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Five College Area News

Judge’s decision in BID lawsuit likely in October

NORTHAMPTON — The future of the Northampton Business Improvement District now rests in the hands of a judge. A week long, jury-waived trial in Hampshire Superior Court before Judge John Agostini that included about a dozen witnesses ended Aug. 29 with closing arguments. Both sides will spend the next several weeks filing documents that Agostini will use in forming his decision. A ruling is expected in October. The long-awaited civil lawsuit was filed more than five years ago by Alan Scheinman and several property entities 0

UMass student villages’ impact on businesses a concern

AMHERST — Mixed-use student villages that would be built through public-private partnerships on state-owned land at the University of Massachusetts could protect neighborhoods from encroachment of student rentals, but could hurt existing town businesses, according to reactions given to the Town-Gown Steering Committee on Thursday. Nick Seamon, owner of Black Sheep Deli, 79 Main St., told the committee at a public forum held at Town Hall that he is opposed to such ventures on state-owned land that might add pizza shops, burrito shops and copy 0

Money OK’d for Academy lead paint job

NORTHAMPTON — Work to replace deteriorating fire escapes at the Academy of Music Theatre hit a minor snag a during August when construction crews found small amounts of lead paint on components being removed from the building’s original units. The lead paint has been removed, and the project remains on track to be completed next month in time for the theater’s reopening after an extensive two-month interior renovation, David Pomerantz, director of Central Services, said Thursday at the City Council meeting. The council approved a 0

In memory of son, Pease family organizes benefit for Florence Fields

NORTHAMPTON — In honor of their son Todd Davis Pease, who died in a drowning accident in 1991, Tom and Peggy Pease have thrown their energy into promoting youth sports — and one of their biggest contributions of the year is the annual “Salute2Summer.” Todd, who was 15 when he died, was a devoted sports enthusiast who spent a lot of time on peewee football and soccer fields, according to his father. On Saturday, the Pease family and a team of helpers will hold the 0

End comes peacefully for Lee Hawkins

Northampton — Eleanor “Lee” Hawkins, the Northampton woman who spoke publicly about her intention to choose the time of her death by stopping eating and drinking, died Tuesday at her home on Goldenchain Lane. She was 90. Hawkins, who had lived in the Lathrop Communities off Bridge Road since 1991, was surrounded by her children, Sue, Rebecca and Jerry Hawkins, when she died. A volunteer harpist was playing music at the time. Hawkins first spoke publicly about her intention to end her life with a 0

Mt. Holyoke blazes trail for trans applicants

NORTHAMPTON — Mount Holyoke College this week became the second women’s college in the country to consider to broaden admission policies regarding transgender applicants by considering for admission any student who identifies as a woman, whether or not she was born female at birth. Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella announced the new policy at the convocation held Tuesday, provoking applause, cheers and a standing ovation from students. She noted that while the college has welcomed transgender students, and sought to improve the climate on campus 0

After delays, Welch murder trial to begin

NORTHAMPTON — The defense in the murder trial of Ryan D. Welch intends to argue that someone else could have been responsible for the 2012 slaying of Jessica Ann Pripstein as their relationship was disintegrating. Welch’s trial on a single count of murder in connection with Pripstein’s death begins with jury selection Monday in Hampshire Superior Court. In court Wednesday, defense attorney John Morris of Salem said he plans to suggest to jurors that there was a “third-party culprit,” although he declined to provide a 0

Dogs banned on Amherst school grounds after girls bitten

AMHERST — When Lisa Cain picks up her children at Crocker Farm Elementary School Friday afternoon, she expects to have the family dog, Milo in the car with her despite the fact that dogs are now barred from school grounds when classes are in session. However, bringing Milo to the school, as she routinely does, would violate a new district practice put in place after two children were severely bitten by a loose dog on the Crocker Farm playground on the first day of school 0

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