Editorial: Vote for Chelsea Kline for State Senate on Sept. 4
Jul29

Editorial: Vote for Chelsea Kline for State Senate on Sept. 4

So often with candidates running for public office, one must rest the decision to vote for them primarily on their words. In her short political career as a candidate for state Senate, however, Chelsea Kline has amassed some impressive actions. Kline is running in the Sept. 4 Democratic primary to replace former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, who resigned following censure by an independent ethics investigation. Kline will be the...

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Massachusetts high court provides cover for those who want to stop you from voting
Jul17

Massachusetts high court provides cover for those who want to stop you from voting

Sometimes living in deep blue Massachusetts can feel comforting when observing the daily horror show that now passes for our federal government. A case in point: as the U.S. Senate edges toward nominating President Donald Trump’s second arch-conservative Supreme Court pick, who could seriously endanger the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, the Massachusetts House is working to pass a bill to protect abortion rights in...

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Editorial: A Supremely Bad Decision
Jun28

Editorial: A Supremely Bad Decision

They say that elections have consequences. This is one of the terrible ones. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday, June 27, effective the end of July. With Donald Trump in the Oval Office, and control of the Senate in the hands of Republican lackeys ready to bend to his every whim — and the decision Senate Republicans made last year to eliminate the need for 60 votes to confirm judicial...

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Massachusetts high court quashes democracy in decision on Fair Share Amendment
Jun19

Massachusetts high court quashes democracy in decision on Fair Share Amendment

The state’s Supreme Judicial Court did an extreme disservice to voters this week, taking away the potential to vote on the popular “Fair Share Amendment,” which would have created a 4 percent tax on the wealthy and used the money for education and transportation funding. Rather than let the voters decide, the court stripped the provision off the ballot on a technicality, basically stating that the wording might confuse voters because...

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Editorial: Zero tolerance for U.S. ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy
Jun19

Editorial: Zero tolerance for U.S. ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy

I’m angry these days. I try to hide it as best I can, but the piling up of atrocities committed by the Trump administration is taking its toll, and I doubt I’m the only one concealing a bubbling rage as I go about my day. But the recently-implemented “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in just shy of 2,000 children being taken from their parents from the border during a six-week period from April to May — and probably many more...

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Some voters see gender bias in write-in campaigns challenging Chelsea Kline for State Senate
Jun05

Some voters see gender bias in write-in campaigns challenging Chelsea Kline for State Senate

The five write-in candidates in the race to replace longtime state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, of Amherst, are coming under scrutiny for their late entry into the race, with some calling their challenge to progressive Chelsea Kline — the only candidate to have her name on the ballot — sexist. Rachel Gordon, a Greenfield resident who is campaign manager for 1st Franklin House district candidate Francia Wisnewski, said she is dismayed at...

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Editorial: Remembering Columbine and Santa Fe and everywhere in between
May23

Editorial: Remembering Columbine and Santa Fe and everywhere in between

I remember the Columbine shooting like it was yesterday. It was a rainy April afternoon in 1999, very bleak but mild. When I turned on the television, I was hardly prepared for what I saw and what I heard. Two boys had committed what was, at the time, a shocking crime at their Littleton, Colorado, high school. They had shot and killed 12 students and one teacher. They’d injured 21 additional people. On Friday, another school, another...

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Editorial: Rosenberg resignation the right move to regain trust
May04

Editorial: Rosenberg resignation the right move to regain trust

We had been waiting a long time for it, but the speed of the events it set in motion once it finally arrived was breathtaking. The state Senate announced an independent ethics investigation of former Senate President Stan Rosenberg of Amherst in December. It took five months for a report to be delivered to the public, along with a rebuke for Rosenberg. And one day after that, Rosenberg resigned. Rosenberg ascended to the Senate...

