Five College Area News

UMass students will volunteer on ‘impact day’

AMHERST — A white picket fence surrounding the North Cemetery on East Pleasant Street in Amherst will be getting a fresh coat of paint Saturday. Also that day, senior citizens will be provided companionship at the Northampton Senior Center and The Overlook at Northampton retirement community in Leeds. And in Springfield, several garden plots will be created through the Gardening the Community initiative. These are among the 29 project sites in communities throughout the Pioneer Valley where more than 400 University of Massachusetts students will 0

Group tackling racism goes public in Amherst

AMHERST — With a sharp new website, a banner across South Pleasant Street and slate of speakers and films, an effort to draw diverse people together to tackle racism in town is going public. The project called “Coming Together: Understanding Racism, Working for Justice, Building Connections,” launched by retired Amherst elementary school principal Russ Vernon-Jones over a year ago, became visible this week with a blue and white banner announcing its name, purpose and web address — It’s not to be confused with “Amherst 0

Rolling Green sale complete

AMHERST — Rolling Green Apartments has a new owner who has pledged to keep at least 41 units for low-income families and make capital investments at the property. Boston developer Beacon Communities on Wednesday completed the purchase of the 422 Belchertown Road site for $30.25 million from EQR Equity Residential of Chicago. In the spring, Town Meeting agreed to spend $1.25 million from the Community Preservation Act account to support the transaction and ensure that 41 of the 204 units are reserved for low-income families. 0

Amherst woman’s cause of death unconfirmed; DA’s office says ‘public should not be concerned’

AMHERST — Authorities have not confirmed the cause of death for a woman found dead near the UMass campus Tuesday, but say there is no reason for the community to worry. “The public should not be concerned,” said Mary Carey, a spokeswoman for the Northwestern District Attorney’s office. “There’s nothing to indicate the public should be concerned.” The body, found near the intersection of Amity Street and University Drive, is believed to be that of Marissa Jackson, a 26-year-old Amherst woman missing since Friday, Carey 0

Parking banned on section of High Street in Amherst

AMHERST — Parking will no longer be allowed on a section of High Street after concerns were raised by school administrators about school buses and vans navigating the narrow road. The Select Board voted unanimously Monday to prohibit parking at all times on the west side of High Street between Main Street and 22 High St. Ron Bohonowicz, director of facilities for the schools and town, said the issue is that parked vehicles are making the road narrower, sometimes forcing buses and vans to go 0

Students protest police killings of black people

AMHERST — A crowd of about 75 students — most of them black — moved slowly down a University of Massachusetts campus path Wednesday afternoon with their arms raised above their heads. Their “Hands up, don’t shoot” chant, borrowed from protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, carried across campus. Heads turned, and some students and staff stopped to watch. UMass junior Cherita Moore of Boston said that was why she attended the rally and march to denounce police killing of unarmed black people. “We need to bring 0

Some protest Barrett St. bus route changes

NORTHAMPTON — Residents of one city neighborhood say they feel slighted by sweeping changes in bus routes made last month by the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. Some residents who live along Barrett Street, where Coachlight Condominums and Hathaway Farm Townehomes are located, say that eliminating a bus stop along their street has caused hardship for many of the elderly and disabled people who have relied on the R44 bus, which stopped near their homes. Now they have to walk either to nearby King Street to 0

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