Five College Area News

Opponents of Retreat project celebrate in Cushman

AMHERST — Philip Mathews warmed his bagpipes up with the tune “When the Battle’s Over” as some 75 jubilant people gathered on the Cushman Common Tuesday night to celebrate the news that a 175-unit student housing project called “Retreat at Amherst” proposed for their neighborhood had been withdrawn by the developers. “A rumor has it that it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a village to stop a Retreat,” bellowed Jack Hirsch, who as president of the Save Historic Cushman Association 0

Judge denies motion to dismiss murder charge against Cara Lee Rintala

NORTHAMPTON — A Hampshire Superior Court judge has denied a defense motion to dismiss the murder charge against Cara Lee Rintala who is accused of murdering her wife in 2010. The nine-page ruling Monday by Judge Mary-Lou Rup may clear the way for a third trial against Rintala, who is accused of strangling her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, 37, in the basement of the couple’s Granby home on March 29, 2010. Rintala, 47, has already been tried twice on the murder charge. Both time juries 0

Smith Voke mourns Bob the horse, dead at 34

NORTHAMPTON — Bob, a Belgian draft horse who became the “unofficial mascot” of Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, received a mint every day for the last 15 years of his life. This was his reward for saving the life of animal science teacher Don Baker after a plowing accident. The plow had hit a stone, Baker recalled, and he was thrown forward — landing between the horses and the plow. If Bob hadn’t signaled the other draft horse, Ed, to stop pulling the plow, 0

A kind soul mourned

AMHERST — A body reported to be that of an Amherst woman missing since Friday, was discovered Tuesday morning on University of Massachusetts property in a wooded area near the intersection of Amity Street and University Drive. Northwestern district attorney’s office spokeswoman Mary Carey said the body is believed to be that of Marissa Jackson, 26, who was last seen walking on Belchertown Road in the area of her Rolling Green Apartments home Friday at 10:30 p.m. Police issued an appeal Monday afternoon for anyone 0

Amherst student housing plan dropped

AMHERST — A controversial large-scale student-housing project proposed for a nearly 150-acre tract of woodland in the Cushman section of Amherst will not be built. Landmark Properties of Athens, Georgia, which proposed the 175-unit, 641-bedroom Retreat at Amherst project, withdrew its application for a cluster subdivision Friday. According to landowner and W.D. Cowls President Cinda Jones, Landmark recently requested concessions from Cowls to continue with the project. W.D. Cowls evaluated these requests and determined they were not in the company’s best interests. Jones did not 0

Pit bull that bit girls on Amherst playground now in custody

AMHERST — The pit bull terrier believed to have bitten two children last month on the playground at Crocker Farm School now last month is being held at the town pound. “I have the dog in my possession,” said Animal Welfare Officer Carol Hepburn said on Monday. Hepburn declined to elaborate on how she came to find the female pit bull, which she described as tan and brown with a white chest. Hepburn said she located and took possession of the dog Saturday morning. The 0

CDH, in reversal, will keep inpatient pediatric unit

NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital announced announced Friday that it will keep its inpatient pediatric unit open by offering focused pediatric training for nurses that will allow adequate staffing there. In addition, the hospital announced plans to renovate the emergency department to provide dedicated space for children. The nursing training is in part thanks to the hospital’s affiliation with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where new nurses will now train during orientation, according to Cooley Dickinson spokeswoman Dianne Cutillo. “The main reason that we’re happy 0

Judge’s decision in BID lawsuit likely in October

NORTHAMPTON — The future of the Northampton Business Improvement District now rests in the hands of a judge. A week long, jury-waived trial in Hampshire Superior Court before Judge John Agostini that included about a dozen witnesses ended Aug. 29 with closing arguments. Both sides will spend the next several weeks filing documents that Agostini will use in forming his decision. A ruling is expected in October. The long-awaited civil lawsuit was filed more than five years ago by Alan Scheinman and several property entities 0

UMass student villages’ impact on businesses a concern

AMHERST — Mixed-use student villages that would be built through public-private partnerships on state-owned land at the University of Massachusetts could protect neighborhoods from encroachment of student rentals, but could hurt existing town businesses, according to reactions given to the Town-Gown Steering Committee on Thursday. Nick Seamon, owner of Black Sheep Deli, 79 Main St., told the committee at a public forum held at Town Hall that he is opposed to such ventures on state-owned land that might add pizza shops, burrito shops and copy 0

Money OK’d for Academy lead paint job

NORTHAMPTON — Work to replace deteriorating fire escapes at the Academy of Music Theatre hit a minor snag a during August when construction crews found small amounts of lead paint on components being removed from the building’s original units. The lead paint has been removed, and the project remains on track to be completed next month in time for the theater’s reopening after an extensive two-month interior renovation, David Pomerantz, director of Central Services, said Thursday at the City Council meeting. The council approved a 0