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Northampton City Council sets criteria for large residential projects near downtown, moratorium to end next month

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Prospective buyers of the old Shaw’s Motel on Bridge Street finally have an incentive to complete the deal after the City Council approved a substantial zoning change governing large residential projects Thursday night. By signing off on design criteria for projects of seven or more units in a unanimous first vote, councilors also lifted a 14-month moratorium on large-scale residential projects close to downtown. A final vote is …

MGM, Wynn to take on $1 billion debt for casino projects

Thursday, November 20, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Two Las Vegas-based casino companies announced plans Thursday to take on at least $1 billion in debt to help pay for new casino-hotel developments in Massachusetts and cover other incidental costs. MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd. disclosed their plans in separate financial filings with federal regulators. MGM Resorts said it planned to issue $1 billion in notes …

Casino companies dispute value of having customers set limits on time, money spent on slot machines

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BOSTON — In a rarely used strategy to address gambling addiction, Massachusetts regulators may require casinos to reward their customers for voluntarily setting limits on how much time and money they spend at slot machines. But the state’s recently licensed casino companies — Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming — have voiced strong concerns over the proposal, suggesting such programs …

Ashfield woman faces charges after Jeep strikes utility pole in Amherst, cutting power and closing road

Thursday, November 20, 2014

AMHERST — A 22-year-old Ashfield woman will be summoned to court on several motor vehicle-related charges after the Jeep she was driving at the intersection of Sunderland Road and Route 116 struck a utility pole early Thursday morning, police said. The woman, who was not at the scene …

Fire which started on porch of house in Sunderland extinguished in 10 minutes

Thursday, November 20, 2014

SUNDERLAND — Michael and Carol Ahearn were sitting on the couch and recliner in their living room just after 9 p.m. Wednesday when her nose picked up an unusual smell. “She said, ‘I think something is burning,’ and we had some Yankee Candles lit, so I blew them …

State will replace 105-year-old bridge in East Deerfield

Thursday, November 20, 2014

EAST DEERFIELD — A dilapidated bridge that crosses over the railroad tracks on McClelland Farm Road, which was last rebuilt in the 1950s, will now be replaced. At a public hearing Tuesday in the Deerfield town offices, representatives …

Area briefs

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Amherst CITRUS SALE: Citrus is being sold to benefit the band and orchestra programs in the Amherst Regional schools. Oranges and grapefruit are being sold in two-fifths and four-fifths bushels as well as 10-pound bags. To order, email Ben Peterson, high school orchestra conductor, at petersonb@arps.org. High school …

Key players in medical marijuana industry air implications in community forum

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Panelists at a forum on medical marijuana Wednesday discussed the various complexities of using pot medically, from the legality of growing it to finding the right dosage and knowing when it is and isn’t safe to …

Northampton City Council to consider zoning changes for larger residential projects, possible end to moratorium near downtown

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Some 14 months after putting a hold on approval of large-scale residential projects close to downtown, the City Council is expected to decide Thursday whether to adopt new zoning regulations and lift the moratorium. If approved, the rules would guide the future development of several key …

UMass, Hampshire and Holyoke Community colleges get $810,000 grant to combine clean-energy studies with sustainable agriculture

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AMHERST — Agricultural students at the University of Massachusetts, Hampshire College and Holyoke Community College will benefit from an $810,000 National Science Foundation grant to create collaborative programs combining clean energy studies with sustainable agriculture. “The main purpose of the grant is to marry what has for the …

With new class, Northampton High School students tell stories through song

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton High School has become a more soulful place thanks to a new songwriting course this year, where students in Grades 9 through 12 have the opportunity to write and perform original music. The one-semester class …

Northampton BID opponents say they are not invited to mayor’s downtown stakeholder meeting Thursday

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A meeting of downtown stakeholders called by Mayor David J. Narkewicz is scheduled for Thursday, but it is not open to the public and apparently will not include some opponents of the Northampton Business Improvement District, which a judge last week ordered shut down. Among those …

Rental permitting program in Amherst helps to identify and resolve problems

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AMHERST — A dilapidated fire escape, unsafe porches and debris strewn on the lawn have been among the problems reported to the town’s inspection services department at a three-family home rented to college students on Phillips Street. With stepped-up inspections as the result of the rental permitting program …