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Five College Area News

UMass Amherst gets $1M to help veterans enter nursing workforce

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing has received a three-year, $1 million federal grant to implement “Heroes into Health Care: Veterans Entering the Nursing Workforce,” a program designed to increase the number and percentage of ethnic minority and disadvantaged veterans who successfully complete a university-based nursing education and become employed as nurses. Funding for the new program comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. Jean E. Swinney, professor of nursing, principal investigator and 0

Two new playgrounds take shape in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON — Fast-moving plans to design and build two new community playgrounds on opposite sides of the city by the end of the year were unveiled at a public meeting Thursday night. One playground is planned for a portion of Lampron Park next to Bridge Street School near downtown, while the other will be built at the new recreation fields complex in Florence. Aside from a few suggestions and minor tweaks to designs presented by Carlos Nieto, a landscape architect from Berkshire Design Group, most 0

Geryk gets $11,000 raise

AMHERST — Amherst School Superintendent Maria Geryk has been given an $11,000 salary increase by the school boards that serve the Amherst-Pelham Regional School district, boosting her annual salary to $158,000. The raise was announced in a press release Thursday by Darius Modestow of Pelham, chairman of Union # 26 which governs the Amherst and Pelham elementary schools. “We are delighted that Ms. Geryk continues her service as Superintendent of Schools for the Amherst-Pelham, Amherst, and Pelham School districts,” he wrote. Reached by telephone Thursday, 0

UMass students will volunteer on ‘impact day’

AMHERST — A white picket fence surrounding the North Cemetery on East Pleasant Street in Amherst will be getting a fresh coat of paint Saturday. Also that day, senior citizens will be provided companionship at the Northampton Senior Center and The Overlook at Northampton retirement community in Leeds. And in Springfield, several garden plots will be created through the Gardening the Community initiative. These are among the 29 project sites in communities throughout the Pioneer Valley where more than 400 University of Massachusetts students will 0

Group tackling racism goes public in Amherst

AMHERST — With a sharp new website, a banner across South Pleasant Street and slate of speakers and films, an effort to draw diverse people together to tackle racism in town is going public. The project called “Coming Together: Understanding Racism, Working for Justice, Building Connections,” launched by retired Amherst elementary school principal Russ Vernon-Jones over a year ago, became visible this week with a blue and white banner announcing its name, purpose and web address — www.coming-together.org. It’s not to be confused with “Amherst 0

Rolling Green sale complete

AMHERST — Rolling Green Apartments has a new owner who has pledged to keep at least 41 units for low-income families and make capital investments at the property. Boston developer Beacon Communities on Wednesday completed the purchase of the 422 Belchertown Road site for $30.25 million from EQR Equity Residential of Chicago. In the spring, Town Meeting agreed to spend $1.25 million from the Community Preservation Act account to support the transaction and ensure that 41 of the 204 units are reserved for low-income families. 0

Amherst woman’s cause of death unconfirmed; DA’s office says ‘public should not be concerned’

AMHERST — Authorities have not confirmed the cause of death for a woman found dead near the UMass campus Tuesday, but say there is no reason for the community to worry. “The public should not be concerned,” said Mary Carey, a spokeswoman for the Northwestern District Attorney’s office. “There’s nothing to indicate the public should be concerned.” The body, found near the intersection of Amity Street and University Drive, is believed to be that of Marissa Jackson, a 26-year-old Amherst woman missing since Friday, Carey 0

Parking banned on section of High Street in Amherst

AMHERST — Parking will no longer be allowed on a section of High Street after concerns were raised by school administrators about school buses and vans navigating the narrow road. The Select Board voted unanimously Monday to prohibit parking at all times on the west side of High Street between Main Street and 22 High St. Ron Bohonowicz, director of facilities for the schools and town, said the issue is that parked vehicles are making the road narrower, sometimes forcing buses and vans to go 0

Students protest police killings of black people

AMHERST — A crowd of about 75 students — most of them black — moved slowly down a University of Massachusetts campus path Wednesday afternoon with their arms raised above their heads. Their “Hands up, don’t shoot” chant, borrowed from protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, carried across campus. Heads turned, and some students and staff stopped to watch. UMass junior Cherita Moore of Boston said that was why she attended the rally and march to denounce police killing of unarmed black people. “We need to bring 0

Some protest Barrett St. bus route changes

NORTHAMPTON — Residents of one city neighborhood say they feel slighted by sweeping changes in bus routes made last month by the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. Some residents who live along Barrett Street, where Coachlight Condominums and Hathaway Farm Townehomes are located, say that eliminating a bus stop along their street has caused hardship for many of the elderly and disabled people who have relied on the R44 bus, which stopped near their homes. Now they have to walk either to nearby King Street to 0