In bid for seventh term, Mass. Secretary of State William Galvin clarifies his history of support for same-day and automatic voting
Jun22

In bid for seventh term, Mass. Secretary of State William Galvin clarifies his history of support for same-day and automatic voting

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, who is running for his seventh term in office after serving in the position for more than two decades, is facing a challenge from Boston City Councilor and Democratic opponent Josh Zakim, pushed back on the notion that he has been slow to embrace expansive voting policies such as same-day registration and automatic voter registration during a visit to Amherst on Thursday, June 21....

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Dark and Light: Duality at the Hosmer Gallery
Jun22

Dark and Light: Duality at the Hosmer Gallery

The Forbes Library is a handsome structure abutting the Smith College Campus at 20 West St. in Northampton. It’s stately and grand and at one time it was known as “the castle on the hill.” The grounds are perfectly manicured and the circular drive allows for easy entrance and exit. The second floor of the library is dedicated to arts and music, and the Hosmer Gallery sits between the second floor stacks and the Calvin Coolidge...

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Valley Show Girl: Rock Like It’s 1794
Jun22

Valley Show Girl: Rock Like It’s 1794

For my last column, I wrote about The Stone Church in Vermont, a church renovated into a performance venue. What are the chances I happen to find another one of those without knowing it until I show up? Well, I did. Enter the 1794 Meetinghouse in the center of the quaint historic district of New Salem. And on the night I went, it was the season opener for their summer concert series. I had heard about this venue before, but never had...

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Lucio Perez, himself separated from his family, to call for humanity at the border with Congressman McGovern
Jun22

Lucio Perez, himself separated from his family, to call for humanity at the border with Congressman McGovern

Congressman James McGovern, D-Worcester, and undocumented immigrant Lucio Perez, who is taking sanctuary at the First Congressional Church in Amherst, will make a joint call to end inhumane practices at the U.S.-Mexico border on Saturday. “President Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents is cruel, it is un-American, and it is evil,” McGovern said in a written statement. “There is no law requiring...

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Haymarket owner, who raised pay, ended tipping in 2015, praises minimum wage legislation
Jun21

Haymarket owner, who raised pay, ended tipping in 2015, praises minimum wage legislation

While the Legislature was debating raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour in a ‘grand bargain’ bill passed by the House and Senate on Wednesday, Haymarket Cafe owner Peter Simpson was increasing his lowest paid workers wages to $15.50. Simpson announced a few years ago that he would increase the minimum wages of his workers to a living wage. He said he applauded the Legislature’s decision to do the...

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‘Grand bargain’ $15 minimum wage bill passed by Legislature
Jun20

‘Grand bargain’ $15 minimum wage bill passed by Legislature

The Massachusetts House has unveiled and quickly passed a long-awaited “grand bargain” bill aimed at keeping citizen petitions off the ballot this year, including measures supporting a $15 minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, and sales tax adjustments. Later on Wednesday, the bill passed the Senate with no amendments, meaning it will go to Gov. Charlie Baker for a signature. Both houses passed the bill with veto-proof...

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Staycation 2018: Food, fun, hiking and a whole lot of summer fun in the Pioneer Valley
Jun20

Staycation 2018: Food, fun, hiking and a whole lot of summer fun in the Pioneer Valley

Welcome to summer, the season for much needed respite from the tiresome routines of daily life. Planning an elaborate vacation, however, can be just as stressful as a day on the job. So why not slow your roll and keep it local? Staycations are all the rage and there’s so much to do and see in Western Mass. We’ve pulled together a load of worthy places and events you’ll want to check out on your summer staycation. Biking Western Mass...

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Bizarro Briefs: Keep Your Eyes Off The Road
Jun20

Bizarro Briefs: Keep Your Eyes Off The Road

Keep your eyes off the road A county coroner in Kentucky has been accused of working with at least two others — a retired police colonel and a current state police trooper — of illegally transporting a number of items. The most serious appeared to be $40,000 worth of illegally obtained weapons and ammunition, but the most eye-popping was a literal pair of eyeballs. Prosecutors allege the coroner, who is running to be re-elected as...

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Massachusetts high court quashes democracy in decision on Fair Share Amendment
Jun19

Massachusetts high court quashes democracy in decision on Fair Share Amendment

The state’s Supreme Judicial Court did an extreme disservice to voters this week, taking away the potential to vote on the popular “Fair Share Amendment,” which would have created a 4 percent tax on the wealthy and used the money for education and transportation funding. Rather than let the voters decide, the court stripped the provision off the ballot on a technicality, basically stating that the wording might confuse voters because...

