Area news briefs: Mt. Tom universal access trail closure; South Hadley Dems to caucus; HCC extends scholarship deadline

The Mt. Tom universal access trail will be closed through June for repairs.

The Mt. Tom universal access trail will be closed through June for repairs. GAETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 02-29-2024 8:05 AM

Mt. Tom universal access trail closure

HOLYOKE — Effective immediately, and continuing through June, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will close the universal access trail at Mt. Tom State Reservation for reconstruction and improvement work.

In the meantime, users can find alternate DCR universal access trails at or use other nearby accessible trails at Mt. Tom North in Easthampton (Kestrel Land Trust), Arcadia in Easthampton (Mass Audubon), and Fort River Trail at the Conte Refuge in Hadley (Kestrel Land Trust). Trail users looking for more information should email

South Hadley Democrats to elect convention delegates

SOUTH HADLEY — Democrats in South Hadley will convene in-person on Saturday, March 9, to elect 10 delegates and four alternates to represent the town at the Massachusetts Democratic State Convention in Worcester on June 1.

The caucus will take place in the Community Room of the South Hadley Public Library, 2 Canal St., in South Hadley. Caucus sign-in opens at 12 p.m. and the caucus will start at 12:30 p.m. Registered and preregistered Democrats in South Hadley who are 16 years old by Feb. 15, 2024 may vote and be elected as delegates or alternates during the caucus.

The event is open to the public and the library is handicapped accessible. For additional information visit or email the Committee at

Program to discuss pastoral response to mental health issues

SPRINGFIELD — A symposium entitled “Mental Health Challenges in a Post-COVID World: A Pastoral Response” will be held on Saturday, from 8:30 a.m.-noon in the Mary Dooley College Center at the College of Our Lady of the Elms, 291 Springfield St., Chicopee.

Admission is free but free will offerings will be accepted. The program is being sponsored by the Diocese of Springfield and the Institute for Theology and Pastoral Studies at Elms College. Support also is being provided by the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Mary Parish in Hampden.

The speakers will be Erik Ranstrom, manager of spiritual care at Saint John Vianney Center and adjunct instructor in the department of religious studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut; and Ariel Laudermith, a clinical psychologist for the Central Western Massachusetts VA Healthcare System based in the Springfield/Northampton area.

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Laudermith, who previously worked at the Chicago Veterans Administration, will discuss why there might be an exacerbation of mental health symptoms and substance use in young adults in a post-pandemic world.

Ranstrom, who holds a doctoral degree in comparative theology from Boston College and a certificate in spiritual direction from Fairfield University, has experience as a psychiatric and trauma chaplain.

To register or learn more, contact Celeste Labbe at

HCC extends scholarship deadline

HOLYOKE — The deadline to apply for scholarships from the Holyoke Community College Foundation for the 2024-2025 academic year has been extended until midnight on Friday, March 8.

Each year, the HCC Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships worth more than $300,000 to incoming, current, and transferring HCC students. Many students receive multiple scholarship awards.

Students must be currently enrolled at HCC or have been accepted for the upcoming academic year to be eligible for scholarships, which are awarded through the HCC Foundation, HCC’s nonprofit fundraising corporation.

Applicants only need to fill out a single online form to be automatically matched with the scholarships they are most qualified to receive. There are scholarships for new students, current students and students transferring to other institutions, scholarships based on financial need, scholarships for students in specific majors, scholarships for residents of certain communities, and scholarships that recognize academic achievement.

To make the process of applying easier, HCC opened a Scholarship Resource Center in January on the first floor of the Donahue Building (Room 158). The center is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To view scholarship opportunities and begin the application process, please go to: Questions should be directed to Laura Freeman at 413-552-2613 or