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Montague fire leaves 7 families homeless on Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 26, 2015

MONTAGUE CENTER — A house fire struck before dawn today on Dry Hill Road in Montague, displacing seven families. The apartment house at 9 Dry Hill Road was badly damaged by 4:20. Route 63 at Dry Hill was closed while about 70 firefighters from multiple departments battled the blaze.  No one was hurt.  Lack of hydrants in the immediate area allowed the …

Legislature approves measure giving Amherst tool to encourage affordable housing through property tax relief

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

AMHERST — A home-rule petition which gives Amherst a tool encouraging developers to provide affordable housing through property tax relief was approved by the state Legislature Wednesday, according to a legislative aide. Brad Dye, staff director for state Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, said in an email Wednesday that the bill titled “an act providing affordable housing property tax incentives in the town of …

Students, alumnae urge Smith College to divest its $1.77 billion endowment from fossil fuels

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — An increasing number of students and alumnae are urging Smith College to divest its $1.77 billion endowment from fossil fuels, and say they are growing impatient with the lack of response from campus officials. Meghan Kallman, a 2005 Smith graduate who lives in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, contacted the Gazette on Tuesday to share a letter sent last month to administrators which …

UMass officials say ‘White Students Union’ Facebook page is fake, and one of several reported around the country

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

AMHERST — A recently created “UMass Amherst Area White Students Union” Facebook page is not associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst or any student groups, according to campus officials, and appears to be one of a number …

Traffic backups linger for hours on Interstate 91 southbound after garbage truck fire near Exit 17 in Holyoke

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

HOLYOKE — A garbage truck hauling cardboard caught fire near Exit 17 on Interstate 91 southbound Tuesday morning, shutting down a section of the highway and requiring firefighters to spend hours methodically extinguishing pieces of burning cargo. No …

Area police news

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Amherst • A white 1996 Acura Integra reported stolen from Southpoint Apartments, 266 East Hadley Road, at 7:02 p.m. Saturday was recovered at 9:31 a.m. Tuesday in Springfield, with both license plates missing. • The shoplifting of a curling iron, a curling kit and other hair products valued …

James Palermo of Southampton obtains international student assessment test records after 1½-year public records battle

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Ten days after a Hampshire Superior Court judge ordered the release of a list of 49 Massachusetts schools and districts that participated in a 2012 international student assessment study, state education officials have turned over the …

Motorists from Vermont and Goshen arrested by Deerfield Police within an hour of each other for drunken driving

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

DEERFIELD — Two men, including one from Goshen, were arrested for drunken driving within an hour of each other on Routes 5 and 10 in Greenfield on Saturday night and Sunday morning, according to Deerfield police. Russel Cranshaw, 60, of Brattleboro, Vermont, was arrested and charged with operating …

Fourth defendant Caleb Womack found competent to stand trial in UMass rape case

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — The last of four men accused of raping a University of Massachusetts Amherst student in her dorm room has been found competent to stand trial following a mental health evaluation. Jury selection in the trial of …

Amherst Police advise students, residents leaving town for Thanksgiving to guard against break-ins

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

MHERST — With many college students leaving town for the Thanksgiving break and then winter recess, the Amherst Police department is launching its annual STOP initiative, aimed at preventing break-ins and thefts. STOP is an acronym for Secure, Take, Out of sight and Patrols. The program encourages residents …

Sunderland updates affordable housing plan for first time in eight years

Monday, November 23, 2015

SUNDERLAND — Amid a years-long struggle to increase housing options in town, meet the state’s affordable housing quota and regain some control over proposed housing projects, Sunderland is updating its Housing Production Plan. The plan, developed by the town Housing Committee with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, …

Photos: Sticky business at Dufresne’s Sugar House

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Photos by Carol Lollis Keith Dufresne of Dufresne’s Sugar House cleans out a tank used to hold sap from maple trees at one of his sugarbushes off Route 9 in Williamsburg last week. …