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Five College Area News

UMass climate report addresses regional species at risk

AMHERST — State fish and wildlife agencies across the Northeast and Midwest are now updating their 10-year state wildlife action plans, and climate change is a bigger concern than ever before. To help them gauge what’s ahead, scientists at the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offer a report on response to climate change for hundreds of regional species of greatest conservation need. Authors Michelle Staudinger and Toni Lyn Morelli, both ecologists with U.S. Geological Survey, and adjunct faculty in 0

Letter: Father of GCC

Much has been said and written about former State Rep. Walter Kostanski since his death at age 91. And rightly so. Few people contribute as much to improving the quality of life in their community as Walter. Fewer still leave a legacy that spans generations. Among his innumerable achievements in the Legislature, arguably his most significant was the leadership role he played in the founding of Greenfield Community College in 1962. At that time, community colleges were being established in the more populated areas of 0

South Hadley funeral director pleads innocent to more than 60 charges

NORTHAMPTON — Former funeral director William W. Ryder pleaded innocent Wednesday morning to over 60 charges filed in connection with the closing of his South Hadley funeral home last year, including several dozen counts of larceny. Ryder, 54, was arraigned on the charges in Hampshire Superior Court after a grand jury handed down its indictments Tuesday. The charges include 56 counts of larceny over $250 and five counts of improper disposition of a human body. Ryder was released on his own recognizance under the conditions 0

Family sues over UMass student death in bike lane

NORTHAMPTON — The family of a University of Massachusetts Amherst student killed when she was struck by a vehicle on North East Street last year has filed a wrongful death suit against the driver. Hannah Frilot, 20, was walking her bicycle in the bike lane on North East Street in Amherst about 11 p.m. on July 31, 2014, when she was struck from behind by a Toyota Rav4 driven by Cynthia S. May, 64, of Orleans, according to court documents. Frilot was thrown about 50 0

I-91 King Street exit closed in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON — A southbound Interstate 91 exit that drops travelers onto North King Street near the intersection with Damon and Bridge roads will be closed for at least the next 60 days as part of bridge and road work that began in March, according to a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman. The closing of Exit 20 is necessary to rehabilitate and preserve the bridge on the ramp, said MassDOT spokeswoman Amanda Richard. 0

Jury selection for second defendant continues in UMass gang rape trial

NORTHAMPTON — Jury selection for the rape trial of Justin A. King of Pittsfield will continue today as court officials said eight jurors were chosen Monday. Judge Bertha D. Josephson on Tuesday will continue questioning a new pool of over 100 potential jurors, based partly on questions suggested by the attorneys in the case. If a jury is impaneled Tuesday, opening statements are expected to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday King, 21, and his co-defendants denied allegations that they gang-raped an 18-year-old student while she 0

Pulling for the pollinators: Slovenian professor visits UMass, advocates for a ‘World Bee Day’

AMHERST — As pollinators across the world — particularly the honey bee — are succumbing to diseases and colony collapses, the government of one bee-loving country is trying to create a day to celebrate their worldwide importance. Janko Božič, a professor of animal behavior and beekeeping at Ljubljana University in Slovenia, visited the University of Massachusetts on Monday to promote World Bee Day, which he hopes will be established on May 20 starting in 2016. In Slovenia, 8,000 of the national population of 2 million, 0

UMass lauded for community service

AMHERST — For the eighth year in a row, the University of Massachusetts has achieved recognition for its community service projects from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The organization placed UMass on the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, according to a statement from the university issued last week. UMass has been recognized on the honor roll since it was established in 2007, the statement read. Organizations placed on the honor roll are chosen based on percentage of student participation in 0

Ashfield silversmith part of plaque project to be buried in state time capsule

NORTHAMPTON — Two Pioneer Valley artisans — including an Ashfield silversmith — will see their work go down in history when a silver plaque cast and engraved by their hands is buried in a time capsule at the Statehouse in Boston later this month. The small metal plate is the work of Ashfield silversmith Steve Smithers and master hand engraver Paul Piquette of MurDuff’s Goldsmiths & Engravers in Florence. Though the two craftsmen together have 75 years of experience in their trades, they said they 0

Wild weekend in Amherst: Moose tranq’d near school, teenage girl attacked by black bear

AMHERST — Even though a moose roaming through Amherst neighborhoods near three public schools for nearly 24 hours had not caused harm to anyone, the animal was chemically immobilized Friday morning before being brought to a rural, wooded location 30 miles away from town. The next night, a mother bear and her yearling came out from the woods in South Amherst and one of the animals chased and twice scratched a teenage girl who was walking a dog on Tracy Circle. Yet state wildlife officials 0