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Mary Clare Higgins during a press conference held in her office Thursday afternoon.

Clare Higgins: Thankful for a simple thing: clean water

Friday, November 21, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Did you know that last Wednesday was World Toilet Day? Yes, there is such a day and it’s actually serious business. About 35 percent of the people on our planet have no toilets or latrines. That’s 2.5 billion people! And 1.8 billion people drink water contaminated by feces, causing an estimated 2,200 children to die every day from diarrheal illnesses. Non-existent toilets, open running sewerage, contaminated drinking water …

Editorial: President Obama breaks logjam on immigration reform

Friday, November 21, 2014

President Obama made good Thursday not only on his pledge to address the nation’s broken immigration system but on this country’s duty to show compassion for those whose dreams brought them here. That is America’s story, after all. It is no surprise Obama’s action enrages Republicans in Congress. That they claim his executive …

Editorial: Open minds key to Amherst development

Thursday, November 20, 2014

In town-gown relations, as in real estate, three factors matter most: location, location and — you guessed it — location. Nowhere is that more evident than in the latest arguments over proposals to bring University of Massachusetts students and year-round Amherst residents out of their separate spheres and into closer proximity downtown. This month, consultants hired by the university and town proposed a …

Editorial: Amherst College digs in to fight campus sexual assault

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Amherst College students, faculty and administrators made a visible statement last week that they back President Barack Obama’s push to curb sexual assaults on college campuses. It isn’t academic. This problem is real, local and urgent. Hundreds donned …

Editorial: When rough things happen in prized natural places

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This week, two stories in the Gazette featured comments from science experts explaining how events that seem wholly destructive can benefit the natural environment. We’re talking about coverage of the Easthampton microburst and the start, within days, of …

Editorial: The youngest Nobelist brings the wisest world view

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

‘Who is Malala?” That is what the man with a gun asked young women riding in the back of a pick-up that moments before had been bouncing along rough roads in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. No one answered but glances gave them away. He raised his pistol and fired. …

Editorial: Land stewards in Hadley help preserve forests, views

Monday, October 13, 2014

Members of the Scott-Agassiz family were well aware of the value of the land they tended for generations in North Hadley: It was priceless. They also knew that no matter what the deed for the property said, the land didn’t really belong to them. They were stewards of …

Editorial: Find right tone, tactics for policing in our times

Monday, October 13, 2014

The message from a veteran law enforcement official was unambiguous: Due to persistent challenges, and the rise of technologies like social media, police officers must do their work differently to remain relevant in the 21st century and serve …

Editorial: Anti-bullying lesson backfires in Amherst

Friday, October 10, 2014

Great teachers challenge students, but there is a big difference between awakening minds and saying things so shocking a good message gets lost. That appears to have happened last week in Amherst when a consultant made middle-schoolers run …

Editorial: Luck, timing help prevent a tragedy in Easthampton

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The column of wind that barreled across the west side of Mount Tom early Wednesday wasn’t a tornado, but these winds, known as microbursts, can be just as destructive. No one who lives near Mountain Road needs to be told that. Bryan Lamore, who was motoring up the …

Editorial: Misty day brings close to state horse racing

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When thoroughbred racing ended at the Three County Fair in 2006, horse owners shook their heads. The loss of even small yearly venues like the Northampton track made it harder to sustain their business. The closing of Suffolk …

Editorial: Reforms must help protect funeral home customers

Monday, October 6, 2014

As the debacle swirling around the now defunct Ryder Funeral Home reached its peak last spring, several funeral home directors interviewed by the Gazette lamented the black eye given to an industry built on community trust. When that trust is jeopardized, as was the case with William W. …

Editorial: UMass football’s return to Amherst shows both promise and peril

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The return of UMass football to McGuirk Stadium in Amherst had the trappings of a joyful homecoming: The smell of sausages and cigars mingling in the autumn air, the laughter of returning alumni and new students, the ka-ching …