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Playing catch-up on housing: Affordable projects in pipeline around Valley as gap keeps growing
07-12-2024 4:59 PM

By ALEXA LEWIS

Thousands of new affordable housing units will be built in western Massachusetts in the next few years, but local housing advocates say this still will not be enough to meet the massive regional demand for housing relief.The lack of affordable housing...

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Point of pride: After two centuries, South Congregational Church is getting a new steeple — an exact replica of the old one
06-23-2024 7:00 AM

By JAMES PENTLAND

AMHERST — Battered by storms, ice and snow for two centuries, it was only a matter of time before the South Congregational Church’s post-and-beam steeple needed more than cosmetic repairs. That time came this spring when Wilcox Builders of Hatfield...


Amherst’s Juneteenth Jubilee: Sharing joy, yearning
06-20-2024 9:06 AM

By ALEXA LEWIS

AMHERST — Dozens of Amherst community members braved the heat to gather at Mill River Park on Wednesday for the Black Business Association of Amherst Area’s 15th annual Juneteenth Jubilee, the town’s longest-running Juneteenth celebration. Friends and...


Leading lights: Four Hampshire County women receive state honor as ‘heroines’
06-14-2024 5:48 PM

By ALEXA LEWIS

Four Hampshire County women are being recognized for the remarkable work they have done to support their communities throughout the years. Alisa Klein, Henia Lewin, Mildred Lefebvre and Amanda Milazzo have each been nominated by their respective state...


Financially wiser: New program at ARHS for BIPOC, other students details money matters
06-12-2024 1:20 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — More than a dozen Amherst Regional High School students are closing out the school year significantly wiser about money matters, gaining more knowledge about finances and even getting debit cards for bank accounts in which a small amount of...


Hurricanes forever: 215 Amherst Regional High School graduates celebrate accomplishments, get ready to work for the future
06-08-2024 12:32 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — As members of the 2024 class graduate from Amherst Regional High School, they will likely face adversity and be pushed to their limits in the years ahead. But Class President Neil Cunniffe, speaking during Friday’s graduation ceremony, told...


Federal funds heading to Amherst, Holyoke for purchase of more than two dozen electric school buses
06-05-2024 5:50 PM

By Alexa Lewis

School districts in Amherst and Holyoke are well on their way to transporting students to and from school in buses that run entirely on clean energy.The two districts were among 17 in Massachusetts to secure portions of $42 million in federal funding...


For reproductive rights: 100 students hold walk out on anniversary of Dobbs decision
05-28-2024 4:03 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion across the country through its Roe v. Wade decision. That same year, Luna Paradis’ mother was born.Fifty-one years later, Luna Paradis, a seventh grader at Amherst Regional Middle School,...


Valley social justice groups land funding for efforts to help incarcerated people, those seeking asylum
05-28-2024 4:03 PM

By Alexa Lewis

Three Pioneer Valley social justice organizations have been awarded funding to expand their missions that range from seeking the release of incarcerated people to helping individuals undergoing asylum cases.The Decarcerate Western Massachusetts...


National grant powers AI-assisted research at UMass into ‘carbon efficiency’
05-24-2024 12:57 PM

By ALEXA LEWIS

AMHERST — Artificial intelligence could be key in leading us toward a greener future. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, researchers were just awarded $12 million by the National Science foundation to develop a new field that aims to use...


UMass chancellor defends protest crackdown, arrests
05-14-2024 6:55 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts Chancellor Javier Reyes defended the arrests of 134 people at a campus pro-Palestinian encampment last week, telling a special session of the Faculty Senate on Tuesday afternoon that the decision to break up the...


Protesters to UMass: Drop disciplinary action against students in 2023’s Gaza sit-in
03-29-2024 4:10 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

AMHERST — Several UMass professors joined more than 50 demonstrators in front of the Whitmore Administration Building on Thursday, demanding an end to university-imposed probation placed against students and faculty that were arrested for occupying...


School districts in region warn they are nearing edge of ‘fiscal cliff’
03-14-2024 5:14 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BELCHERTOWN — In what has become a steady drumbeat from school officials in many Hampshire County communities this budget season, Belchertown has become the latest to stare down a significant school budget gap that could mean the “staggering” loss of...


Debate over cease-fire in Gaza heats up as four communities consider resolutions
02-23-2024 6:28 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — A public outdoor workshop on creating and displaying peace cranes in downtown Amherst and a family-friendly rally scheduled for Monday evening are among steps supporters of a cease-fire in Gaza are taking to press Amherst councilors to adopt...


Hampshire County hosting just 26 of the 7,000 families in emergency housing
12-20-2023 3:58 PM

By Sam Drysdale

Hampshire County is currently home to just 26 of the 7,000 or so families in the state’s emergency shelter system, with 11 families in Hadley, 10 in South Hadley and five in Amherst, according to statistics released this week by the Healey...


Amherst man charged in U.S. Capitol riot
11-29-2023 7:42 PM

By CHAD CAIN

AMHERST — In conjunction with the Amherst and Hadley police departments, the FBI Boston Division arrested an Amherst man Wednesday on five charges for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.Daniel Tocci was taken into custody without...


State bill calls for taxing wealthy private colleges with endowments over $1B
11-27-2023 5:28 PM

By SOPHIE HAUCK

AMHERST — A group of local college students, along with a handful of Massachusetts lawmakers, are advocating to tax nearly a dozen elite Massachusetts colleges and universities, whose multibillion-dollar endowments they say should fund early and...


Some spar over Jones Library project borrowing
11-26-2023 2:00 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Debate continued last week over a nearly $10 million increase in the borrowing authorization for the $46.14 million Jones Library renovation and expansion project, with those both for and against the idea using a public budget forum as a...


Title IX report: Amherst school leaders failed students over LGBTQ+ bullying
11-20-2023 9:34 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH 

AMHERST — Amherst Regional Public School leaders failed to adequately protect LGBTQ+ students from bullying and harassment by classmates and staff members, and allowed offensive conduct by at least one employee to continue despite multiple complaints,...


Two incumbents joined by three newcomers on Amherst School Committee
11-08-2023 4:30 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Two incumbent School Committee members will be joined by three newcomers following Tuesday’s town election, according to unofficial results from the town clerk’s office.Incumbent member Irv Rhodes earned the most votes at the election,...


Most Amherst council returnees hold off challengers: Nine of 13 elected town councilors endorsed by PAC Amherst Forward
11-08-2023 1:52 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Five members of the Town Council who have served continuously since it was seated in fall 2018 fended off challenges at Tuesday’s town election, according to unofficial results from the town clerk’s office.Both Lynn Griesemer and Pat De...

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