Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Cloudy
32°
Cloudy
Hi 34° | Lo 25°

News

‘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 …

Former Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury indicted on firearms charges resulting from Belchertown incident

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A former Massachusetts police chief acquitted of charges connected to the 2008 death of an 8-year-old boy at a gun show has been indicted on unrelated firearms charges. The Republican reports that a grand jury Tuesday handed down an indictment charging ex-Pelham Chief Edward Fleury with …

Housing projects headline $1.1 million in CPA funds to be considered by Northampton City Council

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Two Pleasant Street projects that would significantly add to the city’s affordable housing stock will highlight the latest round of Community Preservation Act grants scheduled for discussion before the City Council Thursday night. The plans being pitched by Valley Community Development Corp. at the former Northampton …

Northampton to ask state Legislature for five new all-alcohol licenses

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Three months after awarding a highly desired all-alcohol liquor license to Bistro Les Gras in a random drawing, the city intends to seek permission from the state that would allow it to issue similar licenses to five of the businesses that were not as lucky. Mayor …

Family, friends rally to help Chloe Rombach as she recovers after being struck in Northampton crosswalk

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The family and friends of Chloe Rombach, the 22-year-old city woman critically injured when struck by a vehicle in a Bridge Street crosswalk last week, have started an online fundraiser to aid in the expenses associated …

Former Southampton Fire Chief Stephen Hyde Sr. fined $7,500 for violating conflict of interest law

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON — The state Ethics Commission has fined former Southampton Fire Chief Stephen Hyde Sr. $7,500 for violating the state’s conflict of interest law in connection with falsified payroll records for his son, a firefighter, in 2011. In …

Lefen ‘Helen’ Chen pleads guilty in insurance fraud ring, may face deportation

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A woman from Taiwan may face deportation after she admitted in Hampshire Superior Court Wednesday that she led a scheme that defrauded insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars over six years. Lefen “Helen” Chen, 56, of Flushing, New York, accepted a plea agreement …

Hadley Treasurer Constance Mieczkowski and Public Works Director Gary Girouard to retire

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

HADLEY — The retirements of two town officials, Treasurer Constance Mieczkowski and Department of Public Works Director Gary Girouard, were announced this week. Girouard told the Select Board on Wednesday that he will retire at the end of March, three months before his five-year contract ends. “I’m retiring …

State approves tax deal for Mohawk Fine papers envelope plant in South Hadley

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — Mohawk Fine Papers moved a step closer to bringing up to 37 manufacturing jobs to South Hadley by winning unanimous approval Wednesday from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development Economic Assistance Coordinating Council for a tax incentive crafted by the town. The company announced last …

Easthampton City Council approves $5,000 increase in mayor’s pay to take effect in 2016

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

EASTHAMPTON — The City Council unanimously approved a $5,000 increase in the mayor’s salary Wednesday that will take effect in 2016. The mayor currently earns $70,000 annually, according to City Clerk Barbara LaBombard. The 7.14 percent increase to $75,000 will take effect in January 2016, after the first …

Area police news

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Amherst ■ A resident of an East Pleasant Street home reported at 4:39 p.m. Tuesday that the word “molly” was spray-painted on the side of the building. The resident told police the vandalism may be linked to a disturbance Dec. 5 in downtown Amherst. Easthampton ■ Shawn M. …