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

“Where Were You When …” 9/11, OJ, and 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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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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Late-Night Eats In Western Mass: Our Guide To Post-Midnight Grub
Aug14

Late-Night Eats In Western Mass: Our Guide To Post-Midnight Grub

Whether you’re pulling an all-nighter cramming for a test, pub crawling with friends, working the graveyard shift, or just woke up in the middle of the night with the sudden urge for a slice of pizza, there are restaurants, diners, joints, and donut shops in the Pioneer Valley that will answer your call for nourishment beyond midnight. And we don’t mean fast food drive-thru. If you’re hungry after 1 a.m. the Valley has a handful of...

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Trump Graduates From Unpleasant To Un-American
Aug14

Trump Graduates From Unpleasant To Un-American

It’s gotten beyond name-calling at this point. When Paul Krugman of the New York Times calls Donald Trump “not a real American,” he now has solid facts backing him up. Krugman’s Monday morning column, titled, “When The President Is Un-American,” lays out a convincing, point-by-point argument that Donald Trump holds the highest office in a land whose ideals he does not share. Over the weekend, Trump crossed yet another line in his...

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Back Talk: Mercs, Bicycles, and Farm Fresh Humor
Aug14

Back Talk: Mercs, Bicycles, and Farm Fresh Humor

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 valleyadvoate.com. Want to get in on this? Email editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. A Prince Among Mercenaries (via email) I was so excited to hear that Donald Trump...

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Western Mass Immigrant Rights Activists Burn Baker On ICE Bill
Aug10

Western Mass Immigrant Rights Activists Burn Baker On ICE Bill

Local immigrant rights groups aren’t happy with Gov. Charlie Baker and his proposed legislation that would mandate state and local law enforcement to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests. A group of more than 50 people affiliated with Western Massachusetts immigrants rights groups  protested outside the state office in Springfield calling on Baker to withdraw his bill. Some of leading groups...

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Bizarro Briefs: Bear Takes Joyride Into Mailbox
Aug09

Bizarro Briefs: Bear Takes Joyride Into Mailbox

Bear Takes Joyride Into Mailbox In Durango, Colorado, bears frequently break into cars looking for food. This week was the first that one resident can recall a bear actually taking the car for a short drive. After likely releasing a Subaru SUV’s parking brake in a driveway, a black bear rolled down the driveway and crashed the vehicle into a mailbox. The commotion woke the mailbox’s owners, who looked out the window to see the damage....

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Hey Boss, Is Being a Woman Holding Me Back?
Aug07

Hey Boss, Is Being a Woman Holding Me Back?

I have a confession to make: I’ve always worried about being underpaid. This concern has been present whether working for a supportive company or fast food joints. Why? Because I’m a woman aware of the U.S. wage statistics that say there’s a good chance I am being paid less for my work than men in similar employment situations. On a national average, women earn 73 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to the Pew Research...

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Look Up: FREE Westfield International Air Show All Weekend
Aug07

Look Up: FREE Westfield International Air Show All Weekend

Blown Away Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Superman? Better. It’s LOTS of planes. This Saturday and Sunday Barnes-Airport, the home of the 104th Fighter Wing in Westfield, is hosting its insanely popular international air show. There will be live I-can’t-believe-they-just-did-that! performances by the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds out of Las Vegas, the Acemaker T-33 (the U.S.A.’s first operational jet fighter), the Black Daggers U.S. Army...

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Discussing Far Out Films in the Forbes Library Basement
Aug07

Discussing Far Out Films in the Forbes Library Basement

I’ve always been interested in surrealism, but never quite enough to actually do any research into it beyond looking at some Salvador Dali paintings. But one reference to a surrealist work stuck with me. In the 2011 Woody Allen movie Midnight In Paris, the surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel makes an appearance and an allusion is made to one of his more famous films — the one in which a roomful of party guests are unable to leave after...

