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Environment

Powerlines and a tress rest in the street in Pittsfield, Mass., on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, after the winter storm on Wednesday. (AP Photo/The Berkshire Eagle, Stephanie Zollshan)

Storm upsets Thanksgiving for thousands across region

Thursday, November 27, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. — The first major snowstorm of the season left more than 300,000 customers in northern New England without power, forcing many to make last-minute changes to their Thanksgiving plans. The heavy snowfall set accumulation records across the region, snapped tree branches that fell onto power lines and caused cars to skid into utility poles. Utilities said it could …

Federal regulators approve request by Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project to increase winter capacity

Thursday, November 27, 2014

NORTHFIELD — Federal regulators on Wednesday granted last-minute approval for the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project to pump more water from the Connecticut River, boosting storage capacity at its mountaintop reservoir for four months beginning Monday. FirstLight Hydro Generating Co. will be able to add 22 feet of capacity to its 5-billion-gallon reservoir through March 31 to address winter electricity needs in New …

Thanksgiving travel ‘a little hairy’ across region

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A sloppy mix of rain and snow rolled into the Northeast on Wednesday just as millions of Americans began the big Thanksgiving getaway, grounding hundreds of flights and turning highways hazardous along the congested Washington-to-Boston corridor. By early evening, more than 700 flights had been canceled, the bulk of …

Businesses invited to briefings in Hadley, Greenfield on Tennessee Gas Pipeline

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A statewide industrial group and local chambers of commerce have scheduled by-invitation-only meetings Tuesday in Hadley and Greenfield to brief businesses about the project proposed by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. Associated Industries of Massachusetts is the co-sponsor of the “business community energy briefing” sessions. The meeting in …

Tennessee Gas Pipeline considers moving part of route from Franklin County into New Hampshire

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A route through New Hampshire for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. project has emerged as the primary path for the planned pipeline. Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which earlier this month proposed several alternatives to a route crossing through nine Franklin County towns on its path from Wright, N.Y., to …

Barley helped ancient humans inhabit ‘Roof of the World’

Monday, November 24, 2014

How did human settlements manage to reach high altitudes in the Tibetan Plateau, a region known as the “Roof of the World”? An international team of researchers has a simple answer: barley. The findings, published in the journal Science, reveal a key factor that helped human settlements overcome …

Threat of flooding hangs over Buffalo

Sunday, November 23, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. — First came the big storm, then the big dig. Now comes the big melt. Residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo should move valuables up from the basement, pack a bag and prepare for the possibility …

Quabbin Photo Group offers presention from international exhibit Monday

Friday, November 21, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — The featured program of the Quabbin Photo Group’s November meeting is a visual and audio selection of 500 images from the 2014 Massachusetts Camera Naturalists (CAMNATS) International Nature Exhibition. The meeting, which is open to the …

Earth Matters: The future of agriculture; we must all be ecologists

Friday, November 21, 2014

In the autumn, as our neighbors fill their grain bins with barley, and their cellars with potatoes, I am always amazed at their productivity. What a long, interesting journey we and our food plants have taken. Yet farms …

Bird Sightings: Birds recently spotted in western Massachusetts

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. An eared grebe was found on Lake Quaboag in Brookfield. A snowy owl, seen one evening in Longmeadow, may be the same one that …

Valley Views: Deerfield Valley seen from atop the Eaglebrook School’s ski slope

Friday, November 21, 2014

Eaglebrook Autumn View Deerfield Valley, Deerfield Photograph and text by Bob Solosko, Easthampton While hiking up Mount Pocumtuck in Deerfield on the last day in October, I made this image of the Deerfield Valley from the top of …

Heading Outdoors

Friday, November 21, 2014

■  Gas Pipeline Walk — 1.5-mile walk with Franklin Land Trust naturalist Joshua Morgan on land in Ashfield that stands in the path of the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline Saturday, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Meet at the intersection of Baptist Corner Road and North Bear River Road in …

Vermont Yankee to begin layoffs in January

Friday, November 21, 2014

VERNON, Vt. — The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has officially notified the state of Vermont that it will be laying off 165 employees starting in January. That there would be layoffs has been common knowledge since Entergy’s announcement in August 2013 that it would ceas operations at the …