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FILE - In this v file photo, hospital personnel with the help of the relatives of the avalanche victims, shift the body of a victim onto a stretcher at a morgue at Teaching Hospital in Katmandu, Nepal. Nepal vowed to introduce new rules, improve weather forecasts and better monitor the movement of trekkers after the Himalayan country’s worst hiking disaster last week left dozens dead. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)

Nepal vows new rules after trekking disaster

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

KATMANDU, Nepal — Nepal on Tuesday said it will introduce new rules, improve weather forecasts and better monitor the movement of trekkers after the Himalayan country’s worst hiking disaster left dozens dead last week. Tourism Department official Tulasi Gautam said trekkers venturing to mountain trails will be required to take trained local guides, and will have to rent a GPS …

Plainfield, Ashfield, Buckland join to seek state grant reducing cost of installing solar panels for residents, businesses

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

With 133 households interested in installing solar-electric systems on their homes, the newly formed Ashfield-Buckland-Plainfield consortium has applied for a “Solarize Mass” grant that would cut the cost of electricity-producing solar panels by up to 20 percent below the statewide average. If the consortium’s application is among the 10 to be awarded by the state next month, residents and businesses in these towns …

'In a year or two, they'll all be dead' Tiny insect is killing off Northampton's red pine trees

Monday, October 20, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A tiny insect the size of a fleck of pepper is wreaking havoc on red pine trees in the city’s watershed lands, forcing the Department of Public Works to hire a forester to survey the trees and develop a harvesting plan for early next year. Known as red pine scale, the …

Rising cost of electricity fuels debate over need for Tennessee Gas Pipeline

Thursday, October 16, 2014

When National Grid announced recently that it will increase electricity prices this winter, that was enough to raise some eyebrows. Not only will its Massachusetts Electric customers have their bills jump by more than one-third beginning next month because of rising fuel costs to generate that power, but …

Kinder Morgan maintains choice ‘should be clear’ between Tennessee Gas Pipeline and competing proposal

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tennessee Gas Pipeline or Brand X? Proponents of a pipeline that would pass through Plainfield and nine Franklin County towns have responded to a competing proposal that would instead bring natural gas to the region along the coast, telling its potential wholesale natural-gas customers the choice “should be …

VIDEO Mount Tom forest mayhem has an upside — greater biodiversity

Monday, October 13, 2014

EASTHAMPTON — Once overshadowed by swaths of soaring, leafy-green trees, the road into Mount Tom State Reservation from Route 141 now offers sweeping vistas after last week’s microburst wreaked havoc on the mountain landscape. Nearly a mile of …

Oil prices fall while cost of natural gas climbs

Sunday, October 12, 2014

HARTFORD — Pipeline bottlenecks that drove up natural gas home heating prices in New England last winter could cause trouble when the weather again turns cold, but oil prices that once climbed to record territory continue to fall. That unusual sequence of events — higher prices for natural …

Stewardship by Hadley family preserves 160 acres on Mount Warner

Friday, October 10, 2014

HADLEY — Carolyn Hayes has fond memories of visiting her family’s dairy farm on Mount Warner in North Hadley as a child in the 1940s. She rolled down hills, visited the cows and played in a stream on …

Mount Warner Reservation grand opening details

Friday, October 10, 2014

WHAT: The Trustees of Reservations, a statewide land conservation group, will celebrate the opening of the Mount Warner Reservation Oct. 18 at 10:30 a.m. Located on Mount Warner Road in North Hadley, the event will feature a guided hike along a new two-mile trial loop called Salamander Trail. …

Bird Sightings

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. A Say’s phoebe was seen and heard calling along Route 2A in downtown Greenfield. Three white-rumped sandpipers and three greater yellowlegs were found on …

Valley Views Local photographers aim their cameras outdoors

Friday, October 10, 2014

SUMMER SUNSET Barton’s Cove, Turners Falls Photograph and text by Dot Barnard of North Hatfield Last summer has afforded us some spectacular sunset views. When a friend and I traveled to Barton’s Cove in July hoping to photograph …

The giant elves of fall

Friday, October 10, 2014

The mushroom is the elf of plants, At evening it is not; At morning in a truffled hut It stops upon a spot . . . ’T is vegetation’s juggler, The germ of alibi; Doth like a bubble …

Heading Outdoors

Friday, October 10, 2014

∎■ Senior Cycling on the Norwottuck Rail Trail — All Out Adventures holds cycling program on the Norwottuck Rail Trail, Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bikes and helmets provided. Fee: $5. Preregistration required; call 584-2052. ■ Skinner State Park — Department of Conservation and Recreation sponsors …