Progressive groups focus on Amherst budget values ​​and priorities


AMHERST — Ahead of the start of budget season in Amherst, two groups of citizens, including one focused on youth issues, will host a conversation about spending priorities.

Sunrise Amherst and the Progressive Coalition of Amherst are sponsoring the Zoom Discussion on Budget Priorities from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, with city unions, grassroots organizations, elected officials and the public invited to comment on the city’s spending on the financial year 2023.

Julian Hynes, co-hub manager for Sunrise Amherst, wrote in an email that the discussion will focus on how the budget supports Amherst’s values. This will then serve as the basis for a letter sent to the city government.

Progressive Coalition President Pat Ononibaku said advocating for programs and services that align with organizations’ views is important.

Some of the ideas that could be supported would include funding Barbara Love, a social justice educator, to serve as a consultant to help heal community divisions, and the creation of a BIPOC cultural center.

Ononibaku said other opportunities for dialogue would arise, including public comments at city council meetings.

“We encourage people to also try to advocate for funding issues that matter to them,” Ononibaku said. “We want our tax dollars to be used fairly.”

In May, City Manager Paul Bockelman will present his budget proposal, which will be reviewed by the finance committee and will be the subject of a budget hearing before city council in late spring.

daffodil race

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, a program of the Center for Human Development, is holding its 12th annual Daffodil Run on the Town Common on Sunday.

Starting at 10 a.m., runners can choose between the 5 kilometer or 10 kilometer run. There will also be a virtual event like the past two years. To register to run or walk, or participate virtually, register at

Money raised from the event supports youth mentoring services.

bathroom policy

From Monday, secondary school students will have to register to use the toilets, and an adult monitor will be present in these facilities, according to a letter from Principal Talib Sadiq.

The school will limit bathrooms to two students at a time in multi-cabin bathrooms.

“It has been a year of adjustments, and if it turns out that students are waiting for long periods of time to use the restroom, we will adjust the number of students we allow together,” Sadiq wrote.

high school musical

Delayed by a COVID-19 outbreak, Hair the Musical will have its final high school performance on April 29.

Superintendent Michael Morris told the Amherst Regional School Board that the postponement of the third performance was due to a number of positive cases in the crew and cast.

Because ticket sales revenue pays for next year’s production and COVID-19 has reduced show attendance, Morris said the committee may review the school’s performing arts budget for shortcomings this spring.

autism conference

Autism Connections, with an office in Hadley and serving families and individuals in the four westernmost counties, is hosting its 31st annual autism conference on April 28.

The virtual educational conference for the Springfield-based Pathlight program will bring together parents, caregivers, educators, people with autism, self-advocates, professionals, organizations and service providers to build awareness and knowledge , be inspired and make meaningful connections.

Two keynote speakers will speak at the conference: Alix Generous, advocate for advancing mental health reform and institutional treatment for people with autism; and Jed Baker, director of the Social Skills Training Project, an organization serving people with autism and social communication issues.

Visit or email [email protected] for more information.

Arbor Events at UMass

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Arboretum Committee is hosting three events to mark the 150th anniversary of the first National Arbor Day, celebrated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872.

This week on Earth Day, the committee is planting the Class of 2022 tree at noon on the east side of Curry Hicks. From noon to 4 p.m., seedlings are distributed on Goodell Lawn, the second distribution after that of April 15. The seedlings were grown at UMass nurseries from local seed, many of which came from historic and champion trees on campus, such as the black tupelo.

On April 29, Arbor Day will feature a walk in the trees on campus from 10 a.m. to noon. Those interested in participating should meet at the southeast corner of South College. A tree climbing demonstration follows.

Editor Scott Merzbach can be reached at [email protected]


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