A Quarter of Amherst Montessori Students Get Financial Aid

The Amherst Montessori School philosophy might seem foreign to those who attended traditional schools. Teachers determine when the class will study certain subjects, but students focus individually on topics they find most interesting. The goal, said Tamara Sheesley Balis, head of school, is to foster a love of learning in the students.

"You can learn to write a million different ways," she said. "So why not learn about grammar and the components of a good paragraph while writing about something that fascinates you?"

High-Density Housing Looking for a Home in Amherst

In the last few weeks, a housing developer from Columbus, Ohio has approached residents in an area south of the UMass Amherst campus about buying parcels of land on Sunset Avenue for the construction of student housing. Despite a rising need for such high-density, space-efficient housing stemming from the university’s large student population and long-term plans to continue expanding its student enrollment in the coming years, the project has faced criticism from some homeowners in the area.

Local Girl Fights for Health Care; Meets Obama

About three years ago, just before Camryn Adams turned six, she was suddenly plagued with fatigue, weight loss and excessive thirst and urination.

A visit to the doctor revealed that her blood sugar level was over 500, when it should have been between 80 and 110. She was diagnosed with “type one” diabetes the same day.

"At first I really didn't know what the word (diabetes) meant," Camryn said. "The only part I recognized was 'die,' so I thought I was going to die, but that didn't happen."

'Get Off the Bus'

A recent incident on a Pioneer Valley Transit Authority bus has set off a surge of advocacy efforts in support of the right of mothers to breastfeed in public places. On June 16, a PVTA driver asked a woman to stop nursing her baby daughter. When she refused, he insisted that she, the baby, and her 7-year-old son get off the bus.

Amherst Healthcare Rally June 25

Jon Weissman was a mailman in Springfield, Mass. for 25 years before he was elected president of that city’s Letter Carriers’ union. He now runs the western Mass. chapter of a national group, Jobs With Justice www.jwj.org

Weissman writes:

We need a system that guarantees quality, affordable health care for everyone in America, and that:

-has the clout to force insurance companies to improve the coverage they offer and contain health care costs;

-guarantees standard, comprehensive benefits at an affordable price;

Car Kills 33-Year-Old Amherst Janitor on Her Bicycle; Another VT Cyclist Hit

Misty Bassi, 33, was killed while riding her bicycle in Amherst around 10:30 a.m. on May 25. The motorist fled the scene, but police caught them. The punishment for someone who kills a person with their car is usually much weaker than when a gun is used. Bassi was a janitor at UMass. The driver of the vehicle that killed Bassi was Parvin Niroomand.

UMass Activists Meet June 6

The 2,500 or so grad student employees at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst do more teaching and research than the 1,000 or so professors there. The grad students are paid about $12,000 per year for 20 hours a week of work. The professors make around $100,000 per year for 40 hours of work per week.

UMass Amherst is one of the biggest employers in the Valley. The wages it pays its workers affect the region's economy, and influence wages other local employers pay, according to UMass Amherst economist and labor studies professor Stephanie Luce.

Amherst Working on Affordable Housing

The proposal to establish an Amherst Affordable Housing Trust Fund, known as Article Six, was defeated in the Nov. 10 special town meeting, but town officials are hopeful it will pass in the spring.
Town officials said the article was defeated primarily due to fear of the town being liable for debt incurred by the Trust.
According to the Amherst town Web site, the Trust's "purpose shall be to provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing for the benefit of low and moderate income households."