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Five College Area News

Climate models disagree on strength of carbon land sink across Northern Eurasia

AMHERST — In a new assessment of nine state-of-the-art climate model simulations provided by major international modeling centers, Michael Rawlins at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues found broad disagreement in the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) annually sequestered in tundra and boreal ecosystems of Northern Eurasia, a vast, understudied region of the world. Rawlins also identified a trend among the nine models that shows the region’s land carbon sink has been strengthening in recent decades, drawing in more carbon than expected, driven 0

UMass Amherst neuroscientist’s clarifies prefrontal cortex’s role

AMHERST — Results of a new study reported by David Moorman of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Gary Aston-Jones of Rutgers University suggest that adjusting behavior based on previous events involves an unexpected mix of neurons working together in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. Findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As Moorman explains, “One prominent hypothesis, based on previous research, argues that neurons in the dorsal prefrontal cortex control active behaviors related to “going” and that different neurons in ventral 0

Vote on public records reform bill postponed for review

NORTHAMPTON — House lawmakers have pushed a vote to reform the state’s public records law to later this year as they review various objections to the bill’s language, which continues to be revised. The bill has been under review by the House Ways and Means Committee, with many supporters advocating for and expecting a House vote this week. But, more time is needed to address concerns from various constituencies, including cities and towns, according to state Rep. Peter V. Kocot, D-Northampton, chief sponsor of the 0

Judge denies UMass rape trial delay

NORTHAMPTON — The third trial in connection with an alleged gang rape at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2012 will not be moved or delayed as the defense requested, and instead will begin Aug. 24. Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard J. Carey wrote in a decision Tuesday that he was not persuaded that the media coverage of two previous trials of co-defendants in the case would prevent the two remaining co-defendants, Adam T. Liccardi and Caleb Womack, from getting fair trials in Hampshire County. 0

Tuition retention part of UMass 2015-16 budget

AMHERST — Gov. Charles D. Baker’s staff sought to clarify Tuesday that though the governor’s University of Massachusetts appropriation was less than the Legislature’s, it was still an increase. Baker appropriated $526.6 million to UMass, which is about $5.2 million less than the Legislature’s $531.8 million, approved July 8. William Pitman, Baker’s deputy communications director, said the appropriation was a $15 million, or 3.5 percent, increase over last year’s budget of $511 million, and not a cut. That appropriation was reduced from $519 million via 0

Defendants in UMass gang rape case want new venue; Lawyers argue last two defendants won’t get fair trial because of media coverage

NORTHAMPTON — Attorneys for the two remaining defendants charged in connection with an alleged gang rape at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2012 told a judge Monday that media coverage of the case meant their clients could not get fair trials in Hampshire County — at least not any time soon. But Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer H. Suhl said the defendants’ requests to change the venue for or at least delay the trials are not supported by fact. She said that in the 0

Letter: Showcasing the area

The Green River Festival has become an annual rite of summer in the Pioneer Valley. This year’s festival was the biggest yet with the addition of a third day. In total, over 14,000 people attended over the course of the weekend, which was blessed with near-perfect weather. The festival featured over 35 bands, five hot air balloon launches plus 55 local craft vendors, 22 area food vendors and lots of other entertainment for families. Green River Festival is a showcase for the best of Franklin 0

Digital storytelling conference coming to UMass and Smith College

AMHERST — Students, scholars, storytellers, teachers, filmmakers, media practitioners and activists will share their knowledge and experiences working with digital storytelling at an international conference being held Sept. 25 to 27 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Smith College. Focusing on the theme of “Voices for Change: Storywork in Activism, Education and Public Service,” the Sixth International Digital Storytelling Conference is organized by the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, Calif. For the first time, the event is being held in the U.S. Previous 0

Letter: Medicare celebration

I became a Medicare recipient just a few months ago. For the first time it’s a benchmark that I celebrated. I got my Medicare card and just about did a back flip. I couldn’t quite understand why I was so excited until it occurred to me that now I’m guaranteed health insurance for my retirement years. Oh I know there’s gap insurance that I’ll have to pay for and I’ll worry about that someday, too. But for now I feel relieved that the basics are 0

UMass expands bathroom policy to protect transgender students

AMHERST — A recent change to University of Massachusetts Amherst policy aims to expand protections of transgender students’ rights to use bathrooms that they feel most comfortable using. The policy states that in an effort to provide safe, accessible and convenient bathroom facilities, students, faculty and staff “should use the bathroom facilities that correspond to their sex or gender identity, or utilize bathrooms that are designated gender-neutral or gender-inclusive.” The policy was accepted last fall by the Campus Advisory Council, which is made up of 0