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Editorial: Lessons from a hateful crime in Northampton, even it it didn’t earn that name technically

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Northampton Police and the Northwestern district attorney’s office will not charge two juveniles accused of writing anti-Semitic and racist graffiti with the commission of a hate crime, but that’s not the end of this story. Members of a community must never think a decision by law enforcement absolves them of their duty to deal with an act that might not legally qualify as a hate crime, but is hateful and …

Non-violent civil protests always carry risks, rewards

Thursday, January 29, 2015

It’s a mistake for lawmakers angered by a recent I-93 blockade to crack down on civil disobedience, no matter how upset their constituents are. Nonetheless, two bills have been filed to toughen penalties for actions like those Jan. 15, when people protesting police violence chained themselves to concrete-filled barrels and obstructed the morning commute. That conduct is already illegal — and is why …

Closing time for the liquor license monopoly

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

No wonder some Northampton restaurateurs are protesting the city’s effort to obtain another five full liquor licenses. Existing license holders have reason to grumble not just about increased competition, but about what they see as a financial inequity. If the Legislature grants the city permission to expand the number of licenses from 40 to 45, new licensees will pony up $2,500 — vastly …

Editorial: This is Senate President Stanley Rosenberg’s time

Thursday, January 15, 2015

After a last-minute blip on the screen involving alleged boasting by his domestic partner — a “kerfuffle” as he put it — Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, D-Amherst has been elected to one of the most powerful positions in Massachusetts, president of the state Senate. Given his record over …

Editorial: Pleasant Street renewal in Northampton more real than ever

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

If two housing groups secure funding, the long-sought revitalization of Northampton’s Pleasant Street will advance dramatically. The Valley Community Development Corp.’s project at the Northampton Lumber site won two key approvals last week and deserves backing Thursday from the City Council through a Community Preservation Act grant. Taken …

Editorial: Microgrids offer hedge as power source in time of climate change

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

‘Resiliency” is the latest buzzword in the energy world. It does have its appeal. When a Halloween snowstorm wreaked havoc in Northampton and the rest of western Massachusetts more than three years ago, leaving thousands without power, city officials began to search for ways to strengthen back-up power …

Editorial: Public safety is only real if it applies to everyone

Monday, January 12, 2015

Racial tensions and the relationships between police officers and communities of color are top issues demanding attention. In recent months, protesters have taken to streets across the nation over killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island and the failure to indict police officers involved …

Editorial: Unraveling the riddle of Northampton’s retail erosion

Friday, January 9, 2015

For decades, Northampton has had Faces and Iris Photo. Now, with word two longtime retailers expect to close, Northampton has questions. The city’s economic development director is right to begin chronicling reasons that businesses come and go downtown. That information will help officials do what they can to …

Editorial: How a different climate change hampers supply of doctors

Thursday, January 8, 2015

For 24 years, Dr. Samuel Gladstone saw patients in a family practice in Amherst. For 22 of those years, the Massachusetts Medical Society tracked the health of this kind of business — and for 17 of those the …

Editorial: A citizen’s quest for answers about Verizon charges pays off for all

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When a consultant saves a client money, that’s being good at one’s job. When the same consultant saves over $1 million for people he doesn’t know, that’s being a good citizen. At the end of last month, the state Attorney General’s office reached an agreement with Verizon New …

Editorial: Lessons on and off the playing fields

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Jay Fortier taught hundreds of young athletes how to come together as winning teams on the basketball court, earning regional and state titles. This past year, Fortier also gave his Easthampton High School girls squad a vital lesson in personal courage. Fortier died Monday at the age of …

Editorial: Trucker’s arrest shows perils of the online chat room

Monday, January 5, 2015

The multi-state criminal case against long-distance trucker Zack Sawyer is still being assembled, but what officials are saying he did in Hampshire County should be enough to send parents marching into their children’s rooms for a good long …

Editorial: Cummington ponders life without its elementary school

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cummington now knows where it stands with the Central Berkshire Regional School Committee: remaindered, undervalued and left to find the best way to educate its youngest children. The committee plans to save about $585,000 in the next school year by closing the Berkshire Trail Elementary School in Cummington. …