From Other Sources: News For And About Amherst.  This Week, April 16, A Local News Roundup

Photo: Flckr.com. Creative Commons

This feature offers links to selected articles that might be of interest to Amherst readers. I favor, in these postings, with a few exceptions, material that is not hiding behind a paywall. Hence, I have reduced my postings from sources like the Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalThe Boston GlobeThe Chronicle of Higher Education, and MassLive which are doing some great reporting but which make their articles inaccessible without some sort of payment. On occasion, an article seems too important not to mention, and in such cases I will post it, and leave it for the reader to decide whether to pay for access. If you have read something that is germane to what I’ve been posting in this feature, please share the link in the comments section below.

This week I provide links to a series of local stories that didn’t make it into the Indy.  Thanks to our other local news sources for covering these stories.

UMass Announces Across The Board Tuition Increases by Associated Press (4/14/22). The University of Massachusetts, under financial pressure because of high inflation and other expected cost increases, is raising tuition across the board this fall for the first time in three years. Trustees on Wednesday voted to increase in-state, undergraduate tuition by 2.5% for the 2022-2023 academic year, which would add $395 to the bill of a student at the flagship Amherst campus, and slightly less at the Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses, the system announced. Out-of-state undergraduates face the same increases, except at Amherst where they face a 3% hike. Room and board costs are also rising by up to 3.9%. The system had not raised tuition during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Boston.com)

Amherst To Explore Building Sidewalks On East Pleasant Street by Scott Merzbach (4/14/22). A street that connects the University of Massachusetts campus to the Cushman section of Amherst has long been popular with joggers, walkers and bicyclists, even though it has no sidewalks to keep pedestrians safe from vehicular traffic. Four years after residents appealed to town officials to begin the process of getting new sidewalks built on East Pleasant Street, worried about children using the street where cars regularly go 40 to 50 mph, Town Manager Paul Bockelman said the town will be hiring a company to begin a 12-week survey to examine whether sidewalks are possible. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

High School Track Notebook: Amherst Will Not Host Home Meets This Year by Hannah Bevis (4/14/22). The Hurricanes will spend their entire season on the road. Amherst doesn’t currently have a home track that’s in usable condition to host meets. Though it appeared to have found a solution in using Amherst College’s track when the college team wasn’t using it, that fell through, too. The Mammoths’ throwing area is far from the track across Route 116, and the Amherst College athletic department wasn’t comfortable with the high-schoolers using it. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Bids For North Amherst Library Nearly $500,000 More Than Estimates by Scott Merzbach (4/13/22). Soaring construction costs are being felt in Amherst as bids for putting an addition onto the North Amherst Library, and making the 1893 building handicapped accessible, came in significantly higher than initial estimates. But Town Manager Paul Bockelman said this week it is too early to know how the three general contracting bids received for the work might affect the project being paid for by an anonymous donor. The lowest of the bids came in nearly $500,000, or 38%, higher than the $1.25 million estimated price tag. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

UMass Pushes Back Commencement In 2023.  Town Not Happy. by Scott Merzbach (4/13/22). The University of Massachusetts is pushing back its commencement ceremony to late May beginning next year, the result of a revised academic calendar that features a new six-week winter session. But the decision by the Faculty Senate, causing the 2023 commencement to be nearly two weeks later than this year, could mean increased costs related to public safety, and potentially hurt local businesses, Town Manager Paul Bockelman said. “This new graduation date would allow for several additional weeks in May where the demands on our public safety teams are heightened and will be a challenge for the town to sustain,” Bockelman said. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Earl Miller Reflects On Path To Becoming Amherst’s CRESS Director by Dylan Corey (4/12/22). Earl Miller will use his life experience and solutions-oriented work history as well as social-forward strategies to respond to non-violent emergency calls as the new leader of Amherst’s Community Responders for Equity, Safety and Service (CRESS) Department. (The Reminder)

Report Notes Housing Shortage Across Pioneer Valley by C. Michael Dobbs (4/12/22). A new study from the UMass Donahue Institute shows the Pioneer Valley – Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin counties – has a significant deficit of housing units, which is having repercussions in economic development. Keith Fairey, the president and CEO of Way Finders, told Reminder Publishing the problem is only going to get worse if action is not taken. According to the report, “Much of the region’s rental housing is out of reach for residents, calculated by comparing rental units available and incomes to determine housing income mismatch. This represents a sizable amount of the out-of-reach rental housing in the state: the Pioneer Valley has 10 percent of Massachusetts’ rental units but has 15 percent of the state’s rent income mismatch, in other words, one in six of all apartments in the commonwealth that are financially out of reach are in the Pioneer Valley. (The Reminder)

ARHS Takes Steps To Prevent Student Fights by Scott Merzbach (4/11/22). A fight at Amherst Regional High School on a recent morning injured a student, prompting a response from medical professionals to evaluate the possibly unconscious individual. That March 21 altercation was, according to a letter sent to parents and guardians the following dayby Principal Talib Sadiq, one of a growing number of disturbances this school year, with some occurring in hallways or bathrooms, and at times when students should be in their classrooms. “Fights have increased this year over the number of fights in the years before the pandemic,” Sadiq wrote in the communication. “We are being told that most of these conflicts start with some ‘disrespectful’ social media posts, and we have been shown screenshots of outrageous conversations between students and videos of the fights that often ensue.” Following that late March letter, and with the concerning behavior not yet abating, Sadiq on Friday wrote again to families spelling out a series of policy changes being made to address reported fears about using bathrooms and discomfort in walking the hallways. (Amherst Bulletin)

Developer Proposes Five Story Apartment Complex On Olympia Drive by Scott Merzbach (4/11/22). Plans for a 68-unit, dormitory-style apartment building to replace a former sorority house on Olympia Drive have been filed with the town’s Planning Department. Archipelago Investments LLC of South Pleasant Street recently submitted concepts for a five-story building that would redevelop the 1.06-acre site at 47 Olympia Drive. According to the plans, the as-yet-unnamed project would have 230 beds, an entry desk and lobby, along with fitness, study and gathering spaces. Permitting for the project has not yet begun. Planning Director Christine Brestrup said a hearing date on the project before the Planning Board is still to be scheduled. The development would go up immediately next to Olympia Place, a 75-unit, 236-bed apartment building at 57 Olympia Drive that has been reserved for local college students since its opening in September 2016. (Amherst Bulletin)

Amherst Regional High School Students Showcase Trip To Africa by Scott Merzbach (4/11/22). Over the three weeks in the winter that six Amherst Regional High School students were in Senegal and The Gambia, they experienced a new culture, found a welcoming atmosphere with host families, and were fascinated by the perspectives their peers offered on the United States. “The world seems very far apart, and everyone seems very different when we’re in Amherst here,” says junior Ian Buchanan, one of the school’s Sene-Gambian Scholars who made the trip to the West African nations in mid-February through early March. “But I think when we got there, especially with our hosts, we saw how similar everyone was, and we shared so many interests, and it was really great getting to know our hosts and making friends across the world.” (Amherst Bulletin)

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1 thought on “From Other Sources: News For And About Amherst.  This Week, April 16, A Local News Roundup

  1. I like this feature, and would be pleased if the cited sources would reciprocate by including some Indy content in their pages.

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