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A leopard gecko.

Area police news: Loose lizard prompts police response in Amherst, and more

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Amherst ∎ A loose leopard gecko created a frightening situation for a Main Street woman Tuesday night when it got into her downtown apartment and hid beneath her bed, police said. Officers responded at 9:12 p.m. to the residence, where they found the lizard and placed it into a bag. The pet was later returned to its owners, who came …

Mediation, deliberation at issue in Amherst

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

AMHERST — It’s a war of words among Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee members, who will meet Monday about two deliberation-based complaints. The first is a dispute about whether an email sent to the entire board from member Katherine Appy constituted deliberation, thereby violating the state’s Open Meeting Law. The second is what sparked the email — Appy’s assertion that committee Chairman Trevor Baptiste …

Motorcycle flees police, crashes -- and other area police news

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Amherst ∎ Two males fighting outside an apartment at The Boulders, 188 East Hadley Road, at 3:53 p.m. Monday ended their scuffle when police got there. They were advised they could pursue their own assault-and-battery complaints in court. Hadley ∎ Police responded to a two-car crash on Route 9 at 8:48 a.m. Tuesday near the intersection with Mill Valley Road. A 53-year-old woman …

Strong afternoon storm downs trees in Deerfield

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DEERFIELD — The sudden storm that moved through the area Tuesday afternoon left little more than rapidly evaporating puddles in some towns, but tore down trees elsewhere. Police closed a section of Lower Road in Deerfield, where massive …

Hadley officials make do in temporary quarters amid Town Hall work

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

HADLEY — While Town Hall undergoes asbestos removal, Hadley officials are using the forced displacement from their offices to plan for catastrophes. Fire Chief Michael H. Spanknebel said he invited those who work in Town Hall to set up shop in the public safety complex on East Street …

Bail reduced for Northampton man accused of child rape

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A Northampton man accused of sexually assaulting two girls he knew had his bail reduced from $50,000 to $10,000 in Hampshire Superior Court on Monday. The decision by Judge Richard Carey came during a bail hearing for Stanley J. Michalski, 30, of 9 Florence Road. Michalski …

Peter Zygmont, accused of Florence arson, held without bail at Superior Court arraignment

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A Florence man accused of setting his home on fire in April pleaded not guilty to a single charge of arson of a dwelling in Hampshire Superior Court Tuesday. Peter C. Zygmont, 62, of 111 North …

Massachusetts lawmakers postpone vote on public records reform

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — House lawmakers have pushed a vote to reform the state’s public records law to later this year as they review various objections to the bill’s language, which continues to be revised. The bill has been under …

Amherst Select Board approves earned sick and personal leave for part-time employees

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

AMHERST — Nearly 120 part-time workers for the town of Amherst will be eligible to earn sick leave and personal days for the first time, beginning Aug. 1. The Select Board Monday, acting on a recommendation from the Personnel Board, voted 4-0 to offer the benefit of paid …

Police confiscate marijuana from youths on the Rail Trail — and other area police news

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Easthampton ∎ Daniel Taylor, 18, of 93 Pomeroy St., was arrested Sunday at 4:17 p.m. at 264 Main St. on a charge of disturbing the peace after police responded to two calls complaining that Taylor was being disruptive while arguing with his girlfriend. ∎ A resident of Maple …

Light on their feet

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Northampton Fire Chief Duane Nichols sworn in with promise of increased community outreach

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Freshly sworn-in Fire Chief Duane Nichols said Monday he would ride on the enthusiasm and energy of his department and work with city leaders to increase community outreach and education. “This is a celebration of new …

Valley observers see positives in Boston 2024’s failure

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

HATFIELD — Judy Strong, who competed as a field hockey player in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, said she was torn Monday on learning that Boston would not be the host in 2024. Strong, now 55 and an umpire, was 24 when her team won the bronze, …