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A black bear visits Lynne Bertrand's Williamsburg home this week.

Lynne Bertrand: A spring visitor in Williamsburg comes bearing a reminder

Friday, May 22, 2015

WILLIAMSBURG — A black bear materialized yesterday in the yard, a sudden presence in the shadows at the river out back. He ambled up the hill and past the house, giving off the appearance of someone who had lost his glasses and was fumbling around in the kitchen to make a sandwich. He was inexplicably thick for a spring bear, …

Rev. Peter Kakos: What if the Valley were fracked?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — With the necessary attention being paid to the proposed pipeline of natural gas obtained through hydraulic fracturing that would snake its way through our Commonwealth, let’s imagine the plight of our beloved Valley were we the site for invasive extraction. The immediate effect would be coping with continual, sizeable tremors caused by the subsequent earthquakes, as basement-rock twists and tilts. If …

Rekha Basu: Progressives, like libertarians on right, forcing party soul-searching

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Every presidential election cycle, the tension between moderate and evangelical conservative voters in the Republican Party becomes the subject of hand-wringing speculation: Could a moderate seeking the Republican nomination win in an early voting state like Iowa, where evangelicals dominate? Could an evangelical candidate win the general election? But the real story shaping up this election cycle is from the other party, where …

Bill Newman: The wait for full marriage equality

Friday, May 1, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — No one outside Northampton City Hall on the evening of Nov. 18, 2003, will forget the celebration. People hugged and cheered. Balloons floated. Signs were hoisted. Rainbow flags were waved. And Rachel Maddow spoke. Earlier that …

Samrat Upadhyay: Impermanence and suffering in Nepal

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Images coming out of Nepal’s devastating earthquake on Saturday reminded me of another earthquake of similar magnitude that occurred 81 years ago. That earthquake of 1934, or nabbey salko bhuichalo, as it was referred to throughout my childhood in Katmandu, had acquired an air of a legend, delivered …

David E. Sullivan & Ruth Ever: Prom and graduation parties that go too far

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Parents play a major role in their child’s decision to drink or not drink alcohol. As we enter prom and graduation season, the Northwestern district attorney’s office is partnering with local substance abuse prevention coalitions, like the Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition, to promote a clear message: …

Mark Zinan: Out standing in their field: the GOP’s 2016 contenders

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

SUNDERLAND — With the first presidential primary a mere nine months away, Republican contenders are lining up in droves in their quest for the highest political office. While the Democratic Party has chosen to live or die with …

John Musante & Kumble Subbaswamy: Let’s keep positive town-gown momentum going

Sunday, April 26, 2015

AMHERST — In 2013, when Amherst Town Meeting agreed to match the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s commitment of $30,000 for a consultant to aid in the development of a shared economic development and housing vision, an historic process was begun. This collaborative effort marked the first time the …

Clare Higgins: Why these remain taxing times

Friday, April 24, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Are we overtaxed here in Massachusetts? For many years we were known as “Taxachusetts” and there certainly are some who think that is still true. Of course, the cost of living is high is our state. We have the fifth-highest transportation costs, the fourth-highest utility costs …

Marty Nathan: It ought to be a law, and can: carbon fee and rebate

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Most of the climate news from the oceans and the Arctic and California has been grim, with changes occurring around the world even faster than climate scientists had predicted. But this month, as my mixed-religious family prepared to celebrate Passover and Easter, the two holidays of …

Don Robinson: Hillary Clinton on my mind

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ASHFIELD — Why, despite all her “baggage,” does Hillary seem so right this time? The campaign is in its early stages. It is 19 months until Election Day 2016, 21 months till Inauguration Day 2017. In politics, “a week is an eternity,” as sage old Howard Baker used …

Tom Weiner: Of veterans and the American peace movement

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — I recently attended an extraordinary panel presentation at Smith College entitled “Understanding and Healing War’s Deepest Wounds” and featuring three outstanding men — Edward Tick, Robert Meagher and Mark Nickerson. Each has made a noteworthy contribution to the vexed issue of caring for returning veterans. Each …

Christine Clarke: Agricultural success in Valley starts with healthy soil

Monday, April 20, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Eighty years ago, on April 14, 1935, an ominous wall of blowing sand and dust swept across the Great Plains on a day that came to be known as Black Sunday. During the 1930s, the Dust Bowl days saw huge dust storms ravage the Midwest because …