Five College Area News

UMass Amherst Hosts Annual Native American Powwow Saturday

AMHERST — Native American music, dance and culture will be the focus of the annual powwow today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Curry Hicks Cage at the University of Massachusetts. The powwow brings people together to reflect on the importance of family, friends, community and community partners, and provides an opportunity to give thanks and honor the traditions of their ancestors. The powwow will feature Native American drum groups Urban Thunder, Eastern Sons and Rez Dogs, storytelling with Larry “Spotted Crow” Mann, 0

McGovern doles out $1.7M to UMass food programs

AMHERST — Food-related programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will receive $1.7 million of federal dough from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Congressman Jim McGovern announced at an event on campus Wednesday. The money will be directed to programs detecting harmful bacteria and minerals on food, developing a new safer type of food packaging and working with Massachusetts farmers to produce different crops popular with immigrant groups in the state. “I’m proud to be a strong supporter of science and research and of this 0

Peregrine falcons return to UMass nesting site

AMHERST — For the first time in a dozen years, a new pair of young peregrine falcons has nested on the top of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The nesting site lost the pair that had been there for more than a decade when the male died in January and the female never returned. That pair produced 34 chicks. The library mounts a camera 12 feet out from the nesting site nearly 30 stories above the ground so that 0

UMass food scientist honored for work with edible oils

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts scientist has been honored for research on how certain edible oils impact body fat and muscle mass and bone density. The American Oil Chemists’ Society has honored food scientist Yeonhwa Park for her “significant and important contributions” in the area of bioactive lipids and their impact on health conditions such as obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. A recognized international expert in edible oil applications and health and nutrition of lipids, Park will receive a plaque, a $750 honorarium 0

UMass Amherst work advances knowledge of how bacteria communicate

AMHERST — Bacteria have traditionally been viewed as solitary organisms that “hang out on their own,” says molecular biologist Kevin Griffith of the University of Massachusetts. But, scientists now realize that, in fact, bacteria exhibit social behavior — an insight that could lead to new health discoveries. As he explains, “Individual bacteria within a population communicate with members of the group through a process called “quorum sensing,” where chemical signals and extracellular peptide molecules serve as the language for bacterial communication.” It is not just 0

Dalai Lama may speak at UMass this fall

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst is in discussions with his holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, to speak at the university this fall. Nancy Buffone, the university’s executive director of external relations and university events, said the university was in “planning mode.” “We’re expecting a visit in the fall, that’s all I can say right now,” Buffone said Thursday. “We’re in very intense planning.” The exact date and location of his appearance at UMass is still being worked out. The Dalai Lama 0

UMass prof gets $500K wastewater research grant

AMHERST — A UMass professor has received a $500,000, 5-year grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on algae and bacteria and ways to improve wastewater treatment. The grant funds assistant professor Caitlyn S. Butler’s work on “algal-sludge granules,” which can produce oxygen during wastewater treatment, reducing electricity use while also cleaning the wastewater. Butler’s work will dovetail with research she is conducting with Chul Park, also a civil and environmental engineer at UMass. Their collaborative research holds the promise of a three-way 0

Rep. McGovern wants debate on policy in Iraq

When Congress returns from its break April 13, U.S. Rep. James McGovern aims to force a discussion about U.S. military escalation in Iraq in the fight against ISIS. In fact, he believes members of Congress are shirking their duties in avoiding that debate. “I think war is a big deal — I think putting Americans in harm’s way is a big deal,” McGovern, a Democrat from Worcester who represents the 2nd Congressional District, said in a recent interview. McGovern represents a district that includes Greenfield 0

Bile sentenced to 8 to 10 years in UMass gang rape case

NORTHAMPTON — A Hampshire Superior Court judge Wednesday sentenced Emmanuel T. Bile Jr. to eight to 10 years in state prison for his part in a gang rape at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which the judge characterized as an “alcohol-fueled, sex-crazed assault of horrific proportions.” The prison sentence will be followed by five years of probation with numerous conditions. A jury Monday found Bile, 21, guilty of two counts of aggravated rape and acquitted him of a third count. Bile is the first of 0

Neil deGrasse Tyson named UMass graduation speaker

AMHERST — Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will speak at the undergraduate commencement of the University of Massachusetts Amherst on May 8, the school announced Wednesday. Tyson is executive editor and on-camera host for “Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey,” the 21st-century remake of the hugely popular “Cosmos,” hosted by Carl Sagan in 1980. Tyson’s series ran for 13 episodes in 2014. Tyson will speak before roughly 5,500 students receiving bachelor’s degrees at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. UMass Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, also a physicist, said he applauded the 0