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Atty Bill Newman in his Northampton office

Bill Newman: Whose free speech display of Black Lives Matter banner on City Hall?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Shortly after the Black Lives Matter banner was raised at Northampton City Hall on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the president of a city police union, denying any connection, requested that Mayor David Narkewicz fly a banner recognizing National Peace Officers Memorial Day in May. Other banner and flag-flying requests no doubt will follow. We’ve been down this …

Lissa Pierce Bonifaz: Standardized tests got you down? Consider opting out

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Amherst Regional school system was recently notified that its students would take two high-stakes, standardized tests this spring. The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) for third to sixth grade will be augmented with items from another standardized test, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC). The state …

Bess Hepner: Celebrated at Smith, but for contributing what to the world?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Smith College students hear about Rally Day their first year. It’s when alumnae are honored and set an example for the graduating class. As a senior at Smith, this is a day I have been looking forward to. I am excited like many of my classmates to wear my gown for the first time. Even more, I am excited to leave campus at …

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, …

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 …

Don Robinson: A novelist’s entrancing tale of liberty unbound

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Every once in a while, an amazing work of imagination forces us to think anew about how toxic effects have spread throughout our culture and what we must do to atone for them. The 2013 movie, “Twelve Years a Slave” was such a work. This Christmas our nephew …

Zion Scott Barbour: Waking up in Northampton to racism’s wounds

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day “Black Lives Matter” banner-raising was supposed to be a huge step forward in equality in Northampton. Sadly many, including myself, feel as if the people of Northampton didn’t even lift their …

Marian Kelner: Trickle-down at the bird feeder and other politically squirrely behavior

Monday, January 25, 2016

For many winters I have spent considerable mental energy trying to figure out — as tens of millions are probably doing at this very moment — how to keep squirrels from dominating the bird feeder. Day after day, I have watched from the sidelines as dominant squirrels arrived …

Adriana Piantedosi: Looking for racial justice, not apologies

Monday, January 25, 2016

Friday before last, I drove through downtown Northampton and noticed that City Hall has put up a “Black Lives Matter” banner. And then I looked down and saw this older white guy holding up a sign that said “All Lives Matter and I won’t Apologize.” He was standing …

Nancy Follansbee, Judith Houle & Craig Jurgensen: Leave no child’s school district behind

Thursday, January 21, 2016

We are writing in regard to the Dec. 18 commentary by Marc Kenen, executive director of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association. Kenen was responding to an opinion piece published Dec. 9 from John Provost, the Northampton superintendent, and William Diehl, executive director of the Collaborative for Educational …

Editorial: Skating on region’s ponds is a hazardous business

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A University of Massachusetts student is lucky to have crawled away from disaster while skating on Puffers Pond in Amherst this week. The unidentified man fell into frigid water after a hockey game with friends when he strayed onto thin ice. Venturing out onto pond ice in New …

Pat Hynes: Memories of my Muslim friends

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Donald Trump’s odious, ugly American pledge to prohibit Muslims from entering our country stirred long-cherished memories of my Muslim and Arab students and friends. I am looking at two small cream-colored pillows nestled into corners of our living room chairs. They are embossed with arabesque designs on their …

John Stifler: Pride and prejudice are interwoven in Confederate flag

Thursday, January 21, 2016

About that flag: Aside from some Civil War re-enactors, I wonder whether any other Gazette reader besides me has spent a week in a cluster of tents on which my friends and I had painted large Confederate flags. …