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Environment

In this June 18, 2014, photo, Rod Williams, a Purdue University associate professor of herpetology, holds a hellbender that he and a team of students collected in southern Indiana's Blue River near Corydon, Ind., during a survey of populations of the rare amphibian. Hellbenders, an aquatic animal that's North America's largest salamander, are endangered in Indiana and four other states and face habitat loss and other pressures in the 11 other mostly Eastern states where they live in swift-flowing, rocky rivers and streams. (AP Photo/Rick Callahan)

Researchers try to save hellbender, largest US salamander

Thursday, July 10, 2014

CORYDON, Ind. — With a long, slimy body and beady eyes, North America’s largest salamander wouldn’t top any cutest animal lists. The hellbender’s alien appearance and mysterious ways have earned the big amphibian a bad reputation and unflattering nicknames ranging from snot otter to devil dog. But hellbenders, which can grow two or more feet long, are facing troubles bigger … 0

Yarnell Hill fire: A year of agonized, unanswered questions

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

YARNELL, Ariz. — Wildland fire chief Darrell Willis tore along the highway and turned on his truck’s headlights to cut the smoke. Ash and embers rained down around him. Over the past two days, in June 2013, a small mountain fire had come to life, a monstrous life. He’d just learned that his … 0

Undersea mission in Florida Keys concludes

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

MIAMI — Outside the view port of the underwater habitat Aquarius, during the Fabien Cousteau-led Mission 31, a Goliath Grouper nicknamed Sylvia attacked a barracuda while a reef shark and aquanauts watched in delight. “Oh, did you see that?” one of the aquanauts said with the excitement of a kid opening a Christmas present. “Oh, wow. Did you get it?” Yes, underwater videographer … 0

Solar array dedicated in Belchertown expected to start producing electricity next week

Thursday, June 26, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — Town Planner Douglas Albertson called a new 1.5 megawatt solar array that was dedicated Thursday at the former driving range of the Evergreene mini-golf course “a point of pride” for the community. Albertson spoke to about … 0

Watchdog slams New England governors for close ties to electric, gas execs in drafting regional gas pipeline, electric line financial plan

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A regional environmental watchdog group has released documents it says reveal close involvement by electric and gas utilities in developing a plan by the six New England governors to finance gas pipelines and electric transmission lines through ratepayers. … 2

Urination duration study: most mammals need about 21 seconds

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Headed to the bathroom? If you think you might have to “pee like a race horse,” join the club — so does everyone else. Scientists who watched dozens of different mammals from rats to elephants relieve themselves found that most of them seem to urinate in the same … 0

Study: 50,000-year-old poop proves Neanderthals ate veggies

Thursday, June 26, 2014

LOS ANGELES — As gross as it sounds, samples of the world’s oldest known human feces are offering scientists new insight into the gastronomic behavior of our extinct, meat-loving cousins, the Neanderthals. In a study published Monday in the journal PLOS One, researchers say an analysis of 50,000-year-old … 0

Cousteau’s experiment in life underwater near end

Thursday, June 26, 2014

AQUARIUS REEF BASE, Fla. — Fabien Cousteau has a week left in his 31-day underwater living experiment in the Florida Keys, and he’s not exactly eager to return to the surface. “If anything, I’m panicking about the lack … 0

Northeast Biodiesel plant in Greenfield gets state grant, construction expected this summer

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

GREENFIELD — The Northeast Biodiesel Diesel plant has gotten a major boost toward becoming a reality with a $540,000 grant from the state Department of Energy Resources. The $3.5 million plant has been a work in progress for 10 years, but construction of the site is largely complete … 0

Remains spotted on Mount Whitney are those of missing hiker

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Remains found on Mount Whitney are those of a 60-year-old hiker who has been missing since June 14, authorities said Monday. John Likely of Dumont, N.J., died from “multiple traumatic injuries” after he fell about 50 feet into a steep chute, said Jeff Mullenhour, deputy coroner investigator for … 0

Hypothermia said cause of death for Mount Rainier hiker

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SEATTLE — A 70-year-old hiker who died of hypothermia in rugged terrain in Mount Rainier National Park over the weekend was experienced, prepared and knew the mountain well after having written dozens of stories about treks through the … 0

Pair survive 14 hours in water without life jackets

Monday, June 23, 2014

If you fall out of a boat without a life jacket, “sink or swim” is not a metaphor. A combination of hard work and pure luck saved two boaters off the southern tip of Florida this weekend, when they fell out of their boat and had to tread … 0

Valley Views Local photographers aim their cameras outdoors

Friday, June 20, 2014

WOOD DUCK Route 9, Belchertown Photograph and text by Anne E. Ely of South Hadley I love the surprises I get when I see the results of using a telephoto lens on my DSLR digital camera. Even with … 0