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Hilltown Voices: Haydenville Congregational Church hosts series on Islam, combating anti-Muslim bias

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Haydenville Congregational Church will host a series of workshops and discussions over the next five months exploring Islam and finding ways to address what organizers say is growing anti-Muslim sentiment. “In December, several groups within the church were spontaneously discussing the growing Islamophobia and what can be done about it,” said Rev. Andrea Ayvazian, pastor of the church. “We decided to pull a program together that would be both educational and a call to action.” The series “Understanding Islam and Combating Anti-Muslim Rhetoric and Violence” will begin from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The first event will feature the film, “Muhammed: Legacy of A Prophet” to be followed by a discussion. Ayvazian said …

Eric Nakajima quits as director of Massachusetts Broadband Institute amid dispute over WiredWest

Friday, February 12, 2016

Eric Nakajima, the man who was to have shepherded the build-out of “Last-Mile” broadband to most of western Massachusetts, has stepped down from his job. Nakajima, who visited most of the unserved and underserved Hilltowns this fall and winter to talk about their broadband needs, announced Friday he is leaving his post as director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute effective immediately. However, he …

Deerfield Select Board takes no action against weimaraner which allegedly attacked Beaver Drive woman

Friday, February 12, 2016

DEERFIELD — The Select Board this week opted not to take action against a dog that has allegedly attacked the same woman and her dogs three times in as many years, but warned the owner that precautions must be taken. Nancy Sunflower, of 14 Beaver Drive, has filed three complaints regarding a weimaraner owned by Valerie Telega, of 5 Beaver Drive. Sunflower elaborated …

Dean and two associates resign from UMass College of Education

Thursday, February 11, 2016

AMHERST — Three top officials at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Education are all resigning, and there has been no public explanation for their departures. Dean Christine McCormick, who has held that role since 2005, as well as associate deans Joseph Berger and Linda Griffin, have …

Atlantic Furniture will move to vacant factory at Deerfield Industrial Park

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Vacant for about four years, a 277,000-square-foot factory building at Deerfield Industrial Park has a new occupant. Deerfield Industrial LLC, which is owned by Mark Valone, purchased the building for $1,916,250 at auction and will rent the space to Atlantic Furniture, which is owned by …

Native of Ghana who has covered Africa as journalist will speak at UMass

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

AMHERST — Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, a BBC and NPR journalist who has extensively covered West Africa, will speak with John Higginson, a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, on New England Public Radio at an event at the Commonwealth Honors College. The free event will occur …

Area police news

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Amherst • Police took a report of two teenagers carrying a door while walking along Route 9 near the Hadley town line at 4:05 p.m. Tuesday. The youths were not found and police said no one reported a door theft. Easthampton • Jason E. Tingley, 39, of Holyoke, …

White Brook Middle School students in Easthampton aim to show power of kindness with Pay it Forward Challenge

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

EASTHAMPTON — Students at White Brook Middle School aim to show just how strong the power of kindness is as they attempt to spread good deeds around their school, the city and the world. The Pay it Forward …

Mellon Foundation gives Hampshire College $1.2 million grant to make its library more relevant in digital age

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

AMHERST — Hampshire College has received a $1.2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to transform its Harold F. Johnson Library, but not through a renovation. Instead, the money will be used to hire recent Hampshire …

‘Egregious violations’ of safety cited as College Pizza food license suspended for a year; surveillance video shows nearly naked man preparing sandwich

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

AMHERST — A 2014 incident in which surveillance video shows a nearly naked man preparing a sandwich for a customer at College Pizza, and other alleged unsanitary behavior by the same employee, prompted a yearlong suspension of the …

Belchertown mother continues to fight for autistic son’s release from jail after alleged attempt to kill her

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — Hands raised, with his mother’s blood staining his clothes, arms and feet, Zachary Holmes emerged from his Belchertown home in the dark. That night, Sept. 3, 2015, the 21-year-old man — described by his family as …

Town and UMass Amherst officials begin preparing to encourage repeat of relative calm on Blarney Blowout day

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

AMHERST — Less than a month before the first Saturday in March — traditionally a time for pre-St. Patrick’s Day revelry by students known as the Blarney Blowout — town of Amherst and University of Massachusetts officials are aiming for a repeat of last year’s relative calm. “From …

Ware man sentenced to 2½ years in jail after admitting to sexually assaulting 5-year-old girl

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — A Ware man pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court on Tuesday to sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl. Wayne S. Allen, 60, admitted in court that he assaulted the child in Ware and attempted to keep her from reporting the incident to anyone, according to court documents. …