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FILE - In this April 11, 2014 file photo, former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, right, arrives with attorney Reid Weingarten at federal court in New Haven, Conn. A judge has set closing arguments for Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in the federal trial of former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Massachusetts woman who stalked Spacey sentenced

Thursday, September 18, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts woman who threatened to blow up, torture and castrate Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey in what prosecutors called a “persistent and malevolent” cyberstalking campaign has been sentenced to more than four years in prison. Linda Louise Culkin, 55, of Quincy, was also ordered by a judge Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boston to pay Spacey …

Get Growing Goldenrod

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fields and roadsides are bright with the blossoms of goldenrod. Sometimes this wild flower even is found in home gardens — including mine. I welcome the beautiful flowers but admit this plant can take over a landscape design. I need to uproot big clumps of it this fall in order to prevent an …

Live Smart: How to deal confidently with contractor upselling

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Upselling is a fact of consumer life, from “will you have fries with that?” at the drive-thru to the credit card promotion at the department store cash register. But when it comes to home services, how can you tell the difference between a worthwhile recommendation and a pitch you should ditch? The answer revolves around one word: trust. Do you trust your plumbing, …

Your Time: Iroko Nuevo’s Afro-Cuban dance party, Hadley

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Last Wednesday, a room at North Star in Hadley was transformed into an Afro-Cuban dance party by members of the Iroko Nuevo Performance Group, which holds monthly dance classes for Hadley residents. Every few months, the performers present …

Task force in Franklin County continues to address problems of opioid addiction

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

GREENFIELD — The area Opioid Task Force met Tuesday for a look at the big picture of addiction in Franklin County and to hear reports from subcommittees on housing, law enforcement and health care. The meeting at Greenfield Community College drew some 100 people, with representatives from the …

Retired Army Col. John Collins new director of VA Central Western Massachusetts Health Care System

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Retired Army Col. John P. Collins, former chief of military health care in Europe, is the new director of the VA Central Western Massachusetts Health Care System. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Collins’ appointment this …

Former NBA player Chris Herren to speak in Greenfield about his struggle with addiction

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

GREENFIELD — Chris Herren made it from the coastal city of Fall River to his home team, the Boston Celtics. His path was paved with stints in rehab as he struggled with escalating abuse of substances ranging from alcohol to cocaine, crystal meth and heroin. From the early …

Large cities seek to combat prescription opioid abuse

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WASHINGTON — Some of the nation’s largest cities are ratcheting up their criticism of prescription painkillers, blaming the industry for a wave of addiction and overdoses that have ravaged their communities and busted local budgets. The heightened rhetoric comes as Chicago tries to recover millions in health care …

CDC study: American midriffs expanding fast

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CHICAGO — The number of American men and women with big-bellied, apple-shaped figures — the most dangerous kind of obesity — has climbed at a startling rate over the past decade, according to a government study. People whose …

Keyboardist, Crusaders founder Joe Sample dies at 75

Monday, September 15, 2014

Joe Sample, a soft-spoken keyboard player and composer whose blending of funk, blues, jazz, gospel and the Zydeco music of his childhood lent a distinctive sound to his well-known group, the Crusaders, has died. He was 75. Sample …

US stepping up Ebola aid

Monday, September 15, 2014

WASHINGTON — The American strategy on Ebola is two-pronged: Step up desperately needed aid to West Africa and, in an unusual step, train U.S. doctors and nurses for volunteer duty in the outbreak zone. At home, the goal …

FDA eyes Mass. school’s shock treatments

Sunday, September 14, 2014

CANTON — Some cut themselves. Others slam their heads against walls or desks — so hard that one girl detached both retinas and a young man triggered a stroke. Another pulled out all his teeth. Self-injury is one …

Belchertown volunteers build Jessica’s Boundless Playground

Saturday, September 13, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — Vicky Martins-Auffrey felt like she was in a dream Saturday morning as a crew of volunteers lugged and installed posts, panels, hardware, platforms and other components of Jessica’s Boundless Playground on State Street. “It feels surreal, …