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COURTESY OF GRILLO FAMILY
John Grillo, an acclaimed American painter at longtime UMass professor, died Nov. 26 at the age of 97 on Cape Cod.

John Grillo, longtime UMass art professor, dies at 97

Sunday, December 21, 2014

AMHERST — Spread across an upper wall of a quiet reading room at the Jones Library, recently deceased artist John Grillo’s 1991 mural looks down upon the stacks of large print and fiction. The artist and former University of Massachusetts professor died Nov. 26 of heart failure at the age of 97 near his home on Cape Cod. A panel …

Pedestrian, driver safety a concern with 500-ton trains barreling through

Sunday, December 21, 2014

When she looks out the back window of her Greenfield home, it’s common for Heidi Garfinkel to see people crossing the railroad tracks that run behind her property. With the return of the Amtrak Vermonter just a week away, the Chapman Street resident said she fears for the safety of those who won’t …

US mulls putting N. Korea on terrorism sponsor list

Sunday, December 21, 2014

HONOLULU — President Barack Obama says the United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism as Washington decides how to respond to what he calls an “act of cybervandalism,” not one of war, against a movie company. Sony Pictures Entertainment, which said it …

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. …

Serena Desantis admits role in Christmas Eve theft of donated items from Unitarian Society in Northampton

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A Holyoke woman admitted in court Wednesday that she took part in the theft last Christmas Eve of items donated to a Northampton church. Serena Desantis, 34, pleaded guilty to larceny over $250 in Hampshire Superior Court a day after her accomplice in the crime also …

Robert Caret resigns from UMass presidency to become chancellor of University System of Maryland

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts President Robert L. Caret has resigned to return to the University System of Maryland, where he will become chancellor. The University System of Maryland late Wednesday afternoon announced Caret’s hiring, effective July 1. …

State grant expands precision-machinist training in Franklin and Hampshire counties

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

GREENFIELD — With a $276,705 state grant, Greenfield Community College and Franklin County Technical School will be able to continue to offer its precision-machinist training over the next two years as well expand offerings to include blueprint reading, metrology, grinding and lean manufacturing. A total of 56 adults …

Northampton to study crosswalk safety after pedestrian critically injured last week

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — City officials plan to conduct a study of all city crosswalks in light of safety concerns after a Northampton woman was critically injured when she was struck by a car in a crosswalk on Bridge Street …

HitPoint Studios, successful gaming company, leaves Amherst for Springfield

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

AMHERST — With its move to Springfield next week, an Amherst company that has developed online video games for Facebook and smartphones is poised to launch its own channel from which gamers can select the new content they wish to play. The relocation of HitPoint Studios is prompted …