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Five College Area News

New courses will combine clean energy with agriculture

AMHERST — Agricultural students at the University of Massachusetts, Hampshire College and Holyoke Community College will benefit from an $810,000 National Science Foundation grant that will be used to create collaborative programs combining clean energy studies with sustainable agriculture. “The main purpose of the grant is to marry what has for the most part historically been two separate sides of sustainability education — clean energy and agriculture,” said Kate Maiolatesi, coordinator of Holyoke Community’s sustainability studies program, in a statement. John Gerber, professor of sustainable 0

Key players in medical marijuana industry air implications

NORTHAMPTON — Panelists at a forum on medical marijuana this week explored the complexities of using pot medically, from the legality of growing it to finding the right dosage and knowing when it is and isn’t safe to drive. Panelist Bob Gunther of Holyoke, previously of New York City, said he did have a lot of questions when he first started using medical marijuana. But now, he says the THC-laced coconut cookies he eats have changed his life. “I’m actually in a good mood, and 0

Amherst teachers, staff told not to talk about Gardner case

AMHERST — Amherst Regional High School teachers and staff have been advised not to comment publicly or have discussions with students about former math teacher Carolyn Gardner, whose attorneys last month filed a discrimination complaint against the school district. Meantime, a Tuesday meeting of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, at which supporters of Gardner had planned to deliver a petition appealing for the district to come to a settlement with her, was postponed after the meeting was not properly posted in Pelham. A candlelight vigil 0

UMass gets $5.6M for water research

AMHERST — UMass just got $5.6 million to find a modern replacement for chlorine for purifying municipal drinking water. The grant will go toward a mobile laboratory where long-term pilot tests can be done at public water supplies. On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the award of $4.1 million to create a national research center that will develop and test advanced and low-cost ways to reduce and eliminate water contaminants that pose challenges to communities. The federal money is supplemented with $1.5 million 0

Judge: Northampton business improvement district illegal

NORTHAMPTON — A judge ruled Wednesday that the Northampton Business Improvement District should disband immediately, putting people out of jobs and calling a halt to street cleaning and jeopardizing holiday lights and New Year’s Eve fireworks. Hampshire Superior Court Judge John Agostini ruled Wednesday that the city failed to comply with state law when it created the BID five years ago, and as a result, he ruled it “null and void,” ordering all operations to “immediately and permanently cease.” Agostini found that the city failed 0

Hot Table Panini, Starbucks locate in Hadley

HADLEY — Amid the many tenants which are national chains preparing to open in a new mini-mall on Route 9 will be one that is family-owned and headquartered in Springfield. Hot Table Panini will open later this month between a Starbucks and Aspen Dental, said John DeVoie, the restaurant’s president and co-owner. “We were searching in the Northampton and Amherst area for a spot,” DeVoie said. “When this development came in, it seemed to fit the bill for us.” DeVoie said the site is ideal 0

Ebola talk Wednesday at UMass

AMHERST — Four panelists will discuss “The Ebola Epidemic: How We Got Here, Current Preparedness, and Future Outlook” Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The speakers are: ∎ Martha Anker of the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, a global surveillance and response expert in infectious disease ∎ George Corey, executive director and medical director, University Health Services ∎ Donna Gallagher, founding coordinator, UMass Medical School Office of Global Health ∎ Alpha Kabinet Kaba of the Pioneer 0

UMass student arrested, admits to writing racist graffiti in dorm

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts student who admitted to police that he wrote racist notes on a dorm room door earlier this month has withdrawn from school and is remorseful, according to his lawyer. The graffiti was found at John Quincy Adams dorm and is different from the racist, threatening messages found at Coolidge and Washington towers that came to light last week. Those messages sparked student protests and campus-wide discussion on racism. Devin T. Ayres, 20, of North Andover, pleaded not guilty Monday 0

UMass student found dead in dorm

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts student died at McNamara dormitory in the Sylvan residential area Sunday night, according to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. A campuswide email sent Monday afternoon informed students, faculty and staff that Chloe Malast, a member of the Commonwealth Honors College from Needham, died in her dorm room. Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said no foul play is suspected in the death of the 21-year-old woman. “An autopsy will determine the cause of death,” Carey said. UMass 0

UMass investigating racist vandalism targeting students on campus

AMHERST — Officials and police at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst are investigating an act of racist vandalism targeting two students in a residence hall over the Columbus Day weekend, according to Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. “This past weekend two of our students were the targets of blatantly racist vandalism in their residence halls,” Subbaswamy wrote. “Such expressions of hate and intolerance have no place on our campus. We condemn language intended to marginalize or make any member of our community unsafe and we 0