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YOSHITAKA HAMADA
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 …

Adam Fisher: Addiction’s greatest enemy: the truth

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Last week, both of my sons attended a talk by former Boston Celtics player Chris Herren, a man who gave his first-person account of an addictive past — from alcohol to pills and on into the …

John O. Fox: Trust shaken in Amherst town government

Monday, November 17, 2014

AMHERST — Kendrick Place — with 104 beds — and One East Pleasant — with 182 — have been marketed by Archipelago Investments, the developer, as projects designed to attract residents of all generations — millennials, graduate students, University of Massachusetts faculty and administrators, young parents, retirees, as …

Elissa Rubinstein: Projects make Amherst center adjunct of UMass campus

Monday, November 17, 2014

AMHERST — Archipelago’s One East Pleasant development replacing the Carriage Shops is on “the fast track,” according to an article in Saturday’s Gazette. That was certainly the impression of residents who attended last Wednesday’s public hearing. Many, many letters to the Select Board from concerned abutters and Amherst …

Carol Sharick: It is time to de-escalate Amherst racial allegations

Monday, November 17, 2014

AMHERST — I am the parent of a junior at Amherst Regional High School. I write in response to the pieces printed recently regarding the situation of former teacher Carolyn Gardner. It is an interesting time for all of us as we learn about each other and try …

Emma Ayres: My abortion story — Why this health option for women must be a right, not a privilege

Friday, November 14, 2014

AMHERST — I entered Planned Parenthood. Was patted down by the security guard. Admitted to the waiting room. Called into the clinic. Put on a flimsy pastel hospital smock. Treated by professional and compassionate people. Blood work done. Cold lubed-up ultrasound. Asked if I was sure this was …

John Paradis: Young people who don’t grab headlines are showing us a better way

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — I think we can all pretty much agree that there is nothing better than overturning cars, tearing down street signs, throwing gas bottles and jumping off roofs and banging on cars. Hey, the Blarney Blowout at University of Massachusetts last March and the Keene, New Hampshire, …

New VA leader focused on reform

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

At last, America’s military veterans seem to have a Secretary of Veterans Affairs who gets it. VA Secretary Robert McDonald, the former chairman, president and CEO of Proctor & Gamble who came to the VA just three and a half months ago, has made clear in his words …

Marty Nathan: A new air war with an old side effect: massive pollution

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — I was digging compost and wheelbarrowing it past my backyard chickens to the front yard vegetable garden when I found myself thinking the same thoughts I shared on these pages in 2011. Then I had pondered …

Madeleine Blais: My (somewhat faked) Thanksgiving with the Admiral and Swabby

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

AMHERST — It was one of those cheerfully rigged contests: if you entered, you won. Cooked up by a TV show in western Massachusetts during the fall when I was in the sixth grade, the competition was a …

Samuel VanSant Stoddard: Easy, progressive voters. You’ll get your chance next time

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In recent years, Democrats have taken righteous solace in the knowledge that when more Americans vote, they win; a week ago they experienced the other side of this truism: Democratic voters are unreliable. In 2012, after the nation’s …