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

https://www.covid19sim.org/

Two Boston-area medical institutions have launched a COVID-19 simulator that offers models of the pandemic’s trajectory and guidance on how reopening the country could affect its spread. Jag Chhatwal is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a senior scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He spoke with WAMC about the simulator, what data it uses, and how its creators hope it will influence public policy.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Pittsfield, Massachusetts police are investigating a shooting following a car accident Thursday night. 

A white man with glasses sits behind a wooden desk in an office
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bowler has recovered from COVID-19 and is back at work in the House of Corrections.

A sign that says "Crane" stands outside of a brick building
Josh Landes / WAMC

Just over a week after announcing sweeping layoffs, the 220-year-old Crane Stationery Plant in North Adams, Massachusetts resumed operations today for the first time since March 18th. But North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard says the move violates an order he issued Sunday, which stipulates that the plant can only reopen if it solely works on essential business related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plant owner Mohawk Paper has not responded to interview requests from WAMC this week. Mayor Bernard spoke with WAMC Friday morning about the latest developments, and his message to the plant’s 229 workers.

A white woman with glasses stands behind a podium smiling
Massachusetts / www.mass.gov/news/auditor-bump-highlights-the-work-of-the-division-of-local-mandates

  

Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne Bump says an audit of the Department of Early Education and Care found a number of shortcomings in the agency — from inconsistent investigation and reporting of child abuse to a failure to properly conduct background checks on its staff. Bump’s audit – which ran from 2016 to 2018 – has produced a number of recommendations to the EEC. WAMC spoke with Bump about her investigation, as well as her department’s past examinations of the soldiers’ homes in Chelsea and Holyoke. The horror has garnered national headlines, with more than 100 coronavirus-related deaths at the state-run nursing facilities for veterans in Massachusetts since March. Bump says audits in 2016 and 2017 indicated issues with the facilities years before the pandemic.

The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts has received a $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up dry-cleaning chemicals from underneath a shuttered business. 

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

Although cases have been far lower in the state than in neighboring New York and Massachusetts, Vermont’s economy has essentially shut down due to the coronavirus, and schools are closed for the rest of the year. Stuart Hurd is the Town Manager of Bennington, the largest community in southwestern Vermont. WAMC spoke with Hurd about how the pandemic has affected the town of about 16,000 residents.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into the foreseeable future, the question of how to safely begin reopening nonessential businesses looms over municipal leaders. WAMC spoke with Pittsfield, Massachusetts Mayor Linda Tyer Tuesday about how the pandemic is affecting the community.

The Downtown Pittsfield Inc. logo
Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

 

On Friday, Jesse Cook-Dubin ended his four-year term as president of Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. The nonprofit entity has worked to promote and develop the Western Massachusetts city’s core since 1983. The corporate lawyer spoke with WAMC about the challenges and successes he faced while at the head of DPI, what his successor will need to prepare for moving forward, and more.

A sign that says "Crane" stands outside of a brick building
Josh Landes / WAMC

The mayor of North Adams, Massachusetts has issued a list of conditions required for a paper company to reopen its plant in the city, just days after it announced sweeping layoffs next month.

A white man with glasses sits behind a wooden desk in an office
Josh Landes / WAMC

After battling COVID-19, Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bowler says he’s back at work.

The NORAD Mill's lobby sign has a list of businesses on each floor of the building
Josh Landes / WAMC

With COVID-19 related shutdowns leading to a sharp spike in national unemployment claims and a steep economic downturn, most are pessimistic about the nature of business during the pandemic. But Berkshire County businessman David Moresi – President and CEO of North Adams-based Moresi and Associates – sees opportunity in the crisis. Between his ventures in restaurants, construction, and real estate – including the NORAD Mill business complex that Moresi renovated and leased himself – he employs a staff of around 100. Speaking with WAMC, he explains how the Great Recession of 2008  helped form his approach to business, as well as why he thinks Northern Berkshire County is due for a post-pandemic demographic shift.

