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Dear Reader,

As many of you know, the Indy website was down for much of the day on Thursday (4/29) and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.  We had a malware infestation and thanks to the readers who shared information and helped us ID the problem, we were up and running again by Thursday evening.

New Feature In The Indy
This week we launch a new feature – longer articles that take a deep dive into a subject in order to help readers understand some of the complex issues facing this town.  We thought we might call the series Municipal Government 101 because our interest in soliciting these articles is to foster a higher level of civic literacy.  But for the moment we’ve settled on Issues & Analyses. These articles will appear in the Indy between the news section and the opinion section, hopefully with some regularity.  We kick off the series with two enlightening contributions.  The first, by UMass Economics Professor Gerald Friedman and his research assistant Maral Asik, looks at taxes and the peculiar economics of college towns that cause them to go up and down. There’s been a lot of chatter in town lately about the high rate of taxes in Amherst and who or what is responsible.  We asked Professor Friedman to help us move from memes to analyses and understanding. This week’s contribution, the first of three articles, looks at how taxes and revenues are connected to the size of the school age population. And since there is much talk in town about whether/how new residential developments will generate more tax revenues, Friedman and Asik endeavor to break that down in terms that we can all understand.

In the other Issues & Analyses paper, Defund 413 Amherst provides us with a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the Police Abolition Movement. There is much confusion over the different movements to abolish, defund, and reform policing in the USA.  This introduction helps us understand the differences and commonalities of these movements and the reasons for their national surge right now, and helps us to better understand concerns about policing here in Amherst. With the Community Safety Working Group poised to make recommendations to the Town Council on how Amherst should reimagine policing, this compendium provides solid preparation for understanding those forthcoming recommendations.

In addition to the two forthcoming articles, from Friedman and Asik, we have Issues & Analyses articles in the works on The Master Plan and Inclusionary Zoning.

If there is a topic in municipal governance that you would like to better understand, drop us a note and let us know. Ditto if you would like to take that deep dive and share your expertise with the community.  Write to us at

Still Looking For Writers and Editors
We’ve heard from a few folks who are interested in helping us with our editing and we are grateful and will be getting back to you soon.  There’s still plenty of work for our editorial crew so if you have some experience and would like to help us produce Amherst’s Progressive and Independent New Source – drop us a note.

As of today the Indy has posted over 1600 articles by 171 unique contributors.  That’s a lot of writers and our growing number of writers speaks to our aspiration to be a project of the community.  Nonetheless we find ourselves with more assignments and  more breaking news than we have people available to cover them. And we have a whole folder of possible investigative stories looking for someone who enjoys delving into public records. So if you haven’t written for us yet, or lately, we urge you to get in touch and we’ll find something interesting for you to do.

Thanks for reading The Indy,


Art Keene
Managing Editor
The Amherst Indy

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