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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 …

Sara Weinberger: Why not activate your investments?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — When bothered by insomnia, I meet with my financial advisor. Discussions of indexes, hedge funds and equities lull me to sleep quicker than Ambien. The fancy graphs and charts he presents my husband and I with at each visit make no sense to me. I don’t …

Jim Foudy: They call it ‘smart growth’ for a reason — and Amherst should take note

Friday, April 17, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — In Northampton and Amherst this year the topics of smart growth and community gateways — and how they intersect — have generated debate. Smart growth principles encourage development in already urbanized areas. The idea is to concentrate housing, commerce, jobs and transportation while leaving land open …

Jay Vinskey: The bonsai trees of King Street shouldn’t look that way

Thursday, April 16, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Having worked to maintain the city’s “Tree City USA” designation as a member of the former Northampton Tree Committee and landscape architect, I was disheartened to notice the widespread hacking that occurred to the trees at …

Jay Ambrose: The Clinton saga: fascinating to watch, hard to endure

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

If we Americans were not participants in our democracy, not people deeply affected by political outcomes, just spectators taking in the show, you could not ask for anything much more fascinating than the Clinton saga. The story has been funny, sometimes sad, sometimes dramatic, always engrossing, starting, of …

Adam Fisher: Finding uplift in a Depression-era voice

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — In an age of too much information and too little to show for it, it is hard to know who’s wearing the white hats — you know, the good guys, the credible guys, the guys and …

Mark Zinan: In search of the real Rand Paul

Monday, April 13, 2015

SUNDERLAND — In case you hadn’t heard the news, Republican Sen. Rand Paul is campaigning for president. During the past week, Paul received the same mega-publicity typically reserved for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (HRC) latest book tour or her six month faux-Hamlet pondering, to run or not run. Huge …

John Sheirer: Pushing the boundaries of belief

Sunday, April 12, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — To commemorate Easter in the context of current politics, a progressive Christian friend of mine recently posted a picture on Facebook that depicts Christ’s crucifixion with the fake Fox News headline: “Socialist Hippie Executed.” My friend noted that she thought long and hard about whether or …

Rev. Andrea Ayvazian: Armenian genocide: the truth that won’t stay told

Friday, April 10, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — As soon as the calendar turned from 2014 to 2015, I knew that my April column would be devoted to the 100th anniversary of the start of the genocide of the Armenian people — and I began to dread what that would involve. I knew I …

Rape defendant needs rehab

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Now that the trial of Emmanuel Bile has ended and along with it the daily parade of front-page stories, I would like to reflect on another tragedy: the prison systems in the United States. This young man needs rehabilitation, but is not going to get it …

John Paradis: There’s still time to honor service of Vietnam veterans

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Nine days after his 18th birthday, Lenny Desrochers from Granby, 5 foot 7 and 130 pounds, arrived at Da Nang on Dec. 9, 1966. He was assigned to Delta Company, First Battalion, Fifth Regiment, First Marines, and was stationed at Quang Tri. For 13 months in …