Podcast: Making a connection with coal-country Kentucky
May21

Podcast: Making a connection with coal-country Kentucky

Sharon Dunn and John Clayton are members of the Hands Across the Hills project, an initiative to connect the people of Leverett, where about 90 percent voted for Hillary Clinton, with those of Letcher County, Kentucky, where 80 percent voted for Trump. Clayton wrote an essay with Sharon’s help on the Kentuckians visiting Leverett. In April, folks from Leverett went down to Kentucky for a return visit, and Dunn wrote an essay...

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Free Will Astrology: Tell the world you’re made of gold, Virgo
May21

Free Will Astrology: Tell the world you’re made of gold, Virgo

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The Aries poet Anna Kamienska described the process of writing as akin to “the backbreaking work of hacking a footpath, as in a coal mine; in total darkness, beneath the earth.” Whether or not you’re a writer, I’m guessing that your life might have felt like that recently. Your progress has been slow and the mood has been dense and the light has been dim. That’s the tough news. The good news is that I...

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VIDEO: Blame Cadence on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
May16

VIDEO: Blame Cadence on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Blame Cadence is a one woman chorus of looped soulful a cappella pop. Check out a teaser video of Blame Cadence’s Valley Advocate Sessions performance, which will be released this...

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Podcast: An adult jump rope team! Jennifer Therkelsen talks about adult fitness and practicing in a bar
May14

Podcast: An adult jump rope team! Jennifer Therkelsen talks about adult fitness and practicing in a bar

Jennifer Therkelsen had never jump roped as a kid, but now is one of the core members of the Pioneer Valley Jump Rope team, an all-adult jump rope team that practices weekly at The Taproom in Hadley. In our weekly podcast collaboration with Amherst Media, Therkelson talks fitness, jump ropes, and what it’s like to practice in a bar. The team has made nationals and will be competing in June. Check out their fundraising page...

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Free Will Astrology: Work on that PBJ recipe, Taurus
May11

Free Will Astrology: Work on that PBJ recipe, Taurus

ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to my assessment of the astrological omens, your duty right now is to be a brave observer and fair-minded intermediary and honest storyteller. Your people need you to help them do the right thing. They require your influence in order to make good decisions. So if you encounter lazy communication, dispel it with your clear and concise speech. If you find that foggy thinking has started to infect...

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Amber Belle on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
May11

Amber Belle on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Amber Belle is a singer-songwriter with a honey toned voice who performs original folk and country music. (To watch Amber Belle’s performance click on the video below) Interview with Amber...

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VIDEO: Amber Belle on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
May09

VIDEO: Amber Belle on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Amber Belle is a singer-songwriter with honey toned vocals who performs folk and country songs. Check out a teaser video of her upcoming Advocate Sessions video to be released this Friday.

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Podcast: Sex workers Bella Vendetta and Brook Rain speak out against SESTA
May07

Podcast: Sex workers Bella Vendetta and Brook Rain speak out against SESTA

The federal anti sex trafficking law known as SESTA/FOSTA was passed nearly unanimously by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump earlier this spring, but local consensual sex workers says the law does little to stop sex trafficking while taking away protections for their already dangerous work. Bella Vendetta and her girlfriend Brook Rain are both sex workers in Western Mass and talk about what the law does and how it...

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Bizarro Briefs: ‘Mystery pooper’ exposed
May07

Bizarro Briefs: ‘Mystery pooper’ exposed

‘Mystery pooper’ exposed On a daily basis, a New Jersey man eluded police detection and managed to relieve himself (i.e. poop) on school grounds at a New Jersey high school. Police finally caught up with the “mystery pooper,” as they called him, after setting up a sting operation that every officer on the force was probably clambering not to be a part of. It turns out it was the school’s superintendent! He was charged with lewdness,...

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Free Will Astrology: Be inspired by melting cheese, Aquarius
May07

Free Will Astrology: Be inspired by melting cheese, Aquarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The Torah is a primary sacred text of the Jewish religion. It consists of exactly 304,805 letters. When specially trained scribes make handwritten copies for ritual purposes, they must not make a single error in their transcription. The work may take as long as 18 months. Your attention to detail in the coming weeks doesn’t have to be quite so painstaking, Aries, but I hope you’ll make a strenuous effort to...

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The Gaslight Tinkers on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
May04

The Gaslight Tinkers on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

The Gaslight Tinkers perform traditional Celtic fiddle music mixed with Afrobeat, funk, reggae, and Latin grooves. Check out the band’s Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with The Gaslight...

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VIDEO: The Gaslight Tinkers on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
May02

VIDEO: The Gaslight Tinkers on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

The Gaslight Tinkers perform traditional Celtic fiddle music mixed with Afrobeat, funk, reggae, and Latin grooves. Check out a teaser video of the band’s Advocate Sessions performance, which will be online this...

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Police report filed on vandalism of Parkland shooting art installation
Apr30

Police report filed on vandalism of Parkland shooting art installation

Following reporting that vandals defaced a piece of artwork meant to honor the victims of a recent school shooting late last week and that no police report had been filed, police have received a complaint and are investigating. Police originally said no investigation was taking place due to a lack of a police complaint, but Springfield police were contacted Friday night at 7 p.m. about the vandalism of the art installation, which was...

