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Federal probe targets UMass response to anti-Arab incidents
04-25-2024 3:24 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

AMHERST — Federal civil rights officials are investigating the University of Massachusetts for allegedly dragging its feet over complaints of anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian harassment on campus amid the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.An official...

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Rallygoers at Baystate hospital in Springfield highlight plight of health care in Gaza
05-21-2024 6:44 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

SPRINGFIELD — Calling for an end to the destruction of hospitals and health care in Gaza, a dozen protesters gathered with songs and banners in front of Baystate Medical Center on Tuesday morning.“If this were Palestine, we wouldn’t have this...


Change in federal drug classification could help cannabis shops
05-05-2024 11:11 AM

By JAMES PENTLAND

In the wake of the Justice Department’s proposal to reclassify cannabis as a less dangerous drug, dispensary owners say the change would help their business, especially on taxes.“The immediate impact would be for the government to treat us like other...


Man allegedly steals $100K worth of items from Northampton, South Deerfield businesses
04-23-2024 7:08 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — A South Hadley man pleaded not guilty in Hampshire County Superior Court on Monday to charges stemming from thefts from businesses in Northampton and South Deerfield.Steven Skea, 64, is accused of breaking into two businesses and making...


Ex-superintendent, medical director of Holyoke Soldiers’ Home change pleas
03-26-2024 7:49 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — Four years after reports of veterans’ deaths at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke began to grow in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the legal cases against the home’s former superintendent and medical director came to an end at a...


Real estate pros doubt commission shake-up will change much
03-25-2024 9:31 AM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — The recent settlement of a lawsuit filed by home sellers against the National Association of Realtors may make little difference to real estate transactions in Massachusetts, area professionals say.In the lawsuit, home sellers in states...


UMass plans to triple early college slots for high schoolers
03-14-2024 12:55 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts plans to triple early college enrollment over the next five years, giving 2,000 high school students a head start on their college educations, university President Marty Meehan said this week in his annual...


Spreading message of coexistence: Palestinian, Jewish Israelis bring cause to UMass
03-07-2024 6:44 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

AMHERST — In the face of the Israeli military’s destruction of Gaza and stepped-up settler violence in the West Bank, one grassroots group of Palestinian and Jewish Israelis is striving to provide an alternative to the government’s dominant...


Treasure in the attic: Woman steps up to save long-lost mural of 1800s Jewish immigrant congregation
02-16-2024 1:58 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

Forgotten and gathering dust in the attic of a North Adams apartment building for more than a century, a mural that’s a part of eastern European Jewish immigrant history may soon see the light of day again.If it does, it will be thanks largely to the...


Deepening divisions: UMass poll chronicles yawning divides on race, immigration
02-14-2024 7:03 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

AMHERST — Almost a third of Republicans say they agree with former President Donald Trump’s claim that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of the country,” a recent University of Massachusetts Amherst poll has found.The poll, which also questioned...


Tuesday storm could bring a few inches of snow to region
02-12-2024 7:04 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

Although the National Weather Service canceled its winter storm warning for Greenfield and other parts of Franklin County, the region is still anticipating 1 to 3 inches of snowfall on Tuesday.Per the National Weather Service’s most up-to-date...


Gov. Healey names director for east-west rail
02-08-2024 10:57 AM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — The dream of east-west rail service in Massachusetts came a step closer to reality this week with the appointment of a director for the project.Gov. Maura Healey’s office announced Tuesday that Andy Koziol, currently the state’s rail and...


Health care workers urge Neal to stand up for Gaza cease-fire
02-06-2024 6:09 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

SPRINGFIELD — Dozens of area health care professionals rallied outside the federal courthouse Tuesday to demand that U.S. Rep. Richard Neal join their call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.Speakers representing the interfaith Healthcare Workers...


DA’s office launches animal welfare task force in region
02-05-2024 2:36 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — Looking to strengthen and better coordinate the work of animal welfare professionals in Hampshire and Franklin counties, the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office is launching a task force to share information and provide training.A...


Heavy-duty fixes: Couple has big plans for Hatfield independent truck repair shop
02-01-2024 10:11 AM

By JAMES PENTLAND

HATFIELD — Working from a foundation laid down by the business it bought at 4 Linseed Road last year, Harrison Diesel Solutions is building a name for itself in the field of heavy equipment maintenance.Husband and wife Drew and Ashley Harrison began...


Florence man part of team to claim gold in International Snow Sculpture Championships
01-31-2024 2:24 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

FLORENCE — Fresh off his attempt to set the world record for distance traveled in a pumpkin boat, Dave Rothstein is celebrating a different kind of world championship — in snow sculpting.The Florence resident and his four-man team — Team Mexico — took...


Probation for 2 in UMass procurement fraud case
01-19-2024 1:38 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — A long-running case against two men accused of conspiring to defraud the University of Massachusetts through an environmental remediation company ended this week with the men admitting to sufficient facts and being placed on...


Aviation community mourns deaths of flight instructor, others from Sunday plane crash
01-16-2024 7:26 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — A flyer since her teens, Fly Lugu flight school founder Fredrika Ballard was remembered this week as a consummate professional who worked hard to support opportunities for women in aviation.Ballard, 53, of Southwick, was killed Sunday...


McGovern files bill to aid victims of scams, disasters
01-16-2024 4:31 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

WASHINGTON — Pushing for action at the federal level to assist homeowners who are afflicted by crumbling foundations, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern has filed legislation dubbed the Tax Relief for Victims of Crimes, Scams and Disasters Act.Co-sponsored by...


Cannabis businesses sue over federal prohibition
10-30-2023 11:53 AM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — A coalition of cannabis businesses is suing the U.S. attorney general over the federal government’s prohibition of pot cultivation, manufacture, possession and distribution, saying it penalizes activities that are legal under state...


Greenfield man held on $100K bail for alleged hit-and-run that injured trooper in Holyoke
09-28-2023 6:34 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

HOLYOKE — A Greenfield man facing eight criminal counts in relation to an alleged hit-and-run in which he dragged a state trooper was ordered held on $100,000 bail at his arraignment Wednesday in Holyoke District Court.Michael J. Williams, 45, is...

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