Five College Area News

Chieftains, astronaut to play at UMass

AMHERST — Six-time Grammy Award winners The Chieftains return to the University of Massachusetts’ Fine Arts Center Sunday at 7 p.m., with their traditional Irish music, and with guests that include astronaut Cady Coleman of Shelburne. Coleman, an amateur flutist, took Chieftain founder Paddy Moloney’s whistle and Chieftain Matt Molloy’s flute “out of this world” when she traveled to the International Space Station in 2010. And while in space, she also played an Earth-space “duet” with flutist Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. “As cultural ambassadors, 0

Amherst fire, police officials counting down to Blarney

AMHERST — Preparing for the worst with throngs of drunken students, the Amherst Fire Department has scheduled 10 ambulances and crews to be on duty throughout Saturday. And the Police Department says it’s ready, too. “We’re treating the whole 24-hour period as if it were a spring weekend,” Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson said Tuesday. Last year, thousands of young people came to Amherst and caused large-scale disturbances during pre-St. Patrick’s Day partying commonly called Blarney Blowout. Police arrested 55 people, including 20 University of 0

UMass experts confirm regional cold records

In this area, 1934 no longer reigns supreme. UMass climate experts say that with February now concluded, weather observations show that Amherst, Hartford, and several other locations throughout New England will establish new record lows for February, and for any month on record. At Amherst the average temperature was 11.2, eclipsing the previous record for any month of 11.6 set in February 1934. While the official period of record for Amherst begins in 1893, unofficial measurements extend to 1835, initiated by Ebenezer S. Snell at 0

Opposition surfacing to Boston 2024 Olympics

A Smith College professor who specializes in the economics of sports is dead set against the proposal by the U.S. Olympic Committee to tap Boston for the 2024 Games. “I think it’s crazy,” said Andrew Zimbalist, author of “Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and World Cup.” Zimbalist said he bases his position largely on the price tag, which he maintains will not only be bad for Boston, but for the rest of the state as well. “First, I think it’s going 0

Amherst College sets goal of climate-friendly campus

AMHERST — Amherst College trustees have a blueprint for achieving a carbon-neutral campus, outlining steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, increase recycling and serve more homegrown food in its dining commons. The “Statement on Sustainability and Investment Policy” acknowledges the threats posed by climate change, states that climate change is caused by human activity and is something the college needs to confront. The statement pledges that the college will consider sustainability in daily operations, the investment process and in capital projects. The pledge “builds on 0

Amherst asks bars to tone down Blarney Blowout promo

AMHERST — If negotiations underway are successful two downtown bars that created and served as ground zero for the Blarney Blowout promotion for more than a decade will delay their opening March 7, improving the possibility of a quieter Blarney this year. Town Manager John Musante is engaged in discussions with the owners of both McMurphy’s Uptown Tavern, 37 North Pleasant St., and Stacker’s Pub, 57 North Pleasant St., to not serve customers until later in the afternoon on that day, according to Police Chief 0

UMass to limit parking on ‘Blarney’ weekend

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts will ban all vehicles without valid parking permits from its lots the weekend of Blarney Blowout, except for some planned events on campus. The university’s parking services department posted a statement on its website that the ban would be in effect from 5 p.m. Friday, March 6, until 5 p.m. Sunday, March 8. The statement said the reason for the ban is that thousands of students from other campuses came to Amherst during last year’s Blarney Blowout event. “Many 0

Arts initiative aimed at UMass students, regional artists

AMHERST — The UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service has launched an Arts Entrepreneurship Initiative aimed at helping UMass students, as well as artists throughout the greater Pioneer Valley, gain the skills and support needed to develop thriving arts careers or arts-based businesses. The initiative was formulated by AES director Dee Boyle-Clapp and Jeff Cox, chair of the music and dance department, after they directed a national survey of UMass Amherst arts alumni. “The alumni loved their arts training and most said they would do it 0

Rosenberg vows work on welfare overhaul

NORTHAMPTON — The welfare system in Massachusetts was once a model for the nation after reforms in the 1990s, but now ranks among the worst in the country at putting people back to work. State Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg of Amherst and Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton, are seeking to reverse that trend with this week’s launch of what they are calling the “WorkFirst Initiative.” The goal is to create more opportunities for people to move from public assistance to the 1

Planning to tone down the Blarney

AMHERST — Building on the success of their efforts to limit student rowdiness during the Super Bowl, University of Massachusetts officials are optimistic about their plans to manage what has become a bigger, rowdier event — the March weekend known as the Blarney Blowout. “There’s a lot going on and we feel comfortable as we go into this event on March 7 we’re doing everything we can to prepare and have it be a successful day,” Town Manager John Musante said Wednesday. Musante joined Enku 0