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Podcast: Cannabis business owner Seth Frappier talks about breaking down stoner myths
Apr30

Podcast: Cannabis business owner Seth Frappier talks about breaking down stoner myths

Seth Frappier started Easthampton-based Chronic Trips as a way to bring cannabis together with wellness and an active lifestyle. So far, the business has hosted hikes as well as a yoga session. Frappier talks about his hopes for opening a studio in Easthampton and the importance of reducing the stigma of the “lazy stoner.” He also talks about the changing laws related to cannabis and what social consumption does for...

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Free Will Astrology: Wreak creative destruction, Libra
Apr30

Free Will Astrology: Wreak creative destruction, Libra

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I hate rampant consumerism almost as much as I hate hatred, so I don’t offer the following advice lightly: Buy an experience that could help liberate you from the suffering you’ve had trouble outgrowing. Or buy a toy that can thaw the frozen joy that’s trapped within your out-of-date sadness. Or buy a connection that might inspire you to express a desire you need help in expressing. Or buy...

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Izzy Heltai on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Apr27

Izzy Heltai on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Izzy Heltai is an indie folk singer-songwriter with a penchant for storytelling. Check out his full Valley Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Izzy...

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VIDEO: Izzy Heltai on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday
Apr25

VIDEO: Izzy Heltai on Valley Advocate Sessions Friday

Check out a teaser for video for Izzy Heltai, a North Adams-based indie folk songwriter with a penchant for storytelling. A full performance will be released this Friday.

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Podcast: Monte Belmonte plays wine therapist to Advocate staffers
Apr23

Podcast: Monte Belmonte plays wine therapist to Advocate staffers

WRSI Morning Host Monte Belmonte was recently voted this year’s best radio personality in the Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll, and is probably best known for walking dozens of miles to raise money for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in his annual Monte’s March. He’s also one heck of a wine columnist. Join Meg Bantle and Gina Beavers as they probe Monte’s wine knowledge and he...

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Father of Parkland shooting victim recalls son through art in Springfield
Apr23

Father of Parkland shooting victim recalls son through art in Springfield

When the hammer first punched through the drywall people flinched. The crowd was silent as Manuel Oliver began to destroy parts of the art he had just created, mirroring the destruction of his son’s life in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Oliver, the father of shooting victim Joaquin “Guac” Oliver visited the South Congregational Church in Springfield Friday for the latest in a series called “Walls of Demand,” an art project...

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Free Will Astrology: Put down your quills Aries!
Apr20

Free Will Astrology: Put down your quills Aries!

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Imagine you’re one of four porcupines caught in frigid weather. To keep warm, you all have the urge to huddle together and pool your body heat. But whenever you try to get close, you prick each other with your quills. The only solution to that problem is to move away from each other, even though it means you can’t quell your chill as well. This scenario was used by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud as a parable...

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Anders Warringer on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Apr20

Anders Warringer on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Anders Warringer performs eclectic acoustic originals with a side of absurdity. Interview with Anders...

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Valley Advocate Readers’ Poll 2018 winners announced!
Apr19

Valley Advocate Readers’ Poll 2018 winners announced!

We are excited to announce the 2018 Valley Advocate Readers’ Poll winners! The categories and winners are available to view here. Thank you to all of our incredible local businesses, and of course to The Valley Advocate readers that vote! Congratulations!  ...

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Bizarro Briefs: No Singing Zone Ahead
Apr19

Bizarro Briefs: No Singing Zone Ahead

Dutch residents formed a chorus of opposition to a newly installed “singing road” earlier this month, prompting the road to be shut down after only one day of use. Workers had installed strips that act like rumble strips on 490 feet of road near the village of Jelsum, but instead of the familiar rumbling sound, the strips used vibration to play a popular portion of the regional anthem “De Alde Friezen,” or “The Old Frisians.” But like...

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Calendar: Thursday 4/19 – Sunday 4/22
Apr19

Calendar: Thursday 4/19 – Sunday 4/22

THURSDAY 4/19 MUSIC Bill Charlap Trio: 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., Northampton. Dirk Quinn Band w/ The Franz Robert Quartet: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. The Stone Church, 210 Main St., Brattleboro. Luke Baillargeon: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Free. Live Italian music with Luke Baillargeon in The Mick. The Mick, 3 Country Club Rd., Holyoke. 413-532-1800. info@logcabin-delaney.com. Open Mic Night at The Taproom...

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Best Local TV personality 2018 – Dave Madsen
Apr18

Best Local TV personality 2018 – Dave Madsen

Dave Madsen Best Local TV personality Address: WGGB, , Phone: Website: wggb.com Dave Madsen has been in television and radio for 48 years, 26 of which were at Western Mass News. Born and raised in Southampton, Madsen started at radio station WHMP, worked there for 10 years, and then got into TV in 1979. “I always wanted to work in media, whether it was radio or television,” he says. “I go into work on a given afternoon and anything...

