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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 note. But they have also been better. The final quarter of 2015 was a disappointment statewide, when the annual rate of growth …

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, I’ve read many comments claiming that King himself was a Republican who would oppose today’s …

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, equal pay for women and stopping federal tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs over …

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Editorial: Unresolved questions obstruct regained public trust in Baystate Noble

Friday, January 29, 2016

If they’re lucky, all of the patients who underwent colonoscopies in Westfield from June 2012 to April 2013 will learn that a hospital error related to those procedures did not infect them with serious diseases. Answering that question will bring blessed relief to 293 people — including 13 …

Ramon S. Torrecilha: Why new Westfield State president sees a ‘pivotal time’ for school

Friday, January 29, 2016

It was my privilege on my first day as the new president of Westfield State University to attend Gov. Charlie Baker’s first State of the Commonwealth address. Gov. Baker spoke to the importance of education at every level, …

Shel Horowitz: Suit against anti-gay pastor runs counter to First Amendment

Friday, January 29, 2016

To the editor: As someone who spent three years (1983-85) on the Northampton Pride march organizing committee and who ran three different LGB organizations in the 1970s, I agree that the Rev. Scott Lively’s homophobic statements are despicable. I agree that the horrible Ugandan “Kill the Gays” law …

Ted Kallman: ‘Moral fundamentalists’ could find better way to improve society today

Friday, January 29, 2016

To the editor: Re: The Lord Jeff, etc. As a college history professor and a veteran of civil rights and anti-war demonstrations in the 1960s and 1970s, I am having a hard time sympathizing with the college student protests regarding mascots, building names, “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” …

J.M. Sorrel: Pastor’s words give license to hurt lesbians and gay men

Friday, January 29, 2016

To the editor: I cannot think of anyone more antithetical to moral values than the so-called “Reverend” Scott Lively. His hate speech no doubt contributes to the fast-rising numbers of Americans who identify as secular humanists — as either agnostic or atheist. Kind-hearted people would never choose his …

Pete Westover: Keep the warmongers on campaign trail out of office

Thursday, January 28, 2016

To the editor: Rachel Maddow quotes Thomas Jefferson as saying that once we have a standing army we are “constantly scanning the horizon for a speck of war.” Ronald Reagan badly lost his first six primaries in 1980 before persuading people that the country was in danger of …

Whitney McMackin: Former NHS teacher raps shallow analyses of cause of opioid epidemic

Thursday, January 28, 2016

To the editor: As we enter the election season, I am disappointed in some of the articles and legislation being reported and discussed in the media. As a scientist by trade, I am invested in understanding the elements that drive issues, evidence-based decisions and long-term growth. As the …

Christine Mulcahy: Right education choice is backing traditional public schools

Thursday, January 28, 2016

To the editor: In his state of the state address, Gov. Baker called for an increase in the number of charter schools. Republican reformers have always favored school choice, erroneously assuming that competition makes all schools better. However, since vouchers for private and religious schools have failed to …

Editorial: Retiring state Rep. Ellen Story has been principled role model in politics

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Veteran Congressman Silvio O. Conte’s death in February 1991 triggered a series of special elections that elevated two veteran Amherst legislators to bigger stages and propelled an unlikely candidate to the state House of Representatives. When the political dominoes stopped falling, John W. Olver succeeded Conte in Congress …

Rutherford H. Platt: A triumph of American legislative bipartisanship turns 25

Thursday, January 28, 2016

On a recent frosty morning on my way into the medical office building at 190 Nonotuck St. in Florence, I encountered a woman trying to help her elderly blind mother into a wheelchair outside the building’s main entrance. It was challenging enough to help the older woman out …