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David Marks & Russ Nieman: Don’t orphan early education programs in Massachusetts

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Preparing children for a lifetime of learning requires access to high-quality early education and care programs, as well as a consistent and qualified workforce. Great educators are key to improving outcomes for children, but the existing career path for our early educator workforce is unsustainable. With an average annual salary range of $21,000 to $25,000 and a turnover rate of 30 percent in our early learning and out-of-school …

Editorial: Hadley diner’s wounds entirely self-inflicted; AG sends message on sexual harassment

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Though it went out of business Monday, the Route 9 Diner in Hadley still has something to teach the restaurant trade: If you subject workers to sexual harassment, you’ll pay a price. That’s the message restaurant managers anywhere should take from the state attorney general’s decision to go after the diner for not halting what the office calls a decade in which women …

Editorial: A day of lobbying, and tasting, seeks to advance farm economy

Monday, March 30, 2015

When hungry lawmakers browse the tables at Agriculture Day in Boston today, one of the cheeses they’ll sample hails from Grace Hill Farm in Cummington. It’s there on Potash Hill Road that Max and Amy Breiteneicher create Hilltown Blue by hand, using milk from grass-fed cows. On Ag Day, farm groups fill tables in the Great Hall and Grand Staircase area inside the …

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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 …

John Montanari: Beware of activist Bill McKibben and his ‘alarmist ilk’

Monday, March 23, 2015

To the editor: So, the Rev. Andrea Ayvazian has received the latest revelation from noted climate demagogue Bill McKibben (Gazette column, March 14), and has come down from the mountain to share The Word. Hallelujah. Meanwhile, the global climate, which has no doubt been affected to some hard-to-know …

Walter Krzeminski: Is it time to adjust baseball’s tools of trade?

Monday, March 23, 2015

To the editor: Because of dwindling offensive production in Major League Baseball, interest and paying customers — and potential interest of future paying customers — is waning. The MLB is searching for ways to rekindle offensive attacks and fan interest. The Professional Golf Association modernized its clubs and …

Mark Zinan: Are zombies here to stay?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

SUNDERLAND — Zombies. For a decade and a half now, you can’t escape them in books, social media, movies or TV. In response to this onslaught, essays like this one seek to explain the phenomena. Answers have included our fear of nuclear holocaust, destructive climate change, rebellion against …