Sanctuary in the Streets a Growing and Vital Movement
Sep18

Sanctuary in the Streets a Growing and Vital Movement

A Pioneer Valley activist network to support local undocumented immigrants — Sanctuary in the Streets — went into action this week to accompany Springfield resident Lucio Enrique Perez Ortiz on his check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. Perez, who has lived and worked in the United States nearly 20 years and has a wife and four children — three of whom are U.S. citizens in Springfield public schools — is...

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Northampton Bike Path Update: Yanking Our Chain
Sep18

Northampton Bike Path Update: Yanking Our Chain

The long-planned railroad underpass for the Northampton bike path is nearing completion, but still faces a twisted bureaucratic obstacle course before its final stretch. To learn about the project’s progress, the Advocate first contacted the City Council of Northampton, which directed us to Wayne Feiden, director of planning and sustainability, who in turn directed us to the power company. “We are now waiting for National Grid to...

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Back Talk: Little Ol’ Easthampton’s Punk Rockers
Sep18

Back Talk: Little Ol’ Easthampton’s Punk Rockers

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find comments from readers 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. What About Radical Christian Terrorism? Donald Trump likes to spout off about...

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Bizarro Briefs: If a Monkey Takes a Selfie, Is It Yours?
Sep18

Bizarro Briefs: If a Monkey Takes a Selfie, Is It Yours?

If a Monkey Takes a Selfie, Is It Yours? The case of who owns the copyright to a selfie taken by a monkey — the monkey or the guy who owns the camera — has been settled out of court. In 2015, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued on behalf of the macaque monkey who became a celebrity after he took a photo of himself with David Slater’s unattended camera during a 2011 trip to Indonesia. PETA was seeking financial...

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Interview: Peter Wolf of J. Geils Band On Music, Art School, And Playing Western Mass
Sep13

Interview: Peter Wolf of J. Geils Band On Music, Art School, And Playing Western Mass

Peter Wolf, the dynamic rock and blue-eyed soul frontman singer for the J. Geils Band, who co-wrote some of the band’s most popular songs such as “Love Stinks,” and “Must Of Got Lost,” is gearing up to play the Academy of Music in Northampton on Oct. 13. Valley Advocate Staff Writer Chris Goudreau interviewed Wolf about his upcoming performance in Northampton, his early days as an art student in Boston, past performances in Western...

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Massachusetts Is Progressive, But Not On Immigrant Rights
Sep11

Massachusetts Is Progressive, But Not On Immigrant Rights

As student president of his high school class in Georgia, Eduardo Samaniego sat on stage at graduation next to his principal as he and his classmates received diplomas. But in a cruel twist, he couldn’t apply to his top pick school — the University of Georgia — because he does not have a social security number. With tears in his eyes, he said all of his hard work and essays and extracurricular activities didn’t matter. “I was watching...

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Bizarro Briefs: Urine Town
Sep11

Bizarro Briefs: Urine Town

Urine Town Massachusetts is home to so many agricultural fairs, it can be difficult to stand out during fair season, which we’re in the midst of right now. Setting themselves apart from the pack is the annual North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival in Orange, Mass., which will feature recycling human urine this year. The festival, scheduled for Sept. 23-24, will collect the urine of the events estimated 10,000 attendants from...

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Western Mass Missed Connections: What Was I Driving?
Sep11

Western Mass Missed Connections: What Was I Driving?

The Missed Connections forum on Craigslist is a wasteland of terrible poetry, dick pics, and whining, but among the detritus are some truly fascinating, funny, and occasionally sweet entries. The following are highlights from the Western Mass Missed Connections forum, sans detritus. shelburne falls walking — m4w (shelburne falls) was driving a car and almost crashed into the crosswalk sign looking at you, you stopped and laughed...

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Back Talk: Rage Against the Gantries
Sep11

Back Talk: Rage Against the Gantries

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find comments from readers 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. Rage Against the Gantries (via Facebook and valleyadvocate.com) Comments in...