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Editorial: Listening to people from ‘coal country’ our best chance to change minds
Apr24

Editorial: Listening to people from ‘coal country’ our best chance to change minds

Smith College hosted a fascinating speaker earlier this month who addressed a topic that’s been on my mind for several months leading up to the 2018 midterms: communicating and collaborating with people in what’s called “Trump country.” Without their help, we’re all likely destined for more divisiveness and hate-fueled policy from Washington. Hailing from Appalachia, Nick Mullins used to work for a coal mining company. Now he gives...

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Editorial: Find someone else to pick on, Mayor Sarno
Apr10

Editorial: Find someone else to pick on, Mayor Sarno

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno spent the better part of the past two weeks railing against a Springfield church for offering sanctuary to an undocumented Peruvian woman and her two American children. Immigrant Gisella Collazo’s cause was taken up by the Pioneer Valley Project, which released a statement late in March saying that Collazo had taken up residency in the South Congregational Church. Sarno, sounding a lot like President...

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Editorial: Wrinkle in Time: Just in Time
Mar28

Editorial: Wrinkle in Time: Just in Time

When I was nine years old, I read A Wrinkle in Time, the 1962 young adult science fiction adventure that had become an academic staple in elementary school curriculum. I was a lover of books and I was quite taken with both the plot and the characters. So much so that I never forgot Madeleine L’Engle’s classic tale about good and evil, dimensional travel, and the power of love. But when news came that, after 55 years, the movie was...

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Editorial: Sunshine Week Important Now As Ever
Mar13

Editorial: Sunshine Week Important Now As Ever

I’ll never forget the Open Meeting Law conference I covered a few years ago in Northampton. Then State Senate President Stanley Rosenberg held the conference in March 2015 for local civic leaders and venting about the Open Meeting Law, which is in place for all of us to get necessary information about how our government is run, commenced immediately. John Payne, who was then Select Board Chairman in Shelburne, said he found that the...

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Editorial: Guns spark a new student movement — and a fight for their lives
Feb27

Editorial: Guns spark a new student movement — and a fight for their lives

Fifty years ago, in 1968, student protests rocked the Vietnam War debate, and were eventually credited with turning public sentiment against the war. For young people, particularly young men, their very lives were at stake with the instituted military draft sending millions to Southeast Asia. In the end, more than 58,000 Americans lost their lives in the war. The number of deaths from gun violence makes that number look tiny....

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Bravo to Goldstein-Rose for Declaring Independence from Democrats
Feb21

Bravo to Goldstein-Rose for Declaring Independence from Democrats

On Tuesday, Amherst state Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose became the second independent in the Massachusetts Statehouse, changing his party affiliation from Democrat to unenrolled. Predictably, party elders and political pundits — the same ones that predicted a sweeping win for Hillary Clinton — panned the move, saying that Goldstein-Rose is consigning himself to the periphery in a Statehouse organized around party caucuses....

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Literally Selling Your Soul to Pay for an Education
Feb13

Literally Selling Your Soul to Pay for an Education

T.X. Watson, a transgender student at Hampshire College, is planning to sell their soul as part of their senior graduation project in art. The reason: Watson will have about $45,000 in debt upon graduation, and parting with their soul seems to be the best way of paying it off. “I either sell my soul now or sell my soul in a slow metaphorical grind, taking jobs I don’t want so that I can make the payments,” Watson says. I meet Watson,...

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Editorial: Disappointing coverage from Poynter and others on Gazette editor departure
Feb02

Editorial: Disappointing coverage from Poynter and others on Gazette editor departure

Sometimes the great teachers are role models to emulate, and sometimes they are the ones whose unfortunate actions you learn not to repeat. Poynter Institute, which touts itself as the world’s leading instructor for journalists, unfortunately fell into the latter category this week with regard to an important story for this news organization. Poynter writer James Warren was given a copy of an email from our former executive...

