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Walking The Beat

Harvesting Hope takes root in Northampton

So, back on the beat after a few weeks walking in the Rockies. It’s different out there. Have you heard of Harvesting Hope? I hadn’t, until last Friday. It was Park(ing) Day, an international event during which groups turn parking spaces into parks. Edwards Church pastor Michael McSherry and others representing Harvesting Hope occupied parking spaces this past weekend to let people know about their work. Their idea: if you have more produce than you can use, put a sign near your garden or fruit/nut 0

The long way home, as Smith College work continues

You know that oh-so-convenient shortcut you always take through the Smith College campus — the one that’s been closed for construction off and on for quite a while now? Well, it’s called, formally, Lower College Lane. And here’s what Smith has to say about the road project. The following information was forwarded from the project manager by Marti Hobbes in College Relations: “The Phase 1 Lane Rehabilitation of College Lane began the week of June 8th and will continue through early August. Plans call for 0

Public artwork in progress at Serio’s

A mural is taking shape to brighten Serio’s back-door area, and the State Street end of Center Street in Northampton as well. Serio’s manager Jaimie Golec said the painting is the work of her high school friend Elisabeth Santos, who grew up in Northampton but now lives in Enfield, Connecticut. Santos says she has done a number of public art projects in Connecticut, but this is her first in her hometown. With a state grant, Santos is paying visual homage to the Valley’s agricultural heritage 0

It is the time of blossoms in downtown Northampton

Downtown is one big garden in the summer. Almost every store has a window box or pots out front. Priscilla Touhey, owner of Petals & Clay in Florence, was redoing the window boxes at Joia on Crafts Avenue on a recent Monday morning. Her business slogan is “inspired container gardens for beautiful living.” The color scheme for Joia has shifted to hotter summer hues: gold and red and orange. It was fun being snap-happy, what with the planters in the center of Main and the 0

Those colorful downtown benches & more

YOUTH PRIDE: Wednesday morning, Jonathan Goldman and Mariel Lutz were working on the last bench of the Northampton Youth Commission’s bench project. As they primed with white paint, they planned to indicate with their painting the membership of the commission. Signatures, etc. It’s hard not to notice the beautiful benches the commission has already painted, throughout downtown. It’s been a great journey for the commission, and now it’s reaching its end, with this final, signatory bench. IRISH PRIDE: June 5, Irish citizens and friends of 0

The butterfly effect

NORTHAMPTON — In gardens along the wayside and in community garden plots, it’s clear that gardeners are introducing or allowing milkweed. Yes, it’s a weed, but it’s also the sustaining plant of the monarch butterfly. That has been well publicized, as well as the monarch’s struggle for existence, and now this lovely weed seems to be flourishing as a garden plant. Milkweed (there’s more than one variety) is the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs. And monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed. According to 0

Tuesday Market revisited — as promised

As promised, I returned — and will every Tuesday I get the chance. This day, the wind was blowing hard and it hadn’t rained yet, so little children were rolling in the dust and occasionally tossing it, despite parental admonishments. The maple guy, JP Welch of Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington, was extolling the virtues of his fine maple cream to a customer. Maple cream is the pure essence of maple syrup, boiled down and stirred into a sweet cream that can be spread on 0

If it’s Tuesday, it must be ... Tuesday Market

NORTHAMPTON — It’s the scene to make: the Tuesday Market outdoors on the plaza between Thornes Marketplace and the parking garage. The market’s second outing of the season featured perfect weather, beautiful people with beautiful children — and a wide assortment of delicacies. I wasn’t the only one taking pictures. Devon Whitney-Deal of Beaumont’s Berries (Conway) was offering three types of raspberry jams, made with honey, with sugar or with no sweetening at all. When asked about the raspberry fruit fly that’s been plaguing berry 0

Sprung spring, with proof everywhere you turn

NORTHAMPTON — Smith College is entering its stupendous springtime. Since the whole campus is one big, very well-tended botanic garden/arboretum, you can count on seeing some amazing sights. The daffodil display at the Wilson Bulb Bank (around the corner and down the path from Wright Hall) is glorious, as are the many trees that will blossom throughout the season. Early on, it was witch hazel by the greenhouse and cornelian cherry by the theater building. Something in every corner: Lenten roses have been in bloom 0

Hospital Hill observations

Thirty robins, at least. The flock was pecking at open grass on Hospital Hill Sunday morning. Cold as it is, birds know it’s spring. The traffic light at the top of that hill, which allows egress from the L3 KEO plant, Prince Street and the Village Hill development, is often annoying to through traffic. Grumbling was rampant when the light first went in, but some neighbors like the light because it slows speeders. Though the speed limit is 25 mph on both sides of the 0