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Down to Earth: The Science Is Clear on Climate Change
Sep11

Down to Earth: The Science Is Clear on Climate Change

During the summer 12 years ago, I interned at Science News, a national magazine that reports on science for the public. As a young and inexperienced writer, part of my reporting included visiting the offices of my more experienced colleagues to ask them what good ideas I might fruitfully pursue. “Write about hurricanes and climate change,” said Janet Raloff, a writer I deeply admire to this day who’s now a Science News editor. “I...

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Between The Lines: Massachusetts Reps Should Get With Arnold to Terminate Gerrymandering
Sep11

Between The Lines: Massachusetts Reps Should Get With Arnold to Terminate Gerrymandering

Not in a million years would I have predicted the Governator would be the one to kickstart a campaign to stop the legal election-rigging scheme used to weaken the voting power of one political power over another, aka gerrymandering, but here we are. I am less surprised that Massachusetts has yet to get on board with tearing down this cynical barrier to democracy. After all, the Bay State gave birth to gerrymandering. I’ll try to...

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The Top 5 Reasons To Hate The Mass Pike All-Electronic Tolls
Sep07

The Top 5 Reasons To Hate The Mass Pike All-Electronic Tolls

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation on Thursday announced that the creepy Mass Pike All Electronic Tolling project — those 16 camera-laden gantries above the highway — is a finalist in a national transportation competition. The statement they sent out asks people to go online and vote for the Massachusetts project so the state will receive $10,000 toward a transportation charity of their choosing and a nice slap on the...

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Interview: The Pixies On Music, Reuniting, And Annoying The Neighbors
Sep05

Interview: The Pixies On Music, Reuniting, And Annoying The Neighbors

There’s no band quite like the Pixies with its blend of dissonant noise pop, psychedelic hard rock, surf-drenched reverb, punk rock-ish DIY leanings, and surreal lyrics that cover bizarre topics from extraterrestrials to biblical violence. Since the band’s 1986 formation at UMass Amherst, the Pixies have played thousands of shows across the world and on Sept. 20, the band returns to Western Mass to play Smith College’s John Greene...

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New Column: Monte Belmonte Wines
Sep05

New Column: Monte Belmonte Wines

You are reading a wine column that was written by a non-expert: a rank novice who has never worked in the wine industry, or the restaurant industry; who has never been to France (outside of Charles de Gaulle) or to California (outside of L.A.); and who, frankly, has never written a column of any kind, for any newspaper, at any time before now. That being said, I am Monte Belmonte — a radio host on 93.9 The River with an extremely tiny...

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Acupuncture Becoming More Mainstream, But Still Not Fully Covered
Sep05

Acupuncture Becoming More Mainstream, But Still Not Fully Covered

Northampton resident Bob Flaherty, a radio personality on WHMP, was practicing for a golf tournament earlier this year when he missed the ball and hit the dirt. Pain shot through his arm; he thought he broke it. “I couldn’t do anything,” he said. “I figure I’m not going to do tennis, golf, kayak. Riding a bike is the thing I do most, and I couldn’t even make the brakes work. My arm didn’t work.” Flaherty wound up seeking acupuncture...

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Between The Lines: Will Greenfield Get Hooked Up Like The Shea?
Sep05

Between The Lines: Will Greenfield Get Hooked Up Like The Shea?

Forty years ago, the Shea Theater building in downtown Turners Falls was a shell about to collapse in on itself. But Montague leaders saw the building’s potential to boost the village’s economic fortunes and acquired the Shea. With help from grants, Montague rejuvenated the Avenue A landmark into the small downtown arts and cultural engine it has been since the 1980s. In the past few years, a new Shea Theater board of directors has...

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Bizarro Briefs: Score One For The Peaceful Frog Dude
Sep05

Bizarro Briefs: Score One For The Peaceful Frog Dude

Score One For The Peaceful Frog Dude White supremacists love Pepe the Frog, and have been using the cartoon character to promote their racist ideals, including through a children’s book. But the original creator of the frog, from whom white supremacists stole the image, has sued the author of the book, requiring all of the proceeds from the book sales to go to a Muslim advocacy organization. The creator of the frog, which he said he...

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Missed Connections: Hot Dog! We Have a Wiener!
Sep05

Missed Connections: Hot Dog! We Have a Wiener!

