Amherst School Committee Will Ask Town Meeting to Pass Resolution Opposing Expansion of Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School (INCLUDES UPDATES)

The Amherst School Committee voted last night to request Amherst Town Meeting's assistance in fighting a possible expansion of Hadley's Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School (PVCICS). "Ultimately, what we're asking is for another body in town to take this up as an official matter," said member Anastasia Ordonez.  She said the committee did receive … Continue reading Amherst School Committee Will Ask Town Meeting to Pass Resolution Opposing Expansion of Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School (INCLUDES UPDATES)

Slim Majority on Amherst Charter Commission Approves Preliminary New Town Government Plan

The nine-member Charter Commission (https://www.amherstma.gov/2248/Charter-Commission) voted last night to approve a preliminary version of a new town charter, which will dramatically alter local government if passed by Amherst voters next winter. Although commission members are divided about Amherst's future, with a majority favoring a small, potentially more "efficient" government, and others defending the public participation … Continue reading Slim Majority on Amherst Charter Commission Approves Preliminary New Town Government Plan

Wildwood School Boiler, Fort River Feasibility Study Win Resounding Approval at Amherst Town Meeting (UPDATED)

Smaller steps toward improving the infrastructure of two Amherst elementary schools easily won two-thirds majorities at Town Meeting last night (May 3). Town Meeting unanimously approved borrowing of $500,000 to replace the boiler system at Wildwood, which dates to the 1970s. Later, with only a few audible "nay" votes, Town Meeting also agreed to a … Continue reading Wildwood School Boiler, Fort River Feasibility Study Win Resounding Approval at Amherst Town Meeting (UPDATED)

Historic Steeple Atop the Jewish Community of Amherst Building to be Restored with Preservation Funds (UPDATED)

Amherst Town Meeting voted last night to approve spending of about $862,000 in Community Preservation Act funds, including $245,000 to repair the historic steeple on a building that now houses the Jewish Community of Amherst. The building at 742 Main St. that was once the Second Congregational Church dates to 1839. The Jewish Community of … Continue reading Historic Steeple Atop the Jewish Community of Amherst Building to be Restored with Preservation Funds (UPDATED)

Copycat Facebook Site “Amherst4All” Posting Photos Of Town Meeting Members & Comments: But Not To Be Confused With “Amherst For All”

Some members of Amherst Town Meeting, including yours truly, were surprised last night to find themselves photographed and tagged by name in Facebook posts on a site called "Amherst4All."  Often, confusing remarks accompanied these images of people asking questions of local officials during Town Meeting, which can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amherst4all/ At one point, a … Continue reading Copycat Facebook Site “Amherst4All” Posting Photos Of Town Meeting Members & Comments: But Not To Be Confused With “Amherst For All”

Amherst Charter Commission, Still Divided, Reduces Proposed Town Council Size from 60 to 13 People: Adds Mayor & Town Manager (UPDATED)

The Amherst Charter Commission, which is working on proposal for a new form of town government, voted last night (Monday April 24) by a slim majority to drop a "middle ground" proposal for a 60-person town council. The plan came under fire at a recent Charter Commission listening session, and Chairman Andy Churchill and others … Continue reading Amherst Charter Commission, Still Divided, Reduces Proposed Town Council Size from 60 to 13 People: Adds Mayor & Town Manager (UPDATED)

Guest Column: An Amherst Town Meeting Member’s Letter to the Charter Commission

By JOANNA MORSE. Dear Charter Commission, Thank you for your work on democracy in Amherst.   I write to you in my support of keeping Town Meeting as our legislative branch of our local government.  I have participated in many town meetings through my life, and have now served on Amherst Town Meeting for one … Continue reading Guest Column: An Amherst Town Meeting Member’s Letter to the Charter Commission

Touring the Jones Libary in Amherst: An Old Friend Reveals Secrets

I took a tour of the Jones Library last week, one of several being offered for Amherst Town Meeting members, who will vote May 10 on whether to approve a design for a $36 million expansion and renovation plan. I'd urge anyone on Town Meeting who hasn't yet gone on a library tour yet to … Continue reading Touring the Jones Libary in Amherst: An Old Friend Reveals Secrets

Amherst Town Meeting Candidates Successfully Petition for Recount in Precinct 9

A recount of ballots cast for Amherst Town Meeting members in Precinct 9 will take place on Thursday, Amherst Town Clerk Sandra Burgess said today, (April 11.) Precinct 9 includes the residential neighborhoods north of Amherst center, surrounding Wildwood Elementary, Amherst Regional Middle School, and Amherst-Pelham Regional High School. There were 24 candidates for eight … Continue reading Amherst Town Meeting Candidates Successfully Petition for Recount in Precinct 9

Sixty, Twenty-Three, or Thirteen People: Amherst Charter Commission Debates Councils to Replace Town Meeting & Select Board

Nearly all the chairs were filled last night at the start of an Amherst Charter Commission meeting, where two members, Meg Gage and Nick Grabbe, offered a "middle ground" proposal to replace the historic 254-member Amherst Town Meeting with a "legislative council" of sixty people. There was frequent reference to the failed elementary school building … Continue reading Sixty, Twenty-Three, or Thirteen People: Amherst Charter Commission Debates Councils to Replace Town Meeting & Select Board