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Opinion

Editorial: Harsh winter a clear sell for added fuel assistance

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Of all the responsibilities lawmakers carry, protecting the most vulnerable should be near the top. That’s why, as the region began another harsh winter month, the state’s two Democratic U.S. senators did the right thing in making a case for the release of home-heating assistance. It’s sad they have to lobby at all, but in recent years this additional set-aside money — $34 million in the federal Low Income Home …

Rob Okun: The White Ribbon Day cause, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

AMHERST — Major league baseball beginning domestic violence prevention workshops at spring training. The White House launching the It’s on Us initiative to prevent sexual assault. Emma Watson and the United Nations spearheading the new HeforShe movement. Men promoting gender equality and decrying violence against women is “suddenly” the next new cause. Except it’s not. The issue is, though, finally getting sustained media …

Norman Spencer: Postal Service has mastered art of delivering packages

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

To the editor: Ed Gregory’s Feb. 27 guest column describes how a package mailed to him from Florence took a round-about route via Jersey City, New Jersey, and thence to Greenfield. Gregory’s observation is addressed by a classic problem in mathematics. The difficulty of deriving an answer grows exponentially as the service area increases. The task is to achieve optimum efficiency over a …

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Editorial: Iranian student policy a test of UMass campus loyalties

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The law that tripped up University of Massachusetts officials this month, resulting in what one professor somewhat hysterically called “billions of dollars in bad press,” is known as the Iran Threat Reduction and Syrian Human Rights Act of 2012. The part of it that applies to schools like …

Mary Balfour: Let the woman raise those chickens in her yard

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

To the editor: It’s true that I don’t know all the facts but it seems a shame that a Southampton resident must get rid of her chickens based on a judge’s ruling. Assuming that they are confined to her property — what’s the big problem? The Pioneer Valley …

Gretchen Fox: Boutilier is the right choice for Amherst Housing Authority

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

To the editor: TracyLee Boutilier is an outstanding candidate running for a seat on the Amherst Housing Authority Board in the town election March 31. The board provides housing for low- and moderate-income residents using state and federal funding. Although the town has made some small headway in …

Joseph Tarantino: Liberals can blame themselves for high electricity rates

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

To the editor: In January 2008 Barack Obama reportedly told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle, “Under my plan ... electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” For those who wanted Obama to be president and who are now complaining about our electricity rates, I offer a few …

Lawrence Siddall: Apartment building going up in Amherst misses the mark

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

To the editor: The apartment building under construction on the corner of North Pleasant and Triangle streets in Amherst is a huge disappointment. Architecturally it is not displeasing, but it is much too large for the building site. Having such a large structure abut a park it took …

Editorial: Welfare reform major test for Rosenberg’s Senate leadership

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One of the first major tests on which the Senate presidency of Stanley C. Rosenberg will be judged is reform of the state’s welfare and job training programs. The Amherst Democrat announced last week the “WorkFirst Initiative” designed …

William J. Mullin & Andrew Larkin: An exchange about impact of nuclear plant’s closing on a frozen Connecticut River

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this space, an emeritus professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst responds to a guest column about ice formation on the Connecticut River. The author of that column, Andrew Larkin, then replies to Mullins’ points. AMHERST — Dr. Andrew Larkin’s interesting guest column …

Editorial: Ruling in embezzlement case offers new chance for justice

Monday, February 23, 2015

A judicial ruling last week raised questions about the handling of a long-running embezzlement case by the Northwestern district attorney’s office. Prosecutors should give deep thought to their next move. The case involved Northampton resident Nancy Whitley, who with her former wife and business partner, Heather Whitley, proposed …

Rev. Peter Kakos: Use of word ‘terror’ is about more than semantics

Monday, February 23, 2015

FLORENCE — Those who criticize President Obama’s intentional avoidance of the word “terrorists” to describe ISIL (choosing instead to say “Islamic extremists”), have at the least done us a service by raising a crucial point: How we describe our enemy has consequences. Words matter, for they not only …

Elizabeth Albertson: Opposes use of webcam by Easthampton Police

Monday, February 23, 2015

To the editor: I was dismayed to read in the Daily Hampshire Gazette that the Easthampton Police Department would be installing a webcam at the intersection of Cottage and Union streets and Payson and Williston avenues. What is to stop someone — a police officer, a municipal employee, …