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. 

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Two people, one with a mic, stand in front of a white building to address people standing in a gravel parking lot
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County’s smallest community held its annual town meeting Tuesday night.

Orange strips of paper are held up outside of parked cars in a lot.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Town meeting and election season is underway in Berkshire County.

A parking lot full of cars faces a small tent with people sitting at a table.
Josh Landes / WAMC

West Stockbridge, Massachusetts held its annual town meeting Monday night.

A white man with a beard and glasses in a blue flannel sits at a table
WilliNet / https://vimeo.com/532000421

Almost a year after a federal lawsuit against the town police department set off a chain of scandals and resignations, Williamstown, Massachusetts municipal elections are coming up May 11th. WAMC has the second part of our series of candidate profiles.

A bar with chairs lit with purple lights.
Yuki Cohen

The city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts has suspended the liquor and entertainment licenses of a downtown bar and eatery owned by a city councilor.

A white woman with brown hair sits in a car
Aprilyn Carsno

This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Carsno was a Certified Nursing Assistant, not a nurse as originally reported.

A new candidate has entered the race for mayor of North Adams, Massachusetts. With Tom Bernard declining not to seek a third term this fall, there are now three official names in contention – as well as an expected run from city council Vice President Jason LaForest. Alongside MCLA student Josh Vallieres and perennial candidate Rachel Branch is Aprilyn Carsno. WAMC spoke with the 49-year-old former certified nursing assistant about why she’s entering the politics for the first time. One reason: the city’s broken fire hydrants.

A North Adams fire hydrant
Josh Landes / WAMC

At its virtual meeting Tuesday night, the North Adams, Massachusetts city council heard updates from Mayor Tom Bernard about the COVID-19 vaccination rollout as well as the city’s efforts to address malfunctioning fire hydrants. 

Six people in a Zoom meeting.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Charles Blanchard is the new interim town manager for Williamstown, Massachusetts. After Jason Hoch resigned due to a series of scandals related to police department misconduct, the select board tapped Blanchard to steer Williamstown’s day-to-day operations while it searches for a new permanent manager. WAMC spoke with Blanchard about his philosophy on town management, and how he envisions his role in the community during a fraught period in Williamstown.

MASS MoCA Union UAW Local 2110 North Adams, MA
MASS MoCA Union

Employees of North Adams, Massachusetts art museum MASS MoCA have decisively voted to unionize. 

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting
Josh Landes

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts City Council got a COVID-19 update and voted to end a controversial mosquito spraying program at Tuesday night’s virtual meeting.

A brick building sits behind a green lawn.
wikipedia.org

At its Monday night meeting, the Great Barrington, Massachusetts selectboard got an update on public works projects in the town and debated the merits of a downtown licensing request.

A bald man with glasses and a beard in a blue shirt stands in front of a white wall
Jeffrey Johnson / https://www.facebook.com/JeffJohnson4SelectBoard-111745710962381

Almost a year after a federal lawsuit against the town police department set off a chain of scandals and resignations, Williamstown, Massachusetts municipal elections are coming up May 11th. WAMC speaks with one of the candidates for select board in the first part of a series on the election.

An older white woman sits in a television studio at a table
Josh Landes / WAMC

North Adams, Massachusetts resident Rachel Branch is running for mayor for the third consecutive election. Branch, who hosts a public access television program called Solutions Rising, has served on the North Adams Housing Authority as well as the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District Committee.

Mayor Tom Bernard is not seeking a third term this fall.

Branch – whose father was once president of the city council – joins MCLA student Josh Vallieres in the field, though city council Vice President Jason LaForest intends to enter the race. Branch tells WAMC Berkshire Bureau Chief Josh Landes that public service, feminism and representing the community’s youth are at the core of her latest campaign.

This is a photo of BCC President Ellen Kennedy.
JD Allen / WAMC

Along with 14 other community colleges around Massachusetts, Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield will not require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the fall semester. WAMC spoke with college president Ellen Kennedy about why she signed on to a letter outlining the policy and more.

A man stands at a podium in a gym with two cameras trained on him
Josh Landes / WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker toured a vaccination clinic in Pittsfield Thursday before giving an update on the state’s COVID-19 situation.

