A Look Back: Aug. 9


For the Gazette

Published: 08-08-2023 11:00 PM

50 Years Ago

■Jonathan C. Roche, an at-large school committee candidate and a June graduate of Northampton High School, yesterday charged that school personnel are often hired on the basis of family connections rather than on merit. “Stories have been recounted to me of applicants for teaching positions being asked about their relatives before — or even without — looking at resumes.”

■A venereal disease screening clinic will open in Florence tonight and will operate every Tuesday night as part of a volunteer organization’s effort to give prompt diagnosis and preventive education about venereal disease. The Community Health Care Project at 42 Maple St. will offer counseling as well as examinations, gonorrhea smears, syphilis serologies, pap smears and pregnancy tests.

25 Years Ago

■The long-awaited selection of a developer for some 100 acres at the core of the former Northampton State Hospital could happen by the end of the month, according to Mayor Mary L. Ford. The decision is down to two groups: the Trust for Sustainable Development of Victoria, British Columbia, and a joint venture of the Community Builders and the Valley Community Development Corp.

■Ruth C. Sienkiewicz-Mercer, who won national attention after writing an account of her hospitalization at the former Belchertown State School, has died at her home on Bridge Street. She was 47. A lifelong resident of the Pioneer Valley, she had lived in Amherst, Belchertown, and Springfield before moving to Northampton 15 years ago.

10 Years Ago

■A second horse in Belchertown has died from Eastern equine encephalitis, and its proximity to the Amherst town line prompted state health officials to raise the EEE threat level in Amherst and other nearby communities. The risk level in Belchertown, deemed critical, is already as high as it can go.

■Philip Fortin, 54, has taken over duties as the new postmaster at the Northampton post office from departing Postmaster John Marceau. Marceau held the position of postmaster from 2003 until December 2012.