Northampton Resident Challenges Mayor to Race Over Plastic Bag Ban
Jan17

Northampton Resident Challenges Mayor to Race Over Plastic Bag Ban

Northampton’s two-year-old plastic bag ban has an outspoken opponent in McDonald House resident John Gibney, who gets around using a cane. Gibney, who wrote the Advocate an email this week with the subject “paper bags suck,” challenged Mayor David Narkewicz and members of the City Council to a race from State Street Fruit Store to City Hall. He would use plastic bags and the officials could use paper. “I will provide the canes,” he...

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Puerto Rico Professionals in Limbo: Massachusetts Laws Create Roadblocks to Employment
Jan05

Puerto Rico Professionals in Limbo: Massachusetts Laws Create Roadblocks to Employment

When Hurricane Maria devastated her area of Isabela, Puerto Rico, 52-year-old Brenda Trujillo traveled to Holyoke in search of a more stable life and employment. Trujillo has been a nurse for nearly 30 years, but since arriving on November 3 she has not been able to find a job in her profession. One of the reasons is that despite her vast experience, she does not have a license to practice nursing in the state of Massachusetts. “I...

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Back Talk: Rejoice – Nukes are Now Illegal
Jan02

Back Talk: Rejoice – Nukes are Now Illegal

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 deisen@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject. It’s Not Food; It’s Transportation I’ve read your recent article about food deserts in...

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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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Paramilitary Policing Infiltrates Western Mass
Nov06

Paramilitary Policing Infiltrates Western Mass

This article was produced in collaboration with the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and is the first installment in a series about SWAT deployment and police militarization in Massachusetts. For a police department of only 40 officers, the April 23, 2015 raid by Ludlow Special Response Team (SRT) had to be an all-hands-on-deck affair. At shortly past five o’clock in the morning, a team of 12 Ludlow officers — amounting to...

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