News

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Earth Matters: Queering the outdoors: The Venture Out Project empowers LGBTQIA2S+ people through community and adventure

02-15-2024 8:26 PM

By ALLIE MARTINEAU

Affinity spaces for queer people are essential, to share the things we carry. To meet friends, trade crafts and clothing, talk about our lives, how to find doctors and well-sewn binders, how to come out, change a tire, ask for a raise, or cook for a...


Get Growing with Mickey Rathbun: A garden is a canvas: “Painting the Modern Garden: From Monet to Matisse” comes to Amherst Cinema

02-15-2024 8:26 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

As the calendar page flips to the short but cruel month of February, I suspect that many gardeners, like me, are getting tired of the somber palette of gray and brown.Just in time to rescue us from seasonal ennui, a wonderful documentary, “Painting...


Young kids aren’t immune: Mental health issues at crisis point amid lack of specialized therapists

02-15-2024 8:25 PM

By MADDIE FABIAN

Local child therapist Alice Barber says that she could discharge all 45 of her clients — children as young as 2 or 3 years old — and her practice would fill back up within a couple of weeks, “no questions asked.” Barber has colleagues who get 10 calls...


Charges against UMass sit-in protesters downgraded to infractions

02-15-2024 8:25 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

BELCHERTOWN — All of the UMass students who were arrested during a sit-in protest against the war in Gaza on Oct. 25 have had or will have their criminal charges converted to civil infractions, with those who accepted the lesser charges already...


Zoning breaks sought for four-story buildings on edge of UMass

02-15-2024 8:25 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — An 85-unit mixed-use project is being proposed for the corner of Amity Street and University Drive, but the potential development may depend on variance requests coming before the Zoning Board of Appeals later this month.UDrive Amity LLC,...


Hadley town officials unveil $27M budget

02-15-2024 8:25 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — A proposed $21.7 million operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024 maintains all municipal and school programs and current staffing levels, according to a presentation by Hadley’s financial team last week.“There’s no...


Local officials tout governor’s municipal tax plan as ‘very exciting’

02-15-2024 8:25 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

BOSTON — Gov. Maura Healey’s proposal to give cities and towns new tax-hike authority would provide “game-changers” at the local level, especially for less-populated areas, one mayor said Tuesday.A bill Healey filed last month would offer...


Amherst Town Council taking closer look at residents’ call to accept subdivision’s roads 

02-15-2024 8:21 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — As subdivision roads in one housing development are nearing acceptance as town ways, roads in another subdivision, completed by the same developer several years earlier, are in increasingly poor condition, frustrating homeowners who continue...


New campaign to push toward Tilton Library’s $2M goal for expansion project

02-15-2024 8:20 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SOUTH DEERFIELD — With Tilton Library approaching the early-spring start date for its expansion project, the library is launching a new capital campaign to continue climbing toward its goal of $2 million.The “I Heart Tilton” campaign launched on Feb....


City, town leaders cheer Healey proposal for local tax options; harder sell on Beacon Hill

02-15-2024 8:19 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — Local leaders are reacting favorably to legislation filed last week by Gov. Maura Healey that would give municipalities the authority to increase local option taxes on meals, lodging and motor vehicles.The state’s Democratic legislative...


Plans to redevelop Subaru dealership on Route 9 in Hadley gearing up

02-15-2024 8:18 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — Plans for the redevelopment of a Route 9 Subaru dealership, including a new 31,568-square-foot showroom and service area and a reconfigured parking lot, are being filed with town planners.As the Steve Lewis Subaru at 315 Russell St.,...


Historic guideboard on Shutesbury town common packed up for repairs

02-15-2024 8:16 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

SHUTESBURY — A historic guideboard on the Shutesbury Town Common since 1837, helping travelers navigate to Massachusetts communities both near and far, is temporarily absent from the green as a restoration project begins.The wooden guideboard was...


Brouhaha over storage facility in Hadley bubbles

02-15-2024 8:15 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — A new climate-controlled storage building rising on commercial- and industrial-zoned farmland, affecting the vista of the Holyoke Range for those biking and walking on the nearby Norwottuck Rail Trail, is putting a 2021 Planning Board...


Amherst families to committee: Don’t cut elementary music program

02-15-2024 8:14 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Some students let their instruments do the talking at a marathon Amherst School Committee hearing Tuesday at which dozens of people pleaded against a plan to eliminate an instrumental music teacher for the town’s three elementary...


‘Worst food anywhere’? Amherst leaders quick to crack back at dining diss

02-08-2024 8:45 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Chicken cordon bleu pizza and slices topped with tortellini are among the food offerings J. Mascis, an Amherst native and founder of the rock band Dinosaur Jr., says he can get when dining in town, likely a reference to what is available at...


Cute and charming: Shutesbury swears in Charlie, its first police comfort dog

02-08-2024 8:45 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

SHUTESBURY — On his first day at Shutesbury Town Hall, a week before officially being sworn in as the Police Department’s first K-9 officer, Charlie provided a calming distraction for a stressed and flustered resident who had come to the town...


Design Review Board in Amherst backs 5-story apartment project connected to old Hastings building

02-08-2024 8:43 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — A new five-story apartment project that would rise behind and be connected to the back of the former A.J. Hastings building is receiving a favorable recommendation from an Amherst town committee.Before site plans for the development at 45-55...


Around Amherst: Amherst College scores Historical Society’s Conch Shell Award

02-08-2024 8:43 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Books associated with Amherst College’s 2021 bicentennial are earning the college the Amherst Historical Society’s annual Arthur F. Kinney Conch Shell Award.The historical society will present the award during its annual meeting, which...


Liz Larson steps up to interim director of downtown BID

02-08-2024 8:42 PM

AMHERST — Liz Larson, the Amherst Business Improvement District’s director of operations, will be the interim executive director starting Feb. 26.Larson was announced as the interim lead after the Amherst BID’s board of directors offered her the job...


Amherst chamber boss Pazmany to step down

02-08-2024 8:42 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — In a region where most businesses are small, with 20 or fewer employees, having an organization to advocate on their behalf, help market them and assist them through unforeseen challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic is critical, says Amherst...



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