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Can Legal Marijuana Snuff Out the Black Market?
Jun19

Can Legal Marijuana Snuff Out the Black Market?

The long-awaited moment is nearly here: marijuana will be legal to sell in the state of Massachusetts as of July 1 — with a license. But a question that has arisen for many long-term users of marijuana is: what is going to happen to the unlicensed, illegal marijuana black market. Many believe it’s here to stay. No licenses have yet been granted by the state, and longtime users and dealers alike argue that higher quality and lower...

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Editorial: Zero tolerance for U.S. ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy
Jun19

Editorial: Zero tolerance for U.S. ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy

I’m angry these days. I try to hide it as best I can, but the piling up of atrocities committed by the Trump administration is taking its toll, and I doubt I’m the only one concealing a bubbling rage as I go about my day. But the recently-implemented “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in just shy of 2,000 children being taken from their parents from the border during a six-week period from April to May — and probably many more...

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Podcast: Beerhunter Hunter Styles and Beer Week co-founder Sally Noble talk beer
Jun18

Podcast: Beerhunter Hunter Styles and Beer Week co-founder Sally Noble talk beer

Advocate alumnus Hunter Styles, who still writes our Beerhunter column, and Sally Noble, co-founder of Western Mass Beer Week, tell us about the embarrassment of riches of beer we have in the Valley. Hear about Sally’s beer beginnings and the start of Western Mass Beer Week, of Hunter’s recent travels (and beer sampling) in Norway, and see whether the pair can convince Gina that beer is actually...

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The V-Spot: How Do I Move Past Old Heartbreak?
Jun18

The V-Spot: How Do I Move Past Old Heartbreak?

Hi Yana, I’m a dude in my mid-thirties struggling to recover from a sort of recent break-up (over a year ago). We were together for seven years. The last three of those years were spent in couples therapy and the last year of our relationship was spent trying to be non-monogamous (her idea). Long, painful story short: she ended up falling in love with the other person she was dating outside of our relationship during our...

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Free Will Astrology: Scorpio, Go play outside for a while!
Jun18

Free Will Astrology: Scorpio, Go play outside for a while!

ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you have cosmic permission to enjoy extra helpings of waffles, crepes, pancakes, and blintzes. Eating additional pastries and doughnuts is also encouraged. Why? Because it’s high time for you to acquire more ballast. You need more gravitas and greater stability. You can’t afford to be top-heavy; you must be hard to knock over. If you would...

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Cinemadope: A great time for film lovers to check out Forbes Library
Jun18

Cinemadope: A great time for film lovers to check out Forbes Library

Something I’ve come to love about Father’s Day weekend is my own dad’s profound disinterest in the world of the internet. He doesn’t give a fig for Facebook, has no email address, and if he were ever involved with something viral it would be cause for a trip to the doctor’s office. The man is so offline that he doesn’t even have a debit card. What he does have is a library card. And for as long as I can remember, he has made the...

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Basemental: Wendy Eisenberg just wants to be a good person and make very complicated music
Jun15

Basemental: Wendy Eisenberg just wants to be a good person and make very complicated music

Wendy Eisenberg has made a name for herself in the amalgamated DIY, jazz, and improvisation scenes in New England and beyond. Coming via Rochester and then Boston, Eisenberg now lives in Amherst. Eisenberg has a variety of tactics in her artist’s toolbox. Among them are songwriter, teacher, improvisor, session musician, and heady writer on musical theory. She has played with the likes of the alto-saxophonist-and-jack-of-all-trades...

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New mixed use building at North Square coming to Amherst Mill District next year
Jun15

New mixed use building at North Square coming to Amherst Mill District next year

By the summer of 2019, Amherst will have a new mixed-use development of 130 low to moderate income apartments and eight to 10 new spaces for businesses at North Square in the community’s Mill District. A groundbreaking ceremony for the development took place with local and state officials on June 14, including a rare visit from Gov. Charlie Baker, who said funding for the project was partially made possible by MassHousing Partnership...

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Northampton resident and lifelong activist Rose ‘Arky’ Markham dies at 102
Jun14

Northampton resident and lifelong activist Rose ‘Arky’ Markham dies at 102

Some sad community and activism news — longtime political activist Rose “Arky” Markham passed away earlier this week. Sad in that she passed away, but among the things she has left behind are the results of a life well-spent, as can be seen in her obituary. I got the chance to interview Markham and attend her 100th birthday celebration, a packed house full of change-makers, activists and political figures alike. I...

