1. Articles from Diane Lederman, The Republican

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    1. Springfield-based HAP looking for applicants for new 42-unit Amherst affordable housing project

      Springfield-based HAP looking for applicants for new 42-unit Amherst affordable housing project

      With the Olympia Oaks affordable housing development just months from completion, the housing authority overseeing the 42-unit project has started accepting applications. The project on Olympia Drive is a mix of one-, 
 two- and three-bedroom apartments in townhouses and triplexes around
 a common green, including garden space and a playground. The project “designed for community connection, accessibility, affordability and energy efficiency,” according to the website at HAP, the Springfield-based nonprofit housing assistance agency overseeing the project.

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    2. UMass Donahue Institute will look at whether online classes can help boost graduation rate

      University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute researchers will look at high schools with high dropout rates, including schools in Holyoke and Springfield, to determine whether online courses help keep students in school. The Quincy-based Nellie Mae Education Foundation has awarded the institute $354,000 for the two-year study. He said by the time they are finished with the data, the study will include 6,000 students.

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    3. TD Charitable Foundation awards $100,000 to Parsons Village project in Easthampton

      TD Charitable Foundation awards $100,000 to Parsons Village project in Easthampton

      Northampton-based Valley Community Development has been awarded a $100,000 grant for the Parsons Village project from the TD Charitable Foundation, one of just 25 given nationally. The award will allow the developer to restore some aspects of the project it had to cut to meet budget, said CDC Executive Director Joanne Campbell.

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    4. UMass climate center to award $800,000 to help park and refuge managers adapt to changing weather

      UMass climate center to award $800,000 to help park and refuge managers adapt to changing weather

      The Northeast Climate Science Center at the University of Massachusetts is awarding more than $800,000 to universities and other partners for research that will aid park and refuge managers and to help species and ecosystems adapt to regional climate change, according to a press release. The money is coming from the Department of the Interior, which is funding this and other regional science centers around the country.

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    5. Hitchcock Center in Amherst awarded grant to teach new program in energy literacy

      Hitchcock Center in Amherst awarded grant to teach new program in energy literacy

      The Energy Literacy Project will introduce 20 teachers and 450 children to “new approaches to scientific learning to observation, inference and verification that will reinvigorate a child’s natural curiosity in the scientific world,” according to a press release. Hitchcock Executive Director Julie Johnson said, “This is really a timely new curriculum.” The children will learn and then help spread their knowledge to their families, she said.

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      Mentions: Amherst
    6. UMass Amherst has new projects in design phase, including physical sciences building

      UMass Amherst has new projects in design phase, including physical sciences building

      Building and planning continues at the University of Massachusetts, which celebrated the opening of the new Commonwealth College dorm/classroom building and the new science center this fall. Campus Planning Director Dennis Swinford provided a campus master plan update last week, highlighting the accomplishments as well as the new buildings on the horizon. He said the $95 million, 171,500-square-foot new classroom building under construction is on schedule to open in the fall. Three new buildings are in the design phase

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    7. Amherst Planning Board issues modifications to 'Retreat' developers following preliminary hearing

      Amherst Planning Board issues modifications to 'Retreat' developers following preliminary hearing

      Jon Williams, president of the Athens-Georgia based Williams & Associates engineering firm, told the board and the crowd “We’re committed to the town, we’re committed to the town’s zoning.” He said there will be details including a traffic study forthcoming. Planning Board member Sandra Anderson asked that they consider reducing parking. Williams said they would “consider reducing parking spaces. Kids are going to have cars. They’re going to put them somewhere,” he said. He said there will work to bring public transportation through the project.

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      Mentions: Amherst
    8. Amherst chosen to participate in latest round of Solarize Mass program

      Amherst chosen to participate in latest round of Solarize Mass program

      The town is one of four area communities chosen to participate in the second round of the Solarize Mass program. The program is a partnership between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and provides lower pricing for small-scale solar-electric installations on local homes and businesses.

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    9. UMass to make $2 million in improvements to campus security following independent review

      UMass to make $2 million in improvements to campus security following independent review

      The University of Massachusetts has agreed to spend more than $2 million during the next three years to make the 51 residence halls safer. Improvements will include the installation of a computerized visitor entry system following the recommendations of a safety firm hired to review campus security. UMass hired Business Protection Specialists, Inc., a security consulting firm based in Canandaigua, N.Y., to review campus safety in March following the report of a gang rape on campus in October 2012.

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    10. Easthampton seeking bids for infrastructure work on Pleasant Street mill project

      Easthampton seeking bids for infrastructure work on Pleasant Street mill project

      The MassWorks Infrastructure Program last fall awarded $2.75 million to help Michael Michon, owner of Mill 180 on Pleasant Street, Will Bundy, owner of Eastworks Mill, and James Witmer, owner of the Brickyard, with their proposal to connect their buildings and flip the buildings' entrances to open on the side facing the Manhan Rail Trail instead of Pleasant Street. The infrastructure work must be completed first. Bids are due back in the city Jan. 6, City Planner Jessica Allan said. She said the city hopes, with help of their consultant R. Levesque Associates, Inc. of Westfield to award the ...

