Baku’s Restaurant: The End of an Era


Sitting at the edge of North Pleasant street the cheerful, brightly colored Baku’s restaurant has shut its doors for good. After eleven humble years of business  serving as a restaurant and community center for many, Mrs. Pat Ononibaku has decided that she is at a stage in her life where she is ready to move on from the restaurant industry.

At 58-years-old Mrs. Ononibaku brought her wisdom and 30 years of food industry experience into her own restaurant which she treated as a cultural stomping ground for people of all ages. As the owner, she aimed for her restaurant to to be a learning experience for diners stating that, “when people walk in, it has to be an educational experience for them.”

Not only did she take the diner’s experience and education on African culture into consideration but Mrs. Ononibaku fostered her student-workers as mother would for her own children. She said that during the hiring process “I screened very carefully. They had to be open minded. They couldn’t be judgmental, because her restaurant was open to people from all walks of life.

This characteristic was inspired by Mrs. Ononibaku’s own experiences with racism and prejudice. When the Ononibakus began their search for a property for rent they were met with great contempt. Store owners were hesitant to rent their spaces for fear that the building “would smell weird” because of type of food being cooked. This only served as motivation to keep looking until her spot and her voice was recognized in Amherst.

Coming from a home where all people were welcomed to come sit and watch tv or grab a bite to eat, Mrs. Ononibaku said that in Africa, “Food is seen as friendship. Something to celebrate with.” She extends this belief to the homeless sitting outside of her shop and the students who wonder in, wide-eyed and curios. Ononibaku excitedly sat up in her seat with a huge grin on her face when she said that, “food is the center of life.”

She chose her restaurant with an open kitchen concept in mind so that she and her staff would be able to have a two way conversation with the guests. This was an idea brought from home where many women would be in the kitchen at once, each with their own job in order to help each other. Mothers, sisters and aunts would be washing and chopping, “it is never an isolated task,” she proclaimed.

Although Ononibaku acknowledges that there will be some vibrancy missing from North Pleasant street she is more than eager to be closing Baku’s. She said that being a business owner is constant worry, joking that sometimes she would go home and wonder if she turned the stoves off. More than anything Ononibaku will miss her customers and feels that her customers will miss Baku’s for “its symbol.”


Lead Re-write

1.                                                     Family of 3 collides with a train

Call it faith, call it a miracle- either way, tragedy was avoided on Monday evening on Michigan Avenue in downtown Amherst when a car carrying a family of three collided with a train.

Two ambulances were called to the scene which carted the family to a near by hospital. The youngest passenger, Emily Cohen (3-years-old) was treated for mild bruising on her face and arms, Estelle who is 5-months pregnant received six stitches for a laceration on her forehead and Abraham Cohen suffered contusions on his ribs.

Police say that although there were no warning signs or automatic barrier gate, Mr. Cohen failed to stop at the stop sign. Traveling at approximately 20 MPH Mr. Cohen continued to drive into the path of the train which resulted in the collision.

Further investigation done by police show that the child safety seat in which Emily was riding in, saved her life.


2.                                            How Does Meditation Effect Heart Disease?

New Research provided by the U.S. Health and Human Services shows that meditation may aid in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride in men ages 45-75.

Researchers have spent the past 5 years at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland studying how meditation effected heart disease in their sample of 4,000 male adults. After a hefty $1,500,000 price tag research results were announced today.

Dr. William Smithson, one of the doctors included in the study found that, *insert quote here*

To Build or Not to Build?

Growing anxiety has emerged in Amherst as the town’s residents struggle to come to a consensus on which project (if any) they would support if voters approved the $500 tax increase they would incur in order to aid the town’s potential upcoming build projects whose hefty price tag is estimated at $100 million.

Businessman, Cornell Graveley says, “I work at Home Depot so I say build em, build em all! It’ll help my business,” while on the the other hand there’s Laurie Canter who says, “Taxes are relatively high…. I don’t think I could afford an additional tax increase this late in the game.”

These building projects include long-term plans for renovating and expanding the Jones Library, constructing two 375 student schools in one building, and finally building a firehouse in South Amherst.The University of Massachusetts’ journalism students took to the streets of downtown Amherst on the night of Sept. 28, 2016 to conduct a series of random interviews with Amherst residents about their thoughts on the projects.