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#MeToo? Black Women on the Periphery of a Movement
Jan31

#MeToo? Black Women on the Periphery of a Movement

As a black woman, I cannot bring myself to seek refuge in the monumental arms of the #MeToo Movement. On the contrary, I often find myself feeling contempt and cynicism. But it’s not because I don’t empathize with the women who have come forward with their experiences of sexual victimization. Rather, in part, it is because the ubiquitous social media campaign was hijacked from a black activist named Tarana Burke who...

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Editorial: Women’s Marches Gathering Steam for Blue Wave Elections
Jan23

Editorial: Women’s Marches Gathering Steam for Blue Wave Elections

It is beyond fitting that on the first anniversary of Donald Trump being inaugurated president not only does the government shut down, but huge numbers of people take to the streets to protest against his policies. Women’s marches took place across the country, including thousands of people gathering in Northampton. With my one-year-old son (who just barely made it to be born before Trump took office) strapped to me, I headed out to...

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Editorial: 2018 Should Be The Year Massachusetts Moves Toward Single Payer
Jan16

Editorial: 2018 Should Be The Year Massachusetts Moves Toward Single Payer

I recently got my first pay stub of the year. I was curious to see how the Republican tax plan would affect me, if at all, but it turns out that none of us will see the results until February. So stay tuned. One thing I did notice, however, is that (surprise!) my contribution to the health insurance plan is going up. Over the course of 2017, I paid $4,723.94 toward health insurance for my family, and this year it will top $4,800....

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Editorial: Lawsuit may help recovery of those affected by opioid addiction
Jan08

Editorial: Lawsuit may help recovery of those affected by opioid addiction

Treating America’s opioid addiction crisis is, tragically, creating a growth industry that provides long-term intervention and treatment for millions of our fellow citizens. But who is going to pay the tab? Families? Insurance companies? State, local and federal governments? Big Pharma has a responsibility and will join the list, especially if many of the nation’s cities and states have their way, in court. Greenfield has become the...

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Editorial: Taking Up Running to Slow Down
Jan02

Editorial: Taking Up Running to Slow Down

I’m in my mid-30s, and “getting fit” is something I think about more now. It took me a long time to come around on the idea of exercise for exercise sake — but it has become something that I actually enjoy (even if I don’t do it as often as I should). In middle school, if memory serves, I was literally the last person to finish our required “mile run” in gym class. I don’t remember my time, but I remember walking for most of the...

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Editorial: We’re Talking Horns upon Horns, Horns within Horns …
Dec26

Editorial: We’re Talking Horns upon Horns, Horns within Horns …

As we continue the Valley Advocate tradition of awarding halos to the good and horns to the bad in 2017, I reflect on the year’s ups and downs. It didn’t take long to realize that a lot of the “downs” had something in common – they originated with President (for now) Donald Trump. As the hands-down biggest horns-earner of 2017, Trump is getting his own special section for an extended airing of grievances. We don’t have the space to...

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Editorial: The Nuclear Option is Not an Option
Dec18

Editorial: The Nuclear Option is Not an Option

North Korea’s steps toward accelerating its nuclear program and testing its missiles has been truly horrifying. So has President Donald Trump’s response, with threats to release “fire and fury” upon North Korea. Nuclear devastation is one of the gravest threats we face as a species, as has long been pointed out by the likes of linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky. Albert Einstein, one of the incredibly irresponsible scientists who...

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Editorial: There Goes the Internet
Dec11

Editorial: There Goes the Internet

Let me start by saying that I would avoid the internet if I could. It is creepy to think about huge corporations tracking each page I visit, and, potentially through my smartphone, actually physically tracking me wherever I go. Social media interactions are a far cry from person-to-person interactions. Even the information we get online is suspect and often biased. But the truth is that I can’t avoid it. Just as in the past our urban...

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Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity
Dec04

Editorial: Take Northampton’s Pledge for Human Dignity

During now-President Donald Trump’s hateful and divisive campaign, Northampton’s Human Rights Commission noted anecdotally how even in this Western Massachusetts community, there seemed to be an increase in racism, sexism, and anti-semitism, spurred on by Trump’s nationalistic and bullying rhetoric. Now, nearly one year into Trump’s hateful and divisive presidency, the commission is launching a campaign to bring people together and...

