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PHOTO BY REBECCA REID

Close-up of dodder on shoreline plants at Lake Warner in Hadley. An example of a "right-handed" twining of the dodder around the host plant can be seen in the lower left of the picture.

earth matters An encounter with a doddering old friend

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A river, where not constrained by cliffs, tends to wander. Small irregularities in a bank eroded by river water are the beginnings of meanders in the river. Loops cut off from the river become oxbow lakes, and as these lakes fill in they become oxbow marshes. I also wander, and the oxbow lakes and marshes of the Connecticut River, rich …

Belchertown Select Board approves Surner Heating request to install underground propane tanks

Monday, September 15, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — The Select Board approved Monday night an application by the Surner Heating Co. to increase its fuel-storage capacity on land it owns on Route 9 near the intersection with North Street. The Planning Board must still consider the site plan. The 4-1 vote came after a hearing that lasted nearly two …

Two Vietnam soldiers receive Medal of Honor

Monday, September 15, 2014

WASHINGTON — Two Vietnam War soldiers — one still living, one killed in action — received the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony on Monday, nearly 50 years after they threw themselves into harm’s way to protect their brothers in combat. President Barack Obama praised the soldiers as patriots whose sacrifices …

Contessa Jade Bilodeau of Holyoke avoids jail in theft of jewelry valued at more than $24,000 from mother in Southampton

Thursday, September 11, 2014

NORTHAMPTON (AP) — A Holyoke woman charged with stealing more than $24,000 worth of jewelry from her mother has pleaded to sufficient facts for a guilty finding, but avoided jail time. Contessa Jade Bilodeau entered her plea this week to a single charge of larceny, and the case …

Amherst School Superintendent Maria Geryk gets $11,000 raise, increasing her salary to $158,000

Thursday, September 11, 2014

AMHERST — Amherst School Superintendent Maria Geryk has been given an $11,000 salary increase by the school boards that serve the Amherst-Pelham Regional School district, boosting her annual salary to $158,000. The raise was announced in a press …

Twin brothers from Wilbraham arrested in Amherst suspects in breaks throughout Valley and northern Connecticut

Thursday, September 11, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — Twin brothers from Wilbraham arrested in Amherst Wednesday morning are suspects in a house break in Belchertown Tuesday and are also being investigated in connection with burglaries elsewhere in the Pioneer Valley and northern Connecticut in recent weeks. Belchertown Detective John Raymer said Thursday that Camron …

UMass students to volunteer throughout Valley Saturday on Mass Impact Day of Service

Thursday, September 11, 2014

AMHERST — A white picket fence surrounding the North Cemetery on East Pleasant Street in Amherst will be getting a fresh coat of paint Saturday. Also that day, senior citizens will be provided companionship at the Northampton Senior Center and The Overlook at Northampton retirement community in Leeds. …

Head bishop of African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church to visit Amherst congregation

Thursday, September 11, 2014

AMHERST — A momentous occasion for a small Amherst church will occur later this month when the head bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church visits for the first time in more than 100 years. That the Right Rev. Mildred “Bonnie” Hines, presiding prelate, is also the …

Retired Amherst elementary principal Russ Vernon-Jones goes public with 'Coming Together: Understanding Racism'

Thursday, September 11, 2014

AMHERST — With a sharp new website, a banner across South Pleasant Street and slate of speakers and films, an effort to draw diverse people together to tackle racism in town is going public. The project called “Coming …

Westhampton postpones meeting on wood chipping

Thursday, September 11, 2014

WESTHAMPTON — To the dismay of residents who had gathered Tuesday to weigh in on the Planning Board’s consideration of a requested special permit for a wood-processing operation on Northwest Road, the issue was postponed to Oct. 14. Planning Board Chairman Mark Schwallie said Tuesday that voting for …

Two hurt in Southampton motor vehicle accidents

Thursday, September 11, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON — Two people suffered minor injuries in separate motor vehicle crashes Wednesday afternoon, according to Southampton Police. The first accident occurred at 12:24 p.m. at College Highway and Valley Road where a vehicle driven by Jenise Postell of Springfield was involved in a collision with a vehicle …

Area police news

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Northampton ∎ Melanie Barton, 41, of 129 Pleasant St., Apt. 11, was arrested at 7:58 a.m. Thursday at Cooley Dickinson Hospital on two warrants issued by Holyoke and East Brookfield district courts. ∎ Elizabeth Walsh, 47, of 4 Highland Circle in Hadley, was arrested at 12:14 a.m. Thursday …

Welch murder trial Day 1: Opening statements, jury hears 911 call night of Jessica Pripstein's death

Thursday, September 11, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The first bit of evidence jurors heard in the Ryan D. Welch murder trial that started Thursday was the sobbing voice of Jessica Ann Pripstein in a recording of the 911 call the night of her …