TEENS vs. GUNS: Youth anti-gun sentiment spreading and changing minds
Feb27

TEENS vs. GUNS: Youth anti-gun sentiment spreading and changing minds

Born the same year of the Columbine High School Shooting in Colorado, 18-year-old Madison Pease of Southampton grew up hearing about school shootings. But it wasn’t until 17 people were killed in the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, that she began thinking something like that could actually happen to her. “In interviews with the kids, they said they didn’t think it was going to be them, that they felt like they were in the safest...

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Editorial: Guns spark a new student movement — and a fight for their lives
Feb27

Editorial: Guns spark a new student movement — and a fight for their lives

Fifty years ago, in 1968, student protests rocked the Vietnam War debate, and were eventually credited with turning public sentiment against the war. For young people, particularly young men, their very lives were at stake with the instituted military draft sending millions to Southeast Asia. In the end, more than 58,000 Americans lost their lives in the war. The number of deaths from gun violence makes that number look tiny....

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Bravo to Goldstein-Rose for Declaring Independence from Democrats
Feb21

Bravo to Goldstein-Rose for Declaring Independence from Democrats

On Tuesday, Amherst state Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose became the second independent in the Massachusetts Statehouse, changing his party affiliation from Democrat to unenrolled. Predictably, party elders and political pundits — the same ones that predicted a sweeping win for Hillary Clinton — panned the move, saying that Goldstein-Rose is consigning himself to the periphery in a Statehouse organized around party caucuses....

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Northampton Event Encourages Women Activists to Speak Up
Feb16

Northampton Event Encourages Women Activists to Speak Up

The day after Donald Trump’s election in 2016, corporate communications trainer Cathy McNally vowed to join activist communities to oppose the conservative forces that got him elected. Founder and CEO of the Women Speak Up organization, she realized that it was her work with teaching women to be better public speakers that could make a real difference. “Women are the leaders of so much movement work, but they need to be...

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Undocumented Hampshire Student to Walk 250 Miles for Immigrant Rights
Feb14

Undocumented Hampshire Student to Walk 250 Miles for Immigrant Rights

Representing the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, 11 undocumented individuals will walk from New York City to Washington, D.C., starting Thursday, Feb. 15. Among them will be Eduardo Samaniego, 25, of Amherst. Samaniego is in his third year at Hampshire College and has been active in fighting for immigrant rights, both at the state and federal levels. “It’s about 250 miles we’ll be...

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Literally Selling Your Soul to Pay for an Education
Feb13

Literally Selling Your Soul to Pay for an Education

T.X. Watson, a transgender student at Hampshire College, is planning to sell their soul as part of their senior graduation project in art. The reason: Watson will have about $45,000 in debt upon graduation, and parting with their soul seems to be the best way of paying it off. “I either sell my soul now or sell my soul in a slow metaphorical grind, taking jobs I don’t want so that I can make the payments,” Watson says. I meet Watson,...

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Gazette/Advocate Pay Equity Meeting Postponed to Next Week
Feb08

Gazette/Advocate Pay Equity Meeting Postponed to Next Week

A staff meeting on the topic of pay equity for women staff members has been postponed for a week, but staff members believe progress is being made. The meeting was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8, at 4 p.m., but Gazette and Advocate publisher Michael Rifanburg wrote staff members an email Wednesday evening that the meeting would have to be postponed due to schedule conflicts and would be rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15. Rifanburg...

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Rosenberg Out as Senate President for Rest of Term
Feb07

Rosenberg Out as Senate President for Rest of Term

The Massachusetts State Senate voted to make Worcester Democrat Harriette Chandler the permanent Senate President today, as the investigation into the husband of former state Senate President Stan Rosenberg of Amherst continues. “I am confident that Senate President Chandler will serve the Senate and the Commonwealth with distinction,” Rosenberg wrote in a statement. “I support what’s best for the Senate and the...

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Congressman McGovern speaks to students in Northampton
Feb05

Congressman McGovern speaks to students in Northampton

The auditorium at the Northampton High School was filled with students as Congressman Jim McGovern fielded questions in a town hall-style meeting on Friday afternoon. The students were engaged and their questions ran the gamut from what should be done about climate change to whether there should be a federal law mandating that minors be tried as juvenile offenders. McGovern’s overall message for the audience of high-school...

