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Business & Money

State approves 29 percent rate increase sought by Western Massachusetts Electric Co.

Friday, November 21, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — State regulators have approved a 29 percent rate increase sought by Western Massachusetts Electric Co., which serves about 200,000 customers in Western Massachusetts. WMECo has said the rate increase would take effect Jan. 1 and remain in effect for six months. It would raise the average residential customer’s bill by about $26 a month. The increase was approved Friday by the state Department of Public Utilities. WMECo …

Senate probes soaring prices of generic drugs

Thursday, November 20, 2014

WASHINGTON — Some low-cost generic drugs that have helped restrain health care costs for decades are seeing unexpected price spikes of up to 8,000 percent, prompting a backlash from patients, pharmacists and now Washington lawmakers. A Senate panel met Thursday to scrutinize the recent, unexpected trend among generic medicines, which usually cost 30 …

Dow, S&P 500 edge back up to record highs

Thursday, November 20, 2014

U.S. stocks rebounded Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index back into record territory. It was the second record-high close for the Dow this week and the third for the S&P 500. The modest gains erased losses from the day before, pushing the three major stock indexes …

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Amherst Select Board candidates debate The Retreat student housing project
  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA
Members of the First Church prepare to bake apple pies for the Bag Day fundraising event at the First Church in Northampton, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014.

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA Members of the First Church prepare to bake apple pies for the Bag Day fundraising event at the First Church in Northampton, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA
Mary Webber, of Southampton, front, and Diane Drohan, of Leeds, back, prepare to open the center for clients to pick the food at the Northampton Survival Center, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA Mary Webber, of Southampton, front, and Diane Drohan, of Leeds, back, prepare to open the center for clients to pick the food at the Northampton Survival Center, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Purchase photo reprints »

  • CAROL LOLLIS
Crime scene on North Main street in Northampton Thursday afternoon.

    CAROL LOLLIS Crime scene on North Main street in Northampton Thursday afternoon. Purchase photo reprints »

  • YOSHITAKA HAMADA
(L-R) Paul McNeil, Jill Griffin, Michael Cutler, Jeremy Bucci, Bob Gunther and Ezra Parzybok discuss about medical marijuana during the Medical Marijuana Pot Forum at the JFK Middle School, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014.

    YOSHITAKA HAMADA (L-R) Paul McNeil, Jill Griffin, Michael Cutler, Jeremy Bucci, Bob Gunther and Ezra Parzybok discuss about medical marijuana during the Medical Marijuana Pot Forum at the JFK Middle School, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Purchase photo reprints »

  • JASON PICARD
Singer-songwriter Marcia Gomes in her home in Granby on Saturday afternoon, Feb 1st.

    JASON PICARD Singer-songwriter Marcia Gomes in her home in Granby on Saturday afternoon, Feb 1st.

  • KEVIN GUTTING
Luke Bosco, on piano, accompanies Hayley Hemminger-Martin (Sabina), on stage with arms raised, in a rehearsal of the finall scene of Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth." Joining Hemminger-Martin on the edge of the stage are, from left, Kaitlyn Andersen, Jonathan Letendre, Jasmeet Singh and Jimmy Murphy.

    KEVIN GUTTING Luke Bosco, on piano, accompanies Hayley Hemminger-Martin (Sabina), on stage with arms raised, in a rehearsal of the finall scene of Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth." Joining Hemminger-Martin on the edge of the stage are, from left, Kaitlyn Andersen, Jonathan Letendre, Jasmeet Singh and Jimmy Murphy. Purchase photo reprints »

Surviving a week without cash and credit cards to test mobile-payment services

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NEW YORK — Attempt at your own risk: For an entire week, I left all my cash and credit cards at home to see how well wallet-free mobile services work in the real world. Apple Pay has gotten …

Future of Hilltown farms topic for Monday meeting

Friday, November 14, 2014

Farmers, residents, and businesses in the Ashfield, Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington are encouraged to attend an informational meeting on the future of farming in the Hilltowns. The “community kick-off” event will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Cummington Community House. The Hilltown Community …

Stocks end mostly up as gains extend

Friday, November 14, 2014

NEW YORK — Stocks ended mostly higher on Friday as major indexes extended gains for a fourth week in a row, a rare stretch for this year. After flitting between tiny gains and losses for most of the …

America’s shift in attitude toward gays started at work

Friday, November 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — In the beginning, it was about money as much as rights. Long before America started rapidly changing its mind about gays, corporate America set the stage. From companies such as Marriott, founded by socially conservative Mormons, …

Executive suites seen as slower to embrace gays than rest of business

Friday, November 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — John Browne reached the pinnacle of his profession while hiding a secret that eventually ended his run as chief executive and chairman of global energy giant BP. Allan Gilmour rose to chief financial officer at the Ford Motor Co. and was thought a shoo-in to become …

New US-China visa rules seen spurring tourism, investments

Friday, November 14, 2014

A policy change that will enable U.S. and Chinese citizens to visit each other’s countries repeatedly for a decade — 10 times the length of a current visa — is expected to spur more of the tourism and …

Fracking drives growth in sand mining amid health-risk questions

Friday, November 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — Demand is exploding for the huge amounts of sand used in fracking, creating a windfall for mines from Texas to Wisconsin but leading to worries about the health impacts of breathing silica dust. Drillers are expected …

Stocks little changed, while Dow hits record

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NEW YORK — Stocks wavered between small gains and losses on Thursday to close little changed as traders weighed generally strong earnings reports against the falling fortunes of energy companies. Indexes rose from the opening of trading following …

Ex-CEO of blown W.Va. mine indicted

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The former CEO who oversaw the West Virginia mine that exploded, killing 29 people, was indicted Thursday on federal charges related to a safety investigation that followed the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in 40 …

US drones patrolling half of Mexico border

Thursday, November 13, 2014

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. — The U.S. government now patrols nearly half the Mexican border by drones alone in a largely unheralded shift to control desolate stretches where there are no agents, camera towers, ground sensors or fences, and …