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Emmanuel T. Bile  answers question while on trial for being   accused of taking part in a gang rape of a UMass student in 2012.

Defendant Emmanuel Bile Jr. testifies that alleged victim in UMass gang rape was conscious and willing when they had sex

Thursday, March 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — On the witness stand Thursday, a Pittsfield man accused of participating in the gang rape of an 18-year-old University of Massachusetts Amherst student in 2012 told jurors the woman was conscious and a willing participant. “I looked in her eyes, she saw it was me,” Emmanuel T. Bile Jr., 21, testified. “She was consenting to what I was …

A shot in the dark as officers train

Friday, March 27, 2015

NORTHAMPTON The city’s police force spent three days this week taking part in specialized firearms training with Blue Line Corp. of Sudbury. The program was held at the Massachusetts State Police barracks on North King Street in Northampton and focused on live firearms training in the dark as well as situational “shoot or …

Senate pushes non-binding budget toward approval

Thursday, March 26, 2015

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans pushed a balanced-budget blueprint toward late-night approval Thursday night, laying down conservative markers for a likely veto struggle with President Barack Obama over their plans to erase deficits through trillions in spending cuts and repeal of the health care law. Approval of the non-binding budget was a certainty, one …

Oklahomans pick up after storm

Thursday, March 26, 2015

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. — Oklahomans salvaged soggy belongings Thursday after the Plains’ first tornado outbreak of 2015, expressing gratitude that casualties were low but understanding that nature’s next punch could be far worse. One person died and dozens …

Electric rate shock even worse than expected for some

Thursday, March 26, 2015

This has been a hard winter for many, not only because of historically cold temperatures, but also because they’ve seen electric bills shoot through the roof. The heart of the problem is the generation rate, or supply rate, that represents local utilities’ pass-through cost for the power they …

Greenfield hires owner of Lake Hitchcock Development as temporary, part-time economic development director

Thursday, March 26, 2015

GREENFIELD — The owner of a development firm in Sunderland is the new part-time economic development director in Greenfield who will work for the next three months. Mayor William Martin said Larry Jutras, owner of Lake Hitchcock Development in Sunderland, has taken the job and will work on …

Area brief

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Amherst NOMINATIONS FOR EDUCATOR AWARD: Parents, students, teachers and staff are invited to make nominations for the first Amherst Regional Middle School Educator Award. It will recognize an educator who demonstrates a commitment to supporting students, collaborating with colleagues and contributing in a positive way to the middle …

Support in Amherst for second downtown parking garage

Thursday, March 26, 2015

AMHERST — Beginning the process of bringing a second parking garage to downtown Amherst appears to have strong support from business owners, residents and some town officials. People who attended the third downtown parking forum, sponsored this week by the Planning Board and Select Board, made it clear …

Increasingly ugly environment discourages some candidates from running for Amherst School Committee

Thursday, March 26, 2015

AMHERST — In one sense, the town of Amherst exemplifies the spirit of local democracy: just about everyone who has an opinion shares it. But by another measure, the town falls short — at least this year. Voters …

Amherst write-in campaign backs Lawrence O’Brien for school panel, but he says he will not accept seat

Thursday, March 26, 2015

AMHERST — Supporters of incumbent School Committee member Lawrence E. O’Brien are staging a write-in campaign on his behalf in advance of Tuesday’s town elections. Problem is, he’s not interested. O’Brien, who withdrew from the election despite collecting …

Headliners come out on top in Northampton Adult Spelling Bee

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Daguerreotype, a long-abandoned photography technique, was the word that propelled the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s team, “The Headliners,” to its fourth victory at the Northampton Adult Spelling Bee. The team, made up of Gazette staffers Ellie Cook, …

Six senators, including Elizabeth Warren, urge VA to cover stateside Agent Orange exposure

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Six U.S. senators, including Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat representing Massachusetts, have sent a letter imploring the federal government to allow pilots and crews who flew Agent Orange-contaminated plans on stateside missions to qualify for benefits. The letter could …

First Churches of Northampton loses partners in the pew Vivian Eastman and Edna Michalowski

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — For decades, Vivian Eastman and Edna Michalowski sat together in the same wooden pew at First Churches, about halfway back toward the left of the historic building’s ornate sanctuary. Eastman never drove, so Michalowski usually picked …