Holidays Are Dangerous Times Within Correctional Facilities

November 24th, 2014
The following is an updated version of the article “Holidays Are Dangerous Times Within Correctional Facilities” first published on Corrections in December 2011.

The world has changed drastically since I first wrote this article about the dangers associated with the “Holidays”. During my many years working in the criminal justice system, in both law enforcement and corrections, I have experienced first hand the additional “dangers and challenges” that arrive with the “Holidays”.

In today’s world, criminal justice personnel not only have the “Dangers and Challenges” that are normally associated with the “Holidays”, they now have to factor in the possibility of terrorist activities directed at them and their facilities.

It is my belief that criminal justice personnel should be prepared for the following:

Correctional Law Enforcement and Court facilities should be extra vigilant at the perimeters of their facilities.

  • Suspicious vehicles
  • Suspicious persons or groups of people
  • Anyone taking photographs of the perimeters
  • Any packages left near “official” vehicles, staff parking, perimeter walls, fences, and sally-ports should be treated with extreme caution
  • Video of the perimeter should be reviewed at least daily, with special attention to all of the above

Correctional facilities need to be extra cautious during visiting hours throughout the “Holiday Season”.

  • Packages left in visitors’ lockers
  • Close surveillance of visitors
  • Special attention to visitor vehicles
  • Special attention to visitor clothing (While bulky clothing will be the norm in some parts of the country/world during the winter months, special procedures should be put in place that will permit correctional personnel to check for weapons, explosives and/or other contraband.)
  • Visitors should be under constant surveillance and their demeanor should be assessed for the following:
    1. Are they overly nervous, sweating, tapping their feet, etc. (Outward physical signs of distress.)?
    2. Are they aggressive toward staff?
    3. Have they left anything behind?
  • Increase the random shake-downs
  • Insure that each shift is fully staffed
  • Be prepared for incidents, both inside and on the perimeter of the facilities
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of all Emergency/Contingency Plans
  • “BE PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTED”

Law Enforcement and Sheriff’s Patrol Units need to be extremely attentive to their surroundings by increasing their own “Situational Awareness”.

  • Be aware of where you are
  • Be aware of where your vehicle is
  • Be aware of your surroundings (indoor or outdoor) 360 degrees Up and Down
  • Be aware of where the civilians in the area are located
  • Be aware of where suspects are located and their stance(s)
  • Be aware of where the suspects’ hands are
  • Be prepared to react to the unexpected (Physical attack with non-traditional weapons such as hatchets, butcher knives, axes, explosions, sniper fire, etc.)
  • Be prepared to survive an ambush – Remember “YOU MUST GET OUT OF THE KILL ZONE”!!! CJ personnel can be ambushed either in their vehicles or outside of their vehicles.

During the holiday season the offender population becomes antsy, angry, sad, and remorseful along with every other emotion one can think of…. even though correctional facilities and staff go above and beyond to make the holiday season as pleasant as possible for the offenders. Life is much different today than in the old days, when at Christmas the doors of the correctional facilities were ‘opened’ and some offenders were paroled.

Being incarcerated during the holiday season is difficult for everyone:

  • The Staff
  • The Offenders (Most especially first timers)
  • The Offenders’ Immediate and Extended Families

While the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time as they are portrayed in movies and on television, the reality does not always mirror the fantasy. For some people, the holiday season is very difficult emotionally. This emotional turbulence affects not only offenders, but staff also. Too often we forget that staff are as vulnerable as offenders to the trials and tribulations of life.

Suggestions for staff members to help them get through the holidays:

  • Take control of situations – Don’t let situations take control of you.
  • Prioritize your life. What do you “HAVE” to do? Remember, work should take a high priority. If you go to work tired, with a hangover, or with non-work related things on your mind, you are risking your own well-being and that of your fellow employees and offenders.
  • NEVER GO TO WORK IF YOU HAVE BEEN DRINKING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES! (NOT EVEN ONE)
  • Let your family and friends know your work schedule and other time commitments, so that they will not pressure you into over-committing yourself.
  • TGet your rest!

Offender Issues

If you have worked corrections for any length of time, you know that the holiday season can be difficult. Offenders, who are normally compliant, become testy or even violent.

During the holiday season, security concerns become magnified because of the emotional behaviors of the offenders.