The Missed Connections forum on Craigslist is a wasteland of terrible poetry, dick pics, and whining, but among the detritus are some truly fascinating, funny, and occasionally sweet entries. The following are highlights from the Western Mass Missed Connections forum, sans detritus. Hot Dogs — m4m (Lenoxdale)  We had hotdogs at the same time today (Saturday). I’ve seen you around town. You’re very handsome. Long-shot I...

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Back Talk: Wypipo Smoking Weed in the Streets and a New Name for Amherst
Sep05

Back Talk: Wypipo Smoking Weed in the Streets and a New Name for Amherst

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find comments from readers 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. Weed in the Streets (via Facebook) Some reactions to “Smoking Weed in Public:...

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Blandford Fair: All’s Fair in Love and Corn Dogs
Aug28

Blandford Fair: All’s Fair in Love and Corn Dogs

What can you say about how much fun the Blandford Fair is that hasn’t been said 150 times before? The four-day agricultural fair has been going strong for a century and a half, tweaking the format a little every year to keep up with the times while staying firmly rooted in local heritage. This year’s highlights include: horse shows, an art show and sale, historical re-enactments, carnival rides and games, country-fried...

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Actually, Let’s Talk About Renaming Amherst
Aug28

Actually, Let’s Talk About Renaming Amherst

Since the violence in Charlottesville (and Donald Trump’s equivocal response), much more attention is being paid to a topic that sparked the white supremacist August rally — taking down historical monuments and changing names that many people find offensive and even oppressive. That discussion is playing out in communities everywhere, and the Valley is no exception. Most recently, Belchertown resident William Bowen suggested...

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Staff Picks: Three County Fair, Garlic Fest, mo’
Aug28

Staff Picks: Three County Fair, Garlic Fest, mo’

Crash, Mmm, Moo, Whee! Sounds Like a Fair to Me It’s a few days away, but I can already smell a unique blend of corn dogs, funnel cakes, old engines, smashed buses, and livestock that can only mean one thing: It’s fair time, baby! The Three County Fair is holding its 200th — 200th!! — agricultural fair this weekend at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton off Bridge Street. The fair will have all the wonderful things...

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Smoking Weed in Public
Aug28

Smoking Weed in Public

I have a friend, she’s a trip: She loves, LOVES, smoking marijuana where she isn’t supposed to. I call her a guerilla smoker, lighting up any time we’re in public no matter who’s around or what we’re doing. With recreational marijuana now being legal in Massachusetts, I asked her if she’s noticed any difference in how she and other people approach smoking in public. First she laughed, then she said she would show me. While weed is...

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Back Talk: So Many Losers
Aug28

Back Talk: So Many Losers

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find comments from readers 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. So Many Losers (via email) I can’t believe that the first term of The...

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Bizarro Briefs: Getting High Off Trump
Aug28

Bizarro Briefs: Getting High Off Trump

Getting High Off Trump German police, during a random traffic stop, seized a stash of Donald Trump-shaped drugs. The drugs were ecstasy pills pressed into the shape of Trump’s head, and the word “Trump” was on the back. Police recovered 5,000 of the pills, worth about $46,000. They arrested the van’s driver and his 17-year-old son, who was riding in the car. Police believe the drugs were made in the Netherlands.   Seriously,...

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Marijuana-Impaired Driving A Sticky Subject
Aug28

Marijuana-Impaired Driving A Sticky Subject

Recreational and medical weed, now legal in a growing number of states, is putting an emphasis for law enforcement on pulling people over for driving-while-high. But the problem is that marijuana affects drivers differently than alcohol, is more difficult to detect, and there is much less data documenting stoned driving compared to drunk driving. For Holyoke Police Lieutenant Jim Albert, whose department just received an approximately...

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Local Marijuana Entrepreneurs Ready To Roll, Just Waiting For The Green Light
Aug28

Local Marijuana Entrepreneurs Ready To Roll, Just Waiting For The Green Light

At age 45, marijuana-grower Anscomb says it’s time for him to go legit. He’s been illegally raising and harvesting weed for 13 years in an underground capacity (here’s a guide to how to grow your own), but now that recreational marijuana is legal, Anscomb is getting ready to apply for a cannabis cultivation license and get his business on the books. Anscomb is a science teacher living in Northampton. He’s got a wife and children...