The one thing residents seemed to agree with was that the Jones library and the town’s school, Wildwood, was in need for some TLC. The Fire Department in South Amherst didn’t seem to catch much heat with folks as they probed the fact that many of them were in full support of putting their money toward education.

Margaret McClamroch, an 81-year-old Amherst resident says, “”Libraries are changing in our culture, as well as their purposes. [This building project] wants to move Jones Library into that nationally-acclaimed approach,” “The public works building project is a very bad idea.”

While some people are in full support of town’s plan and will to shell out a few extra dollars to help support the community, others feel that schools should attribute more to the town’s taxes and others feel that making the library regional is “too much” and “The colleges should do that,” says Carol Ranzel-Wallace.

Coming from 79-year-old retiree,Byron H. Koh, he sits back and watches the changes made in this town. Having the final say as he shares his wisdom stating, “I’m not convinced, coming all at once. It should be spread out.” He thought that working on three different projects at once would be difficult for the town to maintain. It would also be a burden on residents.”

Granny’s Green Gone Bye-bye!

Margaret Holcomb was forced to part with her single medical marijuana plant on Sept 21 in Amherst, MA after a military-style helicopter swooped down on the 81-year-old’s property to confiscate the illegal contraband.

Margaret’s son, Tim Holcomb, said that it was “pretty shocking” the way in which the National Guard and State Police entered her yard and hacked away at the plant which was concealed behind a raspberry patch. Holcomb stated that she was growing the plant for medicinal purposes, in an effort to alleviate her arthritis, glaucoma and aid in her night-time sleep.

Mencher Ch 2 & 3

After reading chapter 2 in Mencher’s News Reporting and Writing I have learned that there are several basic components when writing a news story. The first, he discussed was accuracy. He went into detail by describing how and why it was important to make sure the details of a story were accurate. In this part of the chapter he states that any inaccuracies must be corrected and can be corrected in a later edition of the paper by pointing out the mistake and stating the correction. Mencher states that a writer must check and recheck their work for any spelling errors in names or addresses and all of these things must be crossed check in a telephone or city directory. He also states the importance of precise language it must be clear and accurate He begins to lead us into the way news gets filtered by speaking about news filters and first hand observations.

The chapter continues with Mencher writing on the importance of attribution and the difference between a first, second and third hand account (I found the pictures very helpful). In chapter 2 we also learn that we must write stories that are complete which means they must contain evidence to support our written statements, as writers we must present both sides of the arguments and with this we must remain objective writers should not interject their thoughts or feelings in their writings. In this reading it is also reinforced that our writing must be brief and focused. The information about the who, what, when,where, why and how must be presented in the reading early. As all writing, news writing must be clear, concise and well written.

In chapter 3 we begin discussing what news really is.  We learn that in order for the news to be “newsworthy” it must be timely, unusual, in proximity and contain conflict. Without these few things, the news would not be helpful to those watching or listening. For example, would people in Massachusetts care what the weather was like in Delaware? People also want to know about conflict, they want to know what is happening around them and how it affects their everyday lives. This also ties into currency, which is a reporter’s ability to give the voiceless a voice. I think this is an important part of news today because there are so many civilian stories that could expose so much to politicians and the “privileged” who watch the news. These stories could be the ultimate game changer in which a donation is made to a good cause or light is shed on a situation that was unknown before.




Becca Scott
A Dancer’s Soul

“My first performance was at 3 years old. I was a flower that had to jump out of a bucket. We were little and we had to do a somersault so I made my mom come out from backstage with her headset on and everything to help flip me.” Says Becca Scott as she recalls her first memory performing, on stage.

Currently, Becca is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Like many at the university, Becca is currently “employed” as a full-time student focusing all of her energy into her 2 majors. As a sophomore she pursues a degree in Dance and Journalism.

