Puerto Rican Evacuees Receive Trauma Relief Through Acupuncture in Springfield
Feb22

Puerto Rican Evacuees Receive Trauma Relief Through Acupuncture in Springfield

The Springfield Family Resource Center of Gandara  is located in a modest building at 18 Gaucher Street in Springfield’s Pine Point neighborhood, and upon arrival it’s clear that this social service agency is a community lifeline. Inside, the narrow reception area teems with clients seeking services, and the staff are friendly and efficient. There is order in the chaos, however; case managers busily take information in a room directly...

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Faced With PVTA Cuts, Small Town Western Mass Residents Have Few Ways to Get Around
Feb22

Faced With PVTA Cuts, Small Town Western Mass Residents Have Few Ways to Get Around

Dee Marshall, 73, of Ware, sits in the front seat of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) shuttle bus wrapped in her pink coat. She had a doctor’s appointment in Longmeadow today, as she does every Friday. She left her house early this morning to catch the bus and then switch to another bus. After her appointment, she waited for a bus to take her on the return trip. She is just now nearing home. It is 4 p.m. and this...

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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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Bizzaro Briefs: Cash, Credit, or Wood
Feb21

Bizzaro Briefs: Cash, Credit, or Wood

“I can’t wait until the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo-Bell ….” Viewers likely experienced an unexpected craving for Chinese food when a Chicago’s ABC affiliate mixed up Olympics host city PyeongChang with the popular restaurant P.F.Chang. The news station apologized Monday after a logo appeared behind weekend anchor Mark Rivera on Saturday that advertised the South Korean host city of the Winter Games as P.F. Chang’s. The “P.F. Chang...

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O: Cannabis: ‘Little pieces of art’ — the magic of making professional edibles
Feb20

O: Cannabis: ‘Little pieces of art’ — the magic of making professional edibles

Algebra and edibles do not usually mix, but for Mark Wikar one is absolutely essential for creating the other. Even though his background is as a pastry chef, Wikar now uses a lot of math to create perfectly dosed edibles at INSA, a medical cannabis dispensary that opened in Easthampton this month. “My mom was a math teacher but I didn’t really pay attention,” Wikar joked. Wikar is the head of edible manufacturing at INSA where he...

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The Art of Laughter: A Conversation with Comedian Kim Deshields
Feb20

The Art of Laughter: A Conversation with Comedian Kim Deshields

Comedian Kim “Boney” DeShields is funny, except when she’s talking about making people laugh. “It’s an art,” she says matter of factly. “You have to be smart to make people laugh. You have to be well read and knowledgeable about a lot of things. But most of all, you just have to have the ability to make even the worst things funny.” Deshields has certainly had opportunities to mine sorrow for comedy gold. After her 2007 success...

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Coming Soon: ‘Fields of Flowers’ at the Smith College Bulb Show
Feb19

Coming Soon: ‘Fields of Flowers’ at the Smith College Bulb Show

For those people who just can’t wait for Spring to come, there will be a sneak peek from March 3 to 18 at the Botanical Garden of Smith College, 16 College Lane, Northampton. Fields of Flowers: The Annual Spring Bulb Show will be open to all. Right now, the greenhouses are full of leafy plants, but in just a couple weeks’ time, there will be an explosion of color and fragrant scents. Tim Johnson, the Botanical Garden...

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Workers plan Greenfield rally to defend public sector union rights
Feb19

Workers plan Greenfield rally to defend public sector union rights

Unionized workers in the Pioneer Valley are rallying together to support workers rights on Monday, Feb. 26, at Greenfield Community College at 3:30 p.m. as part of a national Workers’ Day of Action in which thousands of workers across the country are expected to speak out in defense of union rights. The event is co-sponsored by the Labor Task Force of the Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) and coincides with...

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Video Podcast: Keep Your Cruiser Clean; Lainey and Michelle are Coming to Your Town
Feb19

Video Podcast: Keep Your Cruiser Clean; Lainey and Michelle are Coming to Your Town

Lainey Wood and Michelle Pontbriant have a mission — they want to visit, photograph, and fully experience all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Since 2014, they have embarked on Lainey and Michelle’s Photo Safari, and have about 120 under their belt, mostly from Western Mass. The pair tells us their favorite and least favorite (Hint: it’s in Franklin County) of what they’ve seen so far, who has the nicest (and...

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The V-Spot: Friends with Bad Benefits
Feb19

The V-Spot: Friends with Bad Benefits

Hi Yana, I have a conundrum! I recently started going on dates with a friend of a friend, and it wasn’t until our third date last week that I realized that, as much as I like them, I don’t think I’m sexually attracted to them. We’ve known each other for about a year and a half and have hung out in groups a lot. We have developed a very caring, intimate friendship and I feel something more than platonic towards them. But every time we...

