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Five College Area News

Traffic concerns aired at Northampton zoning forum

NORTHAMPTON — Residents are wary about the possible increase in traffic that could come with a large residential project near downtown. “It’s not realistic,” said Julie Kurose, of Monroe Street, to assume that just because people live downtown, they are going to walk everywhere. That was among the concerns expressed by city residents at a public forum Wednesday on proposed zoning regulations governing residential projects of seven or more units that, if approved, would affect possible development of several properties in and around downtown, including 0

Ex-gas station comes down in Florence

NORTHAMPTON — A former gasoline station in downtown Florence met the wrecking ball Tuesday, clearing the way for a new brick building at one of the village’s most prominent sites at the corner of Main and Maple streets. Gaurang Patel, who owns Bird’s Store across the street from the site at 100 Main St. , said he is moving ahead with construction of a two-story, 6,000-square-foot building where an old Exxon Mobil gas station once stood. Crews from Crocker Building Co., of Springfield, started the 0

Alcohol cited after student injures head

AMHERST — An intoxicated University of Massachusetts student suffered a significant head injury when she fell down a staircase Sunday night, according to Amherst Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson. The woman is expected to recover fully from her injury because of action taken by UMass and Amherst police and Amherst Fire Department paramedics, but the incident illustrates the dangers posed by excessive consumption of alcohol, Nelson said. “This is what alcohol will do to you. It will cause serious injury,” he added. The woman was 0

IRS drops $5.4M tax demand vs Stavros

AMHERST — A $5.4 million headache has been wiped off the books for the Stavros Center for Independent Living after the Internal Revenue Service released a tax lien in that amount on Tuesday. The federal action comes less than month after the IRS slapped the Amherst-based nonprofit agency with the lien for unpaid unemployment taxes, though Stavros officials said there was never any doubt the agency had paid the money. James Kruidenier, executive director of Stavros, said the problem was related to discrepancies between state 0

Amherst appeals for help in identifying vicious dog

AMHERST — Five days after two children were bitten by a loose dog during afternoon recess at Crocker Farm School, police have been unable to locate the dog or identify its owner. Animal Welfare Officer Carol Hepburn said Tuesday that she is appealing to the public for assistance in finding the dog, described as a beige-and-white-colored pit bull terrier, which bit two girls playing on swings Thursday afternoon. Because their skin was pierced and the dog was not located, both began a rabies vaccination regime 0

Residential project rules eyed

NORTHAMPTON — A new set of zoning regulations governing residential projects of at least seven units will get a public airing Wednesday night. If approved, the rules would guide the future development of Smith College’s Fort Hill property, the former Shaw’s Motel and a few other properties in and near downtown. Residents are invited to react to the proposed changes at a 90-minute forum at 6 p.m. in the City Hall hearing room sponsored by city councilors Ryan R. O’Donnell of Ward 3 and Gina 0

Hand-Me-Down Hardware

NORTHAMPTON — President Barack Obama last week ordered a review of programs that put surplus military gear into the hands of local police in the wake of outcry about heavily -armed Ferguson, Missouri, police officers in armored trucks facing off with protesters after the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. If the review leads to scrapping or curtailing such programs, police officials in Hampshire County largely won’t be broken- hearted. Most of them think military surplus programs give away gear they wouldn’t 0

New music festival helps fair end on successful note

NORTHAMPTON — You know it’s a hot, sunny day at the Three County Fair when the stand selling fresh-squeezed lemonade runs out of lemons. That’s what happened Monday afternoon, when temperatures hit 87 degrees, and the lemonade stand owned by Gino Orlandi of Cummington only had corn dogs left for sale. “It’s hot,” said the owner’s wife, Michelle Orlandi, while working the last shift of the fair at the stand. She said she could not estimate how many cases of lemons they went through before 0

Pioneer Valley’s class of 2018 makes grand entrance

AMHERST — With gear piled high atop car roofs and minivans filled to capacity, thousands of new and returning students arrived on campus this weekend at Hampshire County’s four private colleges and the University of Massachusetts. The combined class of 2018 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Smith, Amherst, Hampshire, and Mount Holyoke colleges checks in at around 6,760 first-year students. They come from about 30 countries and close to all 50 states. Many of these students — 16 percent at Amherst College and nearly 0

Charges likely in high-speed Amherst crash

AMHERST — Police said charges will likely be filed against the driver of a car that went off South East Street Monday around 10 p.m., struck a tree and nearly hit a house, injuring the male driver and a female passenger. Sgt. Jesus Arocho declined to specify what the charges might be or speculate on the cause of the accident, as police were still investigating it around 10:45 p.m. He said the occupants of the car were taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield with 0