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Five College Area News

Judge denies UMass rape trial delay

NORTHAMPTON — The third trial in connection with an alleged gang rape at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2012 will not be moved or delayed as the defense requested, and instead will begin Aug. 24. Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard J. Carey wrote in a decision Tuesday that he was not persuaded that the media coverage of two previous trials of co-defendants in the case would prevent the two remaining co-defendants, Adam T. Liccardi and Caleb Womack, from getting fair trials in Hampshire County. 0

Tuition retention part of UMass 2015-16 budget

AMHERST — Gov. Charles D. Baker’s staff sought to clarify Tuesday that though the governor’s University of Massachusetts appropriation was less than the Legislature’s, it was still an increase. Baker appropriated $526.6 million to UMass, which is about $5.2 million less than the Legislature’s $531.8 million, approved July 8. William Pitman, Baker’s deputy communications director, said the appropriation was a $15 million, or 3.5 percent, increase over last year’s budget of $511 million, and not a cut. That appropriation was reduced from $519 million via 0

Defendants in UMass gang rape case want new venue; Lawyers argue last two defendants won’t get fair trial because of media coverage

NORTHAMPTON — Attorneys for the two remaining defendants charged in connection with an alleged gang rape at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2012 told a judge Monday that media coverage of the case meant their clients could not get fair trials in Hampshire County — at least not any time soon. But Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer H. Suhl said the defendants’ requests to change the venue for or at least delay the trials are not supported by fact. She said that in the 0

Letter: Showcasing the area

The Green River Festival has become an annual rite of summer in the Pioneer Valley. This year’s festival was the biggest yet with the addition of a third day. In total, over 14,000 people attended over the course of the weekend, which was blessed with near-perfect weather. The festival featured over 35 bands, five hot air balloon launches plus 55 local craft vendors, 22 area food vendors and lots of other entertainment for families. Green River Festival is a showcase for the best of Franklin 0

Digital storytelling conference coming to UMass and Smith College

AMHERST — Students, scholars, storytellers, teachers, filmmakers, media practitioners and activists will share their knowledge and experiences working with digital storytelling at an international conference being held Sept. 25 to 27 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Smith College. Focusing on the theme of “Voices for Change: Storywork in Activism, Education and Public Service,” the Sixth International Digital Storytelling Conference is organized by the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, Calif. For the first time, the event is being held in the U.S. Previous 0

Letter: Medicare celebration

I became a Medicare recipient just a few months ago. For the first time it’s a benchmark that I celebrated. I got my Medicare card and just about did a back flip. I couldn’t quite understand why I was so excited until it occurred to me that now I’m guaranteed health insurance for my retirement years. Oh I know there’s gap insurance that I’ll have to pay for and I’ll worry about that someday, too. But for now I feel relieved that the basics are 0

UMass expands bathroom policy to protect transgender students

AMHERST — A recent change to University of Massachusetts Amherst policy aims to expand protections of transgender students’ rights to use bathrooms that they feel most comfortable using. The policy states that in an effort to provide safe, accessible and convenient bathroom facilities, students, faculty and staff “should use the bathroom facilities that correspond to their sex or gender identity, or utilize bathrooms that are designated gender-neutral or gender-inclusive.” The policy was accepted last fall by the Campus Advisory Council, which is made up of 0

UMass chancellor praises tuition retention; Says budget move would help Amherst campus

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts tuition may be about to increase more than six-fold, and UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy says that is a good thing. The cost of attending UMass will not undergo a substantial change, but the way of accounting for it could. The portion of the bill students and their families see as “tuition” is about $1,700, and has not changed in more than 20 years, Subbaswamy said. The “curriculum fee” on the bill, which Subbaswamy said is what most 0

Building safe places: Bikers Against Child Abuse fundraiser for Children’s Advocacy Center Sunday

The western Massachusetts chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, an international organization with the goal of creating a safer environment for abused children, will hold its second annual fundraiser Sunday, July 19. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Hampshire and Franklin County Children’s Advocacy Centers. The fundraiser includes a two-hour ride around the Quabbin Reservoir and a picnic. Registration will begin at 10 a.m. at the Young Mens Club in Hadley and the ride kicks off at 11 a.m. According to Radar, secretary of 0

UMass Amherst scientist to investigate estrogen-like chemicals’ cancer link

AMHERST — Much attention has been paid to genetics in breast cancer as disease rates rise, but most women have no family history of the disease, suggesting that there is an environmental risk we don’t yet understand, says environmental health scientist Laura Vandenberg in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Now she is launching a three-year, $450,000 research program supported by a National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) early career award to investigate the possibility that 0