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— Kristin Palpini, editor@valleyadvocate.com

Bicyclists, Stay in Your Lane (via email)

Just a suggestion: Change the title of Naila Moreira’s column, “Down to Earth: No, The Car Is Not King,” July 13-19, 2017, to “No, I wasn’t really thinking.”

The visual with her column shows the signs on Northampton’s sidewalks, which says: “WALK YOUR BIKE — NO SKATEBOARDING.” Ms. Moreira assumes this is about bicycles not being welcome. Uh, no!

If you are a regular walker in downtown Northampton then you have probably had the occasion to duck out of the way of cyclers and skateboarders on the sidewalk. This is a sign to tell such folks that the sidewalks are for walkers. There are bike lanes already: the sidewalks are not bike lanes.

— Micala Sidore,


Catch a Ride to Market (via email)

I live in Springfield, and am the manager of the farmers market at Forest Park. (Tuesday afternoons from 12:30-6 p.m., May through October); I am very familiar with the farm to table movement [“Can Western Mass Support Farm-To-Table For Everyone?” July 27-31, 2017]. We live in an area that is blessed with some rich farmland, and we still have many people who are willing to do the hard work of farming. However, when I hear someone say that farmers markets are expensive, I will say that they are confusing price and value. Also we have accepted EBT/SNAP benefits since 2008. We also accept WIC and elder coupons as well as the new HIP benefits.

Produce purchased at a farmers market (for the most part) is often fresher than in a store, and it will last longer. Just the other day a customer told me that they had purchased bok choi at our market two weeks earlier and had just used it; it was still perfect. You often have varieties at a farmers market that you don’t find in stores because it might be unusual, or not something that will travel the many hundreds of miles that most produce travels to get to us.

I suggest that if anyone reading this has a neighbor or friend who needs a ride to any farmers market, that you offer them one. Not only will you be helping them, you will be helping the farmers and other market vendors, all of whom are local, to earn a living.

— Belle Rita Novak,



Chris Rohmann Gets ‘Hold These Truths’ Right (via FB)

Chris! Your account of Hold These Truths’ (“Stagestruck: Hitting the Nail — New Century’s heroic truths”) treasures is utterly glorious! I’m forwarding it to Jeanne Sakata, and I’m elated by your appreciation of Greg Watanabe’s magnificent kaleidoscopic performance activated by Sheila Siragusa’s humanely gripping stage guidance. Thrilled, too, by your tribute to Daniel D. Rist and David Wiggall’s key contributions. Having held this baby of Jeanne’s in my arms since its infancy, I remain passionately attached to its adult selves and to the five extraordinary actors who have embodied Gordon across the U.S. (including Alaska). To have Greg in our midst these weeks of Hold These Truths rehearsals and run is sufficient unto itself to excite me no end. My exhilarated thanks to you for writing this, Chris, and to Sam Rush and New Century Theatre for bringing Hold These Truths right here to us in Western Massachusetts.

— Len Berkman