Wednesday, May 4, 2016

DUI Dishonor Roll

MADD:  In 2014 three times as many males arrested for DUI vs females

Unfortunately we're back to around average for number of drivers arrested for drunk driving over the weekend.

All three of these individuals took and failed the legally admissible breath test, two of them crashed their vehicles and one, Matthew Burns from Connecticut, failed to show for his arraignment Monday morning so a warrant was issued for his arrest.

APD arrests Matthew Burns, in town center after crashing his vehicle
District Court intake sheet reported this as a "2nd offense DUI" for 53 year old Matthew Burns

Conor Doherty, age 23
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Alexander Booth, age 22

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Marijuana Deluge

Rafters Restaurant & Sports Bar 422 Amity Street

The success of the 25th Extravaganja, that necessitated they move from Amherst Town Common to the sprawling 3 County Fair grounds in Northampton to accommodate a crowd of 12,000, underscores the popularity of pot.

As if we needed any more examples:

Amherst just received a 4th proposal to locate a medical marijuana facility in town and it too is on (the corner of) University Drive where two others are already proposed.  Anyone who has lived in town for more than a month will recognize the address.

Rafters has been a mainstay of the responsible sports bar scene in Amherst for 25 years, catering to students/faculty, blue collar workers and families ... all with equal aplomb.

They sponsor sports teams, the Rafters College Towne Classik road race to raise money for the Jimmy Fund and Amherst Police Relief Association.

And for many years they hosted the St. Baldrick's head-shaving event to raise money for researching a cure for children's cancer.

Plus they employ dozens of workers who live and spend their paychecks in our local community.  The quintessential mom-and-pop owned by long time restaurateur Jerry Jolly, who also managed The Pub over 40 years ago and an original founder of the Amherst Business Improvement District.

Unfortunately he owns the business, but not the building.  With a selling price of $2 million -- more than twice its assessed value -- an offer impossible to match I would imagine, even if he did have a 1st right of refusal clause in his lease.

The new owners are betting an awful lot of money they will acquire a state RMD license, especially since they need Select Board approval via a Letter of Support/Non Opposition.

Since the Select Board has already issued three of them they could very well say, "No, enough."

University Drive: Pot alley? 

The Intruder Never Rings Twice

One of the downsides of living on a party street is you have to deal with the occasional fallout induced by an alcohol haze, like a complete stranger staggering into your home as though it were his own.

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In Eastern Hampshire District Court yesterday Mr. Abi-Saad had criminal charges converted to civil and he paid $150 on count one and another $100 for count two. 

Probably many times more than he paid for the alcohol that made him act so stupid.

Smooth Sailing (So Far)

258th Annual Town Meeting

In spite of the enthusiasm exhibited by Moderator Jim Pistrang the new $26,000 electronic voting devices did not see official use last night other than a 20 minute practice session with only a minor glitch or two.

At one point it looked like they would be fired up for official use, but a member made a "point of order" to remind Mr. Pistrang that a voice vote will always go first.  That vote was so overwhelmingly one sided he decided not to waste another minute or two to confirm it via the clickers.

 Town Moderator Jim Pistrang demonstrating new electronic voting devices

At this rate the batteries should last quite a while.

But it certainly indicates Town Meeting members were all on the same page with the votes thus far.  Even the $10 million Pubic Safety Budget was approved unanimously without any naysayers questioning authority, something this town seems to specialize in.

Of course the long winded advisory articles that have nothing to do with operating our $80+ million enterprise have yet to come up, although a procedural motion moved article 45 to tomorrow night first thing.

Amherst College students want their $2 billion institution to divest from fossil fuels and apparently don't want to get arrested via sit ins like UMass students recently did. 

And since they will be gone in a week,  it's far more convenient to have the article come up sooner rather than dead last.

Town Meeting, at your service.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Taking Responsibility

Panda East will remain open but cannot serve alcohol 5/4 through 6/27

Panda East restaurant will NOT appeal the decision of the Amherst Select Board who, acting as the town's Liquor Commissioners, voted unanimously to suspend their all alcohol permit from May 4th through June 27 for the second offense this year of serving alcohol to underage patrons.  

According to Panda East's attorney Kristi Bodin, "The decision (not to appeal) is based on consideration of what is best for the business and what is best for the community."

Don't Do The Crime ...

Three perps arrested for UMass incident await arraignment in Courtroom 1

UMass has had a few somewhat dramatic incidents over the past year, all of them involving weapons (and most likely drugs or alcohol).

In this most recent early morning incident the three masked suspects, armed with knives, tried to break into dorm rooms at the Washington tower at 4:45 AM early Sunday morning.

UMPD arrested them, but not before they put up a fight.

Safe to say the two who are UMass students -- Damien Earp and Garrett Johnston -- will never graduate (from UMass/Amherst).

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bright Lights, Small Town

May is one of the most exciting months of all in our little college town.  The weather becomes more user friendly, our institutes of higher education go on hiatus, and -- best of all -- a 50+ year tradition returns to our bucolic Town Common.

The Amherst Rotary Town Fair is coming to town! 

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