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Five College Area News

UMass astronomers join global look into galaxy’s center

AMHERST — Some questions in science can only be answered by more powerful equipment. So University of Massachusetts Amherst astronomers are working to create one of the most powerful telescopes yet — one the size of the Earth. How is this possible? Gopal Narayanan, an associate professor in the UMass astronomy department, said readings from multiple telescopes around the world are being synchronized to fill in an Earth-sized readout of the center of the galaxy. The project is called the Event Horizon Telescope because its 0

Rosenberg disappointed in UMass system funding in Baker budget proposal

AMHERST — State Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg on Monday criticized Gov. Charlie Baker for a “woefully inadequate” and “disappointing” increase for the University of Massachusetts in his budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Baker’s budget proposal, released last week, includes a 1.4 percent increase for UMass, for a total of $539 million compared with the current year’s figure of about $532 million. “It is really a very modest increase and we’re going to have to work really hard in the Legislature 0

Baystate Noble officials continue investigating disinfectant lapse that put 293 colonoscopy patients at small risk for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C

WESTFIELD — In the wake of a disinfection lapse that left 293 colonoscopy patients at a small risk for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, Baystate Health officials continue to piece together the puzzle of what went wrong and why it took so long for the error to come to light. The hospital acquired new colonoscopes in June 2012 but did not properly adjust its method for cleaning them until April 2013. Questions remain as to how that lapse occurred in the first place, and 0

UMass researchers design seat belt for buses

AMHERST — Researchers at the University of Massachusetts have designed a Retrofit Seat Belt System that makes it possible suitable for an estimated 30,000 motor coaches and intercity buses nationwide that currently don’t have safety belts. The new devices are expected to become commercially available within the next year. The safety system will allow owners of buses and motor coaches to install the belts for about one-third to half of the current cost on existing seats, according to researchers at the Center for e-Design at 0

UMass to host events for Black History Month

AMHERST — In honor of Black History Month, the University of Massachusetts and the UMass Amherst Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success will host a series of campus events including art exhibits, lectures, celebrations and cultural dining experiences throughout February. The programming begins today with a reception for the art exhibit “I Breathe With You” from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Augusta Savage Gallery, New Africa House. Part one of the exhibit will open on Feb. 11 and will run through March 11. 0

Whately gets state money for cleaner drinking water

WHATELY — The town has received $410,000 from the state to provide cleaner drinking water. The money comes from the state’s revolving fund, and are administered by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. The town of Whately must now agree to go forward with a clean water project by June 30, and must secure a local funding authority. The funding is part of Drinking Water Revolving Fund Project, which is aimed at providing better and cleaner drinking water to communities. “I am very pleased that Whately 0

Amherst College dumps Lord Jeff

AMHERST — Amherst College’s board of trustees announced Tuesday that the college will no longer use the controversial Lord Jeff as its unofficial mascot. “Amherst College finds itself in a position where a mascot — which, when you think about it, has only one real job, which is to unify — is driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community,” trustees wrote in a statement. The trustee’s decision took into account results from polling of alumni, students and faculty, according 0

Report gave UMass 2 options on WMUA changes

AMHERST — While community hosts have complained about a decision to dial back their role at the University of Massachusetts radio station WMUA, it could have been worse. Eliminating community hosts altogether was one of the options presented to UMass officials by a four-member review team led by Gregory Adamo, associate professor in the school of global journalism at Morgan State University in Baltimore. Instead, UMass administrators decided to follow another of the options presented by the review team, reducing ­— but not eliminating — 0

UMass economics prof. crunches numbers on Sanders’ ‘Medicare for all’ plan

AMHERST — Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan, unveiled just hours before the televised Democratic debate in South Carolina Sunday, got a seal of approval from University of Massachusetts Economics Professor Gerald Friedman, who has argued for such a plan for decades. Friedman wrote a 2013 paper for the nonprofit organization Physicians for a National Health Program stating that such a plan would both save money and lead to higher-quality care. Familiar with this work, Sanders’ campaign asked Friedman to run numbers on 1

On thin ice: Hockey player’s close call warrants warning

Area emergency officials are warning people against skating on local lakes and ponds after a hockey player fell through thin ice and into frigid water at Puffer’s Pond in Amherst Monday afternoon. “Generally speaking, in our area, I’d say stay off the ice,” said Amherst Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson. “We don’t live in Minnesota, so we don’t have weeks of below-freezing temperatures.” The unidentified man was able to get himself to shore before emergency personnel arrived. Firefighter paramedics were dispatched to the pond at 0