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Editorial: Disappointing coverage from Poynter and others on Gazette editor departure
Feb02

Editorial: Disappointing coverage from Poynter and others on Gazette editor departure

Sometimes the great teachers are role models to emulate, and sometimes they are the ones whose unfortunate actions you learn not to repeat. Poynter Institute, which touts itself as the world’s leading instructor for journalists, unfortunately fell into the latter category this week with regard to an important story for this news organization. Poynter writer James Warren was given a copy of an email from our former executive...

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Former Gazette editor claims he was fired advocating for women, but many women say differently
Feb01

Former Gazette editor claims he was fired advocating for women, but many women say differently

Editor’s note: I have been employed by Newspapers of New England since 2014 and was working for the Daily Hampshire Gazette and then the Valley Advocate at the time that most of the events reported in this story took place. There is some inherent awkwardness of writing about and interviewing my former boss, my current employer, and several former colleagues, but I did the best I could to be fair to all sides. -Dave E. At a few...

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The Advocate is Turning Bi … Weekly
Jan31

The Advocate is Turning Bi … Weekly

Hello Advocate readers, You may have noticed that something is different here at the Advocate and valleyadvocate.com. We’ve been around for more than 40 years, and the way that people get their news and information has changed. That means we’re making some changes at the Advocate, too. Starting this week, our print edition will come out biweekly and feature a calendar of events that spans two weeks rather than one. Meanwhile, there...

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Storming the Castle: Springfield progressive Amatul-Wadud challenges entrenched Congressman Neal
Jan30

Storming the Castle: Springfield progressive Amatul-Wadud challenges entrenched Congressman Neal

I … I … I believe … I believe … I believe that we will win! … I believe that we will win! … I believe that we will win! … I believe that we will win! So went the call-and-response led by Springfield attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud at a women’s march in Northampton attended by about 2,000 people on the anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration day. But despite her words, winning will not be easy...

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Editorial: Women’s Marches Gathering Steam for Blue Wave Elections
Jan23

Editorial: Women’s Marches Gathering Steam for Blue Wave Elections

It is beyond fitting that on the first anniversary of Donald Trump being inaugurated president not only does the government shut down, but huge numbers of people take to the streets to protest against his policies. Women’s marches took place across the country, including thousands of people gathering in Northampton. With my one-year-old son (who just barely made it to be born before Trump took office) strapped to me, I headed out to...

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Editorial: 2018 Should Be The Year Massachusetts Moves Toward Single Payer
Jan16

Editorial: 2018 Should Be The Year Massachusetts Moves Toward Single Payer

I recently got my first pay stub of the year. I was curious to see how the Republican tax plan would affect me, if at all, but it turns out that none of us will see the results until February. So stay tuned. One thing I did notice, however, is that (surprise!) my contribution to the health insurance plan is going up. Over the course of 2017, I paid $4,723.94 toward health insurance for my family, and this year it will top $4,800....

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Editorial: Taking Up Running to Slow Down
Jan02

Editorial: Taking Up Running to Slow Down

I’m in my mid-30s, and “getting fit” is something I think about more now. It took me a long time to come around on the idea of exercise for exercise sake — but it has become something that I actually enjoy (even if I don’t do it as often as I should). In middle school, if memory serves, I was literally the last person to finish our required “mile run” in gym class. I don’t remember my time, but I remember walking for most of the...

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Editorial: We’re Talking Horns upon Horns, Horns within Horns …
Dec26

Editorial: We’re Talking Horns upon Horns, Horns within Horns …

As we continue the Valley Advocate tradition of awarding halos to the good and horns to the bad in 2017, I reflect on the year’s ups and downs. It didn’t take long to realize that a lot of the “downs” had something in common – they originated with President (for now) Donald Trump. As the hands-down biggest horns-earner of 2017, Trump is getting his own special section for an extended airing of grievances. We don’t have the space to...

