional Transportation Plan

Hey, Greylock Nation, today is Sunday, October 28, 2018 and you’re listening to TLC episode #68. I’m your host, Jason Velázquez, and, as always, thanks so much for tuning in.

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is soliciting public comment on the 2020 Regional Transportation Plan until November 1; photo courtesy BRPC.
The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is soliciting public comment on the 2020 Regional Transportation Plan until November 1; photo courtesy BRPC.
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Plenty #14: Farming While Black

Good day to you, dear sustainable food enthusiasts! I am your host, Jason Velázquez, and I thank you for tuning in to Episode #14 of Plenty. On this week’s show, we hear from Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land.

Every year, Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York trains over 100 predominantly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people to take leadership as farmers and food justice organizers in their communities.
Every year, Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York trains over 100 predominantly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people to take leadership as farmers and food justice organizers in their communities.
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Play Ball!

About a year ago I bought myself a new flat screen tv to replace the old one. It was a treat for my birthday, which comes at the end of baseball season, beginning of football season. I hadn’t been watching or listening to much television for quite awhile. Mostly PBS and NPR and Spotify apps, and fast, young, athletic men in tight uniforms.

A cozy New England Patriots fleece throw—essential gear for Pats games in this weather; photo by Sheila Velazquez
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TLC #67: A hot property, office of the Northern Berkshire Register of Deeds surveyed by two candidates

Hey, Greylock Nation, today is Tuesday, October 23, and you’re listening to TLC episode #67. I’m your host, Jason Velázquez, and, as always, thanks so much for tuning in. On this week’s show, we explore the topic of the Registry of Deeds.

Deborah Moran, right, and Maria Ziemba, both staff members at the Northern Berkshire Registry of Deeds, vie for the top spot of Register Nov. 6; photos courtesy the candidates.

Unless you’re a real estate agent or a tax assessor, this government office is often overlooked until two neighbors have a property line dispute. And, although much of the focus on the elections next month centers around more high profile local or Congressional seats, the top position of Register of the Deeds is up for grabs every six years. Here in Greylock Nation, Berkshire County is divided up into North, Middle, and South Registries, each with their own staffs and head Registers.

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White House response to murder of Khashoggi threatens First Amendment

Editorial, by Jason Velázquez

Our nation’s president has put the First Amendment on the block. And, at a mere $110 billion worth of arms deals, we’re talking fire-sale pricing.

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi in March, 2018; photo courtesy Project on Middle East Democracy; [CC BY 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi in March, 2018; photo courtesy the Project on Middle East Democracy; [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You have already heard, in gruesome detail, how a permanent American resident and journalist for the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi, was allegedly lured to the Saudi consulate in Turkey, abducted, interrogated, and likely tortured, murdered, and hacked into pieces small enough to be smuggled out of the embassy in satchels by 15 assassins. The whereabouts of his remains are still unknown.

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Knight Endorses Caccaviello

Judith Knight announces her endorsement for former Democratic candidate for District Attorney Paul Caccaviello.
Judith Knight announced her endorsement for former Democratic, turned independent, candidate for District Attorney Paul Caccaviello on the steps of the Berkshire County Court House October 16; photo courtesy Josh Landes via Twitter—@JoshLandesWAMC. courtesy Twitter:

Judith Knight endorsed Paul Caccaviello’s write in campaign for Berkshire County District Attorney on Tuesday. WAMC’s Josh Landes broke the story on Twitter.

Judith Knight announces her endorsement for former Democratic candidate for District Attorney Paul Caccaviello.
Judith Knight announced her endorsement for former Democratic, turned independent, candidate for District Attorney Paul Caccaviello on the steps of the Berkshire County Court House October 16; photo courtesy Josh Landes, Berkshire Bureau Chief for WAMC Radio, via Twitter — @JoshLandesWAMC.

Knight, who ran against incumbent DA Caccaviello and Andrea Harrington in the Democratic primary — Harrington won — said she would be taking a position as the overseer, and thus far sole member, of a newly formed citizen’s advisory board to the DA. 

Tuesday’s announcement — the full video is below via 95.9 — came with sharp criticism of Harrington by Knight, who referred to the Democratic nominee as vindictive and corrupt.

Video courtesy Live 95.9 WBEC FM, via YouTube.com

It’s the latest in a string of dramatic political moments in the campaign, which began when former DA David Capeless orchestrated a handover of the office to Caccaviello, Capeless’s preferred successor. Capeless worked with Governor Charlie Baker to ensure the power transfer went over smoothly, but in a stunning turn of events Harrington edged out Caccaviello on September 4 in the primary (Knight was a distant third). Caccaviello’s subsequent decision to run a write in campaign has earned him both criticism and support in the community.

Three weeks to go… 

Eoin Higgins
Eoin Higgins

Eoin Higgins is a writer and historian from western Massachusetts.

More of our coverage of the race for Berkshire County District Attorney:

Berkshire DA handling of sexual assault evidence under fire

DA response to controversy over 2016 sexual assault case raises more questions

Letter: Experience building relationships key reason to vote Harrington for DA

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The Greylock Glass Welcomes Eoin Higgins.

Hello everyone, my name is Eoin Higgins. I’m a writer and historian based in the Berkshires whose work regularly appears in outlets across the country. 

I’m excited about taking this step forward for local journalism in our region!

Eoin Higgins
Eoin Higgins

Eoin Higgins is a writer and historian from western Massachusetts.

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After the Asters

“Coyotes Running,” photo by ForestWander; [CC BY-SA 3.0 us], via Wikimedia Commons

The last aster had bloomed. Light came slanting in, low and uncertain and at angles that illuminated patches that had lain in shadow since the vernal equinox. Other spaces would be sun-starved until Gaia herself, impatient with astronomy, cast her radiant heat from within, disrobing of her maiden’s gowns, disavowing a cycle of chastity.

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Fishing Fish Pond


Fishing at fishpond.

It’s a perfect day for fishing. The kids are back in school, and there will likely be only a few people at Fish Pond/Windsor Lake–retirees like me, or one or two who work the night shift. The garden yielded some sacrificial worms last evening for the one pole. The other is rigged with Rainbow PowerBait, that sticky dough trout love, at least the trout at Fish Pond.

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