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Video Podcast – A Cannabis Chat with Meg Bantle
Feb12

Video Podcast – A Cannabis Chat with Meg Bantle

There never fails to be a whole lot of news about everyone’s favorite sort-of legal recreational/medicinal substance: cannabis. This week on our new Valley Advocate Podcast, produced in collaboration with Amherst Media, we speak with columnist Meg Bantle about cannabis in the news. Meg tells us about the novel way the state of Vermont joined the recreational bandwagon, the confusing legal status in Massachusetts, how to use...

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Beerhunter: Veteran-owned Arcpoint Brewing Company takes root in Belchertown
Feb12

Beerhunter: Veteran-owned Arcpoint Brewing Company takes root in Belchertown

Chris Peterson tweaks his craft beer recipes the same way he works on multimillion-dollar military aircraft: very, very carefully. Peterson is a tech sergeant in the 439th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. As a technician and avionics expert, it’s his job to ensure that a plane’s communication, navigation, and guidance control systems are running smoothly. Peterson and his fellow Air Reserve...

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The V-Spot: Oceans Apart
Feb05

The V-Spot: Oceans Apart

Hi Yana, We met when we were 15 years old on the other side of the world. We were instantly attracted to each other and even made out on the first night. Saw each other over the years randomly on vacations, weddings etc. Tried to stay in touch and hang on to something we weren’t even sure was real. We’ve always had oceans between us and no way to cross it permanently. We lost touch seven years ago. Met each other again two...

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Cinemadope: KidsBestFest a February Tradition
Feb05

Cinemadope: KidsBestFest a February Tradition

We parents of the Pioneer Valley have a pretty sweet deal. You might not realize it if you don’t have kids in your life, but once you’re clued into it you begin to discover that there is a near-endless list of things to do with your little ones. Hayrides, science workshops, and puppet theater are just the start of an ever-expanding slate. Heck, we literally have an entire museum in Amherst devoted to the wonders of picture-book art...

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Vote Here for Best Of The Valley
Jan04

Vote Here for Best Of The Valley

Best Of The Valley Readers’ Poll 2018 ballot voting is now live!! Click here to vote!

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Review: Decades of Philip B. Price of Winterpills
Jan02

Review: Decades of Philip B. Price of Winterpills

This past year Winterpills member and Northampton-based singer-songwriter Phillip B. Price remastered a dozen of his past solo albums recorded from 1988 to 2004, which had never seen the light of day. With a back catalogue of more than a hundred songs to choose from, Price released his own hand picked greatest hits collection called, Without Your Love I’d Be Nowhere At All: 1988- 2004. This is a 39-song double record that’s staggering...

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The Top 9 Ways to Get Fit in Western Mass this Winter
Jan02

The Top 9 Ways to Get Fit in Western Mass this Winter

The warmer fall was nice and December was capped off by a white Christmas. But now that we’re in the heart of winter, it might be a bit harder to get outside for your usual walks or bike rides. And meanwhile, one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get fit. So how to go about it? Here are a few ideas from your friends at the Advocate. 1) Join a Gym The Valley has plenty of places to train to get and stay fit. The 2017...

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Halos & Horns: A look back at the good, the bad, and the dead of 2017
Dec26

Halos & Horns: A look back at the good, the bad, and the dead of 2017

It’s Halos and Horns with a side of hashtags this year. While President Donald Trump was busy tweeting from the White House throughout 2017 (we gave him his own whole article), the rest of the world had their own Twitter responses, many of which inspired the Advocate’s yearly doling out of halos to the good and horns to the bad. So we took that # symbol and made glowing, yellow-ringed hashtag halos and stretched red hashtag horns....

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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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Stagestruck: Gender Parity Still Elusive in Theater
Dec26

Stagestruck: Gender Parity Still Elusive in Theater

In this time of long-overdue comeuppance for sexual harassment and assault, I approached my annual reckoning of gender equity in theater with fresh eyes. Nationwide, women continue to be devalued and underrepresented in almost all areas of theatrical creation, on and off stage. Surveys have found, for instance, that over three-quarters of professionally produced plays are written by men and focus primarily on male characters — despite...

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A Cannabis Cafe Could be Coming to Easthampton with New State Regulations
Dec26

A Cannabis Cafe Could be Coming to Easthampton with New State Regulations

Last week I sat down with Karima Rizk for a cup of coffee in her kitchen in Easthampton to discuss her new business, Cafe Vert. The coffee was like many other homebrewed cups of coffee: it was rich, balanced, and welcoming on the brisk December morning. But unlike most cups of coffee, the coffee beans that Rizk used were roasted with CBD (a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis). “What is new, and what we have a gold opportunity to...

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The Valley Advocate’s Apocalypse Survival Guide
Dec18

The Valley Advocate’s Apocalypse Survival Guide

Let’s face it: We live in uncertain times. Seas are rising. The climate is changing. Nuclear-armed countries are escalating their rhetoric, with our own president making threats of nuclear strikes. Increased dependence on automation is making us ever more vulnerable to a robot uprising. Scientists tinkering with “superbugs” and years of antibacterial soap use could lead to a disease outbreak. And on top of all that is the ever-present...