Security issues to be concerned about:

  • Be on the lookout for suicide. Review the signs and symptoms of suicide. Talk to the offenders under your supervision. If you suspect that an offender “MAY” be suicidal, immediately get some help. It is better to be cautious than have a suicide on your watch.
  • Be on the lookout for escape attempts. The holiday season triggers offenders to do senseless things, like trying to escape. “If I could have just spent Christmas Dinner with my kids.” (Offender caught during a Christmas morning escape attempt.)
  • Insure that you are not complacent. Fighting complacency during the holiday season is a constant issue. Everyone (Staff) is busy with their own lives and the holiday season for civilians is usually a pleasant time. It is easy for staff to be complacent and let security procedures slide.
  • Homemade Booze, Hooch, Pruno, etc., is always a problem in correctional facilities during the holiday season. Unfortunately, when Hooch is added to a correctional environment, normally docile offenders can become combative and/or suicidal. Administrators, Line Supervisors, and Staff should be conducting shake-downs in an effort to find the Hooch before it is consumed by the offenders.
  • Be alert during and after visitation periods. Insure that the officers who are supervising the visiting area report any/all of the following incidents to the living area officer:
    1. Suspicious activity
    2. Strange behavior demonstrated by visitors or offenders
    3. Any emotional outburst by either visitors or offenders (Crying, arguing, threatening behavior, etc.)

Summary

The “Holiday Season” presents some intensified security concerns in correctional facilities. I have tried to outline the issues that I have encountered during my years in the field.

I want to emphasize the point that you need to get sufficient rest during the holiday period. You should not go into work tired. Balancing life is especially difficult during the holiday season, but it is crucial that you try.

My experiences with security issues that have arisen during the holiday season have one thing in common – They were spontaneous. The 101st Airborne Division has the saying “Stay Alert – Stay Alive”!
Happy Holidays!

Security Alert: Using Infectious Disease (s) As Weapons!
By William Sturgeon
Published: 10/20/2014 corrections.com
Virus

Unless you have been living in the woods under a rock, you have heard about the Ebola outbreak and the first person in America to die from the virus in Texas. I decided to write this article because I am a big believer in the old adage – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I did not write this article to scare people; rather, I wrote it so that people will think about the possibility, and start to prepare and plan for it.

Since September 11, 2001, I have cautioned “JAILS” to be on the alert for people (being booked) who might have infectious or contagious diseases. Infectious and contagious diseases should be considered additional weapons in the terrorist arsenal.

When I work on emergency / contingency plans, the following quote from the 911Report resonates in my mind. “We were unprepared. We did not grasp the magnitude of a threat that had been gathering over a considerable period of time. As we detail in our report, this was a failure of policy, management, capability, and, above all, a failure of imagination.” [1] I am especially aware of this portion of the quote by Chairman Thomas Kean – “ above all, a failure of imagination.”

When your enemy does not fear dying or in some cases has a desire to die for their cause, anything is possible. Recruiting followers to be infected with the Ebola virus, or other contagious diseases, with the intention of infecting other people, is probable and, in my opinion, turning a disease into a weapon – “Bioterrorism”! Sheriff and jail administrators should use this time to insure that they and their facilities are prepared for this new type of terrorist threat.

Now is the time for jails to increase their intake and processing vigilance, to include but not be limited to the following:

  1. Keep strict adherence to following the “Universal Precautions”.
  2. Ask the detainees if they have been to any of the countries now experiencing the Ebola outbreak.
  3. Ask detainees if they have been sick recently and, if so, what type of illness did they experience? (Did they seek medical care?)
  4. Ask detainees if anyone that they have been in close contact with recently had been ill and, if so, what type of illness was it, and did they seek medical care?
  5. Ask the detainees if they have been in contact with any people who have been in countries experiencing the Ebola outbreak
  6. Take the temperature of all incoming detainees.
  7. Observe detainees for symptoms of Ebola.
  8. Insure that the booking area and holding area cells are kept clean and disinfected, at a minimum once a shift, if possible.

Symptoms of Ebola include

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days. [2]

It is believed that for people to become infected, they have to have direct contact with body fluids from a person who is “contagious”.  If terrorists were going to use Ebola as a weapon, they would certainly devise methods for engaging in direct contact, especially in a correctional setting. For example:

  1. Spitting in the eyes of correctional personnel.
  2. Entering into a physical confrontation with correctional personnel and biting them.
  3. Throwing urine or feces in the faces of correctional personnel.

