HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

Sun Kim at her resturant, Sun Kim Bop, in downtown Springfield
Alden Bourne / NEPR

Two western Massachusetts residents of South Korean descent have been watching as tensions between the United States and North Korea have continued to escalate. 

Suk Massey is a lecturer in east Asian languages and literature at Smith College. She said Friday she's been following the exchanges between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un closely.

"I'm worrying about it but most friends in Korea don't seem to worry about that too much, because they are somehow -- they are used to it," she said.

Northampton, Mass., police arrested Eric Matlock outside City Hall on Aug. 7, 2017.
Screenshot of Facebook video / Posted by Pamela Juda

A video showing Northampton police arresting a man who allegedly blocked the entrance to City Hall doesn't portray the whole story, the city's mayor said.

The video, which was posted to Facebook, shows 33-year-old Eric Matlock clinging to a railing on the steps in front of the building, as two police officers attempt to pull him away. He spits, and appears to gasp for air.

St. Thomas Church in Huntington, Massachusetts.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette

St. Thomas Church in Huntington, Massachusetts, will go up for auction on Thursday. It's one of over 30 churches in the Springfield Diocese to close its doors in the last decade, but the first to be put up for auction.

Diocese spokesman Mark Dupont said the town's decision to make the church an historic district in 2012 could have made it harder to sell.

A home setup for growing marijuana.
Zoboar / Creative Commons

The Massachusetts House of Representatives on Wednesday is debating a proposal to raise the tax on retail marijuana sales to 28 percent.

Lawmakers opposed to the increase said it could push buyers to the black market. However, a steep tax could also help stores that sell supplies for growing marijuana at home.

"People are not going to want to spend that kind of money when they can grow it themselves for cheaper," said Ian Back, who works at Here We Grow in Hadley.

A "missing persons" ad in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, aimed at U.S. Representative Richie Neal.
Daily Hampshire Gazette / via MassLive

Some residents of the Western Massachusetts hilltowns are so frustrated that their congressman doesn't come visit, they've taken out a "missing persons" ad in a local newspaper.

A progressive activist group called Indivisible Williamsburg raised money online to take out the tongue-in-cheek ad in the Daily Hampshire Gazette -- a photo of U.S. Representative Richie Neal above the words, "Has anyone seen this man?"

The federal government estimates that on any given night, 3,000 to 4,000 female veterans are homeless.

But that estimate is probably on the low side, according to Sara Scoco, who directs the Women’s Program of the western Massachusetts-based nonprofit group Soldier On.

“When people are doing homeless counts, they’re going to shelters, they’re seeing people on the street,” Scoco said. “A female veteran is not the person you see on the street holding a sign.”

Peace activist Frances Crowe poses for a portrait Dec. 2, 2016, in her Northampton home.
File photo / The Daily Hampshire Gazette

A venerable peace and social justice group responsible for many anti-war protests in the Pioneer Valley is shutting down. The western Massachusetts chapter of the American Friends Service Committee said it will close its doors at the end of September after nearly 50 years of activism.

A jar next to the register in the Haymarket Cafe in Northampton, Massachusetts collects money for a "common account" for diners who can't afford to pay for their meals.
Katherine Davis-Young / NEPR

If you could pay a little extra for your meal to help feed a hungry person, would you? That’s what one restaurant in western Massachusetts is hoping diners will consider when they come in to eat.

But making changes to the restaurant business model is complicated. 

Mass. AG Investigates Incidents At Easthampton High

May 25, 2017
A person wearing a Confederate flag jacket, outside Easthampton High School on May 3, 2017.
Submitted Photo / NEPR

The school superintendent in Easthampton said disciplinary action has been taken against a student who allegedly bullied others through social media.

This comes as Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey investigates incidents at Easthampton High School.

Earlier this month, the School Committee voted to ban students from wearing the Confederate flag.

Later, a student posted on Instagram the words "Make Easthampton Great Again" with photo-shopped images of students and the principal holding guns in front of a Confederate flag.

Former Mass. state Rep. Ellen Story gives campaign advice to Susan Voss, a candidate for the Northampton school committee, as volunteer Didi Firman looks on.
Karen Brown / NEPR

The election of President Donald Trump is inspiring many people to explore a run for public office – especially those who oppose his policies. A new pop-up school in Western Massachusetts – one that teaches skills for social change – is trying to attract potential candidates.

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