Thursday, October 31, 2013

UMass Riot Aftermath

Umass Southwest concourse just after midnight


So not only did we garner the awful headline in Boston Magazine highlighting our town having more arrests than Boston, now UMass has been awarded the #1 ranking by Barstool Sports, the King of Juvenile, for 2013 "World Series College Riots". 


In Eastern Hampshire District Court this morning 15 UMass students had "not guilty" pleas entered in their behalf by Judge John M. Payne Jr. who asked each individual perp if they planned to hire an attorney.

Most did not know, saying they would have to "ask their parents."  The Judge then strongly hinted they should consult an attorney before they come back to court later in January (and I don't think it's because the Judge is concerned about the defense attorney business).

Yes, once again a tiny minority of of troublemakers brings disrepute on the vast majority of hard working, law abiding students you wouldn't mind having your own kids befriend.  Hard to believe little old Amherst had more arrests than in Boston

AFD extinguished a dumpster fire at Hobart Lane 12:30 AM

Charged by UMPD with "Failure to Disperse",  "Rioting" with a mixture of "Resisting Arrest", 'Disorderly Conduct " or Assault & Battery on an officer" thrown it:

Zachary Orcott, Molly Fitzgerald, John Milligan, Patrick Rogers, Miranda Murphy, Carolyn Malone, Travis Connolly, Nicholas Barry, Lawrence Green, Alexander Booth, Casey Adams, Michael Bertrand, Evan Jacob, Jonathan Ennis, and Justin Markuson.

Nice doggy!

Note full containers of water being hurled about

UMass Riot MVPs

 The mounted patrol led the charge

So once again a throng of Umass students got a tad out of control, refused to comply with orders to disperse and were then convinced to go back to their dorms by a combined assault of horses, dogs, a sound truck issuing high pitched alien like noise and a small army of police -- some looking  like Darth Vader in their riot gear.

UMPD firing pellets into the crowd (burning sugar)

But it was the horses that commanded the undivided attention of the crowd, as they hurriedly went into retreat mode.

UMass police made at least ten arrests and there were no injuries.  AFD was called by the father of a student saying she was asthmatic and having problem breathing because of the chemicals shot into the crowd by police pellet guns.

 Back up army of police followed the horses chasing the crowd north to Massachusetts Avenue

Turns out UMPD only used burning sugar and the kids thought it was tear gas, thereby bringing about almost the same result.

 State PD and UMass EMS EMTs

UMass had provided a large screen TV, food, bouncy houses, and a multi-station barbecue set up in Southwest to try to give the students something to do, but by the time the game ended the crowd had grown into the thousands.

 Haze over playing field opposite Southwest from barbecues 

Then some nitwits decided to climb the trees in the center of the courtyard, and then full bottles of water started flying in the cops direction.

Sound truck emitted high pitch annoying sound

That's when police moved in to end the celebration almost at the stroke of midnight.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Steering A New Course

The Town Gown Steering Committee met this afternoon, appropriately enough, in the "Amherst Room" on the tenth floor of the Campus Center, bringing together 22 committee members that reads like a "who's who" of heavy hitters.

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy

And to top it off Chancellor Subbaswamy and Town Manager John Musante attended the inaugural meeting.  Although the Chancellor left early with the parting comment, "May the Red Sox win, and may our students celebrate peacefully."

Co Chairs David Ziomek and Nancy Buffone (center)

The committee is charged with developing a Request For Proposals to hire a consultant (for $60,000 or less) who can create a blueprint for mutually beneficial action steps each partner can undertake to deal with growth and change.

Problems that need to be addressed include the creation of more (taxable) student housing, economic development and the quelling of rowdy student party houses in residential neighborhoods.

8 Qualifications for Town/Gown Consultant

The Committee will issue the RFP by December 1, review the proposals and interview finalist through January, and award the contract by February 1.  Over the following three months the Committee will continue to meet and hold public forums with a completion date of May 1st for a new joint Master Plan.

This Steering Committee follows in the wake (with many of the same members) of the successful Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods Working Group that crafted a precedent setting Town Meeting approved (by super majority) "Rental Registration and  Permit Bylaw" that goes into effect January 1st. 