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One Good Tern Deserves Another; Saving The Birds One Nest At A Time
Aug07

One Good Tern Deserves Another; Saving The Birds One Nest At A Time

One favorable consequence of always carrying binoculars in plain view is that they help create an international citizenry of nature lovers. I’ve just returned from a trip to England visiting family. There, we camped in the chilly, Scotland-like region of northeast England called Northumberland – in Latin, the “North Shadows” – an island-pocked coastline of temperamental weather and steep cliffs wedged between rocky and sandy beaches....

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Is There Really A Western Mass Energy Crisis?
Aug07

Is There Really A Western Mass Energy Crisis?

Barry Roberts has heard Massachusetts is facing an energy crisis, but he doesn’t buy it. Roberts is a commercial landlord who owns several buildings in Amherst including the Amherst Cinema building and the block where Amherst Ice Cream is located, as well as properties in Hadley. He and some of his clients have had to cut back on business expansion due to the moratorium Berkshire Gas placed on new gas hookups in 2015, Roberts said....

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State Police Spending a Lot of Days at the Park …
Aug07

State Police Spending a Lot of Days at the Park …

The barricade is a small wooden cabin-like structure modeled off the one 1800s transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau built near Walden Pond. A life guard chair stands directly in front of a fence set up by Tennessee Gas where onlookers can view the 100-foot wide path of cleared forest, now mostly dirt. On a recent afternoon two private security personnel sat in an off road vehicle watching silently on the other side of the barricade...

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Back Talk: Kudos on Abortion Story, But …
Aug07

Back Talk: Kudos on Abortion Story, But …

Editors’ 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, or visit us online. Keep up to date by signing up for our email newsletter at...

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Bizarro Briefs: Hipster Dogs Don’t Need Shots
Aug03

Bizarro Briefs: Hipster Dogs Don’t Need Shots

Hipster Dogs Don’t Need Shots The anti-vaccination movement has expanded — to include additional species. Many pet owners in Brooklyn are refusing to vaccinate their beloved canines, in some cases for fear that the vaccines will give the dogs autism, veterinarian Amy Ford told Brooklyn Paper — despite research that shows no links between vaccines and autism. She said the refusal comes most often from those who live in “hipster-y...

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Back Talk: Bicyclists Need to Stay Off Sidewalk
Jul31

Back Talk: Bicyclists Need to Stay Off Sidewalk

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, or visit us online. Keep up to date by signing up for our email newsletter at...

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‘It Was Against the Law for Black and White Musicians to Play Together,’ Springfield Jazz & Roots Fest Seeks Justice
Jul31

‘It Was Against the Law for Black and White Musicians to Play Together,’ Springfield Jazz & Roots Fest Seeks Justice

Music is never just some notes of a melody — it’s always something more, says legendary New Orleans jazz saxophonist Charles Neville. Neville, who grew up in New Orleans during the Jim Crow era, but now resides in Huntington with his wife and children, has seen music change America. “I remember when the first black cops were allowed on the police force and one of the things we all as young teenagers laughed at was the fact that they...

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Wellness: The Health Benefits of Massage
Jul31

Wellness: The Health Benefits of Massage

Many people think of massage as a great way to relax and pamper yourself. That’s true, but it’s not the only reason to get one. Massage in and of itself has a number of health benefits. Darius Greenbacher, medical director of Baystate Medical Practices in sports and exercise medicine, said he often prescribes massage not just to treat injury, but to get at the root cause of why the injury happened in the first place. “Just therapeutic...

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Trump Lashes Out At LGBTQ Community As His Presidency Crumbles
Jul28

Trump Lashes Out At LGBTQ Community As His Presidency Crumbles

Following attacks on Muslims, refugees, immigrants, and the country of Cuba over the last several months, LGBTQ people became the latest group to be scapegoated by President Donald Trump and members of his administration this week. First came the announcement — by tweet — that trans individuals would no longer be allowed to serve in the military. The next day, the U.S. Justice Department — headed by Trump appointee Jeff Sessions —...

