Your Hot Steaming Guide to Local Mac & Cheese From Springfield to Brattleboro
Oct09

Your Hot Steaming Guide to Local Mac & Cheese From Springfield to Brattleboro

The weather is getting colder, so it’s time for us New Englanders to look inward for some of that warm toasty comfort — literally. Fill yourself with some happy via one of everyone’s favorite comfort foods, mac ‘n’ cheese (even the dish’s name is nice ‘n’ cozy). At its best mac ‘n’ cheese is a sumptuous joy ride for the mouth across various plains of strong and/or creamy cheeses strung together by buttered noodles. Mac ‘n’ cheese...

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Backtalk: Keep Your Prayers, Act On Gun Control
Oct09

Backtalk: Keep Your Prayers, Act On Gun Control

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find reader comments 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. Keep Your Thoughts and Prayers. Act on Gun Control (via email) Well, it has happened...

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Bizarro Briefs: Flipping the Bird at Priests
Oct09

Bizarro Briefs: Flipping the Bird at Priests

Flipping the Bird at Priests Sometimes church is boring. But every so often — as happened in Flowery Branch, Georgia — a man stands up to flip off and yell at the pastor for recognizing teachers during a service. The man, a homeschooling father, rose to give the pastor the bird and yell at him following his prayer recognizing teachers. That landed him in hot water with police, who charged him with misdemeanor disorderly conduct....

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Your Advocate Guide to the Pioneer Valley in the Fall
Oct02

Your Advocate Guide to the Pioneer Valley in the Fall

For many New Englanders, fall is a special time that people living in the sun year-round don’t get to experience. The air gets crisp; the leaves blaze bright orange, yellow, and red; apples reach their peak of juicy, crunchy goodness; the smell of harvest is all around; and people are busy enjoying the perfect weather and preparing for the winter hibernation. Fall is for New Englanders, we know how to revel in the season, but in case...

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Valley Advocate Fall Arts Preview of Western Mass
Oct02

Valley Advocate Fall Arts Preview of Western Mass

Fall 2017 in the Valley is stuffed with anticipated moments of cultural and artistic profundity; below is just a taste of all the amazing events taking place October into early-December across the three counties, and southern Vermont. Fragile Freedom After the U.S. entered WWII, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the evacuation and imprisonment of 120,000 mostly Japanese-Americans into 10...

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How to Help Puerto Rico while Trump Golfs
Oct02

How to Help Puerto Rico while Trump Golfs

Ripped apart by Hurricane Maria about two weeks ago, Puerto Rico is suffering from a severe lack of food, water, medicine, and shelter. Only 5 percent of the nation has electricity, according to the Associated Press. Federal aid is slow to arrive, people on the island say. On Sept. 27, CNN reported that more than 10,000 containers of supplies were sitting on the docks in San Juan unable to get to people in need due to damaged roads, a...

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Back Talk: Thomas Jefferson Sucks
Oct02

Back Talk: Thomas Jefferson Sucks

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find reader comments 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. Help for Puerto Rico (via email) The devastation from Maria and lack of response in...

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Bizarro Briefs: 55 Years of Humpin’
Oct02

Bizarro Briefs: 55 Years of Humpin’

Ric Flair, wrestling’s golden boy in the ‘80s, says he’s slept with around 10,000 women during his 68 years on Earth. Woooo! Known for his flamboyant wrestling persona on WWE, Flair made this confession for an upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 documentary. The Nature Boy says now that he wished he hadn’t revealed the number because he doesn’t want to embarass his grandkids, he told People magazine. Flair isn’t up to his casual shtick anymore....

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Drug Implants Could Be the Future of Opioid Addiction Treatment
Sep25

Drug Implants Could Be the Future of Opioid Addiction Treatment

Jamey Summers is in a good mood for someone about to have surgery. Beside the 41-year-old Northampton resident, who sits on an exam chair, Dr. Kate Atkinson is going over the procedure with her staff — they will insert four small rods containing drugs to curb opioid dependence into the crook of Summers’ left arm. She’s never done it before. “Ouch!” Summers exclaims as Atkinson uses a black marker on his arm to show where the rods will...

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O Cannabis: A How-To Guide to Harvesting Weed
Sep25

O Cannabis: A How-To Guide to Harvesting Weed

You can smell fall in the air — and in Massachusetts the aroma is a lot danker than usual. This October will mark the first major outdoor weed harvest since people ages 21 and up were given the green light to legally grow marijuana in Massachusetts on Dec. 15, 2016. In May, I wrote a how-to-grow guide and it feels fitting to follow that up with a how-to on harvesting. I spoke with cannabis artist Marty Klein of Easthampton and medical...

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Paradise Pond Poetry
Sep25

Paradise Pond Poetry

Saturating the All — Paradise Pond, Northampton There are, amongst the chronic flux of recurring secular miracles, spaces between the miracles that are equally miraculous. Cases in point: the lazy wands of industrial hydro-bazookas saturating the all- female college ball-field; two kayakers forming Aztec consonants on the assonant lake; a dead tree submerged in water yet still channeling autumn’s livid embers through its oblivious...

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Between the Lines: Honoring Beloved Activist Jafet Robles
Sep25

Between the Lines: Honoring Beloved Activist Jafet Robles

At St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield more than 200 people mourned the loss of well-known and beloved activist and community leader Jafet Robles. Robles, 33, was involved with Neighbor to Neighbor and other groups with initiatives to end mass incarceration. For close to two hours the line of people stretching out the door was nearly constant as people made their way to the open casket with tears in their eyes. Robles was...

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Bizarro Briefs: A Home for the Homeless?
Sep25

Bizarro Briefs: A Home for the Homeless?

A Home for the Homeless? Not having a place to live was not a good enough excuse to get a Turkish man out of house arrest. A 31-year-old homeless man living in Istanbul, was sentenced to house arrest for using and selling drugs in April. In need of a house to be confined to, the Turkish government erected for him a sheet metal box with bars, windows, and no roof or ceiling on a sidewalk by a busy bus station. Although the man could...

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What the Film? It’s Northampton Film Fest
Sep25

What the Film? It’s Northampton Film Fest

A birdboy, 1900s Northampton, virtual realities, silly horror, and brimstone are among this year’s offerings at the Northampton Film Festival. Now in its third year under the leadership of Northampton Community Television, the annual multi-day event gets going Wednesday, Sept. 27, with a screening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in Pulaski Park in downtown Northampton and closes with the debut of the crowdsourced community cinema...

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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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