Five College Area News

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

Jury selection for second defendant continues in UMass gang rape trial

NORTHAMPTON — Jury selection for the rape trial of Justin A. King of Pittsfield will continue today as court officials said eight jurors were chosen Monday. Judge Bertha D. Josephson on Tuesday will continue questioning a new pool of over 100 potential jurors, based partly on questions suggested by the attorneys in the case. If a jury is impaneled Tuesday, opening statements are expected to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday King, 21, and his co-defendants denied allegations that they gang-raped an 18-year-old student while she 0

Pulling for the pollinators: Slovenian professor visits UMass, advocates for a ‘World Bee Day’

AMHERST — As pollinators across the world — particularly the honey bee — are succumbing to diseases and colony collapses, the government of one bee-loving country is trying to create a day to celebrate their worldwide importance. Janko Božič, a professor of animal behavior and beekeeping at Ljubljana University in Slovenia, visited the University of Massachusetts on Monday to promote World Bee Day, which he hopes will be established on May 20 starting in 2016. In Slovenia, 8,000 of the national population of 2 million, 0

UMass lauded for community service

AMHERST — For the eighth year in a row, the University of Massachusetts has achieved recognition for its community service projects from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The organization placed UMass on the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, according to a statement from the university issued last week. UMass has been recognized on the honor roll since it was established in 2007, the statement read. Organizations placed on the honor roll are chosen based on percentage of student participation in 0

Ashfield silversmith part of plaque project to be buried in state time capsule

NORTHAMPTON — Two Pioneer Valley artisans — including an Ashfield silversmith — will see their work go down in history when a silver plaque cast and engraved by their hands is buried in a time capsule at the Statehouse in Boston later this month. The small metal plate is the work of Ashfield silversmith Steve Smithers and master hand engraver Paul Piquette of MurDuff’s Goldsmiths & Engravers in Florence. Though the two craftsmen together have 75 years of experience in their trades, they said they 0

Wild weekend in Amherst: Moose tranq’d near school, teenage girl attacked by black bear

AMHERST — Even though a moose roaming through Amherst neighborhoods near three public schools for nearly 24 hours had not caused harm to anyone, the animal was chemically immobilized Friday morning before being brought to a rural, wooded location 30 miles away from town. The next night, a mother bear and her yearling came out from the woods in South Amherst and one of the animals chased and twice scratched a teenage girl who was walking a dog on Tracy Circle. Yet state wildlife officials 0

UMass food scientist wins award for rapid pathogen detection

A University of Massachusetts food science researcher has won an award for developing a method of rapid pathogen detection in food. The researcher, Sam Nugen, engineered viruses to identify and separate microbial contaminants from food. His methods may help food manufacturers skip the wait time for safety test results before products can be sold, according to UMass. The researcher has been named one of two winners of the 2015 Future Leaders Award from the International Life Sciences Institute’s North America. ILSI awards the two-year, $15,000 0

UMass Amherst Hadley Farm, and its Bay State Morgans, reach out with public riding instruction

AMHERST — A summer-long program of adult riding instruction for everyone from novices to advanced equestrians begins today at the University of Massachusetts Hadley Farm Equine Center. It is a first-of-a-kind effort for the UMass Amherst riding program, according to director and instructor Anne Wiktor. She said horses and equine science have been an integral part of the land grant mission of the university since its inception following the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862. Central to the land-grant mission, she added, was 0

GCC aims to offer courses in Amherst

AMHERST — School officials, local politicians and the leadership at Greenfield Community College are all eager to hold community college classes at the Amherst-Pelham Regional Middle School as part of a proposal that would move middle school classes to the high school. Some Greenfield Community College courses could be taught at the school as early as spring 2016, according to school officials. At the same time, Greenfield Community College will continue its plan to re-establish a nursing program at Northampton. State Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, 0

Amherst opposes pipeline on principle

AMHERST — At the final session of Town Meeting on Wednesday, members went on record as being overwhelmingly opposed to the controversial Tennessee Gas Pipeline project that would run through western Massachusetts. The 134-7 vote on Article 30, stating that the town is opposed to the pipeline, came despite a moratorium on new natural gas customers or expanded use by current customers made by Berkshire Gas Co. in March due to what the company claims is an insufficient supply of natural gas to New England. 0