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Hilltown Voices: Haydenville Congregational Church hosts series on Islam, combating anti-Muslim bias

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Haydenville Congregational Church will host a series of workshops and discussions over the next five months exploring Islam and finding ways to address what organizers say is growing anti-Muslim sentiment. “In December, several groups within the church were spontaneously discussing the growing Islamophobia and what can be done about it,” said Rev. Andrea Ayvazian, pastor of the church. “We decided to pull a program together that would be both educational and a call to action.” The series “Understanding Islam and Combating Anti-Muslim Rhetoric and Violence” will begin from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The first event will feature the film, “Muhammed: Legacy of A Prophet” to be followed by a discussion. Ayvazian said …

Eric Nakajima quits as director of Massachusetts Broadband Institute amid dispute over WiredWest

Friday, February 12, 2016

Eric Nakajima, the man who was to have shepherded the build-out of “Last-Mile” broadband to most of western Massachusetts, has stepped down from his job. Nakajima, who visited most of the unserved and underserved Hilltowns this fall and winter to talk about their broadband needs, announced Friday he is leaving his post as director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute effective immediately. However, he …

Deerfield Select Board takes no action against weimaraner which allegedly attacked Beaver Drive woman

Friday, February 12, 2016

DEERFIELD — The Select Board this week opted not to take action against a dog that has allegedly attacked the same woman and her dogs three times in as many years, but warned the owner that precautions must be taken. Nancy Sunflower, of 14 Beaver Drive, has filed three complaints regarding a weimaraner owned by Valerie Telega, of 5 Beaver Drive. Sunflower elaborated …

Good Time Stove Co. of Goshen provides main extra to Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’

Thursday, February 11, 2016

GOSHEN — The Good Time Stove Co. once again has sent one of its products to the big screen. An antique potbelly stove purchased from the shop on Route 112 is featured in director Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, …

Building commissioner raises concern about weight of new roof planned at Deerfield Elementary School

Thursday, February 11, 2016

DEERFIELD — The town’s building commissioner is concerned that the weight of a new roof planned for the Deerfield Elementary School might exceed state building codes, and he is reviewing information from the project architect. Richard Calisewski told the Select Board this week he was frustrated that Raymond …

Elevated levels of lead found in Granby Junior-Senior High School and East Meadow Elementary School

Thursday, February 11, 2016

GRANBY— Lead in water from five taps at the Junior-Senior High School and the East Meadow Elementary School tested at levels higher than allowed for childcare facilities in the state, according to Judith Houle, the interim school superintendent. She posted a statement alerting the public Thursday on the …

Swastika found in UMass bathroom prompts police investigation

Thursday, February 11, 2016

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts Amherst police have launched an investigation after a swastika was found carved in a bathroom stall on campus earlier this month. The swastika was discovered etched into a bathroom stall in the Integrative Learning Center building. After the symbol was found, officials taped …

Area police news

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Amherst • An Amherst woman called police at 11:13 p.m. Wednesday to report returning home and finding fresh spackle on the ceiling. Police said there was no evidence that anyone entered the residence, and it was not clear if the spackle was recently applied. • Police are investigating …

Gov. Charlie Baker names Northampton lawyer John Pucci to commission that will screen applicants for Supreme Judicial Court

Thursday, February 11, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — Lawyer John P. Pucci, of Northampton, is one of 12 people named by Gov. Charlie Baker to recruit and screen candidates to fill three vacancies this year on the state Supreme Judicial Court. “The SJC has …

Amherst Town Clerk rules that Select Board challenger Helen Berg fails to submit enough certified signatures

Thursday, February 11, 2016

AMHERST — Select Board challenger Helen Berg said Thursday that she will dispute the town clerk’s ruling blocking her name from being on the March 29 ballot. Town Clerk Sandra Burgess said Berg, of 273 Montague Road, Apt. 4, submitted her nomination papers by the 5 p.m. Tuesday …

Jones Library negotiates with Amherst Historical Society over acquiring land for expansion

Thursday, February 11, 2016

AMHERST — Jones Library and Amherst Historical Society officials are nearing an agreement for the library to acquire a portion of the neighboring ¾-acre property to accommodate a proposed expansion and renovation project. Library Director Sharon Sharry said in an email Wednesday that she anticipates a memorandum of …

Cold in forecast postpones Amherst WinterFest, but Black Liberation flag-raising still set for Saturday

Thursday, February 11, 2016

AMHERST — Forbiddingly cold temperatures are forcing the postponement of the annual WinterFest from Saturday to Feb. 20. Barbara Bilz, who oversees Cherry Hill for the town’s Leisure Services and Supplemental Education Department, said the decision was made with the WinterFest committee, made up of representatives of the …

Political analyst Mary Anne Marsh reflects on ‘craziest’ election after New Hampshire primaries

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Expect a “slugfest through the spring and possibly the early summer.” That’s the word from Mary Anne Marsh, the Greenfield-raised political pundit reporting on “the greatest election of my lifetime, and the craziest I’ve seen,” following Tuesday’s New …