Backtalk: No to GMOs, Right to Roam, and Hot Takes on Pearl Street Nightclub

Avoid GMOs; go organic

Farmers have increased their pesticide use on GMO crops three-fold compared to standard conventional use; that’s enough reason to avoid GMOs (“Vermont’s Short-Lived GMO Experiment” Aug. 11-17, 2016).

Most GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are “Roundup Ready” meaning the plant is resistant to the pesticide containing glyphosate, its main ingredient. The World Health Organization, and California, have labeled glyphosate as a probable carcinogen and say the pesticide damages DNA.

Independent testing has shown rats fed GMOs beyond three months develop large tumors. But industry testing, which our government relies on to “prove” safety, ends at three months. The industry has sought to discredit independent test results by disputing the science, getting articles retracted, and generally confusing the public.

Over half of children (who become young adults) have gastrointestinal disorders — a new phenomenon coinciding with the increase in pesticide use. Doctors are beginning to find that eating only organic food greatly benefits health, as organic food has no GMOs and no synthetic pesticides. Low income? Many food co-ops offer Food For All, a 10 percent discount on groceries. For more info: or

Gloria Kegeles

Fenced off

Thank you for the brilliantly forward-thinking article on a significant philosophical and practical matter about the right to roam (Down to Earth: This Land Is My Land — Americans have no right to roam” by Naila Moreira, July 21-27, 2016). The right to roam here in the Valley is fast disappearing and progressive thinking here seems to stop where private property ownership begins.

One exception is where I live: Echo Hill South is a cluster development with nice tracts of intentionally shared land that is maintained and open to roamers.

Amherst would do well to restore some of the downtown footpaths between buildings that were part of the joy of living here until they were fenced off. Examples of this are the path between the Jones Library and N. Pleasant Street and the path between the parking lot behind Town Hall and Spring Street. One of my favorite places in town that is still open is the alleyway between Antonio’s and the Boltwood parking area; I hope this will never be closed off.

In addition to re-opening footpaths in downtown Amherst, I’d love to see us adopt laws Moreira mentioned like those in Scotland and Vermont, such as not obstructing footpaths that have existed for 20 years or longer and excusing landowners who permit public recreational access to their property from legal liability for the health and safety of those who use it.

Kitty Axelson-Berry
via Facebook

Comments came pouring in when we posted “Nightmare on Pearl Street: 100-Plus Temperatures, Pricey Water Draws Hundreds of Complaints,” an article about a hotter than hell Baroness concert at Pearl Street in Northampton earlier this month, in which the venue’s A/C broke. Here’s some posts:

Jason Jackman: All the IHEG venues have the potential to be amazing spots to enjoy a show. Unfortunately the venues are falling apart, dirty, food is horrible and overpriced, drinks are overpriced even by music venue standards.

Greg Tarr: Same thing happened with an “isolated AC incident” when I went to the Beach House show last year. Even the band was complaining about the horrible conditions.

Elizabeth Dashnaw O’Brien: There was an “isolated incident” about eleven years ago when Donna the Buffalo played.

Crystal Lynn: Even if the AC was working, it would have been super hot in there because of the body heat. No free water? There was free water, but being free means being entitled to it being iced too? Is this really the problem or are metal fans just becoming weaker?

Michelle Trottier: Expecting access to water when a venue isn’t even properly air-conditioned in the middle of summer is not unreasonable; it’s basic human decency. They didn’t even meet the bare minimum, and everyone in the venue is a paying customer. Just because you buy alcohol doesn’t make you more deserving of kindness.

Catherine Beckman: There seems to be a monopoly on music in Northampton. A little competition might help improve the IHEG venues.

Sarah Gibbons: Yes. This. But who and how? Do we petition the city to have the Academy of Music Theatre host more national touring acts?

The August, 2016, article “Amherst, We Need to Talk” incorrectly stated the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination’s actions with the town and teacher Carolyn Gardner. The commission never delivered a determination on the complaint Gardner filed against the school district. Gardner and Amherst settled the dispute before MCAD investigated the claim.


Advocate Staff

Author: Advocate Staff

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