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Opinion

Rev. Andrea Ayvazian: The black history pigeonhole

Friday, February 12, 2016

I have always had a somewhat ambivalent relationship with Black History Month. While I believe deeply in the need to honor and celebrate the black experience in America, I have had questions about why this is supposed to occur during the shortest month of the year. The black experience in the United States — including enslavement, resistance, struggle, courage, discrimination, perseverance, art, music, literature, faith, athleticism, leadership, pain and triumph — cannot be reduced to 28 days per year and then neatly tucked away. I have also felt that Black History Month was embedded in white history year and that February’s Black History Month gave schools, colleges, and universities license to go back to the …

Editorial: ‘Pause’ in final mile broadband funding by state should be brief

Friday, February 12, 2016

The “final mile” push for broadband Internet in 32 unserved communities in western Massachusetts was never going to be quick and easy. The geographical and population issues that discouraged private cable companies from offering service present the same challenges to others who try, be they private, public or something in between. Those challenges may pale in comparison to what the effort faces on …

Joseph Madenski: ‘Tiny house’ creator in Hadley needed to follow the same rules as everyone

Friday, February 12, 2016

To the editor: I have been reading articles in the Gazette and letters to the editor regarding the “tiny house” located on East Street in Hadley. I commend the young woman who created it for investigating a more inexpensive lifestyle. According to the articles, she had help from parents and this was related to her studies at Mount Holyoke College. I am a …

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Mary Gorman: Substitute teachers should make more than teen babysitters

Monday, February 8, 2016

To the editor: When I first worked as a substitute teacher in Amherst, back in 1988, the pay rate was $65 per day if you covered for an instructional paraprofessional, and $75 per day if you covered for a teacher. Twenty-eight years later, you still make $65 per …

Paul M. Craig: Misleading to call all founding fathers slave owners

Monday, February 8, 2016

To the editor: We are often told that the Founding Fathers who wrote our Constitution were slave owners. This sweeping assertion is misleading because it is partly false. Of the 39 framers — which the Founding Fathers who wrote and signed the Constitution called themselves — almost half, …

Leonard A. Cohen: System leaves people seeking guardianship in dangerous limbo

Monday, February 8, 2016

To the editor: If you are so unfortunate to have a disabled, totally incapacitated relative and require a court-appointed guardianship in the state of Massachusetts, I suggest you move to another state. I tried on Jan. 1, 2015, with the help of an attorney — and nine months …

Andra Rose: Let’s call Berkshire Gas’ bluff on its new service moratorium

Monday, February 8, 2016

To the editor: Berkshire Gas decided last year to stop providing new gas hook-ups here. They claimed that the gas supply was insufficient to add customers. This made no sense unless the company actually preferred to lose business in the short run to make the case for the …

Barbara Weiner Dubeck: Hillary Clinton is bringing the real revolution

Monday, February 8, 2016

To the editor: Hillary Clinton’s hard-fought victory in Iowa, albeit a very close race, was nevertheless her victory. Your Feb. 3 headline on a news analysis, “Clinton ekes out victory in Iowa,” was accurate. Why then, in a second-day story on her win, were the three front-page pictures …

Kathy Sarvary: The ‘sufferfest’ that is the glory of cyclocross racing

Monday, February 8, 2016

To the editor: As a world and national champion in the sport of cyclocross, I was thrilled to read Kyle Grabowski’s piece on the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships and the appearance of western Massachusetts riders. I wish to congratulate Ellen Noble, Jeremy Powers and Steven Hyde. Missing from …

Editorial: A cautious start to year for WMass economy

Monday, February 8, 2016

Today, in the first of four expanded February business news sections, the Gazette reports on something that matters to everyone: the health of the region’s economy. The quick takeaway is that conditions are right for continued but modest growth. Economic conditions have been worse in recent years, experts …

John Sheirer: Our parties, our race problem

Monday, February 8, 2016

Last month, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. quotes popped up on Facebook to celebrate the great civil rights leader’s birthday. Now that we’re in Black History Month, I’m pleased to see more of his words making the rounds in social media. Unfortunately, along with King’s inspiring quotes, …

John J. Templeton Sr.: The Obama-Sanders comparison comes down to ‘fat cats’

Friday, February 5, 2016

To the editor: I write in response to the article headlined “Obama allies bristle at comparisons between Sanders and the president.” There is no need to bristle. Both President Obama and Bernie Sanders have put forth a similar progressive vision for the average American: lower health care premiums, …

Jeannette Muzima: Protect our public schools from financial suffocation

Friday, February 5, 2016

To the editor: Right on to the recent letter reminding us why charter schools are not in the best interests of the Commonwealth — to say the least. Let’s be very clear. While there may certainly be some benefits to some children who attend charter schools, the motivation …