Becca Scott has a passion for dance, she states that she has always been a dancer. For as long as she could remember she says that “it’s what I always did.” Her mother owned 3 dance studios which were scattered throughout Massachusetts. Her main studio was in Worcester, MA which Becca practiced in until she was 10 years old. During the course of her dance career she took 2 years off to pursue art classes instead. It wasn’t until her and her family moved to Brattleboro, Vermont did she regain a love for dancing. Becca said a new dance studio really inspired her to get back into dance. The new studio aided her in loving the work she did. Her eyes glistened as she spoke of the hard work and new limits she was pushing her body to. She said, “I started to see my body do things it couldn’t do before. It didn’t feel like work. It was work I wanted to do.” This is when she started to take her work seriously.

As she continued through her high school career, many of her teachers encouraged her to continue her hard work in Modern and Contemporary ballet. They believed that Becca would reach great heights with the dedication she was putting into her sport. She began to believe in herself and thought about the ways in which she could make a life out of dance.  

During the interview she reflected on her junior and senior year of high school where she traveled to Washington, Florida and Russel Stage in New York where she learned about human trafficking through dance. The way in which the information was presented opened her eyes up to how through dance she could bring about changes in the world. She feels that, “Dance is not purely for entertainment. It can get a purpose across. Actually seeing it performed on stage can make a difference.”

The passion in her voice was distinct at the moment when she stated that this was the reason she also chose journalism, She feels that the two go hand in hand. Becca decided that if she wasn’t going to pursue dance, she was going to pursue journalism, “it was the next thing because I’ve always liked writing.” Becca stated in her interview that “you can use journalism and dance to tell a story and with dance it’s a bigger message.”

When asked what her goals were after graduating college she said that she wanted to perform. She informed me that dance doesn’t work the way it used to. She says that back in the day, if you could dance, you joined a company and you performed but now you need to go to college. Through first hand experience she says that college allows you to explore your options.

At 20 years old, Becca Scott has her eyes on the prize. Her hope is,with her devotion to her work both onstage and in the classroom she will land her a career performing for thousands as she shares the messages the world needs to hear.



2016’s first Presidential Debate was the obvious first choice for breaking political news across the country. People everywhere had their own opinions, concerns and observations concerning the two candidates- including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

The two articles chosen for analysis related the winner of the debate. 

From the Wall Street Journal:
And the Winner of the Trump-Clinton Debate Was…
From the New York Times: 
Debate Takeaways: Hillary Clinton Digs In and Prevails

The two stories emphasize Clinton’s tactic to provoke Trump’s poor word choice concerning Muslims, Hispanics and his attitude towards women.

The Wall Street Journal clearly points this out using some-what biased language with words such as “Her do-or-die goal” to “cut down Mr. Trump”. This article fails to provide any information about Trump’s tactics to expose Clinton’s flaws or how he planned to win over doubtful viewers. This article was extremely biased, using the first person to express the writer’s opinion on only what Donald did right (not wrong) and what Clinton did to make Trump look like the less likely candidate. The writer states that the winner of the debate was Trump  expressing that he felt the debate should not have been a close call. The comments made by readers to the writer’s article was in support of the opinion as they also provided their thoughts and concerns about Hillary’s potential election as president.

All in all, The Wall Street Journal maintains a biased, conservative point of view which is clearly demonstrated in the article.

The New York Times article was the opposite of what was presented in The Wall Street Journal article. This author was extremely careful of using non-biased, third person language using words such as, “appeared to gain”  and “seems to have beasted”. The writer, like the writer of The Wall Street Journal also highlighted Hillary’s tactic to get a rise out of Donald Trump concerning women, race and national security. The writer was careful to highlight strong points from both candidates and was factually correct when expressing the victor of the debate to be Hillary Clinton. There was no language used in this article that suggest the writers were trying to slant the view of the debate in favor of one candidate or another.  Although the writer did a fair job keeping an objective, factual point of view it seems as if the article did highlight more of where Trump went wrong and his failure to do his research in order to combat Clinton’s jabs.

The New York Times remains objective in their writing style as they factually support why Hillary Clinton in the winner of the debate.

Although this is something observed it must be wondered, was the author for the New York Times piece being slightly biased or was he just bringing attention to the things viewers all witnessed during the debate? It is ironic that both papers have two different winners but were watching the same exact program.


Who’s to say either writer is trying to sway opinions? Politics is like a drug, the scary part is that this drug will effect ALL of America is just a few months.