Five College Area News

Amherst school board votes to buy solar power from Deerfield project

AMHERST — A pair of solar projects planned at town landfill sites will proceed despite an Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee vote to buy power from a solar project in Deerfield, according to town officials. The Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee voted Tuesday to negotiate a 20-year contract with Chicago-based Lake Street Development Partners LLC to provide solar power to the district. Lake Street’s project in Deerfield would provide a 9 percent savings on utility bills to the district, or $745,000 over the 20-year life of the 0

Tractor parade revs up Sunday

HATFIELD — The Hampshire County Farm Bureau is set to host its third annual tractor ride Sunday Oct. 18th. The tractor ride, which encompasses a scenic 30-mile route through Hatfield, Whately, Sunderland and Hadley, raises funds for local agricultural groups. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. from the Hatfield Lions Club Pavilion on Billings Way in Hatfield and is scheduled to end at the same location at 1 p.m. At the ride’s end, there will be a silent auction which benefits 4-H members and agricultural 0

UMass rape victim sues university, staff, defendants

NORTHAMPTON — The woman who has testified in three trials that she was gang-raped in her dorm room at the University of Massachusetts in 2012 has filed lawsuits against the four men she accused, as well as against the university and the people she says were responsible for Pierpont Hall security on the night in question. The lawsuits were filed Tuesday — which, under the three-year statute of limitations, was the last day she could file them. In both suits, the woman demands a jury 0

UMass to restrict guests in dormitories during Homecoming, Halloween weekends

AMHERST — As alumni return to Amherst this week for Homecoming Weekend at the University of Massachusetts, policies will be in place restricting the number of non-student overnight guests allowed in campus dormitories. Beginning Friday and running through Sunday, each on-campus resident will be allowed to sign in up to four guests — though only two can be non-UMass students. Similar rules will be in effect during Halloween weekend. “We don’t want to be in the position of having the residence halls overflowing with people 0

State sees Route 9 improvements in Hadley in 5 years

HADLEY — A wider road, bicycle lanes and sidewalks are in the works for Route 9, where the state Department of Transportation wants to improve safety, ease congestion and bolster the Northampton-Amherst bus route that travels along it. The project, which has yet to be planned, will take place over the coming five years, according to project manager Michael Trepanier, who met with about 40 area residents at a forum recently. Trepanier said there were many problems to solve on Route 9, including congestion, intersection 0

Whately woman faces charges after accident with child in car

AMHERST — A Whately woman involved in a two-car crash Sunday afternoon is facing drunken driving and child endangerment charges, according to police. Cayla J. Sicard, 30, of 8 Mieczkowski Circle, was arrested at 3:52 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Belchertown and Gatehouse roads on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, failure to use care in stopping, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle and child endangerment while under the influence of alcohol, said 0

UMass police ask DA’s help in campus rape investigation

AMHERST — Police at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have asked the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office to assist in investigating an alleged rape on campus that was reported Sept. 19. Interim UMass Police Chief Patrick Archbald said Thursday that the suspect was identified right away, but the man declined to speak with police and has not been charged. “He invoked his right to remain silent and did not assist us with any other information about what took place,” Archbald said. He said he could not 0

Meeting set with UMass officials over personnel conflict at WMUA

AMHERST — WMUA community members will meet with high-ranking University of Massachusetts officials in mid-October with the hope of addressing what they perceive as a nearly six-month-long crisis at the campus radio station. Louise Dunphy, a spokeswoman for the community group and host of the “Celtic Crossings” program, said recently that members are scheduled to sit down with associate chancellor Susan Pearson and Enku Gelaye, vice chancellor for student affairs, from 1 to 2 p.m. Oct. 13, likely at the Whitmore Administration Building. During the 0

$2 million gift donated to Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

AMHERST — A $2 million gift to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art — the largest donation ever made to the museum’s endowment — will support a range of educational programming as well as author and illustrator events at the South Amherst site, which welcomes 50,000 visitors each year. “For us, this kind of fundamental gift is incredibly important, especially because we are such a young museum,” said Alexandra Kennedy, the executive director of the 13-year-old museum. Each year the museum hosts more 0

Report notes crime stats for 5-college area

AMHERST — Alcohol arrests were up at the University of Massachusetts Amherst while reported rapes were down in 2014. At Mount Holyoke College, burglaries outpaced drug or alcohol referrals. Hampshire College had its first year without a case of arson in the residence halls in three years. The area’s five colleges — Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith and UMass — recently published their crime statistics for the previous calendar year, complying with a federal mandate to do so every fall. Each college and university that 0