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‘The stars aligned’; reflected sunlight the cause of Amherst bedroom fire

Saturday, December 20, 2014

AMHERST — It wasn’t electrical. The residents weren’t smokers. The fire began in a home on South East Street seemingly out of nothing, consumed an old chair, and then sputtered out after damaging a nearby wall. The chair was clearly where the fire started, according to Amherst Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson, who headed up the investigation team, but the rest was a mystery. “There wasn’t anything left in the …

Northampton to ask state for five above-quota liquor licenses

Saturday, December 20, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Nothing is quite as frustrating for Juan Suarez as watching a potential customer walk out the door of his downtown Mexican restaurant after realizing they cannot order a cocktail or martini with their dinner. Yet that’s exactly what happens nearly every night at Ibiza Tapas Wine Bar on Strong Avenue downtown because the restaurant does not have an all-alcohol liquor license …

Around South Hadley: Apartments proposed for former library in South Hadley Falls, vacant lot on Canal Street

Saturday, December 20, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — The town has received one response each to requests for proposals on development at the former public library at 27 Bardwell St. and a vacant lot at 1 Canal St. across from the new public library. The Select Board will hear presentations on each at its Jan. 6 meeting. Both …

US-Cuba thaw validates Congressman James McGovern’s longtime advocacy for improved relations

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Congressman James P. McGovern, long an advocate of improved U.S.-Cuba relations, got a front-row seat Wednesday to the event he said made increased diplomacy possible — the return of American prisoner Alan Gross from Cuba. The Worcester Democrat, …

Governor gets high-level call on air

Thursday, December 18, 2014

BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has fielded calls on hundreds of subjects during his monthly “Ask the Governor” radio show. But this call was one of a kind. “Uh, Governor, this is Barack Obama, formerly of Somerville,” the caller began Thursday. “I’ve got a few complaints about …

Northampton swears in six new police officers, begins return to fully-staffed department

Thursday, December 18, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Six new full-time officers were sworn in Thursday, joining five current members of the Northampton Police Department who were promoted during a ceremony celebrating what Chief Russell P. Sienkiewicz described as progress after a “dark time” …

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy praises outgoing president Robert Caret

Thursday, December 18, 2014

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy said President Robert L. Caret will leave the university in a strong position when he departs next year to become chancellor of the University System of Maryland. Subbaswamy, who became chancellor of UMass Amherst under Caret’s leadership, said …

Area court news

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Goshen ■ Jason Tomaskowicz, 33, of 102 Bissell Road, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Northampton District Court to charges of assault on a family or household member and malicious destruction of property over $250. According to court records, police arrested Tomaskowicz around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after determining that …

Suspicious package that closes Rocky Hill Road in Hadley contains typewriter

Thursday, December 18, 2014

HADLEY — A section of Rocky Hill Road was closed for nearly 40 minutes Thursday morning while state and local police investigated a suspicious package left at a resident’s home that turned out to contain a typewriter. Police received a report of a suitcase left on a resident’s …

Planning Board approves Atkins Farms satellite store expected to open next summer in North Amherst

Thursday, December 18, 2014

AMHERST — A satellite Atkins Farms Country Market remains on track to open in North Amherst next summer. The Planning Board Wednesday approved site plans for the project at 113 Cowls Road, within what is being called the Mill District development, as well as granting a special permit …

Guy Bush Jr. of New York indicted on charges including rape of a child in South Hadley

Thursday, December 18, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A New York man accused of raping a girl in South Hadley a dozen years ago when she was approximately 5 and 6 years old will be arraigned Jan. 13. A Hampshire County grand jury indicted Guy Bush Jr., 45, of Grand Isle, New York, Tuesday …

Area police news

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Amherst ■ Laquan L. Wood, 21, of 170 East Hadley Road, Unit 106, was arrested at 10:22 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of South Pleasant and Snell streets on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle to …

Owner of Hangar Pub and Grill and Wings Over Amherst plans restaurant in Greenfield

Thursday, December 18, 2014

AMHERST — The owner of a chicken wings delivery service founded in Amherst in 1999, which has nearly three dozen stores in 13 states, is planning a new restaurant in Greenfield. Harold Tramazzo, who owns both the Wings Over Amherst and Hangar Pub and Grill restaurants on University …