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Walking The Beat

Sea change at the Hempest; Village Hill architecture; and Ode’s owls

Hempest is leaving its Main Street site and has already opened in a smaller space in the Maplewood Shops, next to Angelo’s barber shop on Conz Street. Owner Jon Sheeley acknowledged the obvious Saturday, when asked if it was high rent on Main that prompted the move. To draw customers to the new site, Sheeley is offering a 10 percent discount on almost everything — he is still pondering whether vaporizers will be included. Parking is available in the Maplewood lot, but also in front 0

Growing neighborhood and Smoother Sledding

Growing neighborhood  Around the corner from the new homes on Laurel Street, prep work has more than begun for condos that are to be built there. The land has been cleared of most of its trees. On Thursday, heavy equipment opened up the driveway at 108 Grove St. The man in charge of construction said they hoped for a June finish. He was grateful for the great weather, he said, and hoping for more of it.  The project is the brainchild of Bruce P. Volz, 0

Manned flight and Art Work

Manned flight A few days ago on Hospital Hill, I watched, fascinated, as hang-gliding teacher Bob Stewart, of Eco-Flight Hang Gliding in Pelham, taught skills to student Doug Barth. Barth had already flown, if you count piloting a plane. Of course, that counts. Stewart said he has been teaching since the 1970s, when people just thought he was crazy, he says. Barth just loves flying, he said, in whatever form. Barth is at left, Stewart at right, in the photo; Stewart pilots the hang glider 0

Christopher Heights gets ready, “Tumbleweeds” rolls on 

Christopher Heights gets ready At dusk, I walked by Christopher Heights, the assisted-living facility about to open on Village Hill in Northampton. The lights were on inside and people were unpacking furniture, installing phone systems and other tasks I couldn’t determine. I could see into some of the apartments, noticing that each one appeared to have a refrigerator, perhaps a little kitchen. The landscaping is complete, with young trees and other plantings in and grass growing. The relatively warm weather must have helped. If the 0

Crosswalks, tender-hearted Smithies and Forbes outdoors

Cross—your fingers!  I often use the crosswalk from downtown by the Academy of Music, on my way to West Street. Every time, the oncoming traffic turning from Elm onto Route 10 seems to believe I have no right to cross on the walk light. It’s how the lights are scheduled: that oncoming traffic has a green light, not a green left turn arrow, but they’re always in a hurry and usually confused by the crazy intersection.  One day recently, it was really bad. The walk 0

All Hallow’s Eve in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON — Some people take Halloween pretty seriously. Sharing our safe little world: Serio’s grocery window showcases a mural created by 16 local teens in 2009, part of the Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange, local resident Claudia Lefko, director. The mural depicts an ideal Northampton, peaceable and free. Can we locally live up to the ideal and share it across the world? 0

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