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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 …

Dylan Whitman-Allard: Smokers get a new birthday on the date they stop the habit

Friday, December 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — I am writing this essay to ask you, even to beg you, to please quit smoking for me and more importantly, for yourself. I understand that it is hard for you to quit, but it is even harder for me to watch you smoke for all …

Dr. Newton Bowdan: Medical marijuana not ready for prime time

Thursday, December 18, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — Shortly before Thanksgiving I attended a meeting at a Northampton school. The subject was “Medical Marijuana.” I put the term in quotes because marijuana is marijuana, just as insulin is insulin. Whether marijuana is “medical” or “recreational” depends on the use to which it is …

Lynn Pasquerella: College students on holiday face an in-between world

Monday, December 15, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — This time of year, I make a point of looking out my office window. Here at Mount Holyoke College, I have a good view of the local bus stop. At the end of the semester, I like to spend a few moments watching students board …

Sara Weinberger: Why a 1948 statement has never become dated

Monday, December 15, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The frenetic pace of holiday preparations, as well as feelings of rage and powerlessness over a seemingly endless wave of state-sanctioned police brutality, seem to be holding many of us hostage these days. It’s not surprising that few people noticed an important day that came and …

John Paradis: Is it time for a military draft in the US?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Thomas Jefferson believed a democracy can survive only with the aid of an enlightened electorate. What then would our founding fathers now say about the lowest voter turnout in 72 years in the midterm general election …

Burton Novak: The party season is here. Is your excuse ready?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

HOLYOKE — It began innocuously enough — an artfully designed long and narrow rectangle fluttering gracefully down through the mail slot in our front door. I saw it happening, in slow motion, like a train wreck. It came to rest on the welcome mat and just lay there, …

Ann Burke: Northampton’s downtown, now at a crossroads, needs to pull together

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SPRINGFIELD — I congratulate the Northampton community for its efforts to pick up the pieces after the unfortunate loss of the Business Improvement District and for looking to develop a sustainable downtown model. Listening to comments at the packed meeting of property owners last week at the Hotel …

Kayla Strom: How US biofuels make for a hungrier world

Monday, December 8, 2014

BURLINGTON, VT. — On Nov. 27 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency further postponed a decision regarding the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard to 2015. The standard is intended to set an annual level for the amount of biofuel blended in gasoline. However, until the EPA decides, fuel producers are …

John Sheirer: ‘Amnesty’ wrong word for Obama order on immigration

Sunday, December 7, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Since President Obama announced his executive actions on immigration, the word “amnesty” has been flying around more frequently than flakes in a New England snowstorm. Social media and the news are full of rants about “Obama’s amnesty.” All of this ignores a basic fact: The president’s …

Bill Newman: The next challenge for downtown Northampton

Friday, December 5, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The place was packed. Every seat was taken. It was standing room only. Three weeks ago a Superior Court judge killed the Northampton Business Improvement District. The rationale? The city failed to check the signatures required …