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Bruce Watson on the Jones Library at 100

This guest post was written by Bruce Watson, the former newspaper columnist and author of the new book, “Hearth and Soul: A History of the Jones Library at 100.” His writing, which includes many articles in Smithsonian magazine and several books, will be recognized at the library’s Samuel Minot Jones Awards tonight. Through hundreds of columns for the Amherst Bulletin and Daily Hampshire Gazette, I’ve told many stories. About my kids (both doing well, thank you). About politics (not so well, sorry to say). About our colorful culture. But recently I took on a story unlike any I’d covered. If …

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A year later, how is new charter working?

A year ago, Amherst residents voted to approve a new charter, with a Town Council replacing Town Meeting and the Select Board. So how are we doing with our new form of government? As a member of the Charter Commission, I was one of nine people who met for 18 months to hammer out the structure and details of the new system. So I have been watching closely to see whether it has promoted democracy and citizen participation in the ways that we intended. I have concluded that in many ways, the new system is working very well, although I …

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Newspapers seek Amherst ideas

Michael Greenebaum thinks the Amherst Bulletin should review local musical productions and not reprint so many Daily Hampshire Gazette stories. Town Councilor Andy Steinberg wants the newspapers to provide information about important decisions before they are made. Meg Gage believes the newspapers should not “fuel controversy” and should try to help the town move forward. About 30 people gathered at Amherst Coffee last Wednesday, at the invitation of three leaders of the Gazette and Bulletin, to give their thoughts about how the newspapers could serve the town better. Gazette Editor Brooke Hauser said she will be overseeing the Bulletin, and …