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Mary Clare Higgins during a press conference held in her office Thursday afternoon.

Clare Higgins: An investment we’ll never regret: better education for 4-year-olds

Friday, March 27, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — I read something in the paper almost every week about pre-kindergarten as the key to school success. States like Oklahoma, Georgia and Virginia are offering free admission to pre-kindergarten to 4-year-olds. New York City started its program for 4-year-olds last September. Some of these programs are full day and some are half day. Some are full year and some follow the school calendar. From the federal government and …

Larry Parnass: A Gazette humorist’s secrets revealed

Friday, March 27, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — The Gazette newsroom just isn’t the same these days without: a) An Air Force veteran proud of saying, “I served my country in Rome (pause) Rome, N.Y.” b) A skilled paginator who threw himself like an aggrieved terrier at blank pages. c) One architect of the Gazette News Quiz. d) The …

Don Robinson: How firm is the U.S.-Israel alliance today?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

ASHFIELD — “Netanyahu apologizes; White House Is Unmoved,” blared the headline in Tuesday’s New York Times. The victor in Israel’s parliamentary election had invited leaders of the Arab community to his official residence and told them he regretted remarks he had made on election day — Arab voters were being driven “in droves” to the polling places, he had said. The comment, an …

Doug Roosa: All shook up over folly of deferred road maintenance

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

FLORENCE — The first orange traffic barrel to cover a pothole landed in my neighborhood the other day. Nothing special about this hole: It’s only one of several dozen that have appeared in recent weeks, half of which …

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 …

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 …

Jim Foudy: Love the Olympics, wary of the price tag

Saturday, March 21, 2015

If you have wondered what’s really driving Boston’s bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2024, the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute provided the answer this week: money, and lots of it. Forget the rhetoric about the Olympics burnishing Boston’s international reputation. Boston business and construction industry leaders …

Kevin Lake: Visitors to Northampton’s wild lands should roam responsibly

Thursday, March 19, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Thanks to the work and dedication of countless volunteers and organizations, the city of Northampton has a wealth of permanently conserved open spaces that serve to protect natural systems while allowing for passive recreational use. These include areas of all sizes, in all areas of the …

State Sen. Eric Lesser: Finding solutions to the opioid abuse epidemic

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BELCHERTOWN — One of the most urgent problems facing our community is substance abuse, and in particular, opioid addiction. Nearly 1,000 people in Massachusetts died of unintentional opioid overdoses in 2013, more than double the number of motor vehicle deaths and a 46 percent increase over the previous …

Adam Fisher: What would (a female) Jesus do?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Having been forced by his own father, a Presbyterian minister, to memorize great hunks of the Bible by candlelight, my father came to abominate religion. He took pleasure in jousting with the theologically informed since he …

Steve Smith: A few days in Selma

Monday, March 16, 2015

WORTHINGTON — Fifty years ago this month I made my first and only visit to Selma, Alabama. I was only there for a few days and, although I am now far from that place and time, I am certain that I could return today and retrace my steps …

John Gerber: New life for an old school — the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass

Friday, February 27, 2015

AMHERST — One of the most exciting programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today is an undergraduate major that serves the citizens of Amherst and surrounding towns by growing food, growing community and “growing” new farmers. As local and regional food production expands in New England, so …

John Paradis: Proposed state law takes aim at ‘stolen valor’

Thursday, March 12, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — I was a big Brian Williams fan. I found him to be a likeable, regular kind of guy and I admired the way he projected respectability when delivering the “NBC Nightly News.” I was — and still am — a big fan of Robert McDonald, the …