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Five College Area News

UMass prof gets $500K wastewater research grant

AMHERST — A UMass professor has received a $500,000, 5-year grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on algae and bacteria and ways to improve wastewater treatment. The grant funds assistant professor Caitlyn S. Butler’s work on “algal-sludge granules,” which can produce oxygen during wastewater treatment, reducing electricity use while also cleaning the wastewater. Butler’s work will dovetail with research she is conducting with Chul Park, also a civil and environmental engineer at UMass. Their collaborative research holds the promise of a three-way 0

Rep. McGovern wants debate on policy in Iraq

When Congress returns from its break April 13, U.S. Rep. James McGovern aims to force a discussion about U.S. military escalation in Iraq in the fight against ISIS. In fact, he believes members of Congress are shirking their duties in avoiding that debate. “I think war is a big deal — I think putting Americans in harm’s way is a big deal,” McGovern, a Democrat from Worcester who represents the 2nd Congressional District, said in a recent interview. McGovern represents a district that includes Greenfield 0

Bile sentenced to 8 to 10 years in UMass gang rape case

NORTHAMPTON — A Hampshire Superior Court judge Wednesday sentenced Emmanuel T. Bile Jr. to eight to 10 years in state prison for his part in a gang rape at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which the judge characterized as an “alcohol-fueled, sex-crazed assault of horrific proportions.” The prison sentence will be followed by five years of probation with numerous conditions. A jury Monday found Bile, 21, guilty of two counts of aggravated rape and acquitted him of a third count. Bile is the first of 0

Neil deGrasse Tyson named UMass graduation speaker

AMHERST — Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will speak at the undergraduate commencement of the University of Massachusetts Amherst on May 8, the school announced Wednesday. Tyson is executive editor and on-camera host for “Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey,” the 21st-century remake of the hugely popular “Cosmos,” hosted by Carl Sagan in 1980. Tyson’s series ran for 13 episodes in 2014. Tyson will speak before roughly 5,500 students receiving bachelor’s degrees at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. UMass Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, also a physicist, said he applauded the 0

Human services workers rally in Northampton after soured negotiations

NORTHAMPTON — A breakdown in contract negotiations sent more than 100 human service workers from Clinical & Support Options into the street to protest outside the agency’s headquarters Wednesday morning. The agency provides services to thousands of people in Franklin and Hampshire counties. Chanting “Two, four, six, eight, CSO negotiate,” the employees were calling attention to what they described as high staff turnover spurred by low wages and productivity stress at the agency. “We know all mental health workers aren’t paid well,” Leslie Lauf, a 0

Jury convicts man in UMass gang rape case

NORTHAMPTON — A jury Monday found Emmanuel T. Bile Jr. guilty of two counts of aggravated rape and acquitted him of a third count in connection with the 2012 rape of an 18-year-old student at the University of Massachusetts -Amherst. Bile, 21, of Pittsfield, was the first of four men to be tried in Hampshire Superior Court for allegedly gang-raping the woman while she was incapacitated by alcohol in her dorm room on Oct. 13, 2012. He was expressionless as the jury foreman read the 0

Route 9 Diner in Hadley shutters amid sexual harassment complaints

HADLEY — The state attorney general claims owners and managers of the Route 9 Diner in Hadley knew about but failed to protect female employees from “at least a decade of regular and repeated sexual harassment” in violation of federal law. The attorney general’s office filed a complaint Friday with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, detailing conduct that had been earlier cited by individual wait staff members. The complaint cites the alleged workplace discrimination experienced by 10 former wait staff members and hostesses. In a 0

Finding fault

AMHERST — New modeling and analyses of fault geometry in the Earth’s crust by geoscientist Michele Cooke and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are advancing knowledge about fault development in regions where one geologic plate slides past or over another, such as along California’s San Andreas Fault and the Denali Fault in central Alaska. Findings may help more accurately predict earthquake hazards and allow scientists to better understand how Earth evolved. Geologists have long been uncertain about the factors that govern how new 0

Patrick Donnelly appointed seventh poet laureate in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON — Patrick Donnelly once studied classical singing and acting, with an eye to becoming an opera singer. Although those plans did not work out, he also had a deep interest in writing that he subsequently developed — and now he intends to bring his literary and performance background together in a new role. Donnelly, who lives in South Deerfield and teaches poetry at Smith College, has been appointed Northampton’s newest poet laureate by the city’s Arts Council. He’s the seventh artist to hold the 0

UMass police chief to leave for Rockport

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts Amherst Police Chief John K. Horvath will take a pay cut to become chief of the Rockport Police Department on the North Shore, according to a report in the Gloucester Times. When Horvath was hired as UMass chief in 2012, his salary was announced at $140,000. The Gloucester Times reported that Horvath would earn between $100,000 and $115,000 as chief in Rockport. In a statement issued Wednesday, UMass Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Campus Life Enku Gelaye confirmed that 0