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Western Mass. Base Could Be Used To House Immigrant Children


Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s announcement Friday that Westover Air Force Reserve Base in Chicopee might be used to shelter immigrant children caught base commanders by surprise.

   Base spokesman, Master Sgt  Andrew Biscoe, said Westover is an active airfield with operational and security concerns that would need be addressed  before it could house up to a thousand children.  Also, lodging at the base is used on the weekends by thousands of reservists.

" We don't have as large a set up as an active duty Air Force base would have with sprawling housing areas and a significant infrastructure. It is an Air Force Reserve-owned base."

   Gov. Patrick said federal officials will vet Westover and  Camp Edwards on Cape Cod  and decide which, if either, satisfies the  requirements  to house the children.  He said the federal government will bear all the costs.  The mayor of Chicopee, in a statement, said he was awaiting more information from the state.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.