Dusty Christensen, DailyHampGazette

Dusty Christensen


Northampton, MA, United States

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Recent articles by Dusty:

Paper City’s first pot shop opens

HOLYOKE — Paper City residents now have a recreational marijuana dispensary to call their own.On Sunday, Canna Provisions became the first pot shop to open in Holyoke. Located in a renovated former Hampden Paper Company mill building at 380 Dwight... → Read More

Holyoke’s Opportunity Academy lands $250K grant

HOLYOKE — Holyoke's Opportunity Academy has been awarded a $250,000 grant to continue work planning an innovative school model for students who are off track to graduate.The grant is part of the Barr Foundation's Doing High School Differently ... → Read More

‘It’s bittersweet’: Zrike departs after leading Holyoke schools last 5 years

HOLYOKE — As June comes to a close, Holyoke will soon be missing a face that has been present at countless community meetings and school functions over the last five years: Stephen Zrike, whose tenure as receiver and superintendent of the city’s... → Read More

Damaging storms move through region

HOLYOKE — A strong storm blew down trees and cut power for hundreds of city residents Monday.The brief storm knocked over a large tree on Yale Street and another on Lincoln Street, as well as power lines on Lincoln Street, Allyn Street and off... → Read More

Schools see reopening guidance as good framework

SOUTH HADLEY — Following the release of state guidance for K-12 schools to reopen in the fall, local school districts are developing plans to fit their community’s needs within a state-produced framework that aims for a return to in-person classes.On... → Read More

Backyard chickens return to spotlight in Holyoke

HOLYOKE — The city is again exploring an ordinance to allow residents to keep egg-laying hens in their backyards.In a public hearing Tuesday, the City Council’s Ordinance Committee and the city’s Planning Board held a joint public hearing to consider... → Read More

State questions timing of hospital’s closure of psychiatric services

HOLYOKE — When the health care giant Trinity Health announced on Feb. 28 that it would close 74 inpatient psychiatric beds at Providence Behavioral Health Hospital, it said it intended to discontinue those services by June 30.However, the state... → Read More

Families angry at failures detailed in Soldiers’ Home report

HOLYOKE — Anger and betrayal. Sadness and disgust.Those were some of the reactions of local families whose loved ones died amid a COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, after reading a scathing report commissioned by Gov. Charlie Baker that... → Read More

Hospital CEO responds to council criticism

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center’s president and CEO is responding to accusations by the City Council president that he communicated poorly about the impending closure of maternity services at the hospital.In a strongly worded June 18 email, Spiros... → Read More

Families, veterans advocates call for Soldiers’ Home improvements

HOLYOKE — A coalition of veterans, their families and local advocates is calling on the state to fund its portion of a renovation and expansion project the Soldiers’ Home that has already been approved for federal money.The campaign is planning a... → Read More

Holyoke hospital unit closures part of larger trend, experts say

HOLYOKE — When Cambridge Health Alliance decided to shut down Cambridge Hospital’s pediatric unit in 2009, longtime pediatric nurse Donna Kelly-Williams said she was alarmed at how easy it was for the hospital system to close her unit.In the following... → Read More

Holyoke mayor issues order declaring racism, police violence a public health emergency

HOLYOKE — Mayor Alex Morse has issued an executive order declaring racism and police violence a public health emergency.The executive order, issued Wednesday, urges the City Council and city agencies to direct resources to actions that Morse said... → Read More

Holyoke City Council condemns Birthing Center closure, calls for answers

HOLYOKE — When the Department of Public Health began to investigate Holyoke’s highest-in-the-state infant mortality rate in the 1980s, Gladys Lebron-Martinez worked for DPH conducting field interviews with city mothers whose babies had died.But it... → Read More

Holyoke City Council set to finalize police union contract

HOLYOKE — The City Council is set to finalize a new contract with the union representing Holyoke police officers at its meeting Tuesday.The labor agreement would retroactively cover the period from July 1, 2019, to June 20, 2022. It includes pay bumps... → Read More

As coronavirus outbreak stabilizes, attention turns to future of Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

HOLYOKE — As the a massive coronavirus outbreak appears to have been largely contained at the Soldiers’ Home, the facility is preparing to resume outdoor visitation and some are calling for the reconstruction of the facility.The situation at the... → Read More

A ‘gem’ in the community: Former patients of Birthing Center react to announced closure

HOLYOKE — For Zoraida Rivera, giving birth could have cost her life. Twice.Shortly after Rivera’s daughter, Zyannah, was born in 2018, Rivera began having severe headaches — a symptom, she later discovered, of postpartum preeclampsia. The condition... → Read More

Foundation rescinds $275K grant for Holyoke

HOLYOKE — The Barr Foundation has rescinded a $275,00 clean energy planning grant it had offered the city.On May 5, the City Council voted on first reading to accept the grant, but with only seven of the 13 city councilors in favor of accepting it.... → Read More

Holyoke Medical Center closing birthing center

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center intends to close its maternity services unit, leaving Holyoke residents with no place to give birth and receive obstetric care within the city.The decision comes after HMC temporarily closed its Birthing Center in... → Read More

Holyoke revisits use of force policies

HOLYOKE — Mayor Alex Morse has announced updates to the Holyoke Police Department’s use of force policies and the creation of a civilian committee to suggest further changes to department practices.The announcement comes as a response to protests... → Read More

Holyoke hiring COVID-19 inspectors

HOLYOKE — As COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates slowly decline in Massachusetts, the state is close to entering the second phase of a four-part plan to open up the economy.That reopening means more work for local health departments, which are... → Read More