Five College Area News

Academic programs see hope for simplified Cuban exchanges

AMHERST — During his most recent visit to Havana just last week, Jerry Guidera noticed hints of a looming change in the long-strained relations between Cuba and the United States. “There was a sense of excitement building that I hadn’t seen before,” said Guidera, an Amherst resident who spent part of his week-long trip at the U.S. Interests Section, where American diplomats aid the processing of visas and help with educational exchange programs such as the Spanish Studies Abroad program he oversees. Now back on 0

Rosenberg rising

NORTHAMPTON — When state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg was named chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee in 1996, he said time would tell whether the job would be the pinnacle of his career or just a step on the ladder. If, as is widely expected, he is elected next month to be president of the Senate, it will be clear that heading up the powerful Ways and Means panel, which decides who gets money and how much, was a step toward an even more 0

Next stop: Commuter rail

NORTHAMPTON — Now that the decades-long dream of a high-speed train zooming along the Connecticut River valley is a lock, the region’s leaders expect to turn their attention to the next significant game-changer — a commuter rail system shuttling passengers up and down the region many times a day. From the region’s northern reaches in Greenfield to its southern end in Springfield, regional planners, municipal officials, economic development experts and others are lobbying intensely for a system through which as many as five locomotives would 0

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

AMHERST — The public is invited to witness sunrise and sunset associated with the winter solstice among the standing stones of the UMass Sunwheel on Sunday at 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Heavy rain, snow or dangerous winter conditions will cancel the gatherings. Sunwheel events mark the astronomical changes of the seasons. The winter solstice marks the date when nights are longest and days are shortest in the Northern Hemisphere and the sun rises and sets at its most southerly location along the horizon, over 0

Some at Amherst College prefer moose to Lord Jeffery

AMHERST — In the seven months since an 800-pound female moose visited Amherst College and toured the president’s house property, a vigorous campaign by students has sought to have the animal replace Lord Jeffery Amherst as the college’s mascot. Posters advancing the cause are stapled to bulletin boards in academic buildings, a Facebook page is dedicated to the moose becoming the mascot and a person dressed as a moose attends sporting events, including cheering for the football team during its game against Williams College, So 0

UMass professor David Reckhow leads national team researching low-cost ways to keep drinking water clean

AMHERST — Water — we drink it, cook with it, bathe in it, and our lives are dependent on it. Yet many people know little about how water is treated to make sure it is fit for human consumption. One expert is David A. Reckhow of Florence, a professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts. Reckhow and his colleagues in November received a $4.1 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create a national center for 0

Town-Gown Steering Committee in Amherst recommends permanent successor

AMHERST — A permanent board to link the University of Massachusetts and the town of Amherst, which could be vital to the success of future housing and economic development initiatives, is a key recommendation from the Town-Gown Steering Committee in its draft final report. The steering committee met for the last time Thursday and will send a memo to Town Manager John Musante and UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy urging them to create what would be known as the University-Town of Amherst Collaborative. Receiving a $60,000 0

GCC nursing program to return to Smith Voke

NORTHAMPTON — Greenfield Community College’s licensed practical nursing program will return to its roots at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School after a sharply divided board of trustees voted Tuesday. The decision will make space for the LPN program by ending a 23-year-old lease with the Northampton Parks and Recreation Department, which now has six months to find a new home. The nursing program has been housed at the VA Medical Center in Leeds in recent years and will move to a voke school building 0

UMass students disappointed in Cosby, support university’s decision to cut ties

AMHERST — Students at the University of Massachusetts who remember Bill Cosby as the fatherly Dr. Huxtable and creator of “Little Bill” are disappointed in the allegations against the comedian, and proud of their university’s decision to cut its ties with him. “If he’s not exemplifying what UMass stands for, then I don’t think it’s worth keeping him around,” UMass freshman Darlene Irons, 18, said Sunday. The university announced last week that it cut its ties with the embattled entertainer amid allegations that he sexually 0

Smith Voke to host GCC’s LPN program?

NORTHAMPTON — Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School trustees will vote today on whether to host Greenfield Community College’s licensed practical nursing program. Smith Voke Superintendent Jeffrey Peterson said “This is certainly a need of the community, and it’s a great opportunity for us.” The board of trustees will vote at its meeting at 5 p.m. in the school library on whether to give the current tenants, the city Recreation Department, six months’ notification that it will be ending the 23-year-old lease at the 90 0