(Years ago when HIV/Aids was rampant, these and other methods were used by inmates who were trying to infect correctional personnel.)

Correctional staff should adhere to strict “Universal Precautions” and wash their hands often during their shift. They should CHANGE THEIR PROTECTIVE GLOVES AFTER TOUCHING EACH DETAINEE. So often I have seen officers shake down detainees/inmates with the same pair of gloves, going from one inmate to another. Additionally, I have seen them wipe their eyes or foreheads. BE CAREFUL! (A doctor in Madrid says the Spanish nurse infected with Ebola remembers touching her face with her gloves after treating a dying priest.) [3]

I have believed, since the attacks on 911, that if terrorists wanted to use a biological attack to spread terror in the Unites States, they could and would use jails. My rationale for this is as follows. Before anyone could identify the initial source, hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, would have been exposed to the disease, and large numbers could be infected, thereby, possibly infecting other people with whom they came in contact. For example, think of how fast head lice and scabies spread through a jail because of the close contact among the detainees, as well as the poor personal hygiene of many of the detainees/inmates.

Scenario

Contagious person(s) are arrested and brought into the booking area on a busy Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. The person is held in jail until Monday, (depending on the jurisdiction) thereby exposing and potentially infecting everyone he/she comes in contact with during their stay – staff, other detainees, inmates, and perhaps some religious and/or volunteers.

On Monday, the contagious detainee(s) are loaded into a transportation van and moved to the courtroom (again depending upon the location). If it is a courtroom arraignment, even more people could be exposed. Whether, in a courtroom or through video arraignment, the contagious detainee(s) are either held or released. Regardless of the outcomes of the arraignment processes, the potential for a great number of people to be exposed has existed.

The cycle could look like this:
One contagious detainee + arresting officer(s) + booking staff (3 officers) + 10 detainees + transportation officers(s) + courtroom personnel (2 officers) + appointed attorney + remanded to jail or released. Now, several people have been exposed to the disease.

Some other conditions that should be taken into consideration when analyzing why jails may be a prime target for this type of “Bio-Terrorist” attack are that so many of the detainees/inmates:

  1. Are homeless, which can make it difficult to find them upon their release, in order to ascertain if they have been infected.
  2. Already have “compromised” immune systems.
  3. The symptoms of Ebola or other contagious diseases may be masked because of already preexisting medical conditions that detainees and inmates manifest.
  4. Have additional issues and unconventional lifestyles (Sharing of hypodermic needles, drinking from the same bottles, sexual activity, hygiene, etc.)

Lastly, most jails have quick turnover of detainees, which ensures the terrorists that there will be a constant opportunity for exposing the general populace. Jails are an integral part of the “Government”, and when the source gets traced back to jails, the people could start to lose faith in their government. So, the bad guys win on two levels:

  1. They manage to expose/infect a great many people to/with Ebola.
  2. They cause the general public to lose faith in their government.

In both cases they create “terror”.

Being Prepared for the Worst

Some suggestions for what should be part of the facility’s planning process:

Develop policies and procedures for the following concerns:

The securing of the facility at the first suspicion that a detainee(s) is exhibiting the symptoms of the disease.

  • No one comes in and no one leaves the facility; the building is secured.
  • Public safety and health agencies are notified “IMMEDIATELY”!
  • External law enforcement personnel establish a perimeter around the facility.
  • External law enforcement personnel identify a “Press Assembly” area and direct all press personnel to that area with instructions that they are “not to leave the Press Area”.
  • Follow any directive given to the facility by the local Health Department and/or CDC.
  • Shut off all detainee/inmate external telephones temporarily. (This is done so that external law enforcement will have an opportunity to establish an external perimeter. Once the external perimeter is established, then the detainee/inmate telephones can be turned on so that detainees/inmates can communicate with their families, etc.)
  • Ascertain all visitors, staff and/or volunteers who “may” have had any contact with the detainee/inmate and compile a list to be given to appropriate agencies.

Develop a “CLOSE” working relationship with the local Board of Health. (In my 40 plus years in the field of criminal justice, I have found that very often the correctional facilities are not on other agencies’ radar screens, so they have to make their presence known.)

There should be a procedure in place for correctional personnel to communicate with their families, etc.

