Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Walking The Beat

Hospital Hill observations

Thirty robins, at least. The flock was pecking at open grass on Hospital Hill Sunday morning. Cold as it is, birds know it’s spring. The traffic light at the top of that hill, which allows egress from the L3 KEO plant, Prince Street and the Village Hill development, is often annoying to through traffic. Grumbling was rampant when the light first went in, but some neighbors like the light because it slows speeders. Though the speed limit is 25 mph on both sides of the 0

Cool connection

Wednesday night, and the Cancer Connection Campout was on. Wednesday afternoon, people gathered around coffee and a giant submarine sandwich in front of the Old Courthouse, talking about their personal connections to what Ken Burns in his latest documentary calls the “Emperor” of diseases. There were many hugs. WRSI’s Monte Belmonte, in a Michelin Man-esque orange and blue Marmot expedition jumpsuit, held forth at the campout—now in its ninth year, according to the Gazette’s Wednesday story. He hopes the event raises $50,000. A band tuned 0

Changes in the neighborhood

One of the people who brought their woodworking business, VCA, to Earle Street in 2008 is commencing a condominium project nearby at 108 Grove St. Bruce P. Volz calls his new enterprise SHOP Development LLC. (The SHOP acronym stands for Small House Opportunity Project.) On the land he bought in 2014, he will build four condo units. Planning and permitting in place, he expects construction to begin in the spring. In the words of his website, the project “seeks to foster new models of efficient, 0

Something's dawning on Sunset Hill

Finally! Sunset Hill (off Burts Pit Road and across the road from the so-called Dog Park) has long been a tangle of invasive briars and scrub trees, almost impassable. But for the past week, a huge machine has been chewing up and spitting out the invasives, returning the hill to possible pasture land. Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School leases the former State Hospital land — more than 280 acres — and recently reached the end of the first quarter of its 99-year lease. That 0

A very snowy Groundhog Day  

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today and promises six more weeks of winter. There must have been some sunshine out in Pennsylvania. Not much here. We’re hoping that final six weeks isn’t like the last couple. Here on my little street, it wasn’t really possible to walk today. I’m peering out my windows instead, and there’s plenty to see.  As I write, we’re watching the unfolding drama of a stuck plow. Our street is getting its revenge. Under all that snow is ice — snow 0

When it's winter, it's time to get a grip

Cold, slippery walks— out come the face mask, the “Get a Grip” overshoes — but still a lot to see when I lift my eyes from the icy sidewalk.  Bald eagle flying into the sun off Paradise Pond, now that was something. If you want to get up close and personal with birds of prey, don’t miss “Birdwoman” Julie Collier’s annual visit to Ode on upper Main Street this Friday (Arts Night Out). Collier tells good stories and is so deft in handling her avian 0

Pining away on Village Hill in Northampton

The pines were nearing the end of their lives, according to Beth Murphy of MassDevelopment. When a row of trees gets that old, she said, the row develops gaps. In Village Hill plans, Murphy added, they were never considered “specimen” trees to be preserved. I’m no forester, but they looked tall and whole and stately to me, and with all the new buildings, they provided a welcome break for the eye — from within the development as well as from outside.  Those trees lined the 0

Apple crisp days become December brittle

Days past ...  First snow this week for grandmother’s house, but we had our mellow days. One morning in early November began with a balloon sighting over the Valley.  Passing the Round House that day, I met the gardeners who keep that building’s gardens so beautiful. They were doing their fall cleanup.  The mastermind, Beth Duryea of Sawmill Farm Garden Care in Whately, was generous with advice to this less developed gardener. She has a way with color, form and harmony, choosing plants in unusual combinations that yet 0

The night they drove Ques. 2 down

 Well, dear reader, the day after. You know I’m sad. Question 2 failed, thanks to a $9 million campaign by Big Beverage: the American Beverage Association, bottlers including Coca-Cola and Nestle, grocery chains such as Stop & Shop and Big Y. Now our legislators can (disingenuously) say the people have spoken. But you know and I know that the people were seriously misled. Anne Borg, co-president of the League of Women Voters, one of many organizations that supported Question 2, said it well. “It’s unfortunate, but 0

Our Polish heritage

 Everybody ready for the Pulaski Day parade? For many in America (though not among the country’s indigenous people) Monday is Columbus Day. Here in the Valley, with its many residents of Polish descent and their strong culture, we mark Pulaski Day, honoring Gen. Casimir Pulaski, a Polish hero who fought and died in the American Revolution. He fought for independence in his native Poland and fled after a failed uprising, emigrating to North America at the recommendation of Ben Franklin. Known as the father of the 0