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‘There’s Only Two Kinds of Music: Good Music and Bad’
Dec18

‘There’s Only Two Kinds of Music: Good Music and Bad’

Joe Louis Walker has a voice out of classic soul and blues guitar chops that were inspired by some of the greats — B.B. King, Muddy Waters, the list goes on. Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee, grew up in San Francisco playing blues before entering into the psychedelic rock scene of the 1960s, rooming with blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and hanging out with the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix. He...

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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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Basemental: All I Want For Christmas is Lowered Expectations
Dec18

Basemental: All I Want For Christmas is Lowered Expectations

I am the Grinch. People who know me know this — my mom better than anyone. I scoff at Christmas songs and “holiday cheer,” wanting nothing to do with a holiday that is closely aligned with capitalism, patriarchy, and bad parties. But nothing warms my Grinch heart like a sarcastic and funny Christmas song. Specifically, the 2013 track “All I Want for Christmas is Lowered Expectations” by local awk-pop-slops-rock band Bunny’s A...

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Bearing the Burden of Controlling Birth
Dec11

Bearing the Burden of Controlling Birth

Emily Cooper, 23, is a graduate student at UMass Amherst who has taken oral contraceptives since she was 15 years old. In 2013, when a condom failed during a snowstorm, University Health Services (UHS) and the university bus system were both closed due to the weather. Even though Cooper was also on the pill, she and her partner walked nearly two miles in the snow to get Plan B One-Step emergency contraception at CVS. Cooper said that...

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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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The Royal Frog Ballet: A Gathering of Grace
Dec11

The Royal Frog Ballet: A Gathering of Grace

Celebrating 10 years of performance theater, The Royal Frog Ballet trades the wild outdoors for the pristine white walls of A.P.E. Gallery in downtown Northampton this month. Their retrospective, HINDSIGHT/FORESIGHT, is a thoughtful and vivid collection of paintings, costumes, masks, and three-dimensional effects that tell the story of an ambitious troupe dedicated to promoting “aliveness through creativity, community, and curiosity.”...

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VALLEY SHOW GIRL: ‘Short Stay’ Here For Long Haul
Dec11

VALLEY SHOW GIRL: ‘Short Stay’ Here For Long Haul

About a month ago, Valley musician Nate Martel came into the Advocate office to drop off his debut solo album “Short Stay.” Being a fan of his role in rock group, Outer Stylie, I was pumped to get the CD into my car as soon as I left work. And that I did. Recorded at Barnhouse Recording in Chicopee and engineered and mixed at Sonelab in Easthampton, all 11 songs are written and performed by Martel. Additional musical contributions...

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The Advocate Guide to Winter in Western Mass
Dec04

The Advocate Guide to Winter in Western Mass

We know our winters in Western Massachusetts. As the last of the color fades from the leaves, the realization sets in that it’s going to be a while before the warm and colorful days of spring. But winter doesn’t have to be all about darkness and cold. Winter is a time of roaring fires and warm soups and teas. The colorful twinkle of holiday lights are already brightening the longer nights and the New Year offers a chance for a fresh...

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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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Fat Bradley EP: A Funk Rock Voyage
Dec04

Fat Bradley EP: A Funk Rock Voyage

Northampton-based funk sextet Fat Bradley’s new self-titled five-song extended play (EP) recording is an acid jazz fusion of instrumental kaleidoscopic funky rock that grooves along with frantic energy and a sense of reckless abandon that’s downright entertaining. This is virtuosic showmanship that’ll get you jumping. Fat Bradley is comprised of Jeff Ritterson (keys), Tyler Silva (drums), Matt Postel (bass), Josh Hirst (guitar), Kat...

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V-Spot: For the Love of the Uncut
Dec04

V-Spot: For the Love of the Uncut

Hi Yana, I’m with a guy with an uncircumcised penis for the first time in my 16 years of being sexually active. I love how he looks, and it feels great when we can have sex. But, after three years, we haven’t been able to get into a good rhythm, sex-wise. I’m not naturally super wet, so I’m used to using lube, but often we have to stop because he starts to tear. It’s basically almost every time that he’s either getting injured or we...

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Full Shelves, Empty Calories: Springfield Neighborhoods Still Waiting For Healthy Food Options
Nov27

Full Shelves, Empty Calories: Springfield Neighborhoods Still Waiting For Healthy Food Options

It’s been more than two years, since former Valley Advocate staff writer Amanda Drane wrote an article about residents in the Mason Square neighborhood of Springfield who rallied together, collecting 1,300 grocery receipts totaling more than $50,000, to entice businesses to build a grocery store in the community. But that hasn’t happened yet. Organizers with Gardening the Community and the Food Policy Council in the city of...

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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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