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A groundbreaking anniversary: Northampton couple reflects on lead role in legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts 20 years ago
05-16-2024 4:54 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — Friday, May 17, marks 20 years since Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith were married, although the couple is quick to clarify that their real anniversary dates back to more than a decade before that.The two women met at a conference for LGBTQ...

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Northampton superintendent outlines school layoffs on eve of budget hearings this week
05-27-2024 4:01 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — The city’s schools are poised to layoff 17 full-time teachers next school year, the most significant of expected cuts should the City Council approve Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra’s proposed fiscal 2025 budget next month.On the eve of the...


GOP silences McGovern over Trump remarks
05-23-2024 5:28 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

For the first time in his 27-year career in Congress, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern had his remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives struck from the record on Wednesday, after he criticized former U.S. President Donald Trump for his numerous...


Run for, by its employees: Paragus IT completes 8-year transition to being 100% employee-owned
05-22-2024 12:43 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

HADLEY — When the employees of Paragus Strategic IT’s Hadley office stroll into the office on a given morning, they know that they have a good reason to stay there. After implementing the first stages of a plan in 2016 to transfer ownership of the...


Summer on Strong kicks off Wednesday in Northampton
05-19-2024 1:01 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — Strong Avenue in downtown will once again be pedestrian traffic-only beginning on Wednesday, marking the return of the “Summer on Strong” season in the city. The closing of the street to vehicle traffic is meant to encourage outdoor...


Mayor’s budget boosts schools 8.5%: Advocates protest coming job cuts as spending falls short of demands
05-17-2024 5:29 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — Weeks of debate over the Northampton school budget neared a conclusion Thursday night after Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra unveiled a nearly $137 million fiscal 2025 budget to the City Council that calls for an 8.5% increase in the city’s...


Iron Horse gets its liquor license just in time for Wednesday opening
05-15-2024 5:51 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — Ticket holders for the Iron Horse Music Hall’s grand opening Wednesday night will be able to order a drink from the venue’s newly-designed bar after the nonprofit worked through state bureaucracy to obtain a liquor license just hours...


Opening night at Iron Horse: All systems go, but patrons will need to bring own alcohol while license snafu is sorted out
05-14-2024 4:56 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — The Iron Horse Music Hall begins its long-anticipated opening of concerts and shows on Wednesday, although its owners are still anxiously awaiting approval from the state on when it may serve alcoholic beverages at its venue.Despite...


Modern homesteading at NHS: Inaugural class seeks to teach students how to live self-sufficiently
05-13-2024 3:09 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — On a scenic, warm May day, Bob Melnik leads a contingent of Northampton High School students outside the school and down a flight of stairs toward a small charcoal smoker grill to check on its contents. Inside the smoker are nearly a...


Northampton school budget: Tensions high awaiting mayor’s move
05-10-2024 9:05 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — As the deadline for Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra to a submit a budget proposal for the city draws near, an entrenched battle over the city’s public school budget is coming to a head.The Northampton School Committee defied the mayor’s...


Comerford: Free community college plan will lift up students, offer immediate return on investment
05-07-2024 6:27 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

A plan unveiled by Senate Democrats on Monday to make community college free for all in Massachusetts starting this fall has the potential to have a big impact for prospective students across the state, including here in the Pioneer Valley.The...


Public gets a look at progress on Northampton Resilience Hub
05-07-2024 9:30 AM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — The public got an up-close look at the future Community Resilience Hub last week when officials opened the downtown building currently under renovation for public viewing. A rendering of what the exterior of the former First Baptist...


Northampton bans auto dealerships near downtown; zone change won’t affect Volvo operation on King Street
05-06-2024 4:38 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — Auto dealerships close to downtown are now banned after the City Council’s recent decision to adopt new zoning that councilor’s say better aligns with the city’s ideals of sustainability.Though the zone change approved at the council’s...


Holyoke Police Chief Pratt retiring: ‘It’s time to go’
05-03-2024 5:49 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

HOLYOKE — After more than 30 years of serving on the force, Holyoke Police Chief David Pratt has announced he will be retiring from his post, effective the end of July.Pratt, who has served as chief since 2021, announced his resignation at a press...


Settling in on the streets: Six months on, Division of Community Care finding niche in Northampton
05-03-2024 5:44 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — In September, the city launched an experiment to try to create an alternative to police responses to address issues of mental health, homelessness and social inequities in the city.The Division of Community Care, which opened its doors...


ValleyBike to roll again by end of May in eight communities throughout Valley
05-02-2024 3:18 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — After nearly a year of inactivity, the ValleyBike Share program is poised to roll again throughout the Pioneer Valley.After Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra teased an announcement regarding ValleyBike on Monday, the city announced Thursday it...


Music key to Northampton’s downtown revival: State’s top economic development leader tours city
04-30-2024 3:26 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — When she was a student at Williams College, Yvonne Hao recalls traveling to Northampton with friends to eat at local restaurants, shop at thrift stores and attend concerts held by the local music scene, although she isn’t quite sure of...


Homeless camp in Northampton ordered to disperse
04-26-2024 5:18 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — People living at a homeless encampment behind the closed Speedway gas station on King Street were told by police that they have until Monday to leave the area and find elsewhere to go.The encampment, situated between the gas station and...


La Veracruzana, PHO-keh Bowl launch returnable container program
04-26-2024 3:02 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — Amid the annual commemorations of Earth Day, Pioneer Valley eatery La Veracruzana is launching a new kind of takeout container meant to be given back after it’s used. The restaurant, which is known for its Mexican cuisine and has three...


Northampton City Briefing: Council adjust start time for its meetings; Farmer’s Market to begin 49th year on Saturday; CDH blood drive coming up
04-24-2024 2:04 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

The Northampton City Council is changing its meeting time from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m, effective for its next meeting on May 2 and for all council meetings going forward.The council recently approved the change, with councilors agreeing that starting...


Donating hope: Survivors share stories at Northampton event as part of Organ Donation Month
04-23-2024 3:31 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — The day before Thanksgiving in 2016, Northampton resident Bob Wood got a life-changing call — literally. A 42-year-old woman in Pennsylvania had recently died, and her liver would be a perfect fit for Wood, now 68 years old, who...

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