Hampshire Hijinks (College That Is)

AFD crew heading toward Hampshire Dining Commons for an  ETOH female 12:20 AM

One of those damn Republicans must have culturally appropriated Wiccan abilities and placed a curse on Hampshire College this past weekend:

On Friday the negative press just started circulating on social media over the idiotic cancelling of Shokazoba because they were "too white" to play African music at their "Hampshire Halloween' event.

And then that festival ended up requiring SIX (6) transports by AFD for drug/alcohol related incidents!

Which of course was simply a prelude to Sunday afternoon -- what could easily have been the mother of all disasters, a major structure fire.  As happened in Hadley a few hours later.

You have to wonder what they teach at Hampshire these days when a student thinks it's okay to dry a sweater in a microwave oven.

Sprinklers and AFD combined for a quick stop

And then leaves it smouldering on a wooden porch.  Yikes!

Start at the bottom and read up (response to ambulance photo tweet)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DUI Dishonor Roll

There but for the grace of God (and APD)

Although it was a relatively quiet weekend for rowdy off campus parties -- what appears to be a trend this fall -- the negative effects of too much alcohol still continues to reverberate around our little "college town."  Consider this just the first of a two part report.

Amherst police arrested two young men -- both age 20 -- within hours of each other late Saturday night/early Sunday morning for Driving Under the Influence.  The most egregious, Miguel T. Ellis, drew attention to himself by driving half the length of Triangle Street on the WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD.  And it was not all that late at night (11:58 PM).

Mr. Ellis's dangerous weapon  is escorted off Triangle Street by Ernie's Towing


And then we have the wrath of David Kahn:

A Horse Is A Horse

 Unless of course that horse's name is Ms. Jada.  Central Fire Station 

With two fires in Amherst quickly stopped by AFD and an unstoppable one in Hadley over the weekend, along with an overflowing number of "college aged youth"  transported to the hospital for intoxication there was, refreshingly, at least one family oriented event that attracted a major crowd to Amherst town center early Sunday afternoon: the annual Halloween Fest.  

 Parade through town center down Kellogg Street to the Bangs Community Center

Even a downtown Bar got into the spirit

Twenty downtown businesses participated, giving out candy to the kids (and occasional parent).  Customers at busy locations like Rao's Coffee, Bart's Ice Cream or Antonio's Pizza seemed amused by the sudden influx of ghosts, goblins, robots, and my little horse. 

No fun Amherst event is complete without Representative Ellen Story

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Devastating Day After

Normally, I like rainbows

UPDATE Wednesday morning:  Relief efforts

Storefronts facing Rt 9

Mi Tierra Mexican restaurant a complete loss
State fire officials on scene

Red Cross on scene
Kung Fu school complete loss

Next door hotel and Stan's Drive In were okay 

Hotel was evacuated during the fire

Long closed Stan's Drive In survived just fine

12 Hours earlier ...

Town of Hadley Ladder truck rains water down

To no avail

The Beast of Hadley

Firefighters dig in at close quarters

At times the firefighters seemed completely swallowed by the dense acrid black smoke billowing out of the sides and top of the building only yards in front of them.  And at other times flames seemed to explode from the building making them easy to spot working diligently in harm's way.

The Beast's maw

 Wind whipped flames

As they maintained their precarious position directly in front of the The Beast and continued to pour water into the center of the firestorm, I was reminded of my karate days when you hit someone with your best shot ... and they just kept on coming.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hadley Fire Rt 9

 Two ladder trucks pour water down on the conflagration

A devastating fire consumed an entire block of businesses in the center of Hadley this evening.  Witnesses stated it started in the laundromat and spread quickly to Mi Tierra Mexican restaurant and then an entire block of businesses.

The truck was the only thing to survive from Mi Tierra restaurant

The stubborn fire seemed impervious to the pressurized streams of water firefighters poured on it for hours.  Fortunately there were no injuries.  Morning light would reveal just how thorough was The Beast.

 Like a fire breathing dragon

Laundromat: area of building where fire started

Venting flames

The beast refuses to die

Hadley's Ladder truck was soon joined by Northampton's, but still could not bring the beast under control 

Hell on earth