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Expanding Solar’s Reach to Low-Income Individuals
Jul31

Expanding Solar’s Reach to Low-Income Individuals

A federal grant is powering an effort to bring solar energy into more local low-income homes. Rays the Valley, a partnership between local organizations that aims on making solar array subscriptions affordable for everyone, received $60,000 from the federal Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity. The partnership is made up of Co-op Power, Climate Action Now, Mothers Out...

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Persistence Pays Off For High School Equivalency Graduates in Springfield Program
Jul27

Persistence Pays Off For High School Equivalency Graduates in Springfield Program

As the Adult Basic Education students walked before the podium in their caps and gowns on Wednesday, July 26, they put a seal on more than the usual 12 years of school. Some had waited for this moment for decades. There were 61 people who passed the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET for short), most of whom were present at the graduation ceremony, held on the seventh floor of Scibelli Hall at Springfield Technical Community College....

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Bizarro Briefs: Perfectly Preserved Surrealist Stache
Jul27

Bizarro Briefs: Perfectly Preserved Surrealist Stache

News of the Weird is no more, but fear not. The Advocate is continuing the tradition of delivering weird news, now as Bizarro Briefs. Perfectly Preserved Surrealist ‘Stache If you thought Salvador Dali’s mustache could not have gotten any more legendary, you were mistaken. Forensic experts in Spain said last week that they found the famous surrealist’s long, waxed mustache completely intact when they exhumed his remains for a...

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Backtalk: In Defense of Iron Horse Entertainment Group
Jul24

Backtalk: In Defense of Iron Horse Entertainment Group

Letters to the Editor In Defense of Iron Horse Entertainment Group Tiring to see all the IHEG (Iron Horse Entertainment Group) bashing [“Behind the Music: The People and Promoters Going Beyond IHEG,” July 13-19, 2017]! First, people don’t realize how fortunate we are to have national acts coming to the area. I’ve personally enjoyed many awesome acts throughout the years at all the IHEG venues [Pearl Street, Iron Horse, Calvin,...

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Whatever Happened To … Dog Sees God Looks at Peanuts Characters as Teens
Jul24

Whatever Happened To … Dog Sees God Looks at Peanuts Characters as Teens

Charlie Brown Would Be So Emo If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Good ‘ol Chuck, from the Peanuts comics, Gateway City Arts can fill you in; A week-long run of Bert V. Royal’s Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead begins Friday. Satirizing the Peanuts, the play imagines the characters as teenagers dealing with an existential crisis — so, in a lot of ways, it’s similar to the strip. The play gets...

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O, Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds On Massachusetts’ Pot Bill
Jul24

O, Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds On Massachusetts’ Pot Bill

We’re no Nevada, but last week Massachusetts took two rippin’ steps toward weed legalization and protection in the state. First the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a business cannot fire an employee for being a medical marijuana patient — a decision that is causing headaches in HR offices around the state who claim it will be difficult to maintain drug-free workplaces. Then the Legislature passed a compromise bill on...

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Can Western Mass Support Farm-To-Table For Everyone?
Jul24

Can Western Mass Support Farm-To-Table For Everyone?

Nathan pulls his mother by the hand through the Springfield downtown farmers market stopping at none of the booths she wants to visit: the cookie stand, the hand-made jewlery display, the gourmet chips, and honey. The 2-year-old loves the farmers market, his mother Emily Riehl says, but she wishes he would gravitate toward more of the farm than the market. Lured by the musicians who often play the Friday afternoon market, Riehl, 20,...

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Between the Lines: What’s Another $1,000 on Top of Tuition?
Jul24

Between the Lines: What’s Another $1,000 on Top of Tuition?

The cost of a University of Massachusetts Amherst education has increased on average by more than $1,000 each year for the past three years. This, in a world where most working people can expect a 2 -percent cost-of-living raise — if that. In the summer of 2015, the increase brought the cost of UMass Amherst up above $25,000 for the first time — from $24,215 the previous academic year. With the past week’s 3-percent increase, the cost...