There should be a plan to operate the facility with “ONLY” the personnel who are quarantined within the facility, until other arrangements can be made.

Identify the number of Hazmat suits and where the facility would get them. Total Hazmat precautions must be part of this plan. This means anything coming in and anything going out, to include trash.

Train and practice operating the facility wearing the Hazmat Suits.

REMEMBER, IF THIS IS IN FACT A TERRORIST PLANNED EXPOSURE, THE PLAN COULD ALSO INCLUDE ATTEMPTING TO DISRUPT THE ORDERLY OPERATIONS OF THE FACILITY – SO SECURITY PERSONNEL NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THAT EVENTUALITY.

Summary

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I decided to write it because I am a big believer in the old saying – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I did not write this article to scare people; rather, I wrote it so that criminal justice professionals will start planning and prepare for the possibility of either detainees or visitors seeking to infect people with Ebola or other infectious /contagious diseases simply to provoke terror, and to disrupt the orderly operations of jails throughout the country.

All of us live in a far different world since September 11, 2001, but as long as we are prepared for eventualities, we should be OK.

BREAK NEWS! A nurse who cared for the man who died from Ebola has proven positive for the virus, “In the first case of Ebola transmission in the United States, a Texas nurse who treated an Ebola-stricken Liberian man has tested positive for the deadly virus. The diagnosis was confirmed Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four days after the death of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas.” [4]

One last thought – if you think that this article may have caused some terrorist groups to consider using this tactic you are wrong, because in all probability they already have thought of it!

[1] 911 Report [2] http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/symptoms/ [3] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29539444 [4] http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/10/12/dallas-health-care-worker-who-treated-thomas-eric-duncan-has-tested-positive-for-ebola/?tid=pm_national_pop

Mt. Sturgeon is a decorated Vietnam veteran who served with the 101st Airborne Division.

WBEC Debate Moderator’s Plan to Block Discussion of Campaign Finance is ‘Unacceptable’, Shein says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WBEC Debate Moderator’s Plan to Block Discussion of Campaign Finance is ‘Unacceptable’, Shein says

Democrat calls on WBEC management to clarify that no subject is off-limits in a Congressional debate

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA – Democratic Congressional candidate Bill Shein (MA-1) issued the following statement regarding tomorrow night’s radio debate:

This morning, the moderator of tomorrow night’s WBEC First Congressional District radio debate, Larry Kratka, told the Berkshire Eagle that a candidate’s source of campaign contributions will be off-limits as a subject for discussion:

“If the discussion turns to topics such as a candidate’s sources of campaign contributions, Kratka said, ‘I’m going to stop it. That’s not what we’re here to do.’” (Berkshire Eagle, 8/29/12: http://tinyurl.com/d8xbrhd)

This is an outrageous and unprecedented ground rule in a debate among candidates for the United States Congress.

Some relevant facts:

Another candidate, Rep. Richard Neal, is spending substantial campaign funds on radio ads on WBEC and its affiliated stations across the Berkshires.

Over the last week, WBEC aired continuous on-air promotions for the debate across its various stations that said I was a Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Congress. This confuses Berkshire County voters into thinking they don’t have an opportunity to vote for me in the crucial Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 6., but instead can only vote for me in the general election in November. Because there are no other candidates on the ballot in November, the Sept. 6 primary will decide who will represent the new First District in Congress.

WBEC’s press release announcing the debate misidentified me as a member of the Green-Rainbow Party.

This week our campaign tried without success to get ad rates from WBEC for radio ads we are considering airing on its stations. Repeated phone calls have not been returned, and promises to forward rates via e-mail have not been met. While I’m not an expert on the economics of the radio business, I’m fairly certain that radio stations want paying advertisers.

It’s simply outrageous and unacceptable that WBEC – a recipient of significant advertising dollars from Rep. Neal – would make the source of a candidate’s campaign donations off-limits in Thursday’s debate. This is precisely the problem I’ve made central in this campaign: Corporate money and power is corrupting our democracy, and that includes its effect on the journalism we need for a healthy, robust discussion of how to fix what’s broken in America.

I look forward to WBEC management clarifying immediately that no subject in a discussion among candidates for high public office is off limits.

# # 30 # #

FALLEN HERO COMES HOME!

