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Open Meeting Law worth the hard work it requires

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It’s not shocking that several public officials stood up at a public meeting to complain that the state’s Open Meeting Law is cumbersome and confusing. What is shocking is that they derided it as “unfair and undemocratic” and claimed that a request for meeting minutes is tantamount to harassment. Even more shocking is that in a room full of 100 elected and appointed public officials from Hampshire and Franklin counties, …

Editorial: Rule exposes electricity ratepayers to unfair double whammy

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Electricity customers knew last fall they’d pay more for power this winter. But as rates kicked up by nearly a third and some sought relief by switching suppliers, another expense caught them by surprise — making this a tough winter both inside and outside for ratepayers. Help may be on the way, but given bureaucratic sluggishness, there’s no guarantee. A band of lawmakers …

Editorial: Grieving military families find solace with new bond

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The ceremony marking the formation of the first-ever western Massachusetts chapter of American Gold Star Mothers served as a powerful reminder that the pain of seemingly distant wars is felt every day in the hearts of our Pioneer Valley neighbors. The mothers, fathers and other relatives of men and women who lost their …

Editorial: Many hands needed to address Northampton BID’s demise

Monday, February 16, 2015

Any organization created to care for Northampton’s downtown after the demise of the Business Improvement District will succeed only if volunteers and supporters commit time and money — and stay with it. The BID was dissolved after five years in operation when a judge ruled Nov. 12 the …

Editorial: Lawmakers take bipartisan approach to closing state budget gap

Thursday, February 12, 2015

It is never good news when the state must make adjustments mid-year to fix a budget shortfall. Still, there are encouraging signs in the approach taken by Gov. Charlie Baker to plug an estimated $768 million hole in the state budget for the year ending June 30, and …

Editorial: Cybercrimes a reminder that online convenience comes at a price

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A year ago, the FBI told leaders of health care companies they were not doing enough to safeguard consumer information, including Social Security numbers. Now comes word that Anthem, the country’s second-largest health insurer, failed to protect a database with information on 80 million people. This is grievous …

Editorial: Northampton VA district shows big improvement in reducing patient wait times

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New figures show that area veterans are getting in to see doctors in days not weeks. Apparently, even a lumbering bureaucracy like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can make things happen, especially when the public demands change. Last spring, the federal agency and many of its regional …

Editorial: South Hadley’s blighted property program is forward thinking

Monday, February 9, 2015

An abundance of blighted residential properties are not the norm for most Hampshire County communities. But South Hadley’s Falls section is one area where such properties have attracted attention, with encouraging results. For the past year or so, town officials have aggressively tackled the problem with help from …

Editorial: Former state hospital land is about more than farming

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The 282 acres of land off Burts Pit Road that were once part of the Northampton State Hospital may be owned by the state and leased by a regional vocational school. But that land belongs to all of us. Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School tends the land …

Editorial: Softer side of policing helps assure campus peace

Friday, February 6, 2015

Police took a new approach Sunday to large gatherings at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, when thousands of students streamed outside after the Super Bowl for what a school spokesman called “boisterous celebration.” Police made one arrest for …

CDH benefits from Boston partnership

Thursday, February 5, 2015

With the construction of a $9.3 million cancer care center in Northampton, the collaboration between Cooley Dickinson Hospital and Massachusetts General is paying off in a big way for local consumers. Crews have begun work on the 15,600-square-foot structure that is expected to open in the fall. Not …

Editorial: Worthington perseveres in preserving a town school

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Worthington is in the final stages of reopening a local school that serves not just to educate young children but also as a hub of activity for the town. The perseverance of Worthington residents is admirable and should be an inspiration for other Hilltowns faced with local school …

Handling of assault report returns to haunt college

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Soon after becoming president of Amherst College in 2011, Carolyn “Biddy” Martin set out to reform how the school handled reports of sexual assault. Until then, the lack of a clear policy and prompt response had subjected victims to the added — and for some unbearable — stress …