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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sets to throw during NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Mark Zinan: The lighter side of a personal darkness

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SUNDERLAND — Anxiety, biologists inform us, is the human evolutionary psyche on super alert to the physical dangers of the pre historic world. Beware the leopard, tiger and shark. For millions of people, in our relatively physically safe environment, anxiety is the emotional predator. Let’s leap backwards. To the summer of 1971. For 99.9 percent of the American population, childhood …

Tynan Power: Time to face facts on anti-Semitism here in Valley

Monday, January 26, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Last week, the Gazette reported on vandalism at and near residences on Sherman Avenue, which included anti-Semitic graffiti. (“Northampton teens face charges after vandalism with swastikas,” Jan. 21). The article reported that the perpetrators, girls aged 14 and 15, were not yet being charged with a hate crime because the residents — none of whom are Jewish — did not feel …

Mehammed Amadeus Mack: On the plight of French Muslims

Sunday, January 25, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — While French Muslims are not and should not be the only lens through which we observe the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, they will likely feel the consequences of the events in an especially acute way. The events could not have come at a more horribly appropriate time in my teaching, as I have just wrapped up a section on …

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 …

Nan Parati: Revisiting the age, ‘old,’ question

Monday, January 12, 2015

ASHFIELD — Every time I mention that I’m old, some kid says, “You’re not old!” As if it were a bad thing and I need comforting. As if I had said, “I’m wretched,” which I am not. And …

Rudy Perkins: In the glow of a lighting innovation from Denmark

Monday, January 12, 2015

AMHERST It’s time we lit the road to a better future. I was coming across the Route 116 bridge into South Hadley one recent evening, when I happened to put on the weekly environmental podcast, Living Planet. The …

John Sheirer: A case of acid reflux on 2015 political predictions

Friday, January 9, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — As the new year begins, let’s look into our fake crystal ball and predict some of the biggest news stories of 2015. President Obama will take executive action to help the American people, and most Republicans will pretend that no president in history ever took similar …

Rev. Andrea Ayvazian: Finding hope, keeping faith amid bad news

Friday, January 9, 2015

HAYDENVILLE — Here again we are in a new year. We toss out the 2014 calendar and hang a fresh one, celebrating a new beginning. Yet the sorrows and suffering of the previous year have not gone away. As we drag our world-weary, broken hearts into the new …