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Amherst Irish Association promotes better understanding of Ireland’s culture

Saturday, January 31, 2015

AMHERST — A recently formed group focused on promoting Irish culture is putting on a series of events designed to move beyond stereotypes and provide insights to a society where St. Patrick’s Day, the most prominent Irish celebration, is often associated with alcohol consumption. Ide O’Carroll, a representative of the Amherst Irish Association, said Thursday that the group is a community-based initiative that will offer programs featuring talks, music and …

Hilltown Voices: New Vision Pioneers make small bears at Williamsburg tavern to brighten lives of children

Saturday, January 31, 2015

On the third Tuesday morning of every month, a room at The Brewmaster’s Tavern at 4 Main St. in Williamsburg turns into a mini-manufacturing site with 20 to 25 women sitting at tables around the room stuffing, sewing, embellishing and organizing small bears to be given as gifts to children in need. The …

Longtime anti-war activist Phyllis Rodin dies in Amherst at age 100

Friday, January 30, 2015

AMHERST — Longtime anti-war activist Phyllis Rodin died Friday at the age of 100 at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst. The feisty feminist is remembered across the Valley for her political activism and the many lives she’s touched, according to her friend and caretaker Anne Griffin of Florence. “She’s a force …

Easthampton Spirit Committee will no longer sponsor annual fireworks

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

EASTHAMPTON — The Easthampton Spirit Committee announced Wednesday that it will no longer sponsor the city’s annual fireworks display, held each year to celebrate Independence Day. The group has been organizing the shows since 2011. Chairmen Patrick Brough and Kevin Perrier created the committee after the Kiwanis Club …

Construction of new cancer center to begin at Cooley Dickinson Hospital

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — The first highly visible sign that a new era in cancer treatment is dawning at Cooley Dickinson Hospital will roll onto the hospital grounds Monday morning in the form of a 200-ton crane. Over a seven-day …

Many African-Americans fall into a health ‘coverage gap’

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of people of color who do not have health insurance is projected to fall dramatically by 2016, greatly narrowing the historic disparities in coverage between whites and nonwhites. But one minority group is likely to benefit less than …

Medicare to transform how it pays doctors, hospitals

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration outlined ambitious new goals Monday to transform over the next four years the way that the gargantuan Medicare program pays doctors and hospitals, rewarding providers that achieve better outcomes for patients rather than those that just do more. The move away from so-called …

Oscar Watch: ‘Birdman’ up, ‘Boyhood’ down ... for now

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

For the last few months, Richard Linklater’s micro-budgeted, experimental coming-of-age drama, “Boyhood,” has reigned supreme as the least likely best picture front-runner in the history of the Oscars, winning the Golden Globe, multiple critics prizes and a boundless supply of goodwill. That kingpin status changed this weekend as …

Travel ban lifted for western Mass, I-91; still in effect for Mass Pike

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FRAMINGHAM — The statewide travel ban has been lifted for Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties for local and I-91 traffic, effective immediately, in an announcement made shortly after noon by Gov. Charlie Baker. The travel ban remains in effect for the entire length of the Massachusetts Turnpike, …

Despite its weak record in stopping the flu this season, doctors still say, Get the shot

Monday, January 26, 2015

While federal health officials say this year’s flu vaccine is less effective than in previous years, local doctors and nurses encourage people to get vaccinated anyway. “The flu shot and good hygiene are still your best frontline at …

Fatherhood Journey: Family visit deepens son’s appreciation of his dad

Monday, January 26, 2015

Life in our small home is full, so hosting extended family visits is both exciting and challenging. When my father recently decided to visit for six-days and nights, he understandably wanted to maximize time with his grandchildren, so he visited during the stretch between Christmas and New Year’s …

John Bayley, half of famed and devoted literary couple, dies at 89

Monday, January 26, 2015

As marriages go, John Bayley and Iris Murdoch’s was one for the ages - doting, dotty and undyingly tolerant. He was the eminent critic and Oxford don, who also was known to stuff his pockets with leftovers. She was the brilliant novelist and skinny-dipping libertine, whose philosophical treatments …

WHO adopts reforms after bungling Ebola

Sunday, January 25, 2015

GENEVA — The World Health Organization has proposed reforms that could overhaul its structure after botching the response to the biggest-ever Ebola outbreak, a sluggish performance that experts say cost thousands of lives. On Sunday, several dozen of …