Josh Landes | WAMC

Josh Landes

Berkshire Bureau Chief

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods. 

Ways to Connect

A map of Berkshire Healthcare locations in Massachusetts
Berkshire Healthcare / https://www.berkshirehealthcare.org/

As of Monday, the North Adams Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Massachusetts is reporting a COVID-19 outbreak of at least 35 cases. Of the 30 residents and five staffers with the virus, all but four were vaccinated before testing positive. WAMC spoke with Berkshire Healthcare spokesperson Lisa Gaudet. She says the company that operates the center is following Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance.

A white, brown-haired woman in a blue blazer stands with a microphone before her in a room lined with purple curtains
Josh Landes / WAMC

With COVID-19 rates again on the rise around the United States, public and private entities – ranging from the federal government to corporate titans Google and Facebook – have imposed vaccine mandates for employees. Mask mandates are also returning in some areas as the potent Delta variant wreaks havoc on the unvaccinated. In the Berkshires, healthcare providers are beseeching the unvaccinated to take the jab as quickly as possible. Pittsfield, Massachusetts Mayor Linda Tyer says she backs the state’s most recent recommendation for all residents, even the vaccinated, to wear masks indoors under certain circumstances. But Tyer says Pittsfield will not mandate vaccines for city employees at this point. WAMC spoke with Tyer about how Berkshire County's largest community is preparing for the newest challenge of the pandemic.

The Berkshire Healthcare logo
Berkshire Healthcare / https://www.berkshirehealthcare.org/

The COVID-19 outbreak at a North Adams, Massachusetts nursing home has grown to 35 as of Monday. 

The Berkshire Healthcare logo
Berkshire Healthcare / https://www.berkshirehealthcare.org/

A nursing home in North Adams, Massachusetts is experiencing an outbreak of breakthrough COVID-19 cases.

A sign with directions for various departments of a hospital stands at a crossroads
Josh Landes / WAMC

WAMC has learned that around 800 employees of Berkshire County’s largest healthcare provider remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

The Berkshire Healthcare logo
Berkshire Healthcare / https://www.berkshirehealthcare.org/

Three breakthrough COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at a North Adams, Massachusetts nursing home.

A municipal meeting in a city meeting room
Josh Landes / WAMC

The North Adams, Massachusetts city council modified its policies on payment for municipal employees on Tuesday.

A sign with directions for various departments of a hospital stands at a crossroads
Josh Landes / WAMC

With a new uptick in COVID-19 cases in Berkshire County, the region’s largest healthcare provider is renewing calls for residents to get vaccinated. Berkshire Health Systems Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Lederer says it’s safe to assume that the potent Delta variant is in the Berkshires, putting the unvaccinated in risk of serious illness, hospitalization or death. Lederer recommends mask wearing even if it’s no longer legally required, but says BHS isn’t concerned about breakthrough cases for the vaccinated at this time. He spoke with WAMC.

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting with 5 people in it.
Josh Landes

The Great Barrington, Massachusetts selectboard received updates on town infrastructure projects at its meeting Monday.

The main sign outside of Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County’s largest healthcare provider says COVID-19 activity is trending upwards in the community.

The North Adams Public Library
https://www.facebook.com/naplibrary

The North Adams, Massachusetts Public Library will no longer charge fines on overdue materials. Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo says the move is an effort to join a national movement to eliminate barriers to what is a public resource. Galvanized by the COVID-19 pandemic, dropping fines across the board expands a 2018 decision to halt charges for children and young adults with overdue materials. WAMC spoke with Sanfilippo about the decision, and why she isn’t concerned about the institution taking a financial hit from the move.

A white woman holds a yellow sign protesting a landfill in a white walled room.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The town of Lee, Massachusetts has officially responded to residents angry over a municipal worker removing lawn signs from private property. 

A crowd of people stand in a park surrounded by a rotary with a blue-green truck in the foreground
Josh Landes / WAMC

Community groups will rally for voting rights in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts Saturday. 