THIS “U” MUST KNOW!  Thank you iBERKSHIRES.COM for this important information.Residents Welcomed To Honor Fallen Soldier

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Residents are encouraged to line the streets to welcome Michael DeMarsico, who was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan, home.

The soldier’s family released on Friday the itinerary for the funeral.

On Wednesday, Aug. 29 at approximately 12:30 p.m. a motorcade carrying DeMarsico will arrive via Route 2 and the stop briefly at Veterans Memorial Park on its way to Flynn & Dagnoli Funeral Home.

All are encouraged to line the streets to welcome him home. Parking at the funeral home will not be available to anybody except family and the motorcade.

On Friday, Aug. 31 there will be calling hours at the West Main Street funeral home from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Sept. 1 the funeral service and celebration of his life will be held at the First Baptist Church on Main Street. The procession will go travel up West Main Street to the church and then from the church North on Eagle Street to Route 2, to Holden Street, to American Legion Drive, to Ashland Street and ending at Southview Cemetery.

There will be a reception immediately following the services at the St. Elizabeth’s Parish Center on St. Anthony Drive.

The city will be detouring traffic along the procession routes and there may be heavy congestion along the alternative routes.

BREAKING NEWS FROM BARRINGTON STAGE COMPANY!

I THOUGHT THAT U SHOULD KNOW!

Barrington Stage Company presents a staged reading of

“THE SUICIDE: A Musical Comedy”

Starring Christine Bokhour, Tom Hewitt, Jackie Hoffman, Michael Thomas Holmes,

James Ludwig, Max Perlman, Lyn Philistine, Zachary Prince and Gordon Stanley

Directed by John Rando

At BSC’s St. Germain Stage, August 26-27 at 7pm

(PITTSFIELD, MA) Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning theatre in downtown Pittsfield, MA, under the leadership of Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director, and Tristan Wilson, Managing Director, will present a staged reading of The Suicide: A Musical Comedy, Sunday, August 26 and Monday, August 27 at 7pm at the St. Germain Stage (formerly Stage 2) at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield.  Tickets are $15 (reserved seating).

Tony winner John Rando (BSC’s Guys and Dolls) directs The Suicide: A Musical Comedy with music by Simon Gray, lyrics by Raymond Bokhour, and book by David Bridel, adapted from a play by Nikolai Erdman.

The Suicide features Christine Bokhour (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) as Masha, Tom Hewitt (Jesus Christ, Superstar/Chicago) as Aristarch, Jackie Hoffman (The Addams Family/Hairspray) as Serafima, Michael Thomas Holmes (BSC’s Guys and  Dolls) as Semyon, James Ludwig (Spamalot) as Burkin/Dream Stalin, Max Perlman (Pugachov), Lyn Philistine (A Christmas Story, the Musical) as Cleopatra, Zachary Prince (On A Clear Day You Can See Forever) as Victor, and Gordon Stanley (BSC’s Guys and Dolls) as Fedya/Elpidi.  Fred Lassen (Broadway’s South Pacific and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) is music director.  Christopher Donovan is stage manager.

The Suicide is a wacky original musical comedy set in Stalin’s brutal Soviet Union. Semyon, an unemployed grumbler, becomes convinced that suicide is his ticket to fame and glory. Before long, friends and neighbors are plotting to exploit his impending death for fun and profit, and while they’re at it, topple an entire regime.

When Nikolai Erdman’s play premiered in 1928, Stalin hated it, banned it, and sent its author to a Siberian labor camp for twenty years.

David Bridel (Book) David is a playwright, director, choreographer, actor and educator. David’s work has been seen at the Mark Taper Forum, Ford Amphitheatre, Broad Stage, TEDxUSC and LA Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles; Shakespeare & Company in MA; the Roy Hart Theatre in Malerargues, France; in opera houses in Los Angeles, Paris, Vienna, Munich, Mexico City, Guanuajato and Santiago; on screen (PBS Great Performances and Dancing With The Stars); and at festivals and theatres in the USA, UK, Israel, China, Hong Kong and Brazil.