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    11. Amherst BID hires Sarah la Cour, interim operations director, as new executive director

      Amherst BID hires Sarah la Cour, interim operations director, as new executive director

      Sarah la Cour, hired in July as the Amherst Business Improvement District interim operations director, will no longer be interim. The BID earlier this month hired her as its new executive director. “The board is very confident in Sarah,” Barry Roberts, the BID’s board president, said in a press release. “She brings to the position the skills necessary to make the Amherst BID a major force in the enhancement of the downtown.”

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    12. Cinda Jones hopes to lure satellite Atkins Farms market to new building in North Amherst

      Cinda Jones hopes to lure satellite Atkins Farms market to new building in North Amherst

      The owner of Atkins Farms Country Market is again considering opening a second shop in North Amherst in a new building owned by WD Cowls. Two years ago, Atkins Farms officials were considering opening a second market in the former Cowls sawmill building in North Amherst but decided against it because they were in involved in a number of projects at their South Amherst store.

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      Mentions: Amherst
    13. UMass Amherst town-gown committee hopes to draft proposal to hire consultant to address shared issues

      UMass Amherst town-gown committee hopes to draft proposal to hire consultant to address shared issues

      Town Manager John P. Musante, who is not on the committee but attended the first meeting to talk about the charge, said it is a “great, very talented group.” David Ziomek, assistant town manager, is the co-chair. 
 Musante said they talked about having information available on the websites of both the town and the university to keep the public informed.

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    14. Manhan River bridge in Easthampton slated to reopen Thursday, five weeks ahead of schedule

      Manhan River bridge in Easthampton slated to reopen Thursday, five weeks ahead of schedule

      Transportation Administrator Frank DePaola will visit the bridge on Monday at 10 a.m. to see the finished work and learn about the remaining items to be completed, according to the release. The $3.74 million bridge was built with precast concrete deck bulb T-beams, a process that reduces the amount of time required. This is the first such construction used in Western Massachusetts. The beams are built and cured off site.

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    15. Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts unveils new funding strategy at first Power Up meeting

      Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts unveils new funding strategy at first Power Up meeting

      The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts unveiled its new funding strategies at the first of four Power Up events it is sponsoring in each of the four Western Massachusetts counties it serves. Instead of funding organizations such as Berkshire United Way or the Lutheran Social Services of New England, the fund is offering one three-year grant of $20,000 each year to a program in each of the four counties. They are hoping these grants will make an even greater impact on the lives of women and children and meet the needs of the particular counties.

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    16. UMass hoping to save nearly $50 million in electricity costs over next 2 to 3 decades

      UMass hoping to save nearly $50 million in electricity costs over next 2 to 3 decades

      The University of Massachusetts system is hoping to save $50 million in electric costs over the next two to three decades serving as hosts to companies building solar photovoltaic projects in the state. UMass Wednesday announced a new partnership with the Net Excess Generation Credit program offered by the commonwealth of Massachusetts that makes the arrangement viable.

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    17. UMass professor Lisa Chasan-Taber receives $3.2 million in federal grants

      UMass professor Lisa Chasan-Taber receives $3.2 million in federal grants

      University of Massachusetts professor Lisa E. Chasan-Taber has received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases to use individual coaching and support to help Hispanic women avoid obesity during pregnancy and to develop a healthy, active lifestyle. This is the fourth multimillion-dollar grant the epidemiology professor has received from these agencies to work with Hispanic women, totaling more than $10 million.

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    18. Amherst officials seeking $2.45 million from state to improve Pomeroy Village infrastructure

      Amherst officials seeking $2.45 million from state to improve Pomeroy Village infrastructure

      Officials have applied for a $2.45 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to make improvements in the Pomeroy Village Center. The intention is to encourage “multi-family housing, economic development and enhance vehicular pedestrian safety,” according to the application. The town will pay $55,000 to pay for the surveying, design and permitting for the project. The improvements would support the second phase of development of Amherst Office Park, a development by Ronald LaVerdiere. He has proposed a three-story mixed use building with 12,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor and 17 residential units on the two ...

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      Mentions: Amherst
    19. Western Massachusetts colleges ranked in latest U.S. News & World Report ratings poll

      Western Massachusetts colleges ranked in latest U.S. News & World Report ratings poll

      The number of colleges and universities used in the ranking system vary by category.  U.S. News compiles the rankings to help families concerned with “finding the best academic value for their money.” And it offers myriad information about the particular school including information about tuition and student enrollment.

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    20. Amherst hoping to apply to Solarize Mass to help residents afford installing solar panels

      Amherst hoping to apply to Solarize Mass to help residents afford installing solar panels

      Amherst is hoping to apply to be part of the Solarize Mass program and wants to gauge what kind of interest there is in the community to ensure that it’s possible. Solarize Mass is a partnership between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and provides lower pricing for small-scale solar-electric installations on local homes and businesses.

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