Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Walking The Beat

Those colorful downtown benches & more

YOUTH PRIDE: Wednesday morning, Jonathan Goldman and Mariel Lutz were working on the last bench of the Northampton Youth Commission’s bench project. As they primed with white paint, they planned to indicate with their painting the membership of the commission. Signatures, etc. It’s hard not to notice the beautiful benches the commission has already painted, throughout downtown. It’s been a great journey for the commission, and now it’s reaching its end, with this final, signatory bench. IRISH PRIDE: June 5, Irish citizens and friends of 0

The butterfly effect

NORTHAMPTON — In gardens along the wayside and in community garden plots, it’s clear that gardeners are introducing or allowing milkweed. Yes, it’s a weed, but it’s also the sustaining plant of the monarch butterfly. That has been well publicized, as well as the monarch’s struggle for existence, and now this lovely weed seems to be flourishing as a garden plant. Milkweed (there’s more than one variety) is the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs. And monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed. According to 0

Tuesday Market revisited — as promised

As promised, I returned — and will every Tuesday I get the chance. This day, the wind was blowing hard and it hadn’t rained yet, so little children were rolling in the dust and occasionally tossing it, despite parental admonishments. The maple guy, JP Welch of Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington, was extolling the virtues of his fine maple cream to a customer. Maple cream is the pure essence of maple syrup, boiled down and stirred into a sweet cream that can be spread on 0

If it’s Tuesday, it must be ... Tuesday Market

NORTHAMPTON — It’s the scene to make: the Tuesday Market outdoors on the plaza between Thornes Marketplace and the parking garage. The market’s second outing of the season featured perfect weather, beautiful people with beautiful children — and a wide assortment of delicacies. I wasn’t the only one taking pictures. Devon Whitney-Deal of Beaumont’s Berries (Conway) was offering three types of raspberry jams, made with honey, with sugar or with no sweetening at all. When asked about the raspberry fruit fly that’s been plaguing berry 0

Sprung spring, with proof everywhere you turn

NORTHAMPTON — Smith College is entering its stupendous springtime. Since the whole campus is one big, very well-tended botanic garden/arboretum, you can count on seeing some amazing sights. The daffodil display at the Wilson Bulb Bank (around the corner and down the path from Wright Hall) is glorious, as are the many trees that will blossom throughout the season. Early on, it was witch hazel by the greenhouse and cornelian cherry by the theater building. Something in every corner: Lenten roses have been in bloom 0

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