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MIA: The next generation goes to bat

In 1990, Sharon LaValley decided to find out all she could about the uncle she’d never met — Kenneth Henry Drew. It was years 40 years since he’d gone missing in Korea while serving with the Army’s 31st Infantry. She began writing letters and emails. She combed through newsletters that circulated among Korean war veterans for names of people who might have some inkling of what happened. After so many years, Sharon wanted to bring news to her family — her mother, mainly, but also 0

MIA: A child’s enduring first lesson in suffering

NORTHAMPTON — After I began talking with people about Kenneth “Bobby” Drew, I got a phone message from Judith Ward. She had read earlier posts in this series and wanted to share a lasting childhood memory. When I reached her, she also had a question. Could Bobby’s mother, Evelyn, have been the same person she’s thought about for more than half a century? We puzzled this through. Judith agreed to let me share what she remembers. Like all eight of the Drew family’s children, Judith 0

MIA: They called him ‘Bobby’ for a reason

EASTHAMPTON — Late on the night of Jan. 15, 1951, a taxi rolled up in front of the Drew family’s Ferry Street home. Mother Evelyn was working her night shift at the United Elastics plant, over at the edge of Nashawannuck Pond. But father Kenneth, who also worked in a factory — Hampton Mills a block up Ferry Street toward town — was home with the couple’s seven kids, not counting their eldest, Kenneth, who had gone off to fight in Korea. No passenger got 0

MIA: The day one War Department letter reached Easthampton (with video)

EASTHAMPTON — World War II wasn’t long over. Maybe that’s why a form tucked with reverence inside a well-thumbed family scrapbook still carried the name “WAR DEPARTMENT.” Carol LaValley rifles through pages of that scrapbook and finds the document. She pulls it out to share with me, a leaf of paper from a time before zip codes and copy machines. From a time when thrift ruled: The Army hadn’t used up its supply of Form 43807s, the Battle Casualty Report. When completing this one, someone 0

MIA: The case of Cpl. Kenneth Henry Drew

EASTHAMPTON — Later this week I will open my notebooks and begin to share the making of a news feature story. My subject: The mystery that still surrounds an Easthampton soldier’s death in the Korean War. Dec. 3 will mark the 65th anniversary of date that Cpl. Kenneth Henry Drew of Easthampton went missing in action in 1950. For the next 23 years, until the day she died, Drew’s mother Evelyn believed her son might come home. The Easthampton teen enlisted in the Army the 0

Academy of Music’s own drama will take stage in October

NORTHAMPTON — The Academy of Music is a storied place, having hosted show-biz greats like Mae West and Harry Houdini. But one of its biggest dramas was internal. When a former cashier named Mildred Walker took over its management during World War II, in its heyday as a 20th century movie palace, a film distribution company sued. The question of whether a woman should run the place went to court. This fall, Walker’s story will be staged in what the Academy’s executive director calls a 0

Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleet

Karen Carswell says she came out of her home in Easthampton today to find a visual message in the overnight “wintry mix.” “It was a beautiful morning winter message to see while my children gleefully slipped around on the ice and helped me scrape off our car before our morning school commute.” she said in an email to the Gazette. What did that message mean to her? “Embrace the storm no matter how big or small. As we say in our house ‘go with the 0

Behind the scenes: Monday’s Gazette editorial on contraception — and a reader’s take on it

A reader in Williamsburg called Monday to challenge an argument in our Dec. 2 editorial, “Contraception and the court.” After listening to her, I agree a little more should be said on a topic that seems to invite confusion. The editorial questioned the Supreme Court’s decision last week to hear a case attacking the birth-control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The founder of Hobby Lobby, a nationwide chain of craft stores and avowed Christian enterprise, maintains that by requiring health insurance to cover contraception, 0

Tale of a daytime assault in Northampton and home break-in in Hadley

Maureen Gallo of Westfield got in touch with the Gazette to share a story about a harrowing experience in Northampton. I’ll let her tell it: “This past Saturday, during Northampton’s busy Bag Day promotion, I was shopping with a friend for a few hours of fun. “While taking a lunch break at The Teapot restaurant, I was approached from the back by a stranger who reached around me and slapped or punched me in the face so hard I almost passed out. This person then 1

What newspapers must learn when readers are the judge

NORTHAMPTON — For the third time since 2007, the Daily Hampshire Gazette has been selected as Newspaper of the Year in our circulation category (10,000 to 15,000) by the New England Newspaper & Press Association. It was a joy to share that news with colleagues and readers on Monday ... and to hear back from readers. Elaine Formica shared a very nice note of congratulations. “I’ve subscribed to the Gazette since moving to the Pioneer Valley over 20 years ago and look forward to reading 0