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Coal is here to stay, and China is working on ways to capture the CO2

   Yesterday was Earth Day, and in commemoration, I read a story in Wired about the future of a particularly controversial source of energy, coal. The point that the story made is that there is no way that the world is going to stop using coal for electricity, it's too entrenched, plentiful, and cheap, so the best way to achieve a happy ending is to push to develop ways to capture the carbon and bury it deep underground.  Yes Virginia, there IS such a thing as 0

A community supper brings neighbors together in South Deerfield this Friday night

Julie Cavacco wants to bring people together in our small village of South Deerfield. So that's why she's organizing a community supper this Friday night, with a free dinner for anyone who wants to sit down at the table at the Congregational church on North Main Street from 6-7 pm.  I admire that Julie is putting this together, and I totally understand why she wants to do it. Like Julie, I like feeling a sense of community, and I like occasions where I can talk to 0

Things we learned from our kitchen renovation

We're just days away from being finished with our kitchen renovation, and we've learned quite a bit along the way. Here are a few of the things we picked up in this process, which has been percolating in my head for many years.  I have been staring at a stain on the kitchen ceiling for more than 10 years, and that's one of the motivators that pushed me to decide to go for this. Ceiling stains are caused by plumbing problems so if you have this 0

Our most excellent GoNOMAD interns are flying off on assignment

Since 2004, we have had interns from UMass who work for GoNOMAD during the school year and often during the summer. The interns who have worked with us have all contributed mightily to our body of stories, and each of them has left their own mark. I often marvel at how great some of these young people are at writing and at social media, and some times I am left disappointed in them too.   Dan Peltier There is one consistency that I see every 0

Easthampton's Art Walk and Galaxy, a perfect spring combination

It was the first warm night of spring as we drove past woods erupting with the sounds of peepers on our way to Easthampton on Saturday night. It was the monthly Art Walk, and as we turned the corner onto Cottage Street, it was clear that the balmy weather and excitement about this up and coming city had brought out big crowds. It was easy to find a parking space (when did you ever find this in Northampton!?) and we made our way to the 0

Sofie reminds me to play every time she visits

What do you do when a little girl pays a visit to your house? I often am confronted with this when my daughter Kate asks me if I can watch Sofie, her five-year-0ld daughter on a weekday. There are times when I think I should decline, and tell her how busy I am and that I can't possibly drop everything and babysit.  But I never do that, well, almost never. Because I am of the belief that you can get things done while little ones visit, 0

Basketball games so late that the next day is foggy

It's funny how I notice things that once went unnoticed as I advance in age. Last night I watched the NCAA Men's basketball finals that didn't start until 9 pm. We had been invited by a couple we like to come have dinner at their house and watch the game. Later on when our two spouses were confirming the plan, one of them realized that the game didn't START until 9 pm. Too late.  So we dropped the plan to go to dinner in Greenfield and 0

Welcoming the Arts Block on a sunny Sunday in South Deerfield

Today was a satisfying day, one where you could make a list and joyfully cross off each thing you got done. After our bummer winter, everyone like me with a yard is eager to get out there and clean it up. So I groomed the grass and filled three huge garbage cans, then went to work on my pesky driveway drain.  I've watched my driveway fill up with water every time it rains hard since I moved into this house in 1992. But there is a 0

A long goodbye in Pittsburgh

Most of the time we avoid thinking about death and funerals. It's a topic we'd rather not discuss, but as we get older, more and more deaths occur and have to face them. This week I traveled a very long way in the car, about nine hours, for three days of grieving, celebrating, and saying good bye.  In our family tradition, we don't have as many opportunities to reflect and to spend time with people around a death. We have a funeral, and then a gathering 0

James V. Cunningham Sr: He cared the most about what truly mattered

We are in Pittsburgh this week, not to write an article and meet the usual 'interesting local people,' but instead to say farewell to a distinguished member of the faculty at Pitt and a community leader named James V. Cunningham Sr who died at 91 on March 28. As I've gotten older I have paid much closer attention to funerals and how to react and respond when people's family members or friends pass away.  Someone wrote once that if you have to decide whether to go 0