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UMass director of community relations Tony Maroulis starts series of informal town-gown conversations

Friday, October 24, 2014

AMHERST — An initiative to continue building relationships between the University of Massachusetts and its host communities begins Monday with a series of coffee-shop meetings. Tony Maroulis, director of community relations at UMass, is starting the “community conversations” at 10:30 a.m. at the Black Sheep Deli, 79 Main St. He is inviting anyone with questions, comments or complaints related to UMass and its relationship with Amherst and surrounding communities to …

Work planned for railroad crossing on Damon Road in Northampton to cause traffic delays

Friday, October 24, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Nearly three months after completing upgrades to a railroad crossing at the Damon Road-Industrial Drive intersection, construction crews will return to the area starting Monday to complete the final part of the project in preparation for high-speed rail. Crews under the direction of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority will install a new traffic signal, new traffic control signals for the railroad …

Area court news

Friday, October 24, 2014

Huntington ■ Alex Brown, 23, of 20 Blandford Hill Road, Apt. B, Huntington, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court on Thursday to a charge of assault and battery on a family or household member. He was arrested at his home at 10:52 p.m. Wednesday after allegedly throwing his mother to the ground and pushing her, according to court records. Brown was released …

Area brief

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Southampton TAX BILLS DUE: Tax bill payments for the second quarter are due Nov. 3. Real estate, personal property and motor vehicle tax bills can be paid online at www.town.southampton.me.us by clicking the link for online tax payment. Checks, but not cash, can be left in the drop …

Easthampton awards lowest bidder Nashawannuck Pond promenade job - still project cost balloons

Thursday, October 23, 2014

EASTHAMPTON — A South Hadley company won the contract to build the Nashawannuck Pond promenade, though it will come at a much higher cost than anticipated. The long-awaited project is expected to begin within two weeks. Marois Construction …

Hampshire Regional Drama Company to stage ‘Fools’ Friday through Sunday

Thursday, October 23, 2014

WESTHAMPTON — The Hampshire Regional High School Drama Company will stage a play this weekend about a Russian village that has been cursed with stupidity. Neil Simon’s comedy “Fools,” set in the late 19th-century, follows schoolteacher Leon Tolchinsky as he tries to educate the townspeople and eventually falls …

Telephone service malfunctions at Gazette for most of Thursday

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Northampton — A problem with telephone service at the Daily Hampshire Gazette at 115 Conz St. on Thursday was repaired by mid-evening. The problem which began in the early morning prevented callers from reaching employees directly for much of the day Thursday. Outgoing calls were also affected. Verizon …

Deerfield Board of Health votes to ban Tennessee Gas Pipeline construction within town’s borders

Thursday, October 23, 2014

DEERFIELD — The Board of Health voted Wednesday night to ban construction of a proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. natural gas pipeline within the town’s borders, calling the project an “unreasonable risk to the health and lives of …

Amherst bylaw dating back to 1966 jeopardizes farm intern program

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

AMHERST — Driving stakes into the ground and stringing up tomato plants on them was hard work for Samantha “Sam” Bavelock. Despite the many hours of planting, weeding and harvesting she put in as an intern with the …

Bankers say data breach over that affected Easthampton, Southampton businesses, including Big E’s

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

EASTHAMPTON — Local bankers said this week that data breaches at some retailers in Easthampton and Southampton, including Big E’s Supermarket, appear to be over, thanks partly to businesses’ efforts to upgrade security. Easthampton Savings Bank President and …

Moderator breaks tie vote at Whately special Town Meeting over spending $10,000 to revive Town Hall project

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WHATELY — Voters this week deadlocked over spending $10,000 to explore options for improving the Town Hall building. Town Moderator Paul Fleuriel broke the 23-23 tie vote at a special Town Meeting on Tuesday by ruling in favor of the article to approve spending the $10,000 to hold …

Alleged leader of auto insurance fraud ring based in New York indicted on 29 more charges

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The alleged leader of an auto insurance fraud ring has been indicted on 29 new charges. Lefen “Helen” Chen, 55, of Flushing, N.Y., is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on those charges of insurance fraud, perjury and conspiracy. Chen is accused of being the ringleader of a New …

Proposed zoning amendment requiring affordable housing prompts disagreement in Amherst

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

AMHERST — With a mixed-use redevelopment project proposed to replace the Amherst Carriage Shops, proponents of increasing affordable housing in town are seeking to leverage developers’ requests for special permits by mandating that a portion of the units be set aside for low- and moderate-income families. A zoning …