Holyoke | WAMC


a black and white photo of Carlos Vega
Special Collections UMass Amherst Libraries

The recipients of this year’s grants from the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice have been announced.

Alex Morse in baseball cap
Alex Morse / Twitter

     A chapter in western Massachusetts political history closes Friday when Alex Morse resigns as mayor of Holyoke.

A white man in a fleece sits in front of a microphone
Josh Landes / WAMC

Alex Morse will not run for another term as mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts next year.

Congressman Richard Neal
public domain / Public Domain

Will Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse be able to knock off Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal in next month’s Democratic primary?

In today’s Congressional Corner, Neal continues his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

This interview was recorded August 6.

Alex Morse

In today’s Congressional Corner, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse wraps up his interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock. Morse is running in the Democratic primary for the 1st House district seat held by Rep. Richard Neal.

Alex Morse

Will Congressman Richard Neal avoid the fate of Congressman Eliot Engel?

In today’s Congressional Corner, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse continues his interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock about his campaign for the 1st House district seat.

Alex Morse

We’re in the final days of the Democratic primary in Western Massachusetts.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse speaks with WAMC’s Alan Chartock about his campaign for the 1st House district seat.

a black and white photo of Carlos Vega
Special Collections UMass Amherst Libraries

Several organizations in western Massachusetts will benefit this year from a fund created to help carry on the legacy of a renowned advocate for civil rights, housing, education and social justice.

Aaron Vega Facebook

     A Democratic state representative from western Massachusetts is not going to run for re-election.


An inflatable bounce house is not something typically associated with combating crime.


     A few years ago, Massachusetts allowed cities and towns to create a Veterans Assistance Fund.

An organization committed to keeping young men out of the poverty-to-prison pipeline is expanding its presence in western Massachusetts.


A new project in urban agriculture is launching this week in western Massachusetts.


With ongoing efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the Affordable Care Act, the Massachusetts Health Connector has launched a campaign to promote the upcoming three-month open enrollment period.


Two western Massachusetts municipalities with large Puerto Rican populations are prepping for a possible large influx of people from the devastated island.

Holyoke Mayor's Office

The year began with a tragedy in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

A fire that was reported just before 9 a.m. New Year’s Day swept through a five-story apartment building.

Three people died and almost 50 people were left homeless.  Many of the tenants fled wearing only pajamas and all their possessions were destroyed.    More than a week after the devastating fire, efforts continue to help the victims.  

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.               

Voters in three western Massachusetts cities Pittsfield, Springfield, and Holyoke will decide in a few weeks whether to adopt the Community Preservation Act.

“Yes for a Better Holyoke” is the campaign advocating for passage of the referendum that will appear as question 5 on the ballot in Holyoke.  

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Jason Ferreira, the spokesman for the group.

One of the largest solar power projects in Massachusetts is being constructed on the property of a former coal-burning power plant in Holyoke. 


  A woman who dedicated the majority of her adult life to public service in a western Massachusetts city was honored at a ceremony today. 

a black and white photo of Carlos Vega
Special Collections UMass Amherst Libraries

For the fifth year, grants are being awarded to continue the legacy of a revered activist for social justice in western Massachusetts. 

Fourteen organizations will receive so-called mini-grants from the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice at a public reception later today at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke. 

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Vega’s son, Massachusetts State Representative Aaron Vega.


      Hillary Clinton scored a tight victory over Bernie Sanders in the Massachusetts Democratic presidential primary Tuesday. Supporters of both candidates came together last night to talk unity in the wake of a hard-fought campaign.

The race was so close that the Associated Press did not call the Massachusetts primary for Clinton until shortly before midnight, almost four hours after the polls closed.  The unofficial results with more than 95 percent of the state’s precincts reporting had Clinton with 50.3 percent of the vote to 48.5 percent for Sanders.

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today, we will learn about an upcoming museum exhibit: “Nuestras Abuelas de Holyoke: Empowerment and Legacy,” which is a photography and bilingual text exhibition at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The exhibit—opening on March 5th and funded by Mass Humanities—features stories of Latina grandmothers as shared by their grandchildren in Holyoke community and draws attention to issues of family, gender expectations, stories of migration, and understandings of home.

We are joined today by Penni Martorell, curator of collections at Wistariahurst Museum and Holyoke’s City Historian, and by Waleska Santiago, the guest curator at Wistariahurst who has put together the “Nuestras Abuelas” exhibit.


A federally-funded brownfields cleanup project is under way in Holyoke, Massachusetts to demolish a former auto service facility that has sat vacant and unusable for more than two decades.

New Years Eve revelry is not just for adults. In western Massachusetts, for the 19th year, the Children’s Museum at Holyoke is putting on First Night Junior.

       WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the museum’s operations manager, Diane West.


An organization that works to preserve the stock of affordable housing in poor neighborhoods is expanding into a western Massachusetts city with one of the highest poverty rates in the state.

Revitalize CDC, which has helped hundreds of families keep their homes in Springfield with volunteer-driven mass rebuilding projects through the years, is expanding into Holyoke with an initiative to repair and rehabilitate houses of military veterans.


In western Massachusetts Tuesday, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos were re-elected by big margins.  Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse squeaked out a victory in a contest where bad blood remained even after the votes were counted.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse addresses supporters after winning reelection

The current mayors of Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee, Massachusetts will keep their jobs for another term. WAMC's Ian Pickus gets the details from our Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.


The Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Thursday unveiled a turnaround plan for the public schools in Holyoke, which were put under state receivership earlier this year. 

  Commissioner Mitchell Chester said the plan to improve the public schools in one of the poorest cities in the state includes more time in school for K-8th grade students, a redesign of the secondary schools, and a downsizing of the central administrative office.

" I start with the presumption that business as usual is not going to move things in Holyoke," said Chester.

Holyoke business owner Francis O'Connell, making his first run for public office, finished second in the preliminary election for Holyoke mayor.  He will be in the Nov. 3rd election ballot with two-term incumbent Mayor Alex Morse.   Morse received 2,694 votes in Tuesday's preliminary election. O'Connell had 2,450. A third candidate, Holyoke City Councilor Anthony Soto was eliminated from the mayor's race by a third place finish with 1,145 votes. Twenty-five percent of Holyoke's registered voters cast ballots in the preliminary.


Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who is running for a third two-year term, finished first in Tuesday's preliminary election.  Morse will face businessman Francis O'Connell in the November 3rd election.  Morse received 2,694  votes to O'Connell's 2,450.   Anthony Soto, a Holyoke city councilor, came in third with  1,145 votes and so will not appear on the November ballot.   Twenty-five percent of Holyoke's registered voters cast ballots in the preliminary election.