UMPD had to attend 2 Eastern Hampshire District Court hearings
I always try to blend in when covering Eastern Hampshire District Court proceedings and since they deal with a cross section of the Happy Valley it's not all that hard to do.
I also only use an iPhone for photos so I can be as inconspircous as possible, although I do carry a classic reporters notebook and old fashioned pen to take notes which does tend to stand out.
And on occassion I've been known to mutter under my breath -- but loud enough for some court officials nearby to hear -- when someone appears for their 4th or 5th DUI offense.
Or I occasionally laugh out loud at one of Judge Payne's animated expressions.
But yesterday was the first time I had to resist the urge to raise my hand and offer input on a matter as though I were attending an Amherst public meeting.
A woman was given a ticket for "failure to stop at a stop sign" at the intersection of University Drive and Massachusetts Avenue, a leading gateway to our illustrious University.
She had already lost the Clerk Magistrate's Hearing and was now appealing that to the Judge. She told Judge Payne that after the first hearing she returned to the scene of the crime but could find no stop sign.
The officer responded that a flashing red light is a stop sign and she did not come to a complete stop. Judge Payne agreed with the officer and upheld the ticket.
For those of you who come upon that intersection for the first time you probably think it's under repair and that is why the lights are flashing: red if you are on University Drive and yellow if you are on Massachusetts Avenue.
But they are always like that, going on many, many years now.
Yet the intersection is only a stone's throw away from the one at Massachusetts and Commonwealth Avenue, where the traffic lights are fully signalized.
And if you are on University Drive taking a right (which should be a "right turn on red") you can see all the way into Hadley to your left for oncoming traffic.
With as many Planners as UMass employs you would think somebody could tweak the lights at that busy intersection to serve a more useful purpose.
Yes, I did roll through this yesterday while enroute to a "box alarm" at Du Bois Library