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CHRIS LINDAHL Signs posted by the Northampton Board of Health and the state Department of Industrial Accidents on the door of Relax and Wellness Asian Massage in Northampton. The Market Street business was closed by officials Friday after a multi-agency investigation cited at least three city businesses for multiple code violations.

Health officials say Northampton massage businesses shut down due to dangerous living conditions

Saturday, February 28, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A city health official said two Northampton body works businesses suspected of offering sex for money were shuttered Friday because people were living in them in situations deemed “unfit for human habitation.” The Health Department closed Revival Body Works and Massage at 241 King St. and Relax and Wellness Asian Massage at 6 Market St. following administrative inspections …

Patrick Melnick revives plan for methane digester to turn manure into electricity at Bar-Way Farm in Deerfield

Saturday, February 28, 2015

DEERFIELD — The 500 cows there don’t know it yet, but they may soon be helping to produce electricity at Bar-Way Farm. After six years of trying, and more than a year after farmer Peter Melnick had given up on the project, he has restarted efforts to turn manure into electricity. He again hopes to install a methane digester on the Deerfield farm …

Four Northampton body work businesses under investigation for allegedly offering sexual contact for money; two closed

Saturday, February 28, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Two Northampton body work businesses were shuttered by officials Friday for multiple code violations as part of a multi-agency investigation to determine, in part, if they and two other city businesses were offering sexual contact for money, according to Northampton police Capt. Jody Kasper. At least three of the body work …

Police union seeks more staff

Thursday, February 26, 2015

AMHERST — The Amherst police union is demanding the town hire more officers for its “woefully understaffed” force to deal with large-scale rioting and the weekly nuisance complaints about noise and neighborhood disturbances that ramp up as the weather gets warmer. Scott Gallagher, president of the Amherst Police …

Former president Evan Dobelle drops federal suit against Westfield State University

Thursday, February 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Former Westfield State University president Evan S. Dobelle dropped his federal lawsuit against university and state officials on Thursday, just days after his attorneys requested to withdraw from the case, citing his failure to pay them. …

Area police news

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Easthampton ∎ Workers at CVS, 118 Northampton St., reported at 4:43 p.m. Tuesday that they observed a man and a woman shoplifting two bottles of laundry detergent from the store. Police recognized the man after reviewing security footage at the store. They went to his house and persuaded …

Richard Orozco of Chicopee sentenced to prison for theft of $1,000 in quarters, negligent operation

Thursday, February 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A Chicopee man is headed to state prison for three to five years after he stole $1,000 in quarters and crashed his car while driving negligently, all within a 10-hour period on April 8. Richard J. Orozco, 40, pleaded guilty Jan. 21 in Hampshire Superior Court …

MurDuff’s family jewelry store offers a soft touch

Thursday, February 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Kurt Brazeau, the soft-spoken co-owner of MurDuff’s Jewelry, has some advice for the soon-to-be betrothed: Buying a wedding ring should be fun, and he believes it falls on the jewelry store owner to make sure that …

Credit card security will benefit from latest technological advances

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How easy is it for a defrauder to steal your credit card information? Consider this recent case of a Florence Bank customer, as told by John Heaps, the bank’s chief executive officer. Sometime last year, the customer used …

Eric Poulin of South Hadley denies soliciting sexual conduct for a fee at Easthampton hair salon

Thursday, February 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A South Hadley man denied charges Thursday stemming from a police sting in the back room of an Easthampton hair salon that police say was prompted by a Craigslist notice advertising “Head to Toe Body Care …

Advocates for solar development urge state task force to lift ‘net metering’ limits

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Proposed state laws on solar-electric generation would discourage home, small-scale commercial and community photovoltaic projects, legislators were told Wednesday. Nearly 24 advocates for keeping state policies that encourage as much solar development as possible pressed a legislative task force to lift “net metering” limits and boost the target …

James Palermo of Southampton battles state education department for release of Program for International Student Assessment test results

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

SOUTHAMPTON — Jim Palermo is no stranger to raising questions, nor to encouraging others to do the same. So when the retired workers’ rights advocate and grandfather of 17 came across a report in December 2013 declaring Massachusetts …

Paperwork lags in many volunteer fire forces; Worthington group behind in filing financial records

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

As town officials and state investigators examine Worthington firefighters’ use of military and federal surplus property, a lack of required financial records for the nonprofit Worthington Fire-Rescue Association Inc. hinders efforts to understand its operations. The Worthington Fire-Rescue …