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Best Tourist destination in the Berkshires 2018 – Tanglewood
Apr18

Best Tourist destination in the Berkshires 2018 – Tanglewood

Tanglewood Best Tourist destination in the Berkshires Address: 279 West St., Lenox, MA Phone: (413) 637-1600 Website: tanglewood.org Nestled in the beautiful Berkshire Hills, Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is marked by acres of well-groomed grounds and great music. The space is dotted with stages and music halls big and small, which draw audiences who huddle around picnic baskets on Tanglewood’s rolling...

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Best Tourist destination in southern Vermont 2018 – Downtown Brattleboro
Apr18

Best Tourist destination in southern Vermont 2018 – Downtown Brattleboro

Downtown Brattleboro Best Tourist destination in southern Vermont Address: , , Phone: Website: brattleboro.com With live music every Thursday night, weekly yoga classes, African drum and dance classes every Wednesday, and monthly Irish music sessions, it’s no wonder that Downtown Brattleboro is a favorite tourist destination of southern Vermont. There is tons of shopping to be done. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to...

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Best Local meteorologist 2018 – Dave Hayes the Weather Nut
Apr18

Best Local meteorologist 2018 – Dave Hayes the Weather Nut

Dave Hayes the Weather Nut Best Local meteorologist Address: , , Phone: Website: westernmassweather.com Dave Hayes is the Pioneer Valley’s own down-to-earth hyper-local weather nut, who has been combining his passion for weather with humor and a knack for explaining meteorological data. Hayes also ranked first place in Valley Advocate Best of the Valley 2017, 2016, and 2015. He said he loves being a part of the western Massachusetts...

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Best House painter 2018 – J. Greene Painting Service
Apr18

Best House painter 2018 – J. Greene Painting Service

J. Greene Painting Service Best House painter Address: 30 Water St., Leeds, MA Phone: (413) 584-1987 Website: jgreenepainting.com Jason Greene wound up in a career in sales originally, but found that he had a much better time painting as a part of his father’s business during summers and weekends home from college. A Leeds resident, Greene wanted to start his own business and contribute to the community he grew up in. “I started small...

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Best Handyperson 2018 – Handy Hubby, LLC
Apr18

Best Handyperson 2018 – Handy Hubby, LLC

Handy Hubby, LLC Best Handyperson Address: , , MA Phone: (413) 221-5814 Website: wmasshandyhubby.com Quality work and no surprises are what Paul Bradish says Handy Hubby is known for. Bradish has been in business for just over a year, but have customers clearly determined Handy Hubby takes care of business. “We do just about everything, from major renovations like additions to installing faucets,” he says. After 39 years, Bradish...

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Best Landscaper 2018 – Snow & Sons Landscaping
Apr18

Best Landscaper 2018 – Snow & Sons Landscaping

Snow & Sons Landscaping Best Landscaper Address: 221 Leyden Rd., Greenfield, MA Phone: (413) 774-2604 Website: snowandsons.com Entering its 39th year of being in business, Snow & Sons continues to try new products, plant varieties, and equipment to expand the options it presents to its customers. They take pride in their employees and customer service, and are constantly getting feedback from their customers about how...

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Best Chimney sweep 2018 – Superior Chimney Sweep
Apr18

Best Chimney sweep 2018 – Superior Chimney Sweep

Superior Chimney Sweep Best Chimney sweep Address: 151 Wayside Ave., West Springfield, MA Phone: (413) 529-9436 Website: superiorchimneysweep.com Sweeping chimneys may not be a glamorous line of work, but Robert LeBlanc at Superior Chimney Sweep, Inc. is proud of the job they do. What sets them apart is “our attention to detail,” says LeBlanc. “Our employees are knowledgeable and we have great customer service,” he says. LeBlanc grew...

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Best Tree service 2018 – Dostal Tree Service
Apr18

Best Tree service 2018 – Dostal Tree Service

Dostal Tree Service Best Tree service Address: 88 South Main St., Florence, MA Phone: (413) 478-3659 Website: dostaltreeservice.com Dan Dostal says, “I’m humbled. Shocked,” when asked how he felt about winning best tree service in the Valley. But winning over folks with caring customer service seems to be a recipe for success. “We pride ourselves on personal one-on-one touch,” he says. Dostal Tree Service has been in business since...

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Best Solar installation 2018 – PV Squared
Apr18

Best Solar installation 2018 – PV Squared

PV Squared Best Solar installation Address: 311 Wells St., Greenfield, MA Phone: (413) 772-8788 Website: pvsquared.coop PV Squared is all about solar — the business has specialized in renewable energy for homeowners and businesses across western Massachusetts since 2002, says Jon Child, design and sales team leader. The solar business has placed first for the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley last year as well and Child said he...

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Best Computer/electronic repair 2018 – Yes Computers
Apr18

Best Computer/electronic repair 2018 – Yes Computers

Yes Computers Best Computer/electronic repair Address: 196 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA Phone: (413) 585-0007 Website: yescomputers.com If you want a new computer but don’t want to go to a big box giant, Yes Computers gives you an alternative without scrimping on the merchandise and knowledge. They offer a line of Apple products that will satisfy your electronic needs. They have a wide array of accessories from dozens of...

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