Thursday, September 18, 2014

Block Party: Bingo

 North Pleasant Street mobbed by pedestrians

If only town gown interactions could always be this cordial.

 Now that's what you call a blockade

The 3rd Annual Block Party put on by the Business Improvment District with lots of help from the town (Police, Fire and DPW) drew an intergenerational crowd of thousands to the heart of downtown Amherst, to amble safely down the center of a normally busy road, ignore the traffic lights and breath the fresh clean air.

 Judie and her iconic popovers

Starting at 5:00 PM, an hour earlier than the last two years seemed to help draw families, perhaps using it as a good excuse to eat out on a school night, as the food concession stands were doing a brisk business.

 Black Sheep Deli drew a happy crowd

The dunk tank -- raising money for charity -- made a big splash:

Building Inspector Jon Thompson takes a dip
Dr. Kate Atkinson exuberantly hits the icy water

Stilt lady towers above the crowd

Portable lights would turn night into day 

AFD moved 2 ambulances and Engine 1 to the DPW one mile away to avoid congestion in front of Central Station town center


Blarney Blowout Report: Finally!

Townhouse Apartments, Blarney Blowout March 2013 (6 arrests that year)

So I could have guessed that Umass would use a Friday -- the day when mainstream media takes a siesta -- to release the long awaited $160,000 Ed Davis report, analyzing the largest disturbance in recent town history, aka the March 8 Blarney Blowout.

 Town center March 8, 2014 10:00 AM

Amherst police arrested 55 "college aged youth while UMass PD arrested only three.

But I still think tomorrow's press conference will get respectable media exposure -- as well it should.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Get The Lead Out

Amherst Town Meeting will vote on a citizens petition article targeting fluoride -- produced in China -- used in the municipal water supply. 

The petition requests the town purchase the additive only from providers who can guarantee the purity of the product, and calls for the water department to test shipments to ensure they are free from contamination.  

The town of course follows strict state imposed testing requirements on the water supply, and in the most recent "Water Quality Report" (2013) Lead and Copper tested below actionable levels, although those tests were taken in 2011.

The next test for lead (required every three years) is serendipitously scheduled for late October, in time for the Fall Special Town Meeting which starts November 5.

 Click to enlarge/read

Party Perp Redux

Luke V. Gatti stands before Judge John Payne Monday morning

I'll let the Amherst Police Department "Statement of Facts" speak for itself. I'm beginning to wonder (If I may speculate) if Mr. Gatti has Tourette's syndrome.

 Click to enlarge/read

And yes -- in the interests of being fair and balanced -- I did reach out to Mr. Gatti for comment:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Party House of the Weekend

 115 Belchertown Rd, Amherst

Been so long since Amherst police busted a party house for "Noise & Nuisance" (at $300 a pop) I barely remember how to write these.

Ah, blessed are the summers in a college town.  Unfortunately now over.

Click to enlarge/read
 APD "statement of facts"

The 3 amigos stand before Judge John Payne Monday morning

Since this episode was their first brush with the legal system the prosecution stuck a typical deal called "diversion," where the criminal charges are diverted to civil charges, and each of the perps accepts responsibility for one-of-the-two $300 bylaw violation tickets.

$900 to the town coffers and, hopefully, a lesson learned.  

Unacceptably Typical AFD Weekend

 Antonio's Pizza Saturday afternoon

Amherst Fire Department responded to Antonio's Pizza Saturday afternoon just after 1:00 PM for a minor electrical fire.  At the time Central and North station each had only two professional firefighters available, who quickly scrambled their response via Engines 1 & 2.

But had that fire occurred just 12 hours later, the extremely popular downtown eatery would have been jam packed with students AND the fire department would have been unable to muster much of a response.

Because at 12:55 AM Sunday morning a mutual aid ambulance from Northampton had to handle a call as AFD was dealing with four substance abuse cases, all within a half hour, all of which required transport to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital.    

What's it going to take to awaken town officials, another Station Nightclub incident?

Trigger Warning.  Extremely graphic:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Repeat Party Offender

Luke V. Gatti (center) and father (right) appear before Judge John Payne this morning

Apparently Phillips Street, alcohol, Luke Gatti and late night weekends, make for a bad combination.  Perhaps because he's only 18-years-old, but still no excuse for such outlandish behavior.

Arrested two weeks ago on Phillips Street for disorderly conduct (which included calling a detective the N-word), this time around Mr. Gatti seemed to go out of his way to get arrested yet again on that same notorious street, and when taken back to the police station, assaulted an officer. 

With his father looking on, Luke Gatti was arraigned this morning before Judge John Payne who set bail at $250, taken out of the $1,000 bail posted over the weekend to get out of jail. 

Noting the arrest only two weeks ago Judge Payne said to Gatti,  "I'm a little concerned you're going to pull a trifecta before the month is over." 

Gatti will appear in Eastern Hampshire District Court with his hired lawyer on October 15 for a pre-trial conference.

Unless of course, in the meantime, he gets arrested again.