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Around Amherst: Town Meeting group offers forum on environmental issues

The Town Meeting Coordinating Committee is aiming to educate residents and Town Meeting members about several environment-related issues facing the town.

“Greening Amherst! Our Budget, Our Master Plan, Our Planet” is the title of a forum that will be held at the Town Room at Town Hall Tuesday at 7 p.m. Margaret Roberts, chairwoman of the TMCC, said she expects to see more warrant articles like one passed by Town Meeting in the fall, prohibiting businesses from using polystyrene foam containers.

“We want people to know things are happening in Amherst and also to see what other communities are doing,” Roberts said.

Speakers will include climate change expert Al Werner, Amherst Sustainability Coordinator Stephanie Ciccarello, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission representative Catherine Ratte, Amherst Recycling Coordinator Susan Waite and Amherst Transition Movement member Bernard Brennan.

The town’s master plan refers to sustainability and other issues, such as how Amherst will deal with the expected closings of regional landfills, she said. In addition, climate change is forcing communities to think creatively about ways to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

Thomas Paine Day

U.S. Rep. James McGovern will be the main speaker at Thomas Paine Day events in Amherst Saturday.

The celebration in honor of the author-patriot of American independence starts at 11 a.m. in the Woodbury Room at the Jones Library, 43 Amity St.

McGovern is expected to address Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and will explain Paine’s ideas on human rights and government assistance to the elderly, the needy, children and veterans.

An open discussion follows the speech.

Harp, guitar and vocal music, along with birthday cake, conclude the program at 1 p.m.

The event is arranged by the western Massachusetts chapter of the nonprofit organization Thomas Paine Friends Inc. It is free and open to the public.

Gun locks

Free gun locks are being distributed by the Police Department. State law requires firearms to be locked when not under control. Residents can pick up gun locks at any time at the police station, 111 Main St. For more information, call Sgt. Brian Daly at 259-3000 or email


Monday: Select Board, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

Tuesday: Town Meeting Coordinating Committee, 7 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

Wednesday: Zoning Subcommittee, 5 p.m., and Planning Board, 7 p.m., both at Town Room, Town Hall.

Thursday: Zoning Board of Appeals, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

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