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Around Amherst: Interfaith support for new Hampshire Mosque site



Staff Writer
Thursday, November 16, 2017

AMHERST — Area churches, synagogues and faith communities will gather Sunday afternoon for a fundraiser for the Hampshire Mosque’s new site on Route 9 in Hadley.

The 4 p.m. event, at the Wesley United Methodist Church, 98 North Maple St., Hadley, is being organized by Peter Blood, a member of the Mount Toby Friends Meeting in Leverett and has support from others, including Rabbi Benjamin Weiner at the Jewish Community of Amherst, which faced its own issues in finding a permanent home years ago.

“It’s our turn now, and our honor, to play a supporting role as the Hampshire Mosque accomplishes the same goal,” Weiner said in a statement.

The mosque needs additional money to pave the parking lot at its location and then to get an occupancy permit.

“Before we even officially open our doors, this interfaith fundraising effort is an act of solidarity and support put into action,” said Naz Mohamed, clerk for the Hampshire Mosque’s board. “It’s integral to living our faith that we have strong relationships with our neighbors built on kindness, generosity, mutual respect and helpfulness.”

Activities during the event will include a silent auction, a short film on Islam and remarks by a Muslim scholar who is a member of the mosque community. A member of the mosque board will show slides of the new space. Several area clergy will lead interfaith prayers and two choirs will offer songs.

An international feast, for a suggested donation of $10 to $25, will also be part of the event.

Book sales

Both the Jones Library in Amherst, at 43 Amity St., and the Goodwin Memorial Library in Hadley, 50 Middle St., are holding book sales this weekend.

The holiday book fair by the Friends of the Jones Libraries begins with a Friends-only night Friday at 6:30 p.m. New members are welcome to join at the door. On Saturday, the book fair runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition to books, including the Well Read Cook cookbook, there will be library tote bags, mugs and T-shirts for sale.

Friends of the Goodwin Memorial Library runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Books, compact discs and DVDs will sell for $1 apiece.

Parking changes

No major issues have occurred with the recent adjustments to downtown parking, including new parking machines and rates.

“Things have seemed to go remarkably well,” Town Manager Paul Bockelman told the Select Board this week.

He said customer service has been the focus for parking enforcement officers, who are educating the public on how to use the new pay-by-license plate parking machines, the reprogrammed and relabeled meters and use of the ParkMobile app on smartphones.

Bockelman said in the first week the town received 11 emails, with two complimenting the system, and the rest objecting to various aspects, including the higher costs and the enforcement that runs until 8 p.m.

Rotary auction

The Amherst Rotary’s annual auction, one of the largest fundraisers for the club, is being held for the 10th time this weekend.

The auction will be broadcast from the Amherst Media studios from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and shown on Channel 12.

Money raised will go toward grants for community projects. For more information, visit amherstrotaryauction.org

Retirement

Beginning her career when the Amherst police was in the basement of Town Hall and planning was underway for a new police station, Tina Swift is retiring 30 years later as the Jones Library prepares to expand and renovate its building.

Swift, the business manager and secretary for the library trustees, said in an email that being a town employee has been rewarding and challenging,

“Working for the own of Amherst has been wonderful, maddening, exhilarating, frustrating, joyful, exciting, fulfilling and just terrific,” Swift said. “Just like life.”

Swift recalls starting her tenure as part-time secretary in the police records office under former Police Chief Don Maia, and taking minutes for the building committee that worked on the construction of the police station that opened in 1990, which at the time she joked was dubbed the “Maia Majal.”

Swift then worked part time for the Housing Review Board and the town’s Children’s Services, doing paperwork and administering the town daycare subsidy and provided referrals to parents looking for daycare, before moving onto the accounting office and in 1995 arriving as adminstrative assistant at the Jones.

A member of the library’s Burnett Gallery Committee and a leader of the Service Employees International Union, Swift said she has appreciated working under both current Jones director Sharon Sharry and former director Bonnie Isman.

Trustees President Austin Sarat complimented Swift at a recent meeting.

“Tina has served the library in an extraordinary way for a long time,” Sarat said,

In retirement, Swift said she will remain involved with the Burnett Gallery and intends to seek out other volunteer opportunities.

Gift drive

The annual holiday gift drive organized by the Amherst Police Department begins Monday and runs through Dec. 20.

People can drop off unwrapped gifts and gift cards for infants and children at the 111 Main St. station, which will then be delivered to Jessie’s House, the Bridge Family Resource Center and the Amherst Survival Center

Detective Marcus Humber, who has overseen the started five years ago, said he hopes people will bring in presents as soon as possible. For more information, contact Humber at 259-3355 or humberm@amherstma.gov

Woman’s Club talk

Author Christian McEwen will give a talk titled “Women and Money Stories: If Money Talks, It Is With Our Voice” at the Amherst Woman’s Club, 35 Triangle St.

The talk, which begins at 1:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Meetings

MONDAY: Jones Library Budget Committee, 10:30 a.m., Goodwin Room, Jones Library; Complete Streets/ Traffic Calming Subcommittee, 4:30 p.m., conference room, Department of Public Works, Select Board, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.