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Around Town: Human Rights Day events planned in Amherst

The town will mark Human Rights Day with both a forum focused on the dignity of all people and a candlelight vigil at which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be read aloud.

The forum, organized by the Amnesty Amherst Group 128, will feature a talk by Gissou Nia, a long-time human rights activist, Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the Woodbury Room at Jones Library. Nia is the executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center in New Haven, Conn. Her speech is titled “Humans Rights Challenges in the Muslim World: The Case of Iran.”

The forum will also feature opening remarks by Mohamed Elgadi, a member of the town’s Human Rights Commission, and a performance of human rights songs by the Raging Grannies.

The next evening, a candlelight vigil marking the 64th anniversary of the United Nations document will be held, beginning at 6 p.m. in front of Town Hall.

Deborah Radway, the town’s human resources and human rights director, said that the document takes on a greater dimension when the community reads it aloud. All 30 articles, adopted unanimously Dec. 10, 1948, will be read.

In its annual resolution declaring Dec. 10 Human Rights Day in Amherst, the Select Board stated that it “encourages all Amherst citizens to be mindful of human rights principles and urges all municipal, state, federal and international bodies to incorporate said principles into their laws and policies.”

Pet supplies

A downtown shop is trying to make sure people don’t forget about pets during the holidays.

Amherst Dog Wash, located at the corner of Main and Dickinson streets, is holding a benefit that runs through Jan. 31 in which people can bring in products needed by the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.

Rae Griffith, a co-manager at Amherst Dog Wash, said the idea is to support a local agency.

Partnering with Dakin seemed like a logical choice, Griffith said. “They do so much for the pet community in the Pioneer Valley.”

The list of supplies needed include canned and dry dog and cat food, bleach, laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid.

If a customer brings in two or three items, a $1 discount on a dog wash is offered. Four or more items will get a customer a $2 discount.

The items will periodically be transported from the store to Dakin’s Leverett site, Griffith said.

Resurfacing smoke

Town officials recently responded to concerns about a road resurfacing technique known as hot-in-place asphalt recycling because of the large amount of smoke it generates.

Town Manager John Musante said he passed the complaints on to the town’s health department, which evaluated the situation.

“The materials, the smells, the elements are not a health risk, however unpleasant the smell might be temporarily,” Musante said.

Seniors at risk

A list of “seniors at risk” is being put together by officials at the Amherst Senior Center.

The idea, according to Council on Aging member Jack Wollensak, is to identify those who have health and medical problems and need to be contacted or evacuated in the event of loss of power.

So far, about 100 people are included based on information from the Highland Valley or University of Massachusetts Meals on Wheels programs and social workers Maura Plante and Helen MacMellon.

Wollensak said there will be a chance for people to request to be added to the list.


Tuesday: Cultural Council, 3 p.m., Jones Library.

Thursday: Zoning Board of Appeals, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

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