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Plainfield, Ashfield, Buckland join to seek state grant reducing cost of installing solar panels for residents, businesses

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

With 133 households interested in installing solar-electric systems on their homes, the newly formed Ashfield-Buckland-Plainfield consortium has applied for a “Solarize Mass” grant that would cut the cost of electricity-producing solar panels by up to 20 percent below the statewide average. If the consortium’s application is among the 10 to be awarded by the state next month, residents and businesses in these towns would be eligible to participate in the …

Amherst Select Board supports increase in CPA surcharge; opposes fluoride testing

Monday, October 20, 2014

AMHERST — The Select Board on Monday voted to support an increase on the surcharge on residential tax bills, and opposed more rigorous testing of the fluoride that has been put in the town’s drinking water supply since 1987. The Select Board Monday voted 3-1, with one abstention, to endorse an increase in the Community Preservation Act surcharge from 1.5 percent to 3 …

Barbara Love says discussion of racist incidents part of healing process in Amherst

Monday, October 20, 2014

AMHERST — White people have learned a series of reactions to racism, progressing from denial to confusion to concluding that the victim must have done something wrong, Barbara Love told about 130 people at the Unitarian Society of Amherst. Love, professor emeritus of social justice at the University of Massachusetts School of Education, …

Gov. Deval Patrick scheduled to appear in Amherst on Tuesday

Monday, October 20, 2014

AMHERST — Gov. Deval Patrick is scheduled to be in Amherst Tuesday afternoon to make an announcement related to investments in infrastructure and housing developments across Massachusetts. The town’s website Monday posted an invitation to the event at 2 p.m. at Kendrick Park at the northern end of …

Red pine scale: Insect the size of fleck of pepper killing trees in Northampton’s watershed

Monday, October 20, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A tiny insect the size of a fleck of pepper is wreaking havoc on red pine trees in the city’s watershed lands, forcing the Department of Public Works to hire a forester to survey the trees …

Weekend alcohol violations in Amherst lead to 17 arrests or summons to court

Monday, October 20, 2014

AMHERST — Enforcement of alcohol laws during the weekend led to the arrest or summons to court of 17 people. While police broke up several parties as part of their responses to 229 calls for service, no arrests or tickets were issued for violations of the town’s noise …

Northampton Police break up underage party thanks to extra patrol funded by grant

Monday, October 20, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — City police out on “party patrol” broke up an underage party Friday night as part of a new grant-funded effort to combat underage drinking. The $5,979 state grant the city received is paying for overtime so officers can work extra shifts when they will target underage …

Rollover accident injures driver, closes part of Bay Road in Amherst while power lines repaired

Monday, October 20, 2014

AMHERST — A one-car rollover crash near 883 Bay Road injured the driver and sheared a utility pole Monday afternoon, according to police. The accident about 4:45 p.m. closed the road from the Belchertown line to the intersection with Hulst Road. The road remained closed for most of …

Area court news

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hatfield ■ Matthew Obrzut, 21, of Ludlow, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court on Monday to a charge of assault and battery on a family member. According to court documents, Obrzut was arrested in the parking lot of the Hatfield Elementary School at 5:30 p.m. Saturday after …

Two staff houses evacuated at Smith College after excavator hits natural gas line

Monday, October 20, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Six people were evacuated from two houses for Smith College staff when an excavator working nearby on Paradise Road punctured an underground natural gas line. Northampton Deputy Fire Chief Timothy McQueston said the damage to the two-inch pipe was reported at 12:04 p.m. and Paradise Road …

Area police news

Monday, October 20, 2014

Amherst ■ Cindy A. Drake, 49, of 189 Michael Sears Road, Belchertown, was arrested at 1:16 a.m. Sunday on West Street on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle to endanger, and failure to use care in …

Second suspect in house break on Mount Warner Road in Hadley arrested in Montague

Monday, October 20, 2014

HADLEY — The second man police allege was involved in a break at a Hadley home late Wednesday night was arrested Saturday in Montague, police said. Alejandro Arean-Raines, 19, of Montague, was arrested at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on a warrant and transferred to Hadley Police. According to the …

UMass student Chloe Malast found dead in dorm; no foul play suspected

Monday, October 20, 2014

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts student died at McNamara dormitory in the Sylvan residential area Sunday night, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office. A campuswide email sent Monday afternoon informed students, faculty and staff that Chloe Malast, a member of the Commonwealth Honors College from Needham, …