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From left: Steve Nelson of WiredWest speaks while Eric Nakajima, director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, listens, during a meeting earlier this year at the John Olver Transit Center in Greenfield.

MBI ‘Last Mile’ overseer Nakajima quits

Friday, February 12, 2016

Eric Nakajima, the man who was to have shepherded the build-out of “Last Mile” broadband to most of Western Massachusetts, has stepped down from his job. Nakajima, who visited most of the unserved and underserved hilltowns this fall and winter to talk about their broadband needs, announced Friday he is leaving his post as director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) effective immediately. However, he will be a temporary adviser on broadband issues for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, which oversees MBI, during the transition period. In the first week of February, when Nakajima met in Greenfield with Shelburne and Conway town officials, Nakajima said MBI … 0

What does it take to build a new library? Erving, Greenfield, other towns look to Athol’s shiny new example

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

When Athol’s public library took shape in 1918 it was built on land given by local businessman Laroy Starrett and with money donated by industrialist and noted library philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, but behind that were decades of negotiations and politics as the book collection moved from one temporary home to another. When the … 0

Neighbors: 25th annual Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest seeks entries

Monday, February 8, 2016

Hello neighbor. Well folks, it’s that time again. The 25th annual Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest has begun, and Friends of the Greenfield Public Library are looking for poems from you. The event is open to all Franklin County residents and students. You can submit up to three poems. The deadline is March 7, … 0

Shelter from the storm: Western Mass. may be spared impact of big coastal storm

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Most of western Massachusetts could be spared from the winter storm working its way toward the East Coast over the next few days, while eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island could be facing the year’s first big winter wallop. … 0

Orange special town meeting set for Thursday

Thursday, January 21, 2016

ORANGE — Street maintenance and schools are up for votes at next week’s special town meeting, with money moved at the last town meeting to be returned to strained departments. The Thursday meeting is to convene at 7 p.m. in Mahar Regional School, 507 South Main St. There … 0

Neighbors: Spend time exploring our pre-dawn sky: five planets visible to naked eye

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hello neighbor. I’m sure many of you have heard by now that Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can all be seen in the pre-dawn sky until about Feb. 20. I’ve counted up to four of them, I believe anyway, and though I’m not sure which ones I’m … 0

Letter: He was quite the man

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I served as State Sen. Robert D. Wetmore’s aide for five years and witnessed firsthand the dedication and public service he provided to the region and commonwealth. In my opinion, Sen. Wetmore, D-Barre, was one of the most important political-public policy minds of the 20th century in Massachusetts. … 0

A modest endeavor that hits close to home

Thursday, January 21, 2016

ORANGE — Anissa Sargent’s business is in something of a unique position, straddling a hallway in an old tapioca factory. Sargent owns the Smilin’ Dog Cafe, an eatery on the second floor of the Orange Innovation Center with … 0

Orange ballot includes race for selectman

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

ORANGE — A former town administrator and former town selectman plan to run for an available seat on the Board of Selectman in the town’s March 7 election. Richard T. Kwiatkowski of 345 Mayo Road and Richard P. Sheridan of 101 Daniel Shays Highway returned nomination papers for … 0

West County, Montague designated as ‘medically underserved’ by feds

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Western Franklin County, along with Montague, have been designated as medically underserved. With less than one full-time physician for every 3,000 residents, western Franklin County together with Montague were recently designated a federal “Health Professional Shortage Area” by the US Department of Health and Human Services and by … 0

Wetmore’s work in ‘70s felt today by fishermen, activists

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Former state Sen. Robert D. Wetmore of Barre — the architect of Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution, which may protect public conservation along the path of the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline — is being remembers as a … 0

Neighbors: Call it what you will, the ‘Wolf Moon’ rises Sunday

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hello neighbor. Good morning everyone! I sent an email out to our precipitation prognosticator Farrah Pomeroy. I’ve lost count of how many dustings we’ve had since she made her prediction for this year’s snowfalls. I’ll let you know on Friday. So far, so good! January’s full moon will … 0

Salvation Army of one: Orange citizen overcomes to help others get by

Sunday, January 17, 2016

ORANGE — Hazel Lackey has overcome more than most to spend her later years helping others do the same, or simply get by. She says it’s not as hard to listen to the troubles of others because she’s … 0