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Around Amherst: Select Board considers chastening Trump on Puerto Rico response



Staff Writer
Thursday, October 05, 2017

AMHERST — Amherst’s elected leaders may take a stand expressing the town’s dismay in the federal response to recovery efforts on Puerto Rico following the recent hurricanes and the seeming lack of empathy by President Trump.

The Select Board is considering bringing a warrant article to fall Town Meeting that would call on Congress and state officials to address issues with the hurricane relief work and point out that schools in Amherst and the region could need resources if Puerto Rican families choose to resettle in the Pioneer Valley.

The potential article comes from a request from Vincent O’Connor of Summer Street, who called Trump’s work “a new low in national response to emergencies” and that he was bothered by Trump’s racist comments toward the mayor of San Juan.

Select Board member Jim Wald said it may be too late to get an article on the warrant for the November sessions, in which case a statement or proclamation may be made.

“Even if there is no article, we would consider writing a letter expressing our concern to our representatives,” Wald said.

Blogging the new charter

A blog that will offer perspectives on the Charter Commission’s proposal to change the town’s government structure launched this week.

“A Better Amherst” is the name of the blog in which commission members Nick Grabbe and Mandi Jo Hanneke, who both support the proposal to replace Select Board and Town Meeting with a 13-member council, will write pieces. It can be found at http://abetteramherst.org.

Training gear for K9 Marvin

Specialized equipment, including a training suit, sleeves and an e-collar, will soon outfit Marvin, one of two K9 units used by Amherst Police.

The department recently received a $2,404 grant from Massachusetts Vest-A-Dog, Inc. that allows the department Marvin to participate in training exercises.

Cuppa Joe

Town Manager Paul Bockelman will bring his next Cuppa Joe with Paul event to the Cushman Café and Market at 491 Pine St. Oct. 13.

Bockelman will be joined by Health Director Julie Federman from 7:30 to 9 a.m. The public is encouraged to stop by to offer comments, praise and concerns and ask questions.

Amherst Community Connections moves

Amherst Community Connections, an agency that assists individuals and families experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity, has moved from the lower level of the Unitarian Meetinghouse to a new location at 236 North Pleasant St., at the corner of Hallock Street.

Hwei-Ling Greeney, founder and executive director of the organization that began in 2009, said the new site is on the bus route and handicapped accessible.

“The new office space provides a calm and private environment one needs to discuss personal challenging situations and needs,” Greeney said.

Two open houses will be held later this month, the first Oct. 24 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the second Oct. 28 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Special arts and crafts exhibits by program participants and staff will be on display and refreshments will be served.

Talk on Yugolsavia

A presentation on the former Eastern European country Yugoslavia, by Ljiljana Korugic-Karasz, takes place at the Amherst Woman’s Club Monday.

“The Story of Former Yugoslavia” will be told by Korugic-Karasz, a University of Malta professor emeritus, at the 35 Triangle St. beginning at 1:30 p.m.

The talk is free and refreshments will be served afterward.

Town Meeting openings

Town Clerk Sandra Burgess that eight vacancies for Town Meeting need to be filled before sessions in November.

The open seats include four in Precinct 1, two in Precinct 4 and one apiece in Precincts 5 and 8.

Nomination papers to fill vacant seats until the 2018 annual town election can be filed by any Amherst registered voter living in the precincts until the close of business Oct. 12.

Columbus Day

Police Chief Scott Livingstone has issued a blanket permit allowing stores to be open regular hours on Monday.

State law requires police chiefs to issue the permits on Columbus Day, which in Amherst has been renamed Indigenous Peoples Day.

Fishing event

​The Cops and Bobbers, Hooks and Ladders program, which teaches children to fish and have positive interactions with police, will be held Saturday.

University of Massachusetts and Amherst police officers will be part of the event, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Richard Cronin Aquatic Resource Center, 51 East Plumtree Road, Sunderland.

For more information, contact Jennifer Lapis at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 413-835-5541 or Jennifer_Lapis @fws.gov

Meetings

TUESDAY: Buildings and Facilities Committee for Jones Library, 3:30 p.m., Woodbury Room, Jones Library; Amherst Public Shade Tree Committee, 5:30 p.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall.

THURSDAY: Board of Assessors, 11 a.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall; Four Boards Meeting with Select Board, Jones Library trustees, Finance Committee and Amherst School Committee, 5 p.m., and Zoning Board of Appeals, 6 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

SATURDAY: DPW/Fire Station Advisory Committee, 10 a.m., Central Fire Station.