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Where You Can U-Pick In Western Mass Farms
Jul24

Where You Can U-Pick In Western Mass Farms

Why should the farmers have all the fun harvesting the fresh fruits and vegetables from their own farms? U-pick farms abound in the Pioneer Valley. Strawberry season has mostly gone by, but blueberries are ripe for the pickin’, and it won’t be long before apple season hits us. Below is a list of farms where you can grab your own produce. These farms have pick-your-own that is open to the public, but some area farms allow members...

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Your Guide to Local Farmers Markets
Jul24

Your Guide to Local Farmers Markets

MONDAYS PALMER — Three Rivers, Hryniewicz Park, 1-5 p.m. Through October SPRINGFIELD — Church in the Acres, 1383 Wilbraham Road, 2-6 p.m. Through first week of October TUESDAYS GREENFIELD — Between Green Fields Market and King’s Gym, Sears Avenue, 1:30-6:30 p.m. Through October NORTHAMPTON — Behind Thornes Marketplace, 1:30-6:30 p.m. Through the first week of November SPRINGFIELD — Forest Park, 302 Sumner Ave., 12:30-6 p.m. Through...

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What The Heck Is That Veggie in My Farm Share?
Jul24

What The Heck Is That Veggie in My Farm Share?

When I first got a farm share several years ago, I had a dream of a bounty of tomatoes, carrots, and other recognizable vegetables. The reality was that yes, these vegetables were there, but there were also oddball veggies I’d never heard of or seen before; and suddenly I had to find a way to use them. Kind of like a subscription service, farm shares are when a person buys a “share” of a farm and receives weekly boxes of...

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O Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds Of Massachusetts’ Pot Bill
Jul21

O Cannabis: Getting Into The Weeds Of Massachusetts’ Pot Bill

We’re no Nevada, but last week Massachusetts took two rippin’ steps toward weed legalization and protection in the state. First the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a business cannot fire an employee for being a medical marijuana patient — a decision that is causing headaches in HR offices around the state who claim it will be difficult to maintain drug-free workplaces. Then the Legislature passed a compromise bill on...

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Pioneer Valley Roller Derby Open To More Than Just Fierce Females
Jul20

Pioneer Valley Roller Derby Open To More Than Just Fierce Females

In its heyday in the 1970s and ‘80s, roller derby was known for fierce females, fishnets, spiked hair and names like “Iron Maven.” After a lull in the ‘90s, roller derby was resurrected in the early 2000s as an all-female, athletic sport. But in the Pioneer Valley, which was at the forefront of the roller derby revival, the sport has evolved from, as Pioneer Valley Roller Derby (PVRD) Team Captain Teresa Huang described it, a...

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Bizarro Briefs: Robocop Becomes Self Terminator
Jul20

Bizarro Briefs: Robocop Becomes Self Terminator

A Suicidal Robot Our D.C. office building got a security robot. It drowned itself. We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots. pic.twitter.com/rGLTAWZMjn — Bilal Farooqui (@bilalfarooqui) July 17, 2017 The Knightscope security robot, an R2D2-shaped rolling bot, can turn, beep, and whistle while on patrol. It can also self-destruct, as one proved while working outside the Georgetown Waterfront in Washington, D.C. It...

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Staff Picks: Harry Potter Inspired Music with Draco and the Malfoys
Jul17

Staff Picks: Harry Potter Inspired Music with Draco and the Malfoys

Draco and the Malfoys • Saturday  I held out on Harry Potter mania for years, but finally succumbed when the last book came out in 2007. I read them all in a matter of months, but I didn’t go as far as these folks, who wrote albums of Harry Potter-inspired music. I can’t think of a better venue to appreciate this band than a library, and that’s exactly where they’re having the show. Hoping they play “All...

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Bizarro Briefs: Holy Handgun, Batman!
Jul17

Bizarro Briefs: Holy Handgun, Batman!

A man and woman dressed as Batman characters were shot by police while having sex in an Australian nightclub. The man, dressed as the Joker, was shot in the stomach after police mistook his fake gun for a real one. The woman was dressed as Harley Quinn, and was shot in the leg. Roughly 40 police officers raided the event, called the Saints and Sinners Ball — and reportedly billed as a “no-holds-barred extravaganza of adult fun,” on...

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