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Editorial: Gateway Regional has some explaining to do in exclusion of LGBT grad
Nov27

Editorial: Gateway Regional has some explaining to do in exclusion of LGBT grad

Each year, Gateway Regional High School in Huntington holds an event welcoming back alumni to share their experiences about college and post-graduate life. This year, however, the event was closed to one graduate: Marcelle LaBrecque, who spent 12 years in the Gateway Regional district, earned a degree in 2014, and is now living in New York City pursuing a career in musical theater. LaBrecque, who prefers being referred to as “they”...

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Editorial: Oh, you’re a spouse abuser? No guns for you.
Nov20

Editorial: Oh, you’re a spouse abuser? No guns for you.

Gun control. It’s a topic that rarely gets any traction at the federal level, even after the most devastating and horrific mass shootings. After the Sandy Hook shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 20 children: nothing. After Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest shooting in American history when it happened in on June 12, 2016 (49 killed, two of whom had ties to the Pioneer Valley): nothing. Last month, less than a year and a...

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The Best Opportunity Yet to Resist Trump
Nov13

The Best Opportunity Yet to Resist Trump

Last week featured two news stories that rocked the political landscape in this country. The first was that Democrats and progressive candidates all but swept the Nov. 7 elections from coast to coast, and the second was that Republican Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of pedophilia. That combination makes the special election for the Alabama Senate, which will take place only weeks from now on Dec. 12, a real shot...

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Being a Man in the Era of #Metoo
Nov06

Being a Man in the Era of #Metoo

Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched the #metoo tweets and posts make their way through my social media feeds, and I’ve read the articles and stories, mostly from women, about how they have been subjected to sexual abuse and harassment. They bring about mixed emotions in me: sadness that so many close friends and family members have been touched by abuse; anger at the depths to which sexual harassment is embedded in our society;...

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Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too
Oct30

Election Time! Yep, They Happen in Non-Presidential Years, Too

November has rolled around again, and no it’s not a presidential election year. But there are important elections both here and in other parts of the country this week you should be paying attention to. Since Donald Trump was elected president just about a year ago (ugh), he has tried to ban Muslims from coming into the country, fired his own FBI director because of a growing investigation into his campaign’s Russian connection,...

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Between The Lines: Local TV Stations Have Abandoned Their Journalistic Integrity
Oct23

Between The Lines: Local TV Stations Have Abandoned Their Journalistic Integrity

As a newspaper journalist who cares deeply about good, necessary and morally grounded journalism, I must decry a recent trend of sleazy, tabloid-like reporting I now frequently see from trusted local television news stations: the act of sharing irrelevant articles, often about minorities who’ve committed horrific crimes, to increase website traffic. In other words, click-bait (often racially charged) from (previously) reputable...

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Between the Lines: Immigrant abuse – Where’s the outrage, Happy Valley?
Oct16

Between the Lines: Immigrant abuse – Where’s the outrage, Happy Valley?

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey recently slapped five Valley restaurants with about $17,000 in penalties for paying workers less than minimum wage, violating the state’s Earned Sick Time law and other violations of regulations meant to keep workers from financial exploitation. It’s about time. But is it enough? The sanctions came a year after the Daily Hampshire Gazette published “Under the Table,” an investigation into...

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Editor Kristin Palpini’s Advocate Farewell: Riding Off Into The Sunset, Y’all
Oct09

Editor Kristin Palpini’s Advocate Farewell: Riding Off Into The Sunset, Y’all

It’s been real, but it’s time for me to be moving on. I’ve stepped down as editor to pursue other writing opportunities and I’m looking forward to getting back into reporting on, rather than assigning, stories. Reporting is how I got my start in the business back in 2003 at the Advocate’s sister pub, the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Good God, what can I say about 15 years with the same company, the last three of them leading the Valley...

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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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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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