Five College Area News

UMass suspends informant program

AMHERST — A confidential informant program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that came under fire this week following the report of a student informant’s death from a drug overdose has been suspended indefinitely pending its full review, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced in an email to faculty and students Tuesday night. “The review will consider whether the program should be discontinued or revised to include mandatory substance abuse treatment and parental notification,” Subbaswamy wrote. “The department is not currently working with any student confidential informants 0

Leverett man denies injuring 2 Amherst cops

AMHERST — A Leverett man who allegedly injured two police officers in separate incidents Saturday has pleaded innocent to a half dozen charges in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown. Nikolai R. James, 21, of 253 Long Plain Road, Leverett, was arrested at 8:41 p.m. Saturday on Triangle Street on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a shod foot), disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after he was identified as a suspect in an indecent exposure incident earlier in the day, said Detective 0

UMass student who OD’d worked as informant

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts student recruited as a confidential informant after being caught selling drugs was able to keep his crime a secret from his family and remain in school, only to die last fall of a heroin overdose, according to an investigation by journalism students at the school. The Boston Globe on Sunday published a roughly 3,100-word front-page story by Eric Bosco and Kayla Marchetti detailing the student’s heroin addiction and reluctant career as a UMass police informant under a little-known program 0

Juniper Networks gives $1.5M in networking equipment to UMass

AMHERST — Juniper Networks, an industry leader in network innovation, has donated equipment worth $1.5 million to the University of Massachusetts. UMass will use the donation to build a dedicated high-speed network to support science research and increase the ease of use and speed of large academic data transfers across campus. UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy said, “As our faculty and staff put it to use, there will be significant long-range benefits for our students, the computing industry and the entire economy of Massachusetts.” 0

Businesses happy to have UMass football back at home

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts football plays its first game on campus in more than three years today. For a business community that appreciated the presence of these games each fall, that’s plenty of reason to cheer. “We’re happy to have UMass football back,” said Sarah la Cour, executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District. “It will be good for downtown because more people are in downtown.” “We’re looking forward to a great weekend,” said John Korpita, owner of Amherst Brewing Co. on University 0

Groundbreaking research in Arctic leads UMass professor Julie Brigham-Grette to head Polar Research Board

AMHERST — Studying glacial geology is a tantalizing mystery that can offer up a treasure trove of information if you know how and where to dig, believes University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Julie Brigham-Grette. “It’s like trying to put together a 1,000-piece puzzle and having only 300 pieces to work with,” Brigham-Grette said during a two-day stop last month in Amherst between a field study trip in Norway and presenting her work at a conference in New Zealand. An expert in climate evolution and sea-level 0

Funeral Home sued again

NORTHAMPTON — More than $342,000 and the cremated remains of a Granby man and his wife are missing four months after the Ryder Funeral Home in South Hadley was shut down by state regulators, according to two lawsuits filed in Hampshire Superior Court. The complaints — filed by the family of a deceased Granby man Tuesday and by state Attorney General Martha Coakley — bring to five the number of lawsuits filed against former funeral director William W. Ryder. The AG’s complaint, filed Friday, for 0

Hamp eyes plastics ban

NORTHAMPTON — The city is considering joining a growing list of communities nationwide to ban plastic bags in supermarkets and other retail stores, and Styrofoam disposable food and beverage containers used in restaurants. Responding to multiple requests from constituents asking the city to move toward such a ban, and after several months of research, City Council Vice President Jesse M. Adams this week presented an ordinance for the council’s consideration. Adams said the city has been recognized as a leader in sustainability measures, and added 0

Study faults Amherst cops, UMass in melee

AMHERST — A much-anticipated report on the March 8 “Blarney Blowout” melee faults University of Massachusetts officials for failing to recognize the risk of a swelling group of young people on campus and Amherst police for reacting with too much force once the hard-drinking hordes surged into town. While the report by former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis assigns blame to both town and gown, it reserved its sharpest criticism for town police, calling the force and its leaders “overwhelmed and unprepared.” “During this event, 0

UMass brings discovery to all

AMHERST — Robert MacWright brings an enthusiasm for the nexus between gee whiz technology, legal logic, and the history of American entrepreneurship to his job as director of commercial ventures and intellectual property at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Sure, the office brings in money for the campus through the patents and licenses derived from the work of its researchers, he said. “But one of our most important goals is to improve the odds that science gets out of the lab to benefit the public.” 0