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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

BMX for adults: The days of axle pegs and spin bars — they’re back this Saturday

HATFIELD — Though he’ll soon be 39, Steve Holloway still has the little bike he got in 1978 at F.J. Rogers in Florence. All that survived of the bike through the decades was the frame, but that piece of metal connected him with early BMX glory. On Saturday, Holloway and perhaps 100 other fans of these bikes will gather at the Lions Club pavilion in Hatfield to do things that made them happy before girlfriends, driver’s licenses and marriages — and yes, before mortgages, jobs 0

Cue the snow globe for New Yorker writer's visit to Northampton

NORTHAMPTON — A New Yorker magazine profile of Kim Gordon, the former Sonic Youth rocker, keeps her at center stage but offers Northampton a supporting role. It is a curious cameo. The piece by Alex Halberstadt in the June 3 issue captures the way the 60-year-old Gordon’s creativity has spilled over into fashion design, acting and business. It tells of her breakup from her husband and musical partner Thurston Moore. Readers in Northampton, though, might find the story a little bruising to the civic ego. 2

The making of our ‘The Cost of Choice’ series

NORTHAMPTON — In “The Cost of Choice,” a two-day series that begins Friday, reporters Kristin Palpini and Barbara Solow go inside one of the most controversial aspects of education reform in Massachusetts: school choice and charter schools. In the two decades since passage of the 1993 Education Reform Act, public schools across Massachusetts have been forced to adjust to competition designed to improve education and give students and families more choices. About a year ago, Palpini decided it would be worthwhile for the Gazette to 0

Share your thoughts on Northampton mayor's proposed Smith Vocational change

One topic for the Gazette’s first “Viewpoints” section May 15 will be Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz’s proposal that the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School be brought under management of the city of Northampton. On Wednesday, we plan to present reader comments on that topic, as well as columns by the mayor and a Smith Vocational teacher. We invite additional submissions of up to 350 words in length. Send them to opinion@gazettenet.com by 5 p.m. Sunday. “Viewpoints” joins our monthly rotation of themed Wednesday section 0

How, why ‘Resting Places’ found its way into the Gazette

NORTHAMPTON — “Resting Places,” the serialized nonfiction story that concludes today, has been an unusual effort for us. Readers noticed. While some praised the project for bringing attention to domestic violence and “honoring the community’s process of grief,” others questioned whether it deserved so much space. Several readers wrote or called to point out that there are many tragic stories worth telling in the Valley and one family’s grief doesn’t deserve such prominence, especially 20 years later. As the series wraps up, I’d like to 0

Resting Places / Chapter Fourteen: Facing up to forever

NORTHAMPTON The deer stepped out of the woods and advanced slowly through rows of gravestones. Lights were coming on in the houses that border Spring Grove, but in the deepening dusk, the deer moved almost unseen. On the edge of the cemetery, a woman in a small green house finished her supper of asparagus on toast and looked out the window toward a black headstone. She watched the deer pause, then move closer to the place where the mother and child lay in a single 0

Resting Places / Chapter Thirteen: Pieces you can’t put back together

NORTHAMPTON - Yoko Kato could still picture the life her grandson Cedric had lived. In her newest memories he was standing on the couch by the front windows of her dress shop downtown. He would bounce across the cushions like a man on the moon, just tall enough to look over the back of the couch and out onto Main Street. He’d call out “car” and “truck.” Sherry would drop Cedric off at the shop before going to work on days when he was too 0

Resting Places / Chapter Twelve: A father’s testimony

NORTHAMPTON - Three weeks after the deaths, Sean Seabrooks had arrived at Hampshire Superior Court in shackles to enter a plea of innocent to two counts of murder. When the prosecutor described the number of wounds Sherry Morton and her son Cedric suffered, he began to cry. A judge ordered an examination into whether he was competent to stand trial. In jail, Sean remained on a suicide watch. In a courtroom on April 14, 1994, for the first time in public since the killings, he 1

Resting Places / Chapter Eleven: The gift of making a difference  

NORTHAMPTON - A week after the killings, women dressed in aprons and carrying pots and pans gathered at 7:30 a.m. on the Coolidge Bridge to decry family violence. It was the first demonstration of the Women’s Action Coalition-Western Massachusetts. The second came four days later, when a dozen members gathered downtown, with Yoko Kato present, to hold signs and distribute leaflets. “There was a feeling that something was missing in the Valley, a group to take direct action,’’ member Wyeth McAdam told a reporter. “This 0