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Five College Area News

Letter: Connected to new generation

It’s tough to believe it was nearly eight years ago when then-Sen. Barack Obama’s groundbreaking campaign taught us all what could be achieved when a political dream, coupled with digital innovation, energized and engaged millennials in the civic process. For a long time, it seemed as though Beacon Hill never learned from the president’s success in that regard. In a commonwealth known for tech startups and a youthful population, our Legislature, the General Court, had been startlingly slow to bring civic engagement online, where millennials 0

Amherst College tape ‘most likely a unique recording’ of Martin Luther King Jr. speech from 1964

AMHERST — While sifting through old recordings from the Amherst College radio station, archivist Mariah Leavitt came across a reel that caught her eye. It was a February 1964 speech by Martin Luther King Jr., titled “The Summer of Our Discontent” — the first in a series of 15 lectures on race given at The New School for Social Research in New York. “An Internet search quickly revealed that the New School Archives holds a recording of the question and answer session from this lecture, 0

Hadley orders halt at Aqua Vitae work site

HADLEY — Springfield-based Pride Stores Inc. must present a series of new documents and prepare a remediation plan to the town’s Conservation Commission after admitting that it improperly clear-cut trees in a wetland resource area without a permit. Pride President Robert Bolduc appeared before the commission Tuesday along with representatives from VHB, his engineering firm that advised him to proceed with the work at the former Aqua Vitae and other properties from 15 to 29 Russell St. He tried to strike a conciliatory tone, but 0

Umass gets ‘StormReady’ designation

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst is now the first public university in the state to receive a “StormReady” designation from the National Weather Service, according to a university statement. It joins private universities Harvard, Boston College, Boston University and Tufts as well as 14 communities, one military site and one commercial enterprise in the state. To earn that moniker, valid for three years, a university must fulfill several requirements, including offering public weather readiness seminars, establishing an emergency operations center, developing a formal 0

Colleges: Hold the hoverboards

AMHERST — As winter break wraps up and students head back to campus this month, some area universities are warning them to leave a certain gadget behind: hoverboards. They aren’t worried about Marty McFly’s retro levitating device or some engineering experiment, but increasingly popular motorized devices they fear could spark fires if left charging in dorm rooms. University of Massachusetts Amherst and Amherst College both announced campus-wide bans Friday, join a growing list of schools to prohibit the so-called hoverboards due to safety concerns. One 0

Hampshire College poised to install large solar array

AMHERST — One of the largest solar arrays on any college campus on the East Coast is on track to be built this spring at Hampshire College, with the campus poised to become the first in the United States to have all its electricity needs met by the 4-megawatt project, according to college officials. The 15,000 ground-mounted solar panels being installed on 19 acres of Hampshire’s campus by solar developer SolarCity also comes with a financial benefit for the town, as a payment-in-lieu-of taxes deal 0

Former Route 9 Diner open again

HADLEY — Enjoying hot coffee and cream-cheese-covered bagels at their booth, two longtime customers of the only diner on Route 9 were pleased to be back at the establishment Thursday morning. “This used to be very popular,” said Lorraine Lynch, who was dining with her mother, Emma Weaver, both of Pelham. Lynch said it was good to return for the first time since it reopened under new ownership, and a new name, Johnny’s Roadside Diner, in December — and that she hopes to see its 0

WMUA’s polka show cuts stir opposition

AMHERST — Polka music playing on campus radio station WMUA would be the first sounds Michael Medeiros would hear when he awoke most Saturday mornings as a college student at the University of Massachusetts in the mid-1990s. Though he was younger than many in the audience, and knew that the accordion-based music probably annoyed his roommates, Medeiros couldn’t get enough of “Polka Bandstand” and its host, Billy Belina. “It was a good way to wake up. It’s such a fun show,” said Medeiros, 39, recalling 0

Crash victim previously arrested after car chase

NORTHAMPTON — The Springfield man killed Friday in a head-on crash with Northampton musician Jeff Martell was arrested last month after a car chase, West Springfield police confirmed Monday. The fatal collision occurred about 5 p.m. Friday on Route 20 in West Springfield when one vehicle crossed the center line, West Springfield Police Sgt. Hubert Rees said Saturday. Police have not yet said which vehicle was at fault. Martell, 50, a widely regarded folk singer in the Valley and an organizer of the Green River 0

UMass takes new approach to off-campus disruptions

AMHERST — College students who stage loud parties and disruptive gatherings off campus have long faced consequences from Amherst Police that include warnings, potential fines and, in the most serious cases, arrests. Beginning in the fall, University of Massachusetts students who held out-of-control parties could also expect, in the days following the incidents that drew a police response, a visit from a UMass representative and an Amherst police officer. Eric Beal, an Amherst attorney hired as the first UMass neighborhood liaison, and William Laramee, a 0