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Students ask the questions at Northampton High School event for state rep and senate candidates
Jun14

Students ask the questions at Northampton High School event for state rep and senate candidates

“I am consistently inspired by the youth activists in this community,” said Lindsay Sabadosa of Northampton in front of a room full of students, teachers, parents, and community members at the Northampton High School auditorium on June 13. Sabadosa, a candidate for the 1st Hampshire state Representative seat, was one of eight candidates to participate in a question-and-answer forum at the school where the questions were fielded by...

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Stagestruck: At Shakespeare & Company, the Show Must, and Did, Go On
Jun13

Stagestruck: At Shakespeare & Company, the Show Must, and Did, Go On

A theater story: For three years in the mid-’70s, Anthony Perkins starred in the long-running Broadway production of Equus, playing the psychiatrist Dr. Dysart (pause for Psycho jokes). Just before one matinee came an announcement: “Anthony Perkins will not be appearing in this performance.” Groans of disappointment! “His role will be played by Richard Burton.” Buzz of excitement! At the time, Burton, who had played the part in...

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North, South, East, West: More rail coming to Springfield
Jun13

North, South, East, West: More rail coming to Springfield

Tuesday afternoon at Union Station in Springfield, Gov. Charlie Baker announced increased rail connectivity in the city’s future. Going north and south, there will be a pilot program beginning in 2019 for passenger rail service that would run twice a day from Greenfield and make stops in Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield and connecting with Connecticut rail services to go to New York City and back in a single day. As for...

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Staff Picks: Pub Sing, Mutlu, and Deus Ex Machina
Jun13

Staff Picks: Pub Sing, Mutlu, and Deus Ex Machina

Pub sing at McNeill’s // Saturday, June 16 There isn’t enough singing in our pubs around here. But McNeill’s in Brattleboro is working to fix that. Led by Tony Barrand and Amanda Witman, the bar is open for sea shanties, work songs, pub songs, and all the rest. Open to all. NcNeill’s Brewery, 90 Elliot St., Brattleboro. 3-5 p.m. Free. — Dave Eisenstadter   Mutlu // Tuesday, June 19 Mutlu is a soulful, singer-songwriter from...

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Stagestruck: What’s on stage this summer — Berkshire edition
Jun13

Stagestruck: What’s on stage this summer — Berkshire edition

Time was, summer theater was pretty predictable. Two comedies, a drama and a whodunit was the standard lineup when I was in summer stock way back in the day. Even the major venues — of which the Williamstown and Berkshire Theater Festivals were the grande dames — attracted audiences with familiar work and famous names. Those days are gone, summer theater having become just as varied and adventurous as any cold-weather stage. While...

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O Cannabis: Support grows for bipartisan weed legislation leaving federal law up to states
Jun12

O Cannabis: Support grows for bipartisan weed legislation leaving federal law up to states

Local marijuana businesses — and federal legislators — are supporting bipartisan legislation that would leave marijuana regulation up to the states, a change from the blanket federal prohibition now in place. That’s a positive sign for Easthampton resident Karima Rizk, whose dream of opening a local cannabis cafe has been stifled both by state and federal laws. “I think it’s great news and it’s showing there is an increasing level of...

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Monte Belmonte Wines: Is the wine world ready for wine in a can?
Jun12

Monte Belmonte Wines: Is the wine world ready for wine in a can?

I am a proponent of Massachusetts becoming an open carry state. Not with guns. But with alcoholic beverages. Unless you happen to find yourself on the Buckland side of Shelburne Falls, where you are permitted to carry an open container of alcohol on the street, you might find yourself in trouble if you decide to imbibe outside — say, at one of our fine Massachusetts beaches. You could choose to obey posted laws about where alcohol is...

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Cinemadope: A filmmaker becomes part of an immigrant’s harrowing journey
Jun12

Cinemadope: A filmmaker becomes part of an immigrant’s harrowing journey

Open a newspaper, turn on your television, scroll through your Facebook feed: it won’t be long before you’re face to face with the ongoing discussion of the state of immigration in America. To be sure, the current resident of the White House — whose policies have broadened the debate into a referendum on more basic human rights — has made it an issue that can’t be ignored. But for all the heat generated by the ongoing arguments, it’s...