State Senator Adam Hinds holds a microphone at an outdoor event.
Becki Joppru Connolly

State Senator Adam Hinds is the chair of the Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency. The body has already held two hearings this spring on topics ranging from equity gaps in healthcare data reporting to the cost of the digital divide in the state. More hearings are coming, and a report is expected from the committee by the fall. Hinds, a Western Massachusetts Democrat, spoke with WAMC about what he’s gathered so far from the process, and how the state can effectively respond to the revelations the hearings have uncovered.

A stone building with a colonnade sits below a grey sky amid snowdrifts.
Josh Landes / WAMC

More Pittsfield, Massachusetts city councilors have expressed dismay with the school committee’s selection of a new permanent superintendent. 

Six people in a Zoom meeting.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The candidate chosen by Williamstown, Massachusetts to serve as interim town manager has accepted the position.

A woman with blue and silver hair smiles into a camera
Brianne Fortuna / Hudson Cutler & Co.

Trixie Garcia – daughter of Grateful Dead front man and countercultural icon Jerry Garcia – will be in Western Massachusetts Saturday for the East Coast launch of her family’s marijuana brand. The event in the Liberty Easthampton dispensary parking lot is styled in the manner of the sprawling traveling markets that followed the Dead’s tours in their heyday known as Shakedown Street. Garcia spoke with WAMC about how the brand pays homage to her father’s legacy, and her work in the charitable arm of the Grateful Dead organization.

A man in a sweater speaks into a microphone.
Josh Landes / WAMC

City councilor Patrick Kavey says the school committee in Pittsfield, Massachusetts wronged the community by backing interim superintendent Joe Curtis for the permanent position.

A grid of nine participants in a virtual meeting
PCTV

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts school committee chose a new permanent superintendent Wednesday, prompting one member of the body – Berkshire County’s NAACP chapter president – to resign in protest.

A white man with glasses, pierced ears and dark hair wearing a black collared shirt under a beige sweater
www.facebook.com/JoshVforNA

As the North Adams, Massachusetts municipal election gears up, a new candidate has entered the fray. With incumbent Mayor Tom Bernard choosing to not seek a third two-year term, 21-year-old Josh Vallieres intends to run for the corner office. A former Boy Scout, a native of the Northern Berkshire community and a junior at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Vallieres tells WAMC that he wants to bring a new perspective to the city government.

A street lined with buildings has a row of flowering trees in between lanes of traffic
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council embraced a new downtown zoning policy after a debate about affordable housing at its virtual meeting Tuesday night.

Costumed actors stand on a stage under a large tent
Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware / Berkshire Theatre Group

  

The Berkshire theatre scene is gearing up for an in-person summer season, with considerable measures taken to confront the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bald white man in a button down shirt gestures with his hands in front of a wall with framed pictures and a banner.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Ben Downing is a Berkshire County native who now lives in East Boston. He’s running for governor of Massachusetts in the 2022 election. The former Democratic state senator, who left office to work in the renewable energy sector in 2017, says his plan to address climate change is more aggressive than Republican Governor Charlie Baker’s. Baker has not said whether he will seek a third term. Downing spoke with WAMC about his strategy, which he says addresses the planks of “urgency, equity, innovation, justice and jobs.”

A white man in a colorful button down shirt and a Pittsburgh Pirates hat smiles into the camera in front of flowers
Toni Buckley

Berkshire County singer-songwriter Wes Buckley released his vinyl record debut this week on a brand new label based in North Adams, Massachusetts.

A yellow banner on a telephone pole that reads "downtown Bennington" against a blue sky.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Two former residents of Bennington, Vermont, have filed a complaint with the state’s Human Rights Commission. They claim the town unlawfully retaliated against them after they spoke out against racist treatment by town police.

A green awning with a sheriff's badge logo is in front of a beige building under a blue sky
Josh Landes / WAMC

As the COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues across Massachusetts, the Berkshire House of Correction in Lanesborough is taking part. Nationwide, congregate settings like county jails have struggled to control coronavirus spread. WAMC spoke with facility Assistant Superintendent Daniel Sheridan about the effort – among staff and inmates alike.

The Massachusetts State House
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Democratic Western Massachusetts State Senator Adam Hinds chaired the first hearing for a new committee on re-imagining Massachusetts after the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday.

A large crowd watches a brightly lit festival stage at night
MASS MoCA

Solid Sound, the biennial music festival curated by Wilco on the grounds of MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, will not happen this summer. 

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