HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson in "A Quiet Passion."
Music Box Films

The film "A Quiet Passion" opens in theaters Friday. It's a period piece about the life of poet Emily Dickinson, who lived in Amherst, Massachusetts. Parts of the movie were filmed outside her former home in town. The film is directed by Terence Davies, and stars Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role on "Sex and the City."

The Lord Jeffery Inn is owned by Amherst College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

With the selection of the Mammoths as the new school mascot, Amherst College has mostly closed the book on the controversial "Lord Jeff." One exception: a hotel owned by the school.

It's been 14 months since Amherst College decided to get rid of the mascot and rename the Lord Jeffery Inn, which sits next to the town common.

Lord Jeffery Amherst was a British general who suggested biological warfare against Native Americans.

Farmer Caroline Pam's booth at the Greenfield Farmers Market, in 2014.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

A new state program starting this month will offer a financial incentive to Massachusetts residents on limited incomes to eat more locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.
Screen shot from mascot video / Amherst College

Amherst College said its new mascot will be the Mammoths. The selection replaces Lord Jeff -- which the school's board banished from campus 14 months ago.

The search for a new mascot followed protests on campus last school year. One demand from protesters was to get rid of Lord Jeff, named after Lord Jeffery Amherst, a British General who suggested using biological warfare against Native Americans.

A map showing the fiber optic in western Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Broadband Institute

The Baker Administration is rolling out a new grant program designed to speed up broadband expansion in rural parts of Massachusetts. $20 million will be available to towns looking to build their own networks.

Before, communities were forced to work with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute on the design phase, with MBI holding back state money for that purpose.

Many town officials, like Brian Hawthorne, who chairs the broadband committee in the Hampshire County community of Plainfield, complained the whole thing was taking too long.

File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette

At least two communities in western Massachusetts could lose federal funding from the Department of Justice. That's if the department follows through on its pledge to cut grant money from cities that do not comply with federal immigration requests to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.

Last week, both Amherst and Northampton landed on a federal list of so-called "sanctuary cities." 

In Gilbertville, Mass., Democratic supporter Neil Noble (right) and Bob Bousquet have a few words regarding their opposing political views about the recent election.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The first weeks of the Trump administration have been marked by controversy, including a court battle over the president’s first executive order on immigration, unsubstantiated accusations against a former president and numerous Trump tweetstorms.

But supporters of the president say he’s delivering exactly what he promised. That’s what we heard again and again in several towns in central Massachusetts that voted for Trump, including Ware, which was once a booming mill town known as “the town that can’t be licked.”

Andy Jaffe Octet

Mar 6, 2017

Illness notwithstanding, I ventured out into the bitter cold of Saturday night for the second half of the Easthampton Jazz Festival’s nighttime lineup with the Andy Jaffe Octet; it was well worth it and apparently restorative. Andy’s group featured eight of the nine members of the nonet that he leads on his 2016 Playscape recording, Arc. The woodwind player Tom Olin has passed on since its release, but the rest of the group is intact.

A note found near Emily Dickinson's tombstone.
Martha Ackmann

Emily Dickinson, the great American poet, was born December 10, 1830. Commentator and author Martha Ackmann lives a few miles up the road from Dickinson’s Amherst home, and often takes walks around town, planning her route to include a stop at Dickinson’s grave in West Cemetery -- behind the Mobil station. What draws her attention is the tombstone, and also what's been left on and around it.

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