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EDITORIAL: Casino vote challenge: sticking to the facts

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fair warning, voters of Massachusetts: As campaigns for and against casino gambling ratchet up in advance of a November ballot question, prepare to be smothered with arguments. The gambling industry spent millions to lobby lawmakers before the 2011 vote to allow three casinos and a slots parlor in the state. Certain players, notably MGM Resorts International in Springfield, have since invested many more millions in specific projects. The industry will … 0

Editorial: Repeat violations suggest OSHA fines are toothless

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration says contractors working in a former Easthampton mill failed repeatedly to guard against workplace injuries. It’s good the agency is monitoring job sites, since more than 4,000 Americans are killed in private industry every year. But the agency’s feeble sanctions seem unable to compel lasting compliance. … 0

Editorial: Two projects confront Amherst’s race problem

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The school year will begin in Amherst with new strategies to confront racial conflict and improve the town’s ability to provide equal educational opportunities. Steps taken by officials this summer seem reasonable, but even good ideas go off track. This work will continue to demand close attention and full backing. Since school ended in June, the regional schools teamed with the town to … 0

Editorial: Amherst cemetery’s ‘meadow’ needs a little clipping

Monday, August 4, 2014

The “meadowfication” of the Amherst cemetery where poet Emily Dickinson found her final rest provides a case study in what happens when high concept meets weedy reality. The way a swath of West Cemetery has been allowed to grow isn’t a terrible idea. But the concept — like … 0

Editorial: IG’s report on Westfield State pillories Evan S. Dobelle’s imperial presidency

Friday, August 1, 2014

August is the month when college kids and their families write big checks. Students from Massachusetts who attend Westfield State University this year, for instance, will pay around $22,000. If they read a new report from the state … 1

Editorial: Iraqi initiative at UMass helps bridge a gap

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

For the past five years the University of Massachusetts’ Civic Initiative of the Donahue Institute has taken part in a cultural exchange that brings Iraqi students to the campus for over a month in the summer. This year, … 0

Editorial: Final push still needed to close digital divide

Thursday, July 31, 2014

We predicted 18 months ago that despite a hefty governmental outlay, five years would drag by before communities left behind in our Internet age won broadband access. We didn’t want to be right, but it looks increasingly doubtful the digital divide will disappear soon in rural western Massachusetts. … 0

Editorial: 12 hours in jail that could have been avoided

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It would be simple to conclude that a judge misused his power in jailing Iheanyi Daniel Okoroafor, a 73-year-old African immigrant, for failing to pay a $508 debt. But closer examination reveals that the case is not so … 0

Editorial: No more hiring as usual at state probation office

Monday, July 28, 2014

The lesson in the guilty verdicts last week in the federal trial involving the state probation department’s rigged hiring scheme is this simple: Just because it has always been done this way doesn’t make it right. The case involved former Probation Commissioner John O’Brien and his deputies, Elizabeth … 0

Editorial: Sloppy work or under staffing? Lax funeral inspections allow Ryder's alleged negligent operation to continue

Monday, July 28, 2014

As the families who did business with the now-shuttered Ryder Funeral Home transfer their funeral arrangements elsewhere, file lawsuits or search for missing funeral contract money, the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office needs to step in and help state … 0

Not an easy task, but saving Amherst mural worth effort

Friday, July 25, 2014

An enormous painting of Emily Dickinson’s face, surrounded by colorful blossoms and flanked by other luminaries from Amherst’s past, gazes out from the back wall of the Carriage Shops in Amherst center. The poet’s image provides the centerpiece of the community-created mural framing the historic West Cemetery that … 0

Editorial: Immigrant children deserve safe harbor

Friday, July 25, 2014

The term “unaccompanied minors” sounds so clinical, it’s easy to distance from it. The phrase has been everywhere in the national media lately because of the unprecedented surge in the number of children fleeing Central American countries in … 4

Clare Higgins: Nation must abandon ‘War on Drugs’

Friday, July 25, 2014

I have been horrified by the newspaper headlines the last couple of weeks: Israeli children murdered, Palestinian children murdered in return. A plane shot out of the sky and hundreds of people dead, including eighty children. Seven hundred … 1