Barrington Stage Company and Berkshire Theatre Group

With cancellation after cancellation looming over Berkshire County’s lucrative summer season, two Pittsfield, Massachusetts theatre companies say they’ll attempt to mount productions despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

http://berkshirerecord.net/ / Berkshire Record

With local publications across the country facing a dire future during the coronavirus pandemic, a Berkshire County outlet is calling it quits.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Two Pittsfield, Massachusetts residents were arrested early Thursday morning on illegal firearm possession charges. 

Crane Stationery Plant / Mohawk

Cohoes, New York-based Mohawk Paper is refuting published reports that Crane Stationery Plant in North Adams, Massachusetts will close in June. But most of the workforce is being let go.

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

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pittsfield, Massachusetts Police Chief Michael Wynn’s role as the city’s deputy emergency management director has meant he is coordinating county-wide responses to the crisis. Wynn spoke with WAMC Wednesday about how his department is handling the risks of policing during the coronavirus outbreak, an uptick in domestic violence reports, and what role the department plays in enforcing public health guidelines on the streets of Pittsfield.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Through the recently signed CARES Act, Pittsfield, Massachusetts has received almost $790,000 from the federal government in COVID-19 relief funds. Tuesday night, the city council approved Mayor Linda Tyer’s plan for how to distribute that money to city residents and business owners. WAMC spoke to Tyer about her plan, and how residents can access the funds.

Massachusetts Broadband Institute / https://broadband.masstech.org/

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute was created by the state in 2008 to bring high-speed internet to communities struggling to get online. One of its efforts – the Last Mile Program –  focuses on more than 50 underserved and unserved towns in Western and Central Massachusetts. MBI Board chair Peter Larkin says as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the institute is working to open up Wi-Fi hotspots in some communities to fill the pressing need for internet access as schools and many businesses remain closed. Larkin spoke with WAMC.

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

Massachusetts State Senator Adam Hinds represents Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden counties. The Democrat is concerned about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on his district, whose economy is heavily reliant on summer tourism. Hinds spoke with WAMC.

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 city council is set to vote Tuesday on a spending plan for emergency federal funding proposed by Mayor Linda Tyer.

A sign hangs from a brick arch against a grey sky
Josh Landes / WAMC

This week, President Trump signed an executive order to temporarily suspend green cards from being issued to migrants attempting to enter the country. WAMC spoke with Berkshire Immigrant Center Executive Director Michelle Lopez, who says the move is an attempt to exploit the pandemic to promote an anti-immigrant agenda.

Two older white men stand in front of a marble colonnade
Josh Landes / WAMC

As COVID-19 related closures wreak havoc on Berkshire County cultural institutions, two state legislators are moving to create a relief fund to support them.

A long brick building sits beyond a green lawn and trees with a rotunda with a gold spire rising above it
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County school superintendents are preparing for remote learning to continue for the rest of the school year after Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that schools will not reopen before summer break.

www.facebook.com/berkshireregionalplanning/

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is working with all 32 communities in the county to coordinate the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior public health planner Allison Egan spoke with WAMC about how the coordinated response has progressed in the last month, and what challenges still remain.

A man and a boy hold signs in a meeting room
Josh Landes / WAMC

The 50th anniversary Earth Day in Berkshire County came as local environmental groups find themselves on opposite sides of a plan to continue a long-delayed cleanup of the Housatonic River.

The Williamstown Commons logo
https://williamstowncommons.org/

Since the first reported coronavirus case in late March, 17 people have died at a Williamstown, Massachusetts nursing home.

A long brick building sits beyond a green lawn and trees with a rotunda with a gold spire rising above it
Josh Landes / WAMC

With Massachusetts schools ordered to remain closed for the rest of the school year, Berkshire County parents and students alike are reacting.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra Logo
Boston Symphony Orchestra

While the Boston Symphony Orchestra is reporting furloughs in addition to schedule cancelations that have raised questions about a summer Tanglewood season, Berkshire Theatre Group says it’s planning an August 1st opening. 

The Berkshire County Sheriff's Office logo, a gold star with the office's name on it and the state seal in the middle
Berkshire County Sheriff's Office

The Berkshire County House of Corrections says while none of its inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, four of its staff members have. 

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