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Parade, barbecue on Saturday will mark Leverett’s 250th birthday
07-04-2024 9:37 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

LEVERETT — Numerous floats representing local organizations such as the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust, joined by community groups and officials, will be part of a 53-group parade celebrating the town’s 250th anniversary and stepping off Saturday at 10...

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Global tech software outage zaps local courts, hospital
07-19-2024 5:19 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Canceled non-urgent surgeries, procedures and medical visits at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, postponed cases in the Massachusetts court system and delayed in-person services at Registry of Motor Vehicles locations are among the impacts...


State’s green energy bill doesn’t address local siting worries
07-08-2024 6:14 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

A Senate-passed bill featuring a streamlined approach to permitting and siting solar and energy storage projects in Massachusetts, with a consolidated permit for approving clean energy infrastructure instead of multiple local, regional and state...


Library groundbreaking set for Aug. 2 in Shutesbury
07-08-2024 3:05 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

SHUTESBURY — A ceremony to kick off the construction of Shutesbury’s new public library, which will replace the 122-year-old M.N. Spear Memorial Library when it opens in fall 2025, is set for early August.Library trustees and the Library Building...


New principal to start at Shutesbury Elementary School
06-27-2024 1:53 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

SHUTESBURY — Anne Magill Diaz is starting her tenure as the new principal at Shutesbury Elementary School on Monday.“I am thrilled to become the new principal of Shutesbury Elementary School,” Magill Diaz wrote in a June 3 letter to the school...


Retired UMass prof picked for Melinda French Gates’ $240M women empowerment project
05-31-2024 6:01 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — A retired University of Massachusetts economics professor from the School of Public Policy is being awarded $20 million from Melinda French Gates’ philanthropic foundation, money that will go toward advancing women’s power on a global...


Officials sorting out disarray at Leverett Elementary School
05-26-2024 12:36 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

LEVERETT — With the interim Leverett Elementary School principal on a leave that began in March after being criticized for a lack of transparency, representatives of the teachers union are seeing the leadership situation as contributing to a “very...


UMass faculty, librarians vote no confidence in chancellor over protest breakup
05-21-2024 5:45 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Nearly 500 members of the faculty and librarians are expressing no confidence in the leadership of University of Massachusetts Chancellor Javier Reyes stemming from the breakup of a pro-Palestinian encampment on May 7 that led to the arrests...


Walk for Peace in Gaza set for Saturday in Leverett
05-16-2024 2:47 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

LEVERETT — A Walk for Peace in Gaza, bringing participants from Town Hall to the New England Peace Pagoda, takes place Saturday, an event that organizers view as a way to stand with those experiencing loss and grief.Sponsored by the Village of Light...


UMass graduation speaker Colson Whitehead pulls out over quashed campus protest
05-09-2024 9:07 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Disturbed by the arrests of 132 protesters on the University of Massachusetts campus this week during a pro-Palestinian encampment, Colson Whitehead, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the...


Debt-burdened UMass students, grads rally for relief
05-02-2024 5:10 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Responsible for $135,000 in student debt, Amherst resident Ian Rhodewalt observes that during the yearslong federal pause in making loan repayments during the pandemic, he and his family were able to get a vehicle, replace a broken-down car...


Shutesbury voters to decide on battery storage, lighting bylaws
04-24-2024 10:58 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

SHUTESBURY — Bylaws to regulate large-scale battery storage, limit outdoor light pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in new housing construction and control door-to-door solicitors will be considered by residents at Annual Town Meeting on...


Leverett Town Meeting voters will decide cease-fire call, budgets
04-23-2024 9:29 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

LEVERETT — Money for continued restoration of the North Leverett Sawmill, a citizen’s petition calling for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza, and a $7.56 million budget for fiscal year 2025, which adds a fourth police officer to the Police Department,...


Shutesbury Elementary School principal leaving in June after 10 years
04-15-2024 12:49 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

SHUTESBURY — After 10 years as principal at Shutesbury Elementary School, Jacqueline Mendonsa is leaving the position at the end of June to relocate to the Boston area.“It is very hard for me to put into words my true love and appreciation for our...


Activists: Tuition hike wrong tack for UMass
04-11-2024 4:08 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — As a University of Massachusetts Amherst doctoral student in physics, Mark Murdy has seen his wages as a graduate employee decline relative to inflation, meaning he, like others who work on campus, is taking home less money.Amid these...


Farming challenges aired at state hearing
03-29-2024 5:18 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Climate change’s impact on farming, as well as emerging areas like urban agriculture, soil health and pollinators, are a focus for the University of Massachusetts Extension Agriculture Program, which continues to help farmers adapt and...


Pioneer Valley farmers spotlight agricultural drainage ditch troubles
03-27-2024 8:38 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — During a summer in which area farms dealt with significant rainfall and flooded fields, keeping agricultural drainage ditches cleared became essential to protecting crops by ensuring excess water could be removed.Often, though, farmers found...


Talking up state’s farmland protection program: Farmers on board, but effort faces housing headwinds
03-18-2024 2:49 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — The owners of a Shelburne farm have permanently protected 100 acres through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program, ensuring that the fertile land won’t be turned into a large, upscale housing estate or put to other uses.“That’s...


Shutesbury library lands $10K accessibility grant
03-17-2024 12:01 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

SHUTESBURY — A project to improve accessibility for patrons at the current Shutesbury library and the new library building that will break ground in June is being supported by a $10,000 grant from the American Library Association.Library Director Mary...


Researcher brings initiative, $2.65M grant to UMass to explore story of enslaved people in U.S. North, Canada
03-10-2024 11:32 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — In film, literature, paintings and other forms of art, palm trees and warm climates are almost always the settings depicted for slavery in North America, from the plantations of the American South to the transatlantic ships transporting...


Postmarking history: Leverett kicks off 250th anniversary celebration
03-08-2024 10:19 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

LEVERETT — At one time, the U.S. post office in town center doubled as a general store, a place where adults picked up and sent their mail or filled their gas tanks and children could choose from a wide variety of penny candy on their way to and from...

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