FROM OTHER SOURCES. NEWS AND FEATURES FOR AND ABOUT AMHERST (#10)

Editor’s Note: “From Other Sources” offers links to articles that may  be of interest to Amherst readers. We will update this section every other week, emphasizing different timely topics.. We have now added a tag called  “From Other Sources” so that you can easily find previous editions/links. Simply click the “From Other Sources” tag on the tag menu, found in the right=hand sidebar on  any open article.

 COLLEGES & THEIR FUTURE

Are Liberal Arts Colleges Doomed? The Cautionary Tale of Hampshire College and the Broken Business Model of Higher Education by Eliza Gray (10/21/19) Poll most top educators about their ideal kind of learning for the 21st century, and they’ll probably sound a lot like a Hampshire College student. The virtues of open-ended thinking and project-based learning will be familiar to any Washington parent who has toured a “bougie” preschool. But thanks to a slow recovery from the 2008 recession, rising student debt and class anxiety, parents and students are looking at college less as an intellectual experience and more as an insurance policy—and that calls for colleges that offer proven outcomes, measurable skills or exceptional prestige. (The Washington Post)

ENERGY &THE ENVIRONMENT

How Much Money Would Be Needed to Halt Global Warming? UN Scientists Say $300 Billion by Adam Maendie and Pratik Parija (10/23/19) United Nations climate scientists say that $300 billion is the amount needed to stop the rise in greenhouse gases and buy up to 20 years of time to fix global warming. That money would be used to lock millions of tons of carbon into the soil. (Bloomberg News)

Global Warming Disinformation Database. Welcome to the DeSmog Climate Disinformation Research Database where you can search and browse extensive research on the individuals and organizations that have helped to delay and distract the public and our elected leaders from taking needed action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and fight global warming. Choose a tab  to view the lists of climate science denier individuals and organizations. DeSmog thoroughly investigates the academic and industry backgrounds of those involved in the PR spin campaigns that are confusing the public and stalling action. 

New Study Shows a Decade of Progress Positions Massachusetts to Take Clean Energy to the Next Level by Ben Hellerstein (9/12/19) Since 2009, Massachusetts has seen a 170-fold growth in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun, according to a new report released today by Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. The report also highlights advances in the use of energy storage and electric vehicles, and Massachusetts ranked 2nd among the states for improvements in electricity energy efficiency programs. (Environment Massachusetts)

How close is Massachusetts to electric public buses? Mass. lawmakers pushing for zero-emission vehicles by 2038 by Tanner Stening (10/18/19) Amid mounting calls for a more reliable statewide public transit system, state lawmakers and transportation experts are making a push for electricity-powered transportation solutions this legislative session. Lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Transportation held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss a rash of bills looking to electrify buses, expand electric charging stations and require that the registration of future vehicles in the state be exclusively for “zero emissions vehicles.” (Masslive.com)

MEDIA

Historic District Not Ready to Clear Plans for Amherst Media Headquarters by Scott Merzbach (10/16/19) Amherst Media officials are still awaiting a decision on whether they will be granted a certificate of appropriateness allowing them to proceed with plans to build a new headquarters in the Emily Dickinson Local Historical District. At a meeting Tuesday , the Local Historic District Commission again postponed a vote, scheduling a follow-up meeting for Oct. 22. Senior Planner Nathaniel Malloy said the commission wants to have more in-depth discussion about what is appropriate for the site, at the corner of Main and Gray streets, and whether the project meets the criteria outlined in the bylaw adopted in 2012. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

PLANNING/ZONING

What Does a Strong Town’s Master Plan Look Like? by Kevin Klinkenberg. (10/21/19) Let’s be frank. There’s some real tension between the “do lots of small things” approach emphasized by Strong Towns and the “do big things” approach that’s baked into our current planning and development professions. We are hard-wired for bigness today. Big dreams, big ideas, big money, big government, big corporations. Bigness is deeply American, and arguably has been for generations. Can this tension be resolved? Is it one approach or the other? (StrongTowns.org)

SANCTUARY

730 Days and Counting: Lucio Perez Still Living in Sanctuary at Amherst Church by Dusty Christensen (10/18/19) Exactly two years ago, Lucio Perez stood on the steps of First Congregational Church to announce that he would be taking up sanctuary in the building to avoid deportation. “I’m not a criminal,” Perez, an undocumented immigrant, said at the time to more than 150 people who had gathered for the press conference. “I’m here to confront the situation, and I hope you’ll help me pray.” ( Daily Hampshire Gazette).

TAXES

Average Amherst Single Family Home Tax Bill Rising $275 by Scott Merzbach (10/24/19) Homeowners who live in single-family homes in Amherst will see their average annual tax bills rise by about $275 this year. A single tax rate for all properties in Amherst, which are mostly residential and commercial, is being maintained following a unanimous Town Council vote Monday. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

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