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Editorial: The Nuclear Option is Not an Option
Dec18

Editorial: The Nuclear Option is Not an Option

North Korea’s steps toward accelerating its nuclear program and testing its missiles has been truly horrifying. So has President Donald Trump’s response, with threats to release “fire and fury” upon North Korea. Nuclear devastation is one of the gravest threats we face as a species, as has long been pointed out by the likes of linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky. Albert Einstein, one of the incredibly irresponsible scientists who...

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Last Minute Gift Guide
Dec18

Last Minute Gift Guide

Well you’ve gone and done it again. Christmas is this weekend and your stockings hung by the chimney with care are going to empty unless you get moving. Fear not procrastinators! The Pioneer Valley is full of places to do your last minute shopping without breaking the bank. Read on for some gifts that you can run out and grab right now for $50 or less. Alcohol and Food If you’re shopping for a friend or a family member over 21 years...

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Editorial: There Goes the Internet
Dec11

Editorial: There Goes the Internet

Let me start by saying that I would avoid the internet if I could. It is creepy to think about huge corporations tracking each page I visit, and, potentially through my smartphone, actually physically tracking me wherever I go. Social media interactions are a far cry from person-to-person interactions. Even the information we get online is suspect and often biased. But the truth is that I can’t avoid it. Just as in the past our urban...

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Back Talk: Communicating with climate skeptics comes down to pancakes
Dec11

Back Talk: Communicating with climate skeptics comes down to pancakes

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find reader comments on Advocate articles and other news. We collect readers’ opinions from emails, letters, Facebook comments, and comments to valleyadvocate.com. Want to get in on this? Email editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. Communicating with climate skeptics comes down to pancakes Climate change skeptics...

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Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity
Dec04

Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity

During now-President Donald Trump’s hateful and divisive campaign, Northampton’s Human Rights Commission noted anecdotally how even in this Western Massachusetts community, there seemed to be an increase in racism, sexism, and anti-semitism, spurred on by Trump’s nationalistic and bullying rhetoric. Now, nearly one year into Trump’s hateful and divisive presidency, the commission is launching a campaign to bring people together and...

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Editorial: Gateway Regional has some explaining to do in exclusion of LGBT grad
Nov27

Editorial: Gateway Regional has some explaining to do in exclusion of LGBT grad

Each year, Gateway Regional High School in Huntington holds an event welcoming back alumni to share their experiences about college and post-graduate life. This year, however, the event was closed to one graduate: Marcelle LaBrecque, who spent 12 years in the Gateway Regional district, earned a degree in 2014, and is now living in New York City pursuing a career in musical theater. LaBrecque, who prefers being referred to as “they”...

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Editorial: Oh, you’re a spouse abuser? No guns for you.
Nov20

Editorial: Oh, you’re a spouse abuser? No guns for you.

Gun control. It’s a topic that rarely gets any traction at the federal level, even after the most devastating and horrific mass shootings. After the Sandy Hook shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 20 children: nothing. After Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest shooting in American history when it happened in on June 12, 2016 (49 killed, two of whom had ties to the Pioneer Valley): nothing. Last month, less than a year and a...

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Courtesy, Melted Ice Cream, and Conspiracy Theories: Out on the Street in a Power Outage
Nov15

Courtesy, Melted Ice Cream, and Conspiracy Theories: Out on the Street in a Power Outage

In front of Northampton Market, employee Rilshad Azez shoos away potential customers as they pull into the lot. “No power,” he says. The mailman he welcomes, but he asks a question: “You didn’t bring the power?” “Sorry, not today,” is the answer. As Azez enjoys a cigarette, he watches cars at the intersection in front of the store go by. The traffic light is out, but the cars are moving...

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The Best Opportunity Yet to Resist Trump
Nov13

The Best Opportunity Yet to Resist Trump

Last week featured two news stories that rocked the political landscape in this country. The first was that Democrats and progressive candidates all but swept the Nov. 7 elections from coast to coast, and the second was that Republican Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of pedophilia. That combination makes the special election for the Alabama Senate, which will take place only weeks from now on Dec. 12, a real shot...