A Black woman stands in front of a red wall
Boston Symphony Orchestra

On Saturday, composer Jessie Montgomery makes her Tanglewood debut with the performance of her piece “Starburst.” Born and raised on the Lower East Side in the 1980s, Montgomery – also a violinist and educator – has seen her work performed across the United States and abroad. Recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award from the ASCAP Foundation, she was selected by the New York Philharmonic to participate in its 2020 celebration of the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment – which prohibited denying the right to vote based on sex – called Project 19. WAMC spoke with Montgomery about “Starburst,” and about her efforts to increase the visibility of people of color in the classical music community.

A fire truck extends a ladder to the second story of an old yellow house, with a firefighter in the basket
Great Barrington Fire Department

A Great Barrington, Massachusetts man is facing arson, insurance fraud and other charges after a fire at his business earlier this month.

A stone building with a colonnade.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts will receive over $32 million in federal relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. The $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill was signed in March to hasten the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying recession. With half of the money in hand and the rest hitting city coffers next May, Mayor Linda Tyer has described it as a once in a lifetime windfall for the community. WAMC asked the mayor how she plans to spend the money, and why the voices of city residents will inform the final disbursements.

An SUV is parked on the street in front of a brick building with "Pittsfield Police" on its doors
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts Police Advisory and Review Board held its monthly meeting on Tuesday.

An elderly white man in a blue ball cap stands at a lectern in a meeting room facing a table with people sitting behind it
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Lee, Massachusetts select board meeting Tuesday night was dominated by residents angry over a town employee removing lawn signs from private property.

A white woman with long hair stands at a lectern in front of rows of mostly empty seats
Screenshot / PCTV

A Pittsfield, Massachusetts woman has been recognized by the state for her work with youth and families. 

A white woman in a red shirt kneels next to a sitting dog on a lawn
Jen Macksey / https://www.facebook.com/jen.macksey.3

A new candidate has entered the North Adams, Massachusetts mayoral race as another exits. North Berkshire School Union Assistant Superintendent Jen Macksey kicked off her campaign earlier this month, while 21-year-old MCLA student Josh Vallieres ended his campaign in favor of a bid for school board.

That leaves a historic all-female slate of four candidates for mayor in the fall election. WAMC spoke with the 48-year-old Macksey about her run against Lynette Bond, Aprilyn Carsno and Rachel Branch.

A group of politicians sit at a rostrum on a stage in a room with wooden walls and flags
Screenshot / PCTV

At its first in-person meeting since March 2020, the Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council accepted $32 million in federal relief funds, received a COVID-19 update and more.

Two people hold each other next to a massive stained glass window
Josh Landes / WAMC News

Live music returns to the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts tonight for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An elderly white man stands at a lectern in front of a semi-circle of people with a mountain behind them in a field
Josh Landes / WAMC

State and local officials gathered at the future site of the long awaited Greylock Glen Recreation and Nature Center in Adams, Massachusetts to celebrate millions in state funding Wednesday.

Two white men in suits shake hands in a fancy office while a white woman in a dress applauds, smiling
Executive Office of Health and Human Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts / https://twitter.com/MassHHS/status/750807607984685056/

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker answered questions about his administration’s handling of the deadly Holyoke Soldiers’ Home coronavirus outbreak that killed 77 residents while visiting Berkshire County on Wednesday.

A white man with glasses and a beard in a green shirt stands in a parking lot in front of an old white building.
Josh Landes / WAMC

On Tuesday, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux made his yearly visit to the Berkshires. Appointed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2015, Lebeaux – the grandson of a farmer – spent years working with his father at their family nurseries in Shrewsbury and is a certified horticulturalist. He’s been a selectperson in Shrewsbury as well as a member of the Massachusetts Board of Food and Agriculture, and served two terms as President of the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association. WAMC spoke with Lebeaux in Stockbridge about his tour of four farms in Southern Berkshire County.

A brick building with white columns sits under a blue sky
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Williamstown, Massachusetts select board held its first in-person meeting Monday since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March 2020.

A flock of sheep graze in a meadow with a barn.
Berkshire Grown / https://berkshiregrown.org/member/hidden-mountain-farm/

The Massachusetts Agricultural Commissioner is scheduled to tour four farms in Berkshire County Tuesday.

On Sunday, a Berkshire County drag legend kicks off a new series at the historic Naumkeag estate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

A stone building with a colonnade lit by lights sits in front of a brick churck and a street lamp
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts board of health heard a report on radiofrequency emissions from a controversial cell tower at its meeting Wednesday night.

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