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Average residential tax bill in Hadley to increase by 2.7 percent

Sunday, December 21, 2014

HADLEY — Residential taxpayers will see an average property tax increase of 2.7 percent this year, according to the assessors office. The Select Board on Wednesday approved a tax rate of $10.84 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 20 cents or about 1.9 percent. However, property values in town also rose slightly. The average single-family home was assessed at $308,000 for the fiscal year which ended June 30, …

‘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 …

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 …

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 …

Easthampton City Council to vote on $5,000 increase in mayor’s pay

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

EASTHAMPTON — The Easthampton City Council plans to vote Wednesday after a public hearing on a proposed $5,000 increase in the mayor’s salary that would take effect in 2016. The mayor currently earns $70,000 per year, according to …

Sex offender Charles Capen of Easthampton accused of sexually assaulting teenager after chaperoning party

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — An Easthampton sex offender accused of inappropriately touching a teenager after chaperoning a party in Hatfield was arraigned in Northampton District Court on Monday and bail was set at $5,000. Charles W. Capen, 32, of 4 Clinton St., pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent …

Westfield State University names presidential search committee

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University has established a search committee for choosing its 20th president. Former president Evan Dobelle retired Nov. 8, 2013, after being placed on paid administrative leave amid an investigation into reports of extravagant spending during domestic and overseas travel and improper use of school …

Deerfield seeks legislation requiring pipeline ‘royalties’ for owners of any property taken by eminent domain

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DEERFIELD — The Select Board wants legislation requiring the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. or any other pipeline company to pay “royalties” on exported natural gas to landowners whose property has been taken by eminent domain for the pipeline — on grounds that such land-takings are allowed “for the …