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Getting a fix on homelessness: Advocates convene, strategize
05-31-2024 9:07 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

HOLYOKE — After a disabling truck crash left Jocephus Grant unable to work, his wife moved out and the bank foreclosed on the Springfield home he had bought in 2009.The bank sold his home to an investor “for pennies on the dollar,” the investor moved...

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State fines Southampton’s ex-water chief for accepting lodging and meals at ski resort, golf outing from vendor
04-29-2024 4:09 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

SOUTHAMPTON — A former Southampton water chief has admitted he violated the state conflict-of-interest law by accepting gifts of a golf outing and lodging and meals at a ski resort from a water meter vendor, and has agreed to pay a $6,000 fine, the...


Amherst seeks public input on opioid settlement money
04-20-2024 6:58 PM

By GRACE FIORI

In 2023, Hampshire County received almost $1 million from the settlement payments of pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors involved in the opioid crisis. While Amherst received upward of $162,000 in fiscal year 2023, the town has yet to spend...


Amherst officials examine Quincy shelter for ideas to develop former VFW property
04-20-2024 4:00 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — A Quincy-based temporary shelter that includes transitional housing, along with a resource center for people to find jobs, medical care and permanent homes, is being eyed as a model for how Amherst might redevelop the former VFW site at 457...


Fearful Belchertown residents blame stray bullets on nearby gun club, appeal to town for help
04-18-2024 3:19 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

BELCHERTOWN — Jake Hulseberg won’t let his children play on the swing set he built them in their backyard on Mountain View Drive because of bullets that shattered glass doors on two houses on the street.Instead, Hulseberg keeps his kids in the front...


First look at how little Amherst’s police alternative being used called troubling
04-17-2024 3:55 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — The tiny number of emergency dispatch calls directed to the Community Responders for Equity, Safety and Service since mid-December, when the department began taking 911 calls, is prompting worries by members of the Community Safety and...


Petition to block auto dealership on King Street falters in Northampton
04-17-2024 3:35 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — A joint meeting between the Northampton City Council’s Committee on Legislative Matters and the city’s Planning Board heard public comments on a petition to ban further automobile dealerships near the city’s downtown, an issue that...


Developer pitches new commercial building on Route 9 in Hadley
04-17-2024 12:44 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — An Amherst developer is proposing to construct a new commercial building on Route 9 that will become the headquarters for a Holyoke metal roofing and gutter company.At Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting, Thomas Reidy, an attorney at Bacon...


Holyoke schools on path out of state receivership
03-26-2024 4:24 PM

By Sam Drysdale

HOLYOKE — Almost a decade after the state took control of Holyoke Public Schools through the controversial and rarely used receivership model, the district is now on the path back to local control.The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education...


Black business association contests Amherst’s final $3.8M in ARPA spending
03-21-2024 5:40 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Black-owned business owners and supporters made a final appeal to the Town Council this week for $1.5 million of the $3.8 million in remaining American Rescue Plan Act money, though it appears that money is being directed to other...


Voters to decide cannabis bylaw in Chesterfield
03-21-2024 11:07 AM

CHESTERFIELD — The town will hold a special Town Meeting Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. at the Community Center to allow votes on paying an unpaid bill from last year and amendments to the cannabis bylaw.Article 1 seeks voter approval for the transfer...


Eversource ‘jumped the gun’ on utility pole project in Easthampton
03-21-2024 10:49 AM

By JAMES PENTLAND

EASTHAMPTON — City councilors preparing to meet with Eversource representatives last month to discuss a permit for new and replacement utility poles on Loudville Road were shocked to find the job was already completed.In addition, several shade trees...


State eyes simplification of college aid process
03-20-2024 4:06 PM

By Allison Kuznitz

BOSTON — With an array of more than 50 state financial aid programs available to college students, public higher education officials are embarking on an effort to simplify those offerings by 2026.The Department of Higher Education plans to evaluate...


Senate tries again on early ed bill aimed at helping more Massachusetts families
03-17-2024 1:01 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — More Massachusetts families would become eligible for subsidized child care and “transformational” grants that kept the early education system afloat during the pandemic would be made permanent, under a bill the Senate unanimously passed late...


Sunshine week meets shade on Beacon Hill
03-15-2024 10:38 AM

By COLIN A. YOUNG

BOSTON — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in 1913 that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants,” and Bay Staters on both ends of the political spectrum agreed this week that Beacon Hill could stand to open the curtains quite a...


Phelps House fixes, Town Hall repair plan in line for $190K in Hadley CPA funds
03-11-2024 1:42 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — Community Preservation Act money for an initial phase of fixing up an early 19th-century farmhouse at the Porter Phelps Huntington Museum and hiring an architect to evaluate and prepare the 1840 Town Hall for renovations is being recommended...


New director seen as ‘major step’ at Cannabis Commission
03-11-2024 8:47 AM

By COLIN A. YOUNG

BOSTON — Aiming to have its new executive director on board by this summer, the Cannabis Control Commission spent hours Thursday crafting the contours of the job and detailing what qualities a successful applicant will demonstrate.The CCC has not had...


Northampton’s historic Memorial Hall to get urgent repair
03-10-2024 11:47 AM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — Mold grows out of several locations. Its structural support slowly deteriorates. And a large chunk of plaster has fallen from the ceiling, not far from an office desk where a worker sits.These are just some of the issues currently...


Six towns in Hampshire, Franklin counties seek regional conservation agent
03-09-2024 3:03 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

ASHFIELD — Six towns are pooling resources to hire a paid conservation agent to serve their communities as the number of permit filings exceeds the capacity of the all-volunteer conservation commissions.Williamsburg, Whately, Goshen, Ashfield,...


State legislators leery of ballot question ending MCAS graduation requirement
03-05-2024 3:36 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

BOSTON — Over more than three hours of discussion about a proposal to stop using MCAS exam scores as a high school graduation requirement, lawmakers kept returning to one specific question: If the ballot measure were passed, how would Massachusetts...


Hadley negotiating new 10-year cable contract
03-04-2024 11:02 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — Hadley Media could see a small boost in revenue from a new 10-year contract with cable and internet provider Charter Spectrum, though there is uncertainty about the reliability of this funding source as people continue to choose streaming...

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