Simon Gray (Music) wrote music for Daisy in Disguise (Vital Theatre) and contributed original songs for Everything About A Famliy (Almost) (TADA!), Dick Whittington (Eye Theatre, Suffolk, UK), Peter Pan (Horsham Arts, UK), 2Gether (Six Figures’ Artists of Tomorrow), On War (Young Vic). As music director, he worked on the first UK productions of Bill Russell’s Pageant (West End, London), Michael John LaChiusa’s Lucky Nurse (Finborough), Adam Guettel’s Myths and Hymns (Edinburgh Fringe) and Bless The Bride directed by Martin Charnin (King’s Head). Piano/keyboards, UK: Hello Again (Bridewell), Jesus Christ Superstar (UK tour), Wonderful Town (Grange Park Opera). BMI Harrington Award-winner.

Raymond Bokhour (Lyrics) has appeared on Broadway as Mr. Cellophane in Chicago (Helen Hayes nom) and regionally as Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Studio, DC); Kemp in Vigil (Geva); and the title role in Rameau’s Nephew (Portland Stage). Also a composer with music recorded by the London Symphony and Warsaw Philharmonic orchestras. His plays Fly South and American Mouth received productions in New York, Boston and Edinburgh. Ray is a 2008 recipient of BMI’s Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement.

John Rando (Director) At BSC: Guys and Dolls. John is the Tony Award and Outer Critic’s Circle Award-winning director of Urinetown, The Musical. Other Broadway credits include: The Wedding Singer, A Thousand Clowns, and Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party. With City Center Encores!, he directed On the Town, Damn Yankees, Face the Music, Of Thee I Sing, Pajama Game, Do Re Mi, and Strike Up The Band. His many Off-Broadway credits include the 2009 Outer Critic’s Circle Award Best Musical: The Toxic Avenger. He has extensive regional credits including The Guardsman at The Berkshire Theatre Festival and A Flea in her Ear at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

The Musical Theatre Lab is sponsored in part by Elayne Bernstein and Sol Schwartz.

About Barrington Stage Company

Barrington Stage Company, a professional award-winning Equity regional theatre located in the heart of the Berkshires, in Pittsfield, MA, was co-founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. Barrington Stage’s mission is three-fold: to present top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways to bringing new audiences into the theatre—especially young people. Barrington Stage garnered national attention in 2004 when it workshopped, and premiered William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s musical hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which later transferred to Broadway where it won two Tony Awards and played more than 1,000 performances. In 2009/2010 Barrington Stage produced the world premiere of Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session, which later moved Off-Broadway and played 775 performances. Barrington Stage was voted “Best Live Theatre” by The Berkshire Eagle readers in 2011 and 2012 and was named “Best Theatre Company” in Metroland’s Best of the Capital Region 2009-2012.

The Cast of “The Black Suits” Today-11:00 AM -104.3 FM

The cast of The Black Suits a new musical that is sweeping the Berkshires – will be appearing today at 11:00 am on Discussions From The Berkshires – Hosted by Bill Sturgeon – on 104.3 FM. Please listen in it promises to be a great show.

20 Inmate Killed in Riot

Subject: Venezuela: More Than 20 Killed In Prison Clashes – Stratfor
Reply-To: Stratfor <noreply@stratfor.com>

Venezuela: More Than 20 Killed In Prison Clashes

August 21, 2012 | 0035 GMT

More than 20 people were killed and 40 more injured in clashes in the Yare I prison in northern Venezuela’s Miranda state, Xinhua reported Aug. 20, citing local media and Venezuelan Minister of Penitentiary Services, Iris Varela. The head of Venezuelan Prison Observatory, Humberto Prado, said 25 bodies were brought to the local morgue while 40 others were treated for injuries in local hospitals.



I THOUGHT THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW – AT THE COLONIAL THEATRE

Story Pirates Perform at The Colonial for Kids of All Ages

Pittsfield, MA – Story Pirates, a nationally respected education and media organization and creators of the pre-Broadway workshop, FOUND, perform a hilarious and kid friendly show at The Colonial Theatre on September 15, 2012 at 2pm.

Tickets are $15. Contact the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA by calling 413-997-4444 or the Stockbridge Campus Ticket Office at 83 East Main Street, by calling 413-298-5576. Tickets can also be bought online at www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. Ticket Offices are open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain. All plays, schedules, casting and prices are subject to change.

While many children’s theater troupes tell stories to kids, the Story Pirates believe that every child has a story to tell!  The process begins by collecting stories from local kids — whether it’s a world where cats can fly or a rock opera about fuzzy alien tickle monsters, the Pirates will turn any short story into a hilarious sketch comedy musical!  Described as “Monty Python meets Schoolhouse Rock,” this show is different every time, and includes a story that’s improvised onstage based on suggestions from the kids in the audience. Story Pirates is pitched perfectly to grown-ups and kids alike!

