HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

The federal government estimates that on any given night, 3,000 to 4,000 female veterans are homeless.

But that estimate is probably on the low side, according to Sara Scoco, who directs the Women’s Program of the western Massachusetts-based nonprofit group Soldier On.

“When people are doing homeless counts, they’re going to shelters, they’re seeing people on the street,” Scoco said. “A female veteran is not the person you see on the street holding a sign.”

Peace activist Frances Crowe poses for a portrait in December 2016.
File photo / The Daily Hampshire Gazette

A venerable peace and social justice group responsible for many anti-war protests in the Pioneer Valley is shutting down. The western Massachusetts chapter of the American Friends Service Committee said it will close its doors at the end of September after nearly 50 years of activism.

A jar next to the register in the Haymarket Cafe in Northampton, Massachusetts collects money for a "common account" for diners who can't afford to pay for their meals.
Katherine Davis-Young / NEPR

If you could pay a little extra for your meal to help feed a hungry person, would you? That’s what one restaurant in western Massachusetts is hoping diners will consider when they come in to eat.

But making changes to the restaurant business model is complicated. 

Mass. AG Investigates Incidents At Easthampton High

May 25, 2017
A person wearing a Confederate flag jacket, outside Easthampton High School on May 3, 2017.
Submitted Photo / NEPR

The school superintendent in Easthampton said disciplinary action has been taken against a student who allegedly bullied others through social media.

This comes as Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey investigates incidents at Easthampton High School.

Earlier this month, the School Committee voted to ban students from wearing the Confederate flag.

Later, a student posted on Instagram the words "Make Easthampton Great Again" with photo-shopped images of students and the principal holding guns in front of a Confederate flag.

Former Mass. state Rep. Ellen Story gives campaign advice to Susan Voss, a candidate for the Northampton school committee, as volunteer Didi Firman looks on.
Karen Brown / NEPR

The election of President Donald Trump is inspiring many people to explore a run for public office – especially those who oppose his policies. A new pop-up school in Western Massachusetts – one that teaches skills for social change – is trying to attract potential candidates.

A person wearing a Confederate flag jacket, outside Easthampton High School on May 3, 2017.
Submitted Photo / NEPR

Can a school prevent students from wearing the Confederate flag? The school committee in Easthampton, Massachusetts, did just that this week, raising questions about the rights of students and responsibilities of educators.

People playing the slot machines at the Plainridge Park Casino
Don Treeger / The Republican

Net revenue at the first casino to open in Massachusetts was essentially flat in the first quarter of 2017 compared to last year.

The total at the Plainridge slots parlor from January to March was roughly $38 million. The information was presented Wednesday at a meeting of the state gaming commission.

A person attaches a Confederate flag to a truck in this photo, which a parent said was snapped outside Easthampton High School on April 24, 2017.
Submitted Photo / MassLive

The Easthampton School Committee will decide Tuesday night whether to continue a temporary ban  that prohibits students from wearing clothing with a symbol of the confederate flag to school.

Biologist Patricia Brennan examines an orca whale penis in her lab at Mount Holyoke College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

The national March for Science on April 22 – and satellite events around New England – mark a departure for many scientists. Until recently, they did not consider political activism part of their job.

John Snyder of Amherst Pediatrics is working to keep his practice afloat during COVID-19 crisis.
File Photo / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

In an effort to promote science and oppose funding cuts, science supporters in New England are hosting rallies Saturday, April 22, in collaboration with a national science march in Washington DC. 

As a national advocate for childhood vaccines, pediatrician John Snyder is no stranger to science skeptics.

Snyder thought it made sense to organize a march in Amherst, Massachusetts, a college town nestled among research institutions. 

Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson in "A Quiet Passion."
Music Box Films

The film "A Quiet Passion" opens in theaters Friday. It's a period piece about the life of poet Emily Dickinson, who lived in Amherst, Massachusetts. Parts of the movie were filmed outside her former home in town. The film is directed by Terence Davies, and stars Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role on "Sex and the City."

The Lord Jeffery Inn is owned by Amherst College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

With the selection of the Mammoths as the new school mascot, Amherst College has mostly closed the book on the controversial "Lord Jeff." One exception: a hotel owned by the school.

It's been 14 months since Amherst College decided to get rid of the mascot and rename the Lord Jeffery Inn, which sits next to the town common.

Lord Jeffery Amherst was a British general who suggested biological warfare against Native Americans.

Farmer Caroline Pam's booth at the Greenfield Farmers Market, in 2014.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

A new state program starting this month will offer a financial incentive to Massachusetts residents on limited incomes to eat more locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.
Screen shot from mascot video / Amherst College

Amherst College said its new mascot will be the Mammoths. The selection replaces Lord Jeff -- which the school's board banished from campus 14 months ago.

The search for a new mascot followed protests on campus last school year. One demand from protesters was to get rid of Lord Jeff, named after Lord Jeffery Amherst, a British General who suggested using biological warfare against Native Americans.

A map showing the fiber optic in western Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Broadband Institute

The Baker Administration is rolling out a new grant program designed to speed up broadband expansion in rural parts of Massachusetts. $20 million will be available to towns looking to build their own networks.

Before, communities were forced to work with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute on the design phase, with MBI holding back state money for that purpose.

Many town officials, like Brian Hawthorne, who chairs the broadband committee in the Hampshire County community of Plainfield, complained the whole thing was taking too long.

File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette

At least two communities in western Massachusetts could lose federal funding from the Department of Justice. That's if the department follows through on its pledge to cut grant money from cities that do not comply with federal immigration requests to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.

Last week, both Amherst and Northampton landed on a federal list of so-called "sanctuary cities." 

In Gilbertville, Mass., Democratic supporter Neil Noble (right) and Bob Bousquet have a few words regarding their opposing political views about the recent election.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The first weeks of the Trump administration have been marked by controversy, including a court battle over the president’s first executive order on immigration, unsubstantiated accusations against a former president and numerous Trump tweetstorms.

But supporters of the president say he’s delivering exactly what he promised. That’s what we heard again and again in several towns in central Massachusetts that voted for Trump, including Ware, which was once a booming mill town known as “the town that can’t be licked.”

Andy Jaffe Octet

Mar 6, 2017

Illness notwithstanding, I ventured out into the bitter cold of Saturday night for the second half of the Easthampton Jazz Festival’s nighttime lineup with the Andy Jaffe Octet; it was well worth it and apparently restorative. Andy’s group featured eight of the nine members of the nonet that he leads on his 2016 Playscape recording, Arc. The woodwind player Tom Olin has passed on since its release, but the rest of the group is intact.

A note found near Emily Dickinson's tombstone.
Martha Ackmann

Emily Dickinson, the great American poet, was born December 10, 1830. Commentator and author Martha Ackmann lives a few miles up the road from Dickinson’s Amherst home, and often takes walks around town, planning her route to include a stop at Dickinson’s grave in West Cemetery -- behind the Mobil station. What draws her attention is the tombstone, and also what's been left on and around it.

As a writer Kelly Link is possessed of many magical powers, but to me what's most notable about her new collection, Get in Trouble, is its astonishing freedom. It's one thing to put demon lovers and ghost boyfriends and spaceships in your stories, but it's something else to allow yourself to explore broad and unusual territory without worrying whether the reader will follow you closely. Link's fiction may be strange, but so, it seems, are all of us, each with our own highly particular inner lives.

Pages