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Libraries still in the business of books, but embrace growing role as community ‘third space’
04-01-2024 5:01 PM

By MAX BOWEN

Tilton Library Director Candace Bradbury-Carlin said that in recent years, libraries have grown beyond a place to study or get books and into a “third space,” serving their patrons in new and diverse ways.At the South Deerfield library, this could...

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Farming challenges aired at state hearing
04-01-2024 5:00 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...


Karuna Center adds peacebuilding experts to team
03-25-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

With two new members on its board of directors, the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding is looking to continue its international work, while also expanding on its mission right here in the valley.In recent weeks, the international and domestic...


Streak of hardships plague valley farmers
03-17-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

Farming is already a tough field to make one’s living. Throw in three consecutive years of extreme weather and personal burnout and you’ve got a recipe for what is shaping up to another difficult year for valley farmers, as they prepare their fields...


Slavery North: Researcher brings initiative, $2.65M grant to UMass to explore, tell story of enslaved people in northern U.S. and Canada
03-11-2024 5:00 PM

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...


$1M in grants to boost local food system in Franklin, Hampshire counties
02-28-2024 3:57 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE and JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — Area organizations are welcoming grant awards that will boost the supply of fresh, local food available to those in need and provide support for local farmers.“We’re really thrilled to have been selected,” said Lev BenEzra, executive...


FAFSA fiasco: Financial aid form meltdown trips up students, colleges
02-26-2024 5:00 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

NORTHAMPTON — A continued challenge for some prospective students and their families in accessing federal financial aid applications, and a corresponding delay in relaying the information from these forms to colleges and universities, is raising...


Local officials tout governor’s municipal tax plan as ‘very exciting’
02-15-2024 5:00 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, local mayors say.A bill Healey filed last month would offer municipalities the...


Report: Tourism brings $1.3B to three-county region
02-13-2024 5:00 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Tourism contributes more than $1 billion in annual economic impact across Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin counties, according to a recent study released by the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.The study was the first of its kind...


UMass to lead $11.9M offshore wind center 
02-12-2024 5:00 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

AMHERST — UMass Amherst will lead a new $11.9 million center on offshore wind education, research and outreach to expedite development of offshore wind energy and train a national workforce to install and maintain the clean energy...


Balancing solar with farms and forestland: Experts tout middle way in picking sites
01-28-2024 5:00 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

AMHERST — As debate continues over how best to develop solar throughout the state to help meet an ambitious net-zero emissions goal, representatives from Mass Audubon and Harvard Forest are touting a recently completed report that details how solar...


UMass forming working group on civil campus discourse
12-18-2023 12:32 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — A new working group focused on improving the campus climate at the University of Massachusetts, aimed at ensuring all members of the community continue to feel welcome in the midst of rising tensions over conflicts across the world, was...


Expansive housing vision unveiled for Leverett estate
12-17-2023 6:01 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

LEVERETT — Should the redevelopment of Juggler Meadow, the estate built for late Yankee Candle Founder Michael Kittredge, move forward with possibly hundreds of homes, those living in those future homes and apartments could access amenities including...


57 arrested at UMass walkout, sit-in calling for college to condemn Israeli attack
10-26-2023 4:21 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — After being given multiple oral warnings to leave the Whitmore Administration Building on Wednesday evening, 56 University of Massachusetts students and one UMass employee were arrested on charges of trespassing, according to a university...


Classical music fan bequeaths $3M to NEPM: Systems engineer, TM member died a year ago
10-23-2023 10:06 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — A late Amherst resident who spent overnights listening to classical music has bequeathed $3 million to New England Public Media, the largest gift ever received by the nonprofit organization based in Springfield.Walter J. Wolnik, who died at...


McGovern joins call for cease-fire in Mideast
10-19-2023 4:00 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Saying that “there is a different path” in Gaza, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern and six other Democratic lawmakers are calling for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas that has killed more than 4,000 people on both sides.The lawmakers released a...


Inflation, aid cuts driving greater need for food aid in region
09-15-2023 4:38 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Back in April, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts distributed 1 million pounds of food to its 172 food pantries and meal sites, a sizable increase from the 750,000 pounds of food that went to the same locations just two months earlier.While the...


New UMass center will “braid” Indigenous know-how, Western science to tackle pressing problems
09-08-2023 8:00 AM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

AMHERST — A new center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst aims to harness both Indigenous and Western environmental science to tackle issues relating to climate change, food insecurity and archeological preservation.The center, officially...


McGovern’s PLANT Act would increase research, production in plant-based food industry
08-09-2023 3:26 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — Saying that now is the time to embrace the “enormous potential that plant-based foods have to strengthen our economy and our food system,” U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern has introduced a bill in Congress that aims to strengthen the American...


Giving sharks their due: UMass team creates state-of-the-art 3D models for conservation site
07-19-2023 2:29 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

AMHERST — Sharks have long been creatures of fascination, but having focused on them in his work for almost 10 years, UMass biology professor Duncan Irschick has found that most three-dimensional models are poor representations of the marine...


College leaders, politicians condemn Supreme Court ruling banning affirmative action in college admissions
06-30-2023 6:00 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

The Supreme Court decision Thursday banning the use of affirmative action in college admissions drew condemnation from education leaders, politicians, and others across the Pioneer Valley and state.In statement after statement released shortly after...

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