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Opinion

Open Meeting Law is worth the hard work it requires

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It’s not shocking that two public officials stood up at a public meeting to complain that the state’s Open Meeting Law is cumbersome and confusing. What is shocking is that they derided it as “unfair and undemocratic” and claimed that a request for meeting minutes is tantamount to harassment. Even more shocking is that in a room full of 100 elected and appointed public officials from Hampshire and Franklin counties, …

Editorial: Rule exposes electricity ratepayers to unfair double whammy

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Electricity customers knew last fall they’d pay more for power this winter. But as rates kicked up by nearly a third and some sought relief by switching suppliers, another expense caught them by surprise — making this a tough winter both inside and outside for ratepayers. Help may be on the way, but given bureaucratic sluggishness, there’s no guarantee. A band of lawmakers …

Nancy Kinney: Irked at Kinder Morgan’s actions, urges Gazette to keep story alive

Thursday, March 26, 2015

To the editor: Please keep Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline story front and center. A huge Texas company is threatening to impact homeowners in western Massachusetts. What gives a private company the right to take our land using “eminent domain”? Our government does because the fossil fuel giants own the government. If you think a pipeline will lower your utility bills, you need …

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Donald W. Torrey: Families of ‘dreamers’ broke the law by coming to U.S.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

To the editor: I’d like to respond to the Gazette’s March 10 editorial about “dreamers.” First, their parents broke our laws by coming here illegally. The editorial failed to mention that everything the family and their children did was against the current law. In fact the writer praises …

Jeff Lamoureux: UMass basketball needs to shake up its entire coaching staff

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

To the editor: UMass basketball needs to retool its coaching staff. If it means starting with the head coach, so be it. No team should go backwards as bad as the team has in the second half of the last two seasons. I always thought you were supposed …

Jean Fay: School children can’t be placed into bar graphs and pie charts

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

To the editor: A recent letter writer questioned the continuing debate over standardized testing in public schools. I don’t disagree that some form of assessment is necessary. I speak as someone with 17 years of experience in an elementary school setting, with 14 of those years in a …

John Kapitzky: Northampton should explore additional Internet choices

Monday, March 23, 2015

To the editor: I read a recent Gazette article about the progress in bringing fast Internet access to the Hilltowns with interest, as well as references to Amherst’s effort to bring free Wi-Fi to its downtown. We in Northampton do not have widespread free Wi-Fi access in the …

Diane Berg: Foster children need more court-appointed advocates

Monday, March 23, 2015

To the editor: I read the news daily, and when I read articles about children who’ve been abused by their parents, I do so with an overwhelming sense of helplessness. If these children’s parents are unable to take care of them, and if public agencies charged with protecting …

Jim Spencer: Rec. Department will occupy valuable space at Senior Center

Monday, March 23, 2015

To the editor: This letter is about Northampton’s decision to move the Recreation Department to the Northampton Senior Center. I am a volunteer at the Senior Center and on the advisory board. I run three workshops and co-facilitate a fourth there. I am a frequent participant in the …

Editorial: Northampton CPA money must be saved for projects that serve public

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Northampton Community Preservation Committee is pondering whether to support spending a load of public dollars on two projects — one to rehab Pulaski Park downtown, the other to redo two staircases at the historic former jail on …

Stan Rosenberg, Bruce Tarr & Michael Rodrigues: Shining light in on operations of state Senate

Monday, March 23, 2015

AMHERST — Since we took office Jan. 7, we’ve initiated a sweeping set of reforms that promise to change the culture of the Massachusetts State Senate and make it more accessible, more open and more transparent in its procedures. Some consider these changes long overdue. We share their …

Margie Riddle: Dog show success again fuels school volunteer group in Northampton

Monday, March 23, 2015

To the editor: Thanks to the participation of many volunteers and community businesses, the 10th anniversary Volunteers in Northampton Schools Dog Show this month was a huge success. Members of the Board of Directors of VINS, which sponsors and manages the show, are so grateful for all that …

Emmett Barcalow: Will Gov. Baker make action against climate change a priority?

Monday, March 23, 2015

To the editor: News reports call Tropical Cyclone Pam one of the strongest storms ever seen in the Pacific. It devastated Vanuatu. Climate scientists have warned that hurricanes and tropical storms will become more energetic as the oceans heat up. Evidence is also accumulating that the extremes in …