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Opinion

Will this become Scotland’s independence day?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: James Pentland, a native Scot and the Gazette’s night editor, offers thoughts on Scotland’s independence vote, to be taken Thursday. Today, in deciding whether to break up the United Kingdom and become an independent nation, voters in Scotland face the most momentous choice in the 307-year history of the Union. There have been two previous referendums on greater autonomy for Scotland in recent decades, but neither came close …

Dillon Sussman: Why some Valley residents choose to walk in the middle of the street

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — One of the joys of being a land planner is that what I learn at work helps me understand how communities function and why people act the way they do. Here’s an example: A year ago I moved from one neighborhood to another in the same city — Northampton. One of …

On school grounds, safety matters more than pet access

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Amherst Superintendent Maria Geryk was right to ban dogs — unless they stay in the car — from school property during school hours. No matter how passionately dog owners vouch for their pets’ good behavior, there’s always the risk that an animal will lose control and injure someone. Geryk needs to make sure children under her watch are protected. Even if they don’t …

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Great invitation to community members. I now live in Florida and, so, cannot attend the games of my granchildren anymore. You made...(full comment)

Elizabeth Rockett Volkmann: Let yourself get bitten by the Northampton High soccer bug

Andrew Morehouse: Join to take action against hunger in WMass

Monday, September 15, 2014

To the editor: In western Massachusetts, there are more than 200,000 people annually struggling with hunger or food insecurity — not knowing where and when their next meal will come from. This number has doubled in the past five years. For this reason, our region’s emergency food network …

Asher Brookes: School lunches should offer a proper nutritional example

Monday, September 15, 2014

To the editor: With the new school year, parents’ attention is turning again to school lunches. Traditionally, the U.S.D.A. has used the National School Lunch Program as a dumping ground for surplus meat and dairy commodities. Children consumed animal fat and sugary drinks, to the point where one-third …

C.L. Dick: Amherst doing more than its fair share for UMass

Sunday, September 14, 2014

To the editor: No matter how large the town of Amherst is, we need smart, sustainable, esthetic and creative solutions with the needs of all citizens in mind. Why does the state university system put 30,000 students in a town the size of Amherst, when cities like Lowell …

Jon Lackman: Gaza crisis demands ‘intellectual humility’

Sunday, September 14, 2014

To the editor: Many recent letters concerning Gaza reek of moral certitude. We are taught in school to advance one position, to invoke counter arguments only to rout them, with some good reason, but this conflict demands nuance and reservation. It is millennia-old and in the last century …

David Starr: Time for Northampton to ban plastic bags, Styrofoam cups

Sunday, September 14, 2014

To the editor: One path to minimize Northampton’s contributions to climate change is to reduce its contributions to landfills by 90 percent — 30 percent from increased recycling rates, 30 percent from increased composting and 30 percent from fewer purchases and less packaging. The numbers are impressive but …

Editorial: American war fever is being stoked anew

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Former Vice President Dick Cheney wants America “back on offense,” this time against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. President Obama, after devoting much of his presidency to unwinding Bush-Cheney military misadventures, appears ready to fall in …

Sara Weinberger: Valley humanitarians reach out to Syria

Sunday, September 14, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A friend recently shared his perspective of the current situation on planet Earth: “If the whole world is in flames, where do you direct the fire hose?” Indeed, the world does seem to be in flames. We are paralyzed with shock when the news tells us …

Rev. Andrea Ayvazian: The lives of the have-too-muches

Friday, September 12, 2014

HAYDENVILLE — No one in our household can figure out why a fat, glossy, intimidating magazine called Departures arrives in our mailbox every month. I told a friend we got this mysterious delivery quarterly and she asked me if the magazine was about death and dying. It is …

Editorial: Many volunteer hands help make light work

Friday, September 12, 2014

All around the Pioneer Valley this weekend, important work is getting done — for which not a single dollar has exchanged hands. Thanks to legions of volunteers expected to fan out in sites around the region, library shelves will be dusted, parks refurbished, gardens planted, a playground built …

Graham Gal: Of corporations, free speech and rights

Friday, September 12, 2014

To the editor: While the Sept. 2 column by Jay Fleitman asks what rights plaintiffs seek to protect in the Hobby Lobby case, perhaps an equally important question is what rights that company has that should be protected. Corporations are formed to allow for a separation of the …