Story Pirates was founded in 2003 by a group of people seeking to bring quality education programs to under-resourced New York City public schools. The Pirates approach was to show kids everywhere that their ideas, their words, and their stories are important. They made kids’ own stories the basis for a big, loud, outrageous, musical sketch comedy show; because they believe kids’ imaginations are worth cultivating and ought to be celebrated.

Story Pirates now operates branches in both New York and Los Angeles, and serves to over two hundred and fifty schools and community-based organizations annually around the country.

“The Story Pirates teach kids a love of creative writing. It helps kids to see that their words and ideas are really important. I believe that what the Story Pirates are doing is helping America, nay, humanity – helping humanity itself. It’s crazy entertaining.” –Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

“Only a kid could write a story like ‘The Do-Do Bird and the Dead People’ – but only the Story Pirates could stage it, complete with puppets, ‘Thriller’-esque dancing zombies and funny lyrics that have children (and adults) begging for more…” – New York Post

For promotional images, please go to: http://gallery.berkshiretheatre.org/main.php?g2_itemId=7191

For more information about the performance, please visit our website atwww.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org

###

About Berkshire Theatre Group

The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires.  Having united in November of 2010 under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, these two institutions are providing the Berkshires and beyond with the finest in live theatre, music, dance and the visual arts on five stages in Stockbridge, MA, Pittsfield, MA and Lenox, MA. The Fitzpatrick Main Stage (408 seats), cataloged by the National Register of Historic Places, was originally designed and built by Stanford White as the Stockbridge Casino in 1888. The intimate Unicorn Theatre (122 seats) is a home for emerging artists and new theatrical ideas. The Colonial in Pittsfield (780 seats) re-opened in August of 2006, following a $21 million restoration, and boasts pristine acoustics, classic gilded age architecture and state-of-the-art technical systems. BTG also performs at the newly built outdoor Neil Ellenoff stage at the Mount and at The Garage, a music venue located in the lobby of The Colonial. Together they serve over 100,000 patrons per year and reach over 10,000 students through their educational and outreach programs. For more information on BTF call (413) 298-5536 and on The Colonial call (413) 448-8084. To purchase tickets, call (413) 997-4444 or (413) 298-5576 or go online to www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.


Questions?

BTG

If you have any inquiries about the productions/events,
please do not hesitate to contact us!

Stockbridge Campus
Ticket Office: (413)-298-5576

The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield
Ticket Office: (413) 997-4444

I thought that you should know! The Berkshire Museum

I THOUGHT THAT YOU KNOW!

The Berkshire Museum presents its newest exhibit entitled “Liz Whitney Quisgard: Kaleidoscope,” featuring a vivid selection of paintings, sculptures and fiber wall hangings. Artist Liz Whitney Quisgard utilizes an exuberant palette of sumptuous colors and rich patterns, reminiscent of Byzantine mosaics, to create a scintillating rhythm and texture across her paintings and fiber works. A free opening reception will be held Saturday, June 2, from 5 to 7 p.m.Thursday-Sunday, May 24–October 21 | Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm | 39 South Street | 413-443-7171 | $13 adults, $6 children; members & children three years old and younger FREE

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW!

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW!

I will be attending the Pittsfield School Committee Meeting this evening. During the “Open Mic” session, I will be requesting the School Committee to solicit from Larry Kratka the names of the politicians who forced him to cancel my program on WTBR, before it ever “Aired”. This is not about me, rather it is about “Freedom of Speech” and undo political influence on Public Radio programming. I believe that a quote from iBerkshires web site cuts to the substance of my appearance this evening – Mr. Durwin quotes Larry Kratka, “There are apparently some officials in Pittsfield government who are terrified of what Bill would do to them.” I want to thank all of the people who have supported me through this situation. I especially want to thank those members of the media who openly voiced their opinion: The Berkshire Eagle-Editorial Staff, iBerkshires, planetvalenti.com, Clarence Fanto, Dan Valenti, Rinaldo Del Gallo. Joe Durwin. The School Committee Meeting tonight will be held at the Pittsfield City Hall Chambers and it starts @ 6:00 PM. The School Committee meeting will be broadcasted on PCTV Channel 17.