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Columns

Florence R. Sullivan & J. Camille Cammack: Testing our schools into the ground

Saturday, January 31, 2015

AMHERST — Our schools’ testing season is once again upon us and with this new testing season comes new proposed federal regulations that seek to increase the already high-stakes nature of this testing. Testing has long been a part of education and schooling. But it is only since No Child Left Behind, enacted under George W. Bush, that large-scale testing has been so widely used in high stakes ways. Tests …

Gordon Shaw: Why public investment is critical to Valley CDC project in Northampton

Friday, January 30, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — As the Northampton City Council prepares to vote Thursday on approval of community preservation funds to develop affordable housing on the site of the former Northampton lumber yard, the Northampton Housing Partnership offers some context on whether this is an appropriate project to support. From the Partnership’s perspective, the charge to do so is critical, as articulated in Northampton’s Housing Needs …

Barry Roth: Let’s calculate future costs of Pleasant Street project

Friday, January 30, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — I am a longtime supporter of the Community Preservation Act and believe it serves a valuable function to enhance historical preservation, affordable housing, parks and recreation and open space. That said, I believe its funds would be used improperly as a down payment for the Valley CDC project at a former lumberyard on Pleasant Street. The proposed project, to its credit, …

Dr. Ira Helfand: ‘Doomsday’ clock hands will move Thursday, likely signaling a more dangerous world

Monday, January 19, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — This Thursday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will update its famous Doomsday Clock. Since 1947 the Bulletin has used the clock to illustrate the severity of the threat of nuclear war. During the worst years of the Cold War in the early 1980s, the clock …

Sara Weinberger: A visit with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — On a recent visit to Washington, D.C., I sought respite from frigid temperatures by ducking into the expansive array of art, history, nature and science offered by D.C.’s mostly free museums. Although I failed to find aesthetic value in many of the contemporary canvases that lined …

Jim Foudy: Promising rail future will be sidelined unless Congress gets moving

Friday, January 16, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Foudy, a former editor and publisher of the Gazette, begins a monthly column today. NORTHAMPTON — The return of the Vermonter to the Connecticut River line after more than a quarter century brings the dream …

Jean Esther: Our era’s paramount call: end racism in American life

Friday, January 16, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — The Gazette recently published guest columns by Andrew Trushaw (Dec. 31) and Joshua Wallace (Jan. 5). I couldn’t agree more with Wallace that as residents and business owners in Northampton, we deserve clear-minded, fair leadership from our elected officials and public servants such as the police. …

Marty Nathan: Why must shifts to avoid climate change be ‘palatable’ when so much is at stake?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Caught out of the corner of my ear while sweeping the kitchen floor: “The program for change to prevent climate disaster needs to be inexpensive and palatable enough to be acceptable.” Thus stated a fundamentalist Christian environmentalist to a National Public Radio reporter regarding her work …

Steve Strimer: Another route to business success: cooperative ownership

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

FLORENCE — The imminent closing of Faces and Iris Photo, two great Northampton institutions, prompted a well-crafted editorial in Monday’s Gazette. Among the many good questions posed by the writer, another was left unasked: What are the workers at these stores thinking? The owners say the downside of …

Todd Thompson et al.: How board shaped advice on stipends, health coverage for part-time elected officials in Northampton

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following guest column was written by Todd Thompson and fellow members of the Elected Official Compensation Advisory Board. NORTHAMPTON — We would like to help everyone understand the thinking behind the report we recently submitted to the City Council. In a guest column last Wednesday, …

Marc Warner: Trend is against offering health coverage for part-time elected officials

Monday, January 12, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Wednesday, we will publish a commentary by members of the Elected Official Compensation Advisory Board in response to the Jan. 7 guest column by City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra. We welcome additional reader comment on this issue. NORTHAMPTON — We elect our City Council to examine …

Jonathan Kahane: Time for a trip? How about back to 1962?

Monday, January 12, 2015

WESTHAMPTON — Now that the days are getting longer again, the effect of switching the clocks in November is easing off. On Nov. 16, like everyone else in Massachusetts, I woke up quite disoriented, given the fact that we fiddled with our time pieces and returned to Standard …

John Gerber: Why even a Catholic superhero, Pope Francis, needs our help

Monday, January 12, 2015

AMHERST — Pope Francis has become something of a superhero today, finding his picture on the front covers of Rolling Stone, the New Yorker and Time magazine. But it was the editorial and cartoons in our local paper …