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STAFF PICKS: Jazz, Folk, Funk, and Tattoos for a Cause
Nov13

STAFF PICKS: Jazz, Folk, Funk, and Tattoos for a Cause

Home Brewed Jazz // SATURDAY Hadley singer-songwriter Jacki Odess-Gillett already has a jazz album under her belt. In 2015, she recorded 10 original jazz tunes with local jazz masters, including Charles Neville, Miro Sprague, Dave Wertman (now deceased), and Billy Arnold. Now she’s recording her second with the same crew, and Dave Picci on bass. To celebrate the project, they are putting on a concert at Hawks and Reed at 2 p.m....

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Being a Man in the Era of #Metoo
Nov06

Being a Man in the Era of #Metoo

Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched the #metoo tweets and posts make their way through my social media feeds, and I’ve read the articles and stories, mostly from women, about how they have been subjected to sexual abuse and harassment. They bring about mixed emotions in me: sadness that so many close friends and family members have been touched by abuse; anger at the depths to which sexual harassment is embedded in our society;...

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Literally, what would Jesus do? A chat with Jesus Christ Superstar’s Ted Neeley
Nov06

Literally, what would Jesus do? A chat with Jesus Christ Superstar’s Ted Neeley

Ted Neeley is not the second coming of Jesus Christ. But he does play one in the extremely popular show and accompanying 1973 movie Jesus Christ Superstar. The show went from being protested in the streets to one of the biggest Broadway sensations, touring around the world. Neeley still plays the part decades later, and participates in talkbacks at screenings of the film, but an upcoming event at Hawks and Reed in Greenfield this...

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Back Talk: A. Dolfhit Ler Weighs In
Nov06

Back Talk: A. Dolfhit Ler Weighs In

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find reader comments on Advocate articles and other news. We collect readers’ opinions from emails, letters, Facebook comments, and comments to valleyadvocate.com. Want to get in on this? Email editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. A Few (Satirical) Words from A. Dolfhit Ler The alt-right gets a bad rap from the...

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Free Will Astrology: Pimples Are Your Friends, Taurus
Nov06

Free Will Astrology: Pimples Are Your Friends, Taurus

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Adriana Martinez and Octavio Guillen got engaged to be married when they were both 15 years old. But they kept delaying a more complete unification for 67 years. At last, when they were 82, they celebrated their wedding and pledged their vows to each other. Are there comparable situations in your life, Aries? The coming months will be a favorable time to make deeper commitments. At least some of your reasons...

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Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too
Oct30

Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too

November has rolled around again, and no it’s not a presidential election year. But there are important elections both here and in other parts of the country this week you should be paying attention to. Since Donald Trump was elected president just about a year ago (ugh), he has tried to ban Muslims from coming into the country, fired his own FBI director because of a growing investigation into his campaign’s Russian connection,...

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Review: Terrible Yarn, but Moving Art, “The Scarf” Displays a Noble Struggle
Oct30

Review: Terrible Yarn, but Moving Art, “The Scarf” Displays a Noble Struggle

As I wait for Brattleboro artist Joan O’Beirne to arrive at her exhibit “The Scarf,” showing now through Feb. 11 at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, curator Mara Williams brings a museum guest into the showroom. She gestures to the (at least) 12-foot orange weave of cables winding its way down from an elevated chair to the floor on one side of the room. Williams explains, “she knitted it entirely out of extension cords.”...

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STAFF PICKS: Haunted Evenings, Electronic/Art Rock, and Ukulele’s
Oct23

STAFF PICKS: Haunted Evenings, Electronic/Art Rock, and Ukulele’s

A Haunted Evening at Gateway City Arts // SATURDAY The weekend before Halloween is usually when all the fun happens. The Valley is full of events going on, and this just happens to be one of them. ​There will be many treats in store. Halloween-inspired cocktails and drinks, yummy food available from The Bistro at Gateway City Arts, and of course live music by jazzy indie rock duo, The Greys. They will be performing a cauldron full of...

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Amherst Church Offers Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrant
Oct19

Amherst Church Offers Physical Sanctuary to Undocumented Immigrant

In an extraordinary step, the First Congregational Church in Amherst is providing physical sanctuary to undocumented immigrant Lucio Perez. Perez, a Springfield resident who has been in the country for 20 years, told a group of about 100 clergy members, activists, reporters, and other interested residents on Thursday, Oct. 19, that he is grateful to the church. Perez was scheduled to be deported this month and on Oct. 18 was denied...

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