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Shawn Adams, of Pelham, holds her cat "Pippin" at her house in Pelham, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014.  Pippin went missing for six months and was hit by a car Dec. 17, which left the cat a brain injury.

Shawn Adams: The cat who came in from the cold

Sunday, December 21, 2014

PELHAM — For many, this time of year is a time of memory. Looking back on the past year, we reflect on the significant events that have shaped our lives. Some of these memories can be full of joy, and others of loss. About three days ago I was standing on my deck looking out over the trees that surround my home in Pelham and I uttered a small prayer. “Pippin,” I asked, “why did you leave me? Come home.” Pippin is the name of my cat, adopted seven years ago from the animal shelter in Springfield. I am biased, as all animal-lovers are, yet …

Claire Streeter: A father who tried once before to quit — and must again

Friday, December 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Dear Daddy: I’m writing to talk to you about something extremely important to me, and I’m not sure how to say it in person. I’m writing to talk to you about stopping smoking. I know you’ve been smoking since you were 15. Daddy, I’m worried about you. Smoking is really bad — from the tar in it, to the millions of …

Kristin Carter:

Friday, December 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Dear Mom: Do you really know just how bad smoking is for you? Not only will it kill you, it is a habit that will cost you a lot of money each year. It affects your hygiene, causing bad breath and smelly clothes. It also causes tons of health problems such as lung cancer — especially if you are a heavy …

Dylan Whitman-Allard: Smokers get a new birthday on the date they stop the habit

Friday, December 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — I am writing this essay to ask you, even to beg you, to please quit smoking for me and more importantly, for yourself. I understand that it is hard for you to quit, but it is even harder for me to watch you smoke for all …

Dr. Newton Bowdan: Medical marijuana not ready for prime time

Thursday, December 18, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — Shortly before Thanksgiving I attended a meeting at a Northampton school. The subject was “Medical Marijuana.” I put the term in quotes because marijuana is marijuana, just as insulin is insulin. Whether marijuana is “medical” or “recreational” depends on the use to which it is …

Lynn Pasquerella: College students on holiday face an in-between world

Monday, December 15, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — This time of year, I make a point of looking out my office window. Here at Mount Holyoke College, I have a good view of the local bus stop. At the end of the semester, I like to spend a few moments watching students board …

Sara Weinberger: Why a 1948 statement has never become dated

Monday, December 15, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The frenetic pace of holiday preparations, as well as feelings of rage and powerlessness over a seemingly endless wave of state-sanctioned police brutality, seem to be holding many of us hostage these days. It’s not surprising that few people noticed an important day that came and …

John Paradis: Is it time for a military draft in the US?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Thomas Jefferson believed a democracy can survive only with the aid of an enlightened electorate. What then would our founding fathers now say about the lowest voter turnout in 72 years in the midterm general election …

Burton Novak: The party season is here. Is your excuse ready?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

HOLYOKE — It began innocuously enough — an artfully designed long and narrow rectangle fluttering gracefully down through the mail slot in our front door. I saw it happening, in slow motion, like a train wreck. It came to rest on the welcome mat and just lay there, …

Ann Burke: Northampton’s downtown, now at a crossroads, needs to pull together

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SPRINGFIELD — I congratulate the Northampton community for its efforts to pick up the pieces after the unfortunate loss of the Business Improvement District and for looking to develop a sustainable downtown model. Listening to comments at the packed meeting of property owners last week at the Hotel …

Kayla Strom: How US biofuels make for a hungrier world

Monday, December 8, 2014

BURLINGTON, VT. — On Nov. 27 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency further postponed a decision regarding the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard to 2015. The standard is intended to set an annual level for the amount of biofuel blended in gasoline. However, until the EPA decides, fuel producers are …

John Sheirer: ‘Amnesty’ wrong word for Obama order on immigration

Sunday, December 7, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Since President Obama announced his executive actions on immigration, the word “amnesty” has been flying around more frequently than flakes in a New England snowstorm. Social media and the news are full of rants about “Obama’s amnesty.” All of this ignores a basic fact: The president’s …

Bill Newman: The next challenge for downtown Northampton

Friday, December 5, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The place was packed. Every seat was taken. It was standing room only. Three weeks ago a Superior Court judge killed the Northampton Business Improvement District. The rationale? The city failed to check the signatures required …