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Editorial: Leader of WMass Catholics seeks to reconnect with faithful

Thursday, February 11, 2016

As an inspiring Pope lifts Catholic hopes worldwide with his call for inclusion and justice, the leader of the Springfield Diocese is using a Lenten tradition to reach out to disaffected Catholics. He is calling for the spirit of renewal, and forgiveness, to permeate the church in western Massachusetts. Whether he succeeds depends on follow-through. In a remarkable pastoral letter distributed this week, Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski apologizes for a …

Editorial: Sen. Markey zeroes in on proposed fracked gas pipeline motives

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

If the calls are growing for greater transparency — let’s make that honesty — regarding the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline proposal and who will benefit from an enlarged natural gas supply, it’s because more and more people are connecting the dots as the companies involved race to get permits and permissions. This time it was U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, Massachusetts’ junior senator, who …

Editorial: Protecting biodiversity makes no exceptions, even for rattlesnakes

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Since Colonial times, it’s been people versus timber rattlesnakes in Massachusetts. Today, as the state moves anew to preserve this endangered species in the face of public opposition, it’s science versus emotion. At a forum Feb. 23 in Orange, wildlife officials will work to explain their modest plan to place one to 10 young timber rattlesnakes each year, starting in two or three …

Editorial: Clean energy future may dawn for shuttered Holyoke coal plant

Monday, December 21, 2015

Owners of the former Mount Tom coal power plant should embrace a recently completed study on reuse of the site, which closed in 2014. If they do, the Route 5 property in Holyoke could see a future that includes solar energy production and public access to the Connecticut …

Editorial: Local task force takes aim at heroin supply in Northampton

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Over four days in November, people overdosing poured in to Valley hospitals, fighting the effects of unusually pure supplies of heroin. Between Nov. 12 and Nov. 15, Baystate Health’s hospitals took in 40 overdose admissions. Cooley Dickinson Hospital reported eight that week and on just one day, Amherst …

Editorial: Medical examiner’s office backlog deprives families, society of important answers

Friday, December 18, 2015

It’s a disgrace that the state medical examiner’s office is woefully backlogged in issuing autopsy reports and death certificates. It can take a year or more for families to get answers about unexplained deaths, a situation that not only worsens their emotional pain, but stymies police investigations and …

Editorial: Project bringing change, jobs to former Clarke Schools site in Northampton

Thursday, December 17, 2015

It’s taken nearly three years, but the latest movements in the redevelopment of the former Clarke Schools campus are a boon for Northampton. The development group Historic Round Hill Summit announced last week its intention to renovate one of the historic buildings on the old Clarke Schools for …

Editorial: Communities deserve control over liquor license supply

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Perhaps 2016 will prove to be the year that Gov. Charlie Baker becomes the toast of the town, all across the commonwealth. Baker has decided to again take up the effort to give local officials decision-making power when it comes to the number of liquor licenses for bars …

Editorial: Lawsuit seeks accountability on regional gas moratorium

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Last June, the Northampton City Council called on natural gas distributors to prove they can’t move enough of the fuel due to inadequate pipelines. The council acted after Columbia Gas and Berkshire Gas stopped taking new customers. A council resolution asked the companies to “embrace complete transparency” and …

Editorial: A country split on the problems that need solving

Monday, December 14, 2015

It isn’t surprising, after terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, that Americans are worrying more about national security — and want elected leaders to keep their families, homes and communities safe. Forty percent of Americans believe national security and the fight against terrorism are the country’s top …

Editorial: Fresh start in Hadley closes chapter on commercial neglect

Friday, December 11, 2015

Wrecking equipment finally arrived at a Hadley parcel last week, knocking down the former Aqua Vitae Restaurant and other weed-choked and abandoned properties and delivering a long-sought commercial facelift. Because it sits near the Coolidge Bridge, the former …

Editorial: Grinspoon Farm Awards pay homage to innovation in Valley agriculture

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ricky Baruc, a vegetable farmer from Orange, was in unusual surroundings last week, talking about a subject which he warned would “freak out” some in his audience. At the Smith College Campus Center in Northampton, Baruc was making a pitch for building a microdigester that could extract from …

Editorial: Two durable Valley fundraisers find remarkable success

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

As the holiday season unfolds, two events that have grown in stature and fundraising power draw the community’s attention — and dollars — to important local problems. Monte’s March for Hunger, a colorful band of trekkers led by DJ Monte Belmonte of WRSI The River parading through Hampden, …