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Five College Area News

UMass Amherst scientist to investigate estrogen-like chemicals’ cancer link

AMHERST — Much attention has been paid to genetics in breast cancer as disease rates rise, but most women have no family history of the disease, suggesting that there is an environmental risk we don’t yet understand, says environmental health scientist Laura Vandenberg in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Now she is launching a three-year, $450,000 research program supported by a National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) early career award to investigate the possibility that 0

UMass alums donate $5M to support Judaic studies

AMHERST — Two 1960s graduates of the University of Massachusetts Amherst have donated $5 million to their alma mater to support Judaic studies, as well as programming and resources for Jewish students. The gift, from longtime university supporters Pamela and Robert Jacobs, came through the $300 million UMass Rising fundraising campaign. Half of the bequest will be used to create the Pamela M. and Robert D. Jacobs Chair in Judaic and Near Eastern Studies within the university’s college of humanities and fine arts. The remainder 0

Scope of drug lab fraud widens

NORTHAMPTON — After court documents revealed that former crime lab chemist Sonja Farak may have tampered with drug samples for much longer than state officials originally represented, Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan estimated about 2,000 local cases could be impacted by the “debacle.” “The professional investigative work by law enforcement and prosecutors to hold drug traffickers accountable has now been put in peril,” Sullivan said in a written statement Monday. He said an estimate by Northampton defense attorney Luke Ryan that Farak’s tampering may 0

Letter: Securing parental rights

Did you know that parents with disabilities are far more likely than other parents to lose custody of their children as well as their parental rights during juvenile court proceedings? Despite abundant case law and anti-discrimination statutes, disabled parents still suffer from discrimination based off of the presumptions that having a disability means you cannot adequately raise your children. But all hope is not lost for these families, Stavros Center for Independent Living, state legislators, and other advocates are currently supporting H. 1370: An act 0

UMass Dining’s Blue Wall wins Best Concept Award from Food Management Magazine

AMHERST — Dining Services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been selected as a winner in the Best Concept Awards given by Food Management magazine. A winner in the Best Renovation category, UMass Dining Services was honored for the Blue Wall, which reopened in September 2014 following a nine-month renovation. A staple of campus life since the early 1970s, the Blue Wall was renovated in response to the announced construction of the neighboring Integrative Learning Center. Today, the Blue Wall is a state-of-the-art campus 0

UMass climate report addresses regional species at risk

AMHERST — State fish and wildlife agencies across the Northeast and Midwest are now updating their 10-year state wildlife action plans, and climate change is a bigger concern than ever before. To help them gauge what’s ahead, scientists at the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offer a report on response to climate change for hundreds of regional species of greatest conservation need. Authors Michelle Staudinger and Toni Lyn Morelli, both ecologists with U.S. Geological Survey, and adjunct faculty in 0

Letter: Father of GCC

Much has been said and written about former State Rep. Walter Kostanski since his death at age 91. And rightly so. Few people contribute as much to improving the quality of life in their community as Walter. Fewer still leave a legacy that spans generations. Among his innumerable achievements in the Legislature, arguably his most significant was the leadership role he played in the founding of Greenfield Community College in 1962. At that time, community colleges were being established in the more populated areas of 0

South Hadley funeral director pleads innocent to more than 60 charges

NORTHAMPTON — Former funeral director William W. Ryder pleaded innocent Wednesday morning to over 60 charges filed in connection with the closing of his South Hadley funeral home last year, including several dozen counts of larceny. Ryder, 54, was arraigned on the charges in Hampshire Superior Court after a grand jury handed down its indictments Tuesday. The charges include 56 counts of larceny over $250 and five counts of improper disposition of a human body. Ryder was released on his own recognizance under the conditions 0

Family sues over UMass student death in bike lane

NORTHAMPTON — The family of a University of Massachusetts Amherst student killed when she was struck by a vehicle on North East Street last year has filed a wrongful death suit against the driver. Hannah Frilot, 20, was walking her bicycle in the bike lane on North East Street in Amherst about 11 p.m. on July 31, 2014, when she was struck from behind by a Toyota Rav4 driven by Cynthia S. May, 64, of Orleans, according to court documents. Frilot was thrown about 50 0

I-91 King Street exit closed in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON — A southbound Interstate 91 exit that drops travelers onto North King Street near the intersection with Damon and Bridge roads will be closed for at least the next 60 days as part of bridge and road work that began in March, according to a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman. The closing of Exit 20 is necessary to rehabilitate and preserve the bridge on the ramp, said MassDOT spokeswoman Amanda Richard. 0