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Emmanuel T. Bile  answers question while on trial for being   accused of taking part in a gang rape of a UMass student in 2012.

Defendant Emmanuel Bile Jr. testifies that alleged victim in UMass gang rape was conscious and willing when they had sex

Thursday, March 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — On the witness stand Thursday, a Pittsfield man accused of participating in the gang rape of an 18-year-old University of Massachusetts Amherst student in 2012 told jurors the woman was conscious and a willing participant. “I looked in her eyes, she saw it was me,” Emmanuel T. Bile Jr., 21, testified. “She was consenting to what I was …

A shot in the dark as officers train

Friday, March 27, 2015

NORTHAMPTON The city’s police force spent three days this week taking part in specialized firearms training with Blue Line Corp. of Sudbury. The program was held at the Massachusetts State Police barracks on North King Street in Northampton and focused on live firearms training in the dark as well as situational “shoot or …

Senate pushes non-binding budget toward approval

Thursday, March 26, 2015

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans pushed a balanced-budget blueprint toward late-night approval Thursday night, laying down conservative markers for a likely veto struggle with President Barack Obama over their plans to erase deficits through trillions in spending cuts and repeal of the health care law. Approval of the non-binding budget was a certainty, one …

Accuser testifies in trial of one of four men accused of gang-raping her at UMass

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — The woman who accused four men of gang-raping her in 2012 tearfully told a jury Wednesday that when her two female friends left her alone with the men in her dorm room at the University of …

Speakers share experiences as racial minorities at Amherst forum

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

AMHERST — Three years ago, Janaya Collins was walking through Amherst center late at night with a female friend when she was confronted by a college-age man who made a disparaging comment about her physical appearance. Her friend …

US counterterrorism strategy in Yemen collapses amid chaos

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

WASHINGTON — Once hailed by President Barack Obama as a model for fighting extremism, the U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen has all but collapsed as the country descends into chaos, according to U.S. and Yemeni officials. Operations against …

Southampton voters to decide contested races for Select Board, School Committee and Board of Health

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

southampton — Select Board and School Committee incumbents face challengers and two candidates are vying for an open Board of Health seat in contests that will be decided at the annual town election on May 4. Incumbent David McDougall, Shannon Cutler and Charles J. Kaniecki are seeking the …

Easthampton schools approve budget with no layoffs

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

EASTHAMPTON — Taking what officials believe to be a necessary step to balance school funds, the School Committee approved a $17.9 million budget for the next year with no layoffs and no additional programs or services. “Before we build them, we have to keep them,” said School Committee …

Whately Elementary School budget will increase by less than 1 percent without cutting staff

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

WHATELY — The Whately Elementary School joins the Conway Grammar School in proposing budgets that keep increases below 2 percent without cutting staff. The Whately school’s $1.5 million budget is a 0.6 percent increase over this year, making it the lowest increase of any approved school budget in …

Hearing on requests for Community Preservation Act money in Hatfield

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

HATFIELD — The town’s largest request ever for Community Preservation Act funds is among three projects that will be discussed at a public hearing Wednesday. The projects — renovations to historic Memorial Town Hall, and restorations of the Prospect Court Bridge and gravestones in the Hill Burying Ground …

Non-union, full-time town employees in Amherst will get 2 percent raise

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

AMHERST — All eligible full-time town employees who are not part of municipal unions will receive 2 percent pay raises beginning July 1. The Select Board Monday voted unanimously to support the recommendation from the Personnel Board to offer the increase. Those employees who are already at the …

Area briefs

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Amherst TRIANGLE STREET ONE-WAY: Triangle Street at the intersection of East Pleasant Street will be narrowed to one lane between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday to accommodate equipment needed for construction of the five-story Kendrick Place project. Central Mass Crane Inc. will set up its equipment in …

Amherst Housing Authority approves contract extension, raise for executive director

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

AMHERST — An extension of the contract for Amherst Housing Authority’s executive director was approved this month on a 3-1 vote by the five-member commission. The two-year extension for Denise LeDuc, and the 1½ percent pay raise that will bring her annual salary to more than $86,250, was …