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Confronting Childhood Abuse as an Adult Writer
Jun11

Confronting Childhood Abuse as an Adult Writer

When Lisa Zarcone was 11 or 12 years old, she came home to find her home a hot 90 degrees and her mother smoking on the sofa. She turned down the thermostat and her mother attacked her with a meat tenderizer, violently hitting her more than 20 times. She had bruises on her back that lasted for more than a month. Now, Zarcone, a 52-year-old Springfield resident, is the Massachusetts national ambassador for the National Association of...

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Podcast: Jennifer Levesque on music in the Valley and 10 years of Advocate cover designs
Jun11

Podcast: Jennifer Levesque on music in the Valley and 10 years of Advocate cover designs

Jennifer Levesque brings the Valley’s music shows to life as the Advocate’s Valley Show Girl columnist. She’s also been designing the Advocate’s covers for more than 10 years. She tells us about her favorite Advocate issues and what’s going on in the Valley’s music scene, especially with new Valley Show Girl concerts starting this...

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Folk and blues legend Chris Smither on songwriting, Chuck Berry, and living in the Pioneer Valley
Jun11

Folk and blues legend Chris Smither on songwriting, Chuck Berry, and living in the Pioneer Valley

Over the course of his more than 40 year career folk and blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Chris Smither has released dozens of albums and hundreds of songs.  He was a part of the Cambridge folk music scene in the 1960s where he first got his start and is also a local celebrity now residing in Amherst. Smither will return to the 2018 Green River Festival in Greenfield this summer on Sunday, July 15 and also recently released his...

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V-Spot: My BF’s Been Sexting Other Women
Jun11

V-Spot: My BF’s Been Sexting Other Women

Hi Yana, I was recently informed by someone that my boyfriend has been sexually texting another girl for several months, as well as had an active profile on dating site Plenty of Fish. When confronted, it took a few days but he did admit the truth to me. I am devastated and hurt; we have a very loving relationship and have built a very wonderful life together. When he was explaining everything to me, he broke down and told me how he...

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Free Will Astrology: Time to visit The Land of Sweet Nonsense, Pisces
Jun11

Free Will Astrology: Time to visit The Land of Sweet Nonsense, Pisces

ARIES (March 21-April 19): My Aries acquaintance Tatiana decided to eliminate sugar from her diet. She drew up a plan to avoid it completely for 30 days, hoping to permanently break its hold over her. I was surprised to learn that she began the project by making a Dessert Altar in her bedroom, where she placed a chocolate cake and five kinds of candy. She testified that it compelled her willpower to work even harder and become even...

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Police: JFK gun incident suspect claims he was picking up a friend for target practice
Jun08

Police: JFK gun incident suspect claims he was picking up a friend for target practice

In a statement released on Facebook on Friday morning, Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper wrote that the suspect arrested at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Northampton after allegedly bringing two pellet guns onto the campus said he was there to pick up a friend and go target shooting. The man , Matthew Borsuk, 27, of Florence, was seen removing a long-barreled rifle from the trunk of his car, and police were called at 2:10 p.m....

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Warren, Gardner introduce bipartisan bill to let states regulate marijuana for themselves
Jun07

Warren, Gardner introduce bipartisan bill to let states regulate marijuana for themselves

In a show of bipartisan support for clarity around marijuana laws, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado held a joint press conference about a bill they are sponsoring to allow states to make their own decisions regarding marijuana legislation. Massachusetts and Colorado are two of a growing number of states to have legalized recreational use of marijuana, and Warren said that...

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Activists protest ICE office in Springfield in response to 1,500 lost in ICE custody
Jun06

Activists protest ICE office in Springfield in response to 1,500 lost in ICE custody

A group of more than 30 activists affiliated with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and Mass Jobs with Justice protested outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office at 1550 Main St. in Springfield on June 6 in response to children being separated from their parents through deportation. The group marched seven times around the building, an action known as a Jericho Walk, which is inspired by the Biblical tradition...

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Downsize Me: Tiny houses celebrated in Vermont while barriers remain in Massachusetts
Jun06

Downsize Me: Tiny houses celebrated in Vermont while barriers remain in Massachusetts

If you think that tiny house movement is just a passing fad for young people, think again. Lisa Kuneman, 53, of Brattleboro, said that tiny houses are definitely more than just a trend, and that many tiny house enthusiasts are retirement-aged. “Other options aren’t attainable or desirable. We want to maintain our chosen life right now. There are other options like retirement communities, but the entry point is $300,000,” Kuneman said....

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