Five College Area News

Amherst College sets goal of climate-friendly campus

AMHERST — Amherst College trustees have a blueprint for achieving a carbon-neutral campus, outlining steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, increase recycling and serve more homegrown food in its dining commons. The “Statement on Sustainability and Investment Policy” acknowledges the threats posed by climate change, states that climate change is caused by human activity and is something the college needs to confront. The statement pledges that the college will consider sustainability in daily operations, the investment process and in capital projects. The pledge “builds on 0

Amherst asks bars to tone down Blarney Blowout promo

AMHERST — If negotiations underway are successful two downtown bars that created and served as ground zero for the Blarney Blowout promotion for more than a decade will delay their opening March 7, improving the possibility of a quieter Blarney this year. Town Manager John Musante is engaged in discussions with the owners of both McMurphy’s Uptown Tavern, 37 North Pleasant St., and Stacker’s Pub, 57 North Pleasant St., to not serve customers until later in the afternoon on that day, according to Police Chief 0

UMass to limit parking on ‘Blarney’ weekend

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts will ban all vehicles without valid parking permits from its lots the weekend of Blarney Blowout, except for some planned events on campus. The university’s parking services department posted a statement on its website that the ban would be in effect from 5 p.m. Friday, March 6, until 5 p.m. Sunday, March 8. The statement said the reason for the ban is that thousands of students from other campuses came to Amherst during last year’s Blarney Blowout event. “Many 0

Arts initiative aimed at UMass students, regional artists

AMHERST — The UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service has launched an Arts Entrepreneurship Initiative aimed at helping UMass students, as well as artists throughout the greater Pioneer Valley, gain the skills and support needed to develop thriving arts careers or arts-based businesses. The initiative was formulated by AES director Dee Boyle-Clapp and Jeff Cox, chair of the music and dance department, after they directed a national survey of UMass Amherst arts alumni. “The alumni loved their arts training and most said they would do it 0

Rosenberg vows work on welfare overhaul

NORTHAMPTON — The welfare system in Massachusetts was once a model for the nation after reforms in the 1990s, but now ranks among the worst in the country at putting people back to work. State Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg of Amherst and Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton, are seeking to reverse that trend with this week’s launch of what they are calling the “WorkFirst Initiative.” The goal is to create more opportunities for people to move from public assistance to the 1

Planning to tone down the Blarney

AMHERST — Building on the success of their efforts to limit student rowdiness during the Super Bowl, University of Massachusetts officials are optimistic about their plans to manage what has become a bigger, rowdier event — the March weekend known as the Blarney Blowout. “There’s a lot going on and we feel comfortable as we go into this event on March 7 we’re doing everything we can to prepare and have it be a successful day,” Town Manager John Musante said Wednesday. Musante joined Enku 0

Iran sanctions bite at UMass

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts has banned Iranian nationals from admission to specific graduate programs, a move university officials say brings their policies into accord with U.S. sanctions against Iran. But representatives of Iranian students call the action unfair and unnecessary. Effective Feb. 1, the university no longer admits students from Iran to certain programs in the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences. In addition, the policy demands that current Iranian graduate students “acknowledge the restrictions imposed by the 2012 sanctions 0

Testimony begins in trial of former Mass. teacher accused of child rape

NORTHAMPTON — A former middle school science teacher from Southampton admitted to his wife and police that he sexually molested a girl for approximately five years, but his lawyer contends that James L. Parks is not guilty of other accusations for which he is on trial in Hampshire Superior Court. Jurors on Thursday began hearing testimony in the case of Parks, 56, of 60 Rattle Hill Road, who has pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape of a child aggravated by age difference, nine 0

Hands-on honors

AMHERST — A UMass researcher, known as a tinkerer and creative thinker, and now as soon-to-be National Academy of Inventors fellow, Alfred J. Crosby says one of the greatest things you can do as an inventor is tell your idea to someone else. “Your idea is not fully mature when it is first made,” said the University of Massachusetts professor of polymer science and engineering. “It becomes mature by others asking questions back at you.” Co-inventor of Geckskin, an industrial-strength adhesive modeled after gecko feet, 0

Controversial schedule changes get OK at Amherst middle school

AMHERST — A new middle school schedule plan, praised by administrators but criticized by many parents and some School Committee members, will go into effect in September, according to Superintendent Maria Geryk. Geryk has decided to move forward with changes designed to create more time for English, math, science and social studies while altering many of the school’s elective programs, including music and world languages. “Schedule decisions are typically very challenging because they always involve tradeoffs,” Geryk wrote. “I appreciate the feedback provided by families, 0