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Students on climate ride bring message



AMHERST — As people celebrated Independence Day with fireworks and carnival activities near Alumni Stadium at the University of Massachusetts, six members of a group that aims to educate residents about climate change presented concerns about the Tennessee Gas Pipeline proposed to run through towns in Franklin and Hampshire counties.

The college-age students, who are part of the annual Climate Summer project, are riding their bicycles throughout New England to promote environmental issues. The six, who make up the western Massachusetts contingent, are spending a week in the Amherst area, one of a number of week-long stops in the Pioneer Valley.

Georgette Sordellini, a Salem College student from North Carolina, said the group also attended the Amherst Farmers Market with a homemade pipeline designed to draw attention to their concerns about the possible construction of the pipeline by Kinder Morgan, a gas company based in Houston, Texas.

“We stood outside of the market with the pipeline engaging with community members about the harms of natural gas and why we do not need this new pipeline,” Sordellini said.

Climate Summer is sponsored by the Boston-based non-profit A Better Future Project.

So far the western Massachusetts riders have logged 200 miles. Sordellini said they believe they are helping to build resistance to proposals to bring more natural gas through the region.

The group also visited Holyoke, where they met residents at the Holyoke Farmers Market and talked to them about the Mount Tom Coal plant’s shutdown and the cleanup that still needs to happen there. Climate Summer is working with Neighbor to Neighbor, a Holyoke-based economic justice organization that tries to empower low-income residents, to assist plant workers who are losing their jobs.

Dineen O’Rourke, a Hampshire College student from New York, said in a statement that the ride is about empowering individuals.

“We are biking to sustain and support people power in these local communities,” O’Roure said. “That’s what will stop this pipeline and change our mindset around natural gas.”

In the coming weeks the bicyclists will be heading to Shelburne and Plainfield and will conclude their ride in Greenfield in August.

Slavery talk

Amherst historian Robert Romer, who has done extensive research on slavery in the Pioneer Valley, will give a sermon on the topic at the Unitarian Universalist Society Sunday at 10 a.m.

Romer said he has done more than 100 talks on slavery in the last decade, helping both to recognize the people who were enslaved and the free black men who fought for the United States during the Civil War.

The church is located at 121 North Pleasant St.

Police recognized

Three Amherst police officers recently earned recognition for saving the life of a 48-year-old man who went into cardiac arrest in February.

Patrol officers Felipe Feliciano, Matthew Frydryk and Joshua Harris earned the First Responder Recognition Award at a ceremony last month at Springfield Technical Community College.

The award comes from the state’s Municipal Police Training Committee.

‘Star Wars’ event

A symposium on “Star Wars” in which guests are invited to dress as their favorite character from the movie series will be held at the Jones Library’s Woodbury Room Saturday at 2 p.m.

The program, appropriate for ages 5 and up, is being led by Peter Struzziero and will include a character identification game, a costume contest and a trivia game. Videos of how “Star Wars” has become part of mainstream culture will also be shown.

Meetings

WEDNESDAY: Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

FRIDAY: Jones Library Personnel Planning and Policy Committee, 9 a.m., Goodwin Room, Jones Library.