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Valley Venture Mentors event: What can you tell me in two minutes

The pitchers are ready with their two-minute pitches at the VMM meeting in Greenfield. What can you tell me about your business in two minutes? That was the challenge a few weeks ago when Valley Venture Mentors met for the first time in Franklin County, bringing 10 entrepreneurs nursing their own small businesses and hoping for attention and funding to the John Olver Transit Center for some good old fashioned networking. First, Paul Silva set the stage. "We want to know whose ass you've kicked!" 0

Green River Festival 2015: Sharing A Tradition with Newbie

Above: The Straybirds. It's July again in the Valley and the best punctuation mark in this glorious vacation month is the annual Green River Festival at GCC. The weather over the weekend was perfect--hot, making bringing an umbrella to sit under a must, and the legions of old friends and acquaintances who I get to run into and see every year. One couple we know said they broiled under the sun--but this is just another reason to not try and get so close up front, 0

How building Interstate 91 changed the Valley and country

    (Laying down stones on Interstate 91 under construction in 1962.)  In 1919, after World War I, the army wanted to test out its fleet of vehicles to see what they needed to improve. They created a three-mile long caravan of trucks, jeeps and soldiers, plus a marching band, and set off across the US. The roads were ridiculously bad, and on one day they collapsed 41 bridges trying to drive over them.  Thankfully there was one young officer along the trip who would remember how bad 0

MeetUps bring people together to play music or just laugh

In a Northampton apartment, we played jazz standards on a Monday night. Jeff plays the G horn, used in marching bands. Serendipity brought me something on Facebook that turned into something by email that lead me last night to a group of musicians who play jazz in a Northampton apartment every Monday night. It was a Meet Up ,and I now realize that I have former Vermont Governor Howard Dean to thank for that. I read a story about the origins of MeetUp.com and found 0

Dr Samuel Gladstone: serving Amherst with distinction for decades

Samuel Gladstone MD I've been lucky in life to have had a steady hand looking over my health since 1991. That's when I began to visit Dr Samuel Gladstone as my personal physician. I can look at my chart every visit, much of it hand written in Sam's unique style of penmenship. I got a letter from the good doc announcing his retirement from practicing in Amherst. I have always felt confident and well taken care of, as I bet his hundreds of patients all 0

Eating the Republic of Georgia: some of the country’s finest dishes

   Georgia is a fantastic food destination, it's full of fresh locally grown vegetables and the chefs don't feel the need to use a heavy hand with sauces or dunk everything in frying oil. Here are some of the highlights of Georgian cuisine that we tasted during our journey and some of the things that are always set in front of diners during most meals.  A salad of tomatoes and cucumbers has never failed to appear at the table. Also, fresh baked bread, salty feta cheese, sort 0

A visit to the hometown of the world’s most wanted terrorist in Georgia

 I love picking up local newspapers when I travel. Today I found a remarkable story in the Georgia Journal about meeting the father of the world's most notorious terrorist, Omar al-Shishani, who was born Tarkhan Batirashvili in a small town of Birkiani in Pankisi, Georgia. Temur Batirashvili lamented in what the interviewers said was a sad and lonely rant about how terrible it is to have a terrorist for a son. "You ruined me, Tarkhan," he told the team from the Journal.   The intrepid reporters 0

Stalin Museum in Gori, Georgia: an awkward remembrance to a native son

Stalin Museum Guide. Stalin's private rail car at the Stalin Museum in Gori Georgia. Even before we reached the grim industrial city of Gori, my friends on the bus were talking about how much they wanted to see the museum there dedicated to its most infamous son, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. When we got there, Joseph Stalin's light green private rail car was what we saw first. He was afraid of flying and used this to travel everywhere. The railcar, though, has none of the grandeur 0

Mtskheta’s church from 603 and a feast at Iago and Marina’s house

A friendly accordian man outside Mtskheta Church. Our day of travel and exploring across western Georgia began at the home and winery of Iago and Marina Bitarishvili in rural Mtskheta. This consonant-heavy small town is also the home of one of the country's oldest churches, which was built high on a hill around the year 603. Seeing a church built in a year with three digits is pretty spectacular, as is the view from atop this protected sanctuary, which is also a World Heritage site. 0

At the crossroads of the Caucasus, Georgia’s been an invasion target for centuries

Grapes ready to pick in eastern Georgia. The street vendors sell mostly the same items, including a candy made of grapes, oats and wine in a long tube. We woke up in Sighnaghi and outside men were playing backgammon while a small dog sat majestically atop a stone step in the town square. Young men sat outside our hotel strumming on a four-stringed small guitar. I asked them if they Lush green hills outside of Sighnaghi, Georgia. could play any Rolling Stones, Dylan or Led 0