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Chicopee Downtown GetDown All Weekend
Aug21

Chicopee Downtown GetDown All Weekend

Chicopee’s Downtown GetDown The Downtown GetDown is funneling people in this weekend to check out all the cool stuff going on in The Pee. This year’s GetDown will feature a Bike Rodeo, an event usually for kids under age 13 that teaches them good ridership skills and provides a sweet cycling course on which to practice. Musical acts will include 2 Free Spirits, Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push, Sky Highway, Trailer Trash,...

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The Button Lady: Wearing Dissent on Your Sleeve
Aug21

The Button Lady: Wearing Dissent on Your Sleeve

Print artist Leni Fried is standing over a silk-screen printer flipping through a stack of stencils of peace signs and words such as “nasty,” “peace,” and “freedom,” but she’s looking for the stencil she uses most often these days: “RESIST.” Fried, a printmaker and co-founder of the Adams-based BagShare Project to reduce plastic shopping bag waste, has been putting the word on anything she can lately. It appears on T-shirts (including...

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149th Cummington Festival TODAY through Sunday
Aug21

149th Cummington Festival TODAY through Sunday

A Fair-ly Long Run Celebrating its 149th year, the 2017 annual Cummington Fair will feature music, movement, agriculture, and competitions. Spanning four days, each date has a theme: Thursday is truck night, Friday is children’s night/cruise night, Saturday is agriculture day/demo night, and Sunday is old fashion fair day. Entertainers will include Kenya Acrobats, 4×4 truck pull, Moonshine Holler, Vic and Sticks Family Singers,...

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Backtalk: Further Thoughts On Gender Pay Gap
Aug21

Backtalk: Further Thoughts On Gender Pay Gap

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find comments from readers on Advocate articles and other news. We collect readers’ opinions from emails, letters, Facebook comments, and comments to valleyadvcoate.com. Want to get in on this? Email editor@valleyadvcoate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. It Follows: The Gender Wage Gap (via email) I have read your article in the...

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Gotta Get ‘Back To The Future’
Aug21

Gotta Get ‘Back To The Future’

Northampton Community TV’s Crowdsourced Cinema project has spawned shot-for-shot remakes of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Princess Bride. But this year’s title — the time travel epic Back to the Future (aka my favorite movie OF ALL TIME) — meant the Advocate wasn’t sitting this one out. The way the project works is people volunteer to shoot a scene, then NCTV cuts the movie into 30-second to three-minute chunks and...

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Between the Lines: UMass,  Adopt A Rape Survivors Bill of Rights
Aug21

Between the Lines: UMass, Adopt A Rape Survivors Bill of Rights

While interviewing organizers of student-led college activist groups at UMass Amherst, Smith College, and Amherst College, I learned about the Coalition to End Rape Culture (CERC) at UMass , a campus group founded by survivors of sexual assault that is calling on the university to implement better policies to support victims of intimate violence. The Coalition to End Rape, alongside other groups such as Carry That Weight, Know Your...

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Springfield City Council Candidate Ernesto Cruz Facing Strangulation Charge Following Arrest
Aug15

Springfield City Council Candidate Ernesto Cruz Facing Strangulation Charge Following Arrest

Ernesto Cruz, one of 14 candidates for at-large seats on the Springfield City Council, is facing assault charges. The charges allegedly stem from an argument in which police say Cruz pushed his girlfriend up against a wall and grabbed her by the neck. Cruz was arrested on June 8, around 11:15 p.m. at his residence in the Six Corners Neighborhood and charged with assault and battery on a family/household member and a...

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“Where Were You When …” 9/11, OJ, Cobain and More Defining Moments: An Advocate Chat
Aug16

“Where Were You When …” 9/11, OJ, Cobain and More Defining Moments: An Advocate Chat

The Advocate Chat is a recurring series where the Valley Advocate staff talks about a topic on their minds. The text below has been lightly edited. dave.eisen (Managing Editor Dave Eisenstadter): The past few weeks have had some shocking news. So we wanted to chat about the really shocking news in our lives, those “where were you when” moments that everyone remembers. kristinpalpini (Editor-in-Chief Kristin Palpini): Soooo...

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