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Environment

Hampshire Power will supply Lowell with locally produced renewable energy in first-of-its-kind deal

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — In what its leaders believe is a first-of-its-kind agreement, the Hampshire Council of Governments has signed a deal to supply power to the city of Lowell solely through renewable energy produced in New England. The state’s fourth-largest city has signed a contract through which Hampshire Power will supply electricity to about 31,000 residential and 4,200 commercial ratepayers citywide. Hampshire Power is a unit of the Hampshire Council of …

‘Ghost riders’ draw scrutiny for transit systems

Sunday, September 28, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Transit agencies across Pennsylvania are being scrutinized by the state over the subsidies they claim for transporting riders 65 and older, with at least four agencies being docked millions for inflating senior ridership numbers. Criminal charges are pending against two high-ranking employees of the transit agency in Wilkes-Barre, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has demanded it pay a $3.1 …

Miraculous migrations in the insect world

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Now that summer is behind us, many Valley residents are making plans for trips to warmer climes during the colder months and students are migrating back to college. But we aren’t the only creatures traversing thousands of miles when the seasons change — many insects use migration to their advantage. For instance, the …

Halliburton to pay $1.1B settlement in 2010 gulf spill

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Halliburton has agreed to a $1.1 billion settlement stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 people, attorneys for the company and plaintiffs said Tuesday. The settlement seeks to put …

Sandy-hit village wrestles with keeping beach private

Monday, September 1, 2014

ASHAROKEN, N.Y. — On a tiny spit of land off Long Island, the wealthy village of Asharoken faces a dilemma borne of Superstorm Sandy. Either it accepts millions of dollars in federal aid to build a protective sand …

Groups: Monarch butterfly endangered

Monday, September 1, 2014

WASHINGTON — A coalition of environmental and food-safety groups is asking the Fish and Wildlife Service to grant endangered species protection to the monarch butterfly, whose U.S. population, the groups say, last year fell to 90 percent below …

Low-level tornado touches down in Worcester

Monday, September 1, 2014

WORCESTER (AP) — The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down briefly in Worcester. Forecasters said it was the lowest rating on the tornado scale, with winds at about 85 mph in a storm that swept through on Sunday night. The tornado began at about 8:10 …

Whale sightings increase off New Jersey coast

Sunday, August 31, 2014

HACKENSACK, N.J. — While it hasn’t become Cape Cod just yet, the number of whale sightings around New Jersey has increased substantially this year, suggesting that the state’s coastal waters are now clean enough to sustain humpbacks, finbacks and other species during their feeding season. Since April, dozens …

Plainfield joins with Ashfield and Buckland to offer Solarize Massachusetts program

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Plainfield, Ashfield and Buckland are forming a consortium and will apply for a grant that could save homeowners and businesses hundreds of dollars on the cost of solar-panel installations. The program is called Solarize Massachusetts, and the Clean Energy Center has announced two new rounds of funding grants, …

Bird Sightings

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. A black tern and a greater scaup have been seen off the Winsor Dam at the south end of the Quabbin Reservoir. A black-crowned …

Valley Views Local photographers aim their cameras outdoors

Friday, August 29, 2014

TUFTED TITMOUSE Route 9, Belchertown Photograph and text by Anne E. Ely of South Hadley “Peter, Peter, Peter” would have been what I would have heard from this tufted titmouse, should it have decided to sing while perched …

Nature’s water purifiers: The “bugs” in wastewater treatment

Friday, August 29, 2014

Often in life we take the little things for granted. But microorganisms, which are among the world’s smallest creatures, are nature’s workhorses. Aquatic ecosystems rely on a diversity of organisms to consume organic matter and filter impurities from …

Conway residents question safety, contents of proposed Tennessee Gas Co. pipeline

Thursday, August 28, 2014

CONWAY — The safety of the community and questions about the contents of natural gas that will flow through a proposed Tennessee Gas Co. pipeline dominated a special Select Board meeting in Conway Thursday night. In a question-and-answer session that followed a brief presentation by parent company Kinder …