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Five College Area News

UMass sued over handling of sexual assault case

AMHERST — In a federal lawsuit filed this fall against the University of Massachusetts Amherst and six of its officials, a male former student has joined other plaintiffs around the country in claiming that a school’s disciplinary process for handling claims of sexual assault violated his civil rights. Disciplinary proceedings against the plaintiff and former student, Kwadwo Bonsu, began after a female student accused him of sexually assaulting her at an off-campus Halloween party in 2014. A UMass disciplinary board eventually found Bonsu “not responsible” 0

Electronic ‘tongue’ gets one of 8 grant awards for UMass

The Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center has given $320,000 to eight UMass faculty researchers who are developing promising technologies that range from an electronic “tongue” for food safety tests to a new energy-absorbing material for helmets that last week was named as one of five winners of the NFL’s Head Health Challenge. These grants provide financing to researchers who have invented or developed projects with commercial potential and include innovations as diverse as virus vaccines and nontoxic epoxy resins for food can liners. Awarded through a 0

2nd bid made for Amherst medical marijuana clinic

AMHERST — A business entity with ties to a company that opened a medical marijuana dispensary in a Chicago suburb this fall has expressed an interest in bringing a dispensary to Amherst, according to a document filed with the Select Board. In a Dec. 14 letter to Select Board Chairwoman Alisa Brewer, GTI-Massachusetts NP Corp. President Peter Kadens wrote that his company “is contemplating siting a Registered Marijuana Dispensary in Amherst, Massachusetts.” The letter and other state filings do not identify a proposed location for 0

Minutemen memories: UMass Amherst honors former basketball coach John Calipari

AMHERST — John Calipari has been back to Amherst many times since he left the University of Massachusetts to become the head coach of the New Jersey Nets almost 20 years ago. His two daughters both went to UMass. His son goes to high school at the MacDuffie School in Granby and his former player and assistant coach Derek Kellogg is coaching the Minutemen. Calipari was here in September to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was back again this week. 0

UMass researchers’ device would help HIV patients take meds on time

AMHERST — For patients with HIV and other chronic conditions, taking medicines daily and exactly as prescribed is crucial for quality of life and long-term health. To support this, a team of University of Massachusetts computer scientists and engineers recently received a four-year, $1.71 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a cost effective, easy-to-use device similar to a fitness tracker for maintaining a medication regime. Failure to adhere to a lifelong medication antiviral therapy increases HIV patients’ risks of drug resistance 0

UMass Amherst Sunwheel and sky-watching events mark Winter Solstice on Dec. 21

AMHERST — The public is invited to witness sunrise and sunset associated with the winter solstice among the standing stones of the UMass Amherst Sunwheel on Dec. 21 at 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Heavy rain or snow will cancel the gatherings. Sunwheel events mark the astronomical change of seasons. The winter solstice occurs when nights are longest and days are shortest in the Northern hemisphere and the sun rises and sets at its most southerly spot along the horizon, over the southeasterly and southwesterly 0

Amherst SantaCon pub crawl canceled

AMHERST — The Friday night SantaCon pub crawl that expected to see nearly 200 participants — many dressed as Santa Claus — was called off less than 24 hours before its scheduled start. Reza Rahmani, the owner of Lit nightclub at 41 Boltwood Walk, confirmed Friday morning that the event was canceled in response to what he described as threats from town officials that the liquor license he holds could be in jeopardy if the bar crawl got out of hand. “It’s upsetting that this 1

Some bars say ‘bah-humbug’ to SantaCon

AMHERST — Susan Stetzer has seen firsthand how an annual SantaCon event held in New York City has gone from an act of performance art to over-the-top revelry in which thousands of people consume alcohol and then — dressed in Santa Claus hats, beards and suits — urinate, vomit and pass out on the streets of Manhattan, accosting residents and visitors alike. “It’s increasingly irritating because drunken people are out all the time, and SantaCon is the worst of them,” Stetzer said, speaking recently from 0

Your new squeeze: Nourish Juice Bar at Thornes Marketplace puts the fresh in refreshment

NORTHAMPTON — Nourish Juice Bar, which opened in September in the lower level of Thornes Marketplace at 150 Main St., has been three years in the making. Ashley Niles Vandermark, of Colrain, and Ethan Vandermark of Portsmouth, N.H., met in the summer of 2012 while working as wilderness therapy guides in Vermont. “We started dating pretty much as soon as we met,” Niles Vandermark said. The couple moved to Hawaii where they worked at a horticultural therapy program. They missed the change of seasons and 0

UMass research holds promise for boosting crop yields without more fertilizer

AMHERST — Molecular biologists at the University of Massachusetts who study nitrogen-fixing bacteria in plants have discovered a “double agent” peptide in an alfalfa that may hold promise for improving crop yields without increasing fertilizer use. In the current early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lead author and postdoctoral researcher Minsoo Kim, former undergraduate student Chris Waters, and professor Dong Wang of UMass Amherst’s biochemistry and molecular biology department, report that alfalfa appears to use an advanced process for putting 0