Restaurant to raise money for daughters of the late Larry Kelley

Staff Writer
Thursday, March 16, 2017

AMHERST — A Fearing Street pizza and sandwich shop is holding a benefit Thursday and Friday that will help pay for the future college education of the daughters of late Amherst blogger and Town Meeting member Larry Kelley.

Rebecca Casagrande, who owns Sunset Grill & Pizza at 150 Fearing, is donating 10 percent of all sales between 11 a.m. Thursday and 9 p.m. Friday toward a college fund for Kira, 15, and Jada, 10.

The total contribution, which will go the Kira and Jada Kelley Memorial Fund at Easthampton Savings Bank, will be matched by Hampshire Gymnastics.

Kelley, a prominent blogger who covered Amherst news and used a drone to capture aerial images of the town, was killed in a car crash in Belchertown Feb. 17.

Casagrande said the fundraiser is a way to give back to Kelley’s family after he provided her an aerial photo of the nearby Southwest towers at the University of Massachusetts at sunset.

She added that Kelley also played a vital role in town affairs, seeking the truth and opposing backdoor politics, and supporting veterans and honoring the American flag.

“In my opinion Larry made people think about what has happening in and around town and how those things impacted the community,” Casagrande said. “In general, making people more aware and having them be more vested in the outcome, whether they shared his opinion or not.”

Nearly a month later, the crash which fatally injured Kelley and also injured occupants of a second vehicle, remains under investigation, according to Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.