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New England News

A gas station in Colonie, New York
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Gas prices have risen in all three northern New England states in the past week.

Vermont is now in its next phase of vaccine distribution, with people ages 55 and above with certain high-risk health conditions eligible to sign up for the shots.

NASA Meteor Watch says a meteor was spotted just before 5:40 Sunday afternoon in the Vermont skies.

UVM Medical Center main entrance
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Nearly one year after diagnosing its first COVID-19 patient, the UVM Health Network is reporting a budget shortfall.

Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris with a chart
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

  Approaching the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus public health emergency in Massachusetts on Wednesday, there is optimism as new COVID-19 cases fall and vaccinations increase.  

A tent with signs in front of a large brick complex
Josh Landes / WAMC

On Monday, the staff of the sprawling modern art museum MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts declared their intent to form a union. A press release detailed concerns around equity, compensation, job security and a round of layoffs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum employs around 130 people. The Local 2110 UAW estimates around 100 of them would be eligible to be part of the union. Staff spokesperson and Associate Director of Education Amanda Tobin – a seven-year veteran of the museum – spoke to WAMC about what led to the unionization effort.

A man sits in a chair wearing a suit and bow tie in an office with wooden walls
Josh Landes / WAMC

North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard is presenting a new plan to deal with broken fire hydrants to the city council Tuesday night. It comes after two  recent fires underscored safety infrastructure problems. Bernard spoke with WAMC about the plan, as well as his opposition to the state’s plan to return to in-person education this spring.

A school bus drives past a barren former industrial lot under a cloudy sky.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Massachusetts and the city of Pittsfield are set to announce Tuesday a step forward in redeveloping a former industrial site through the MassDevelopment Site Readiness Program.

Vermont state lawmakers are introducing for the third time a bill designed to require polluters to pay for medical monitoring expenses for residents affected by toxic contamination.

Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley
https://www.doe.mass.edu/commissioner/

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted today to give Commissioner Jeffrey Riley the power to force local districts to reopen their schools full-time. Riley said he’ll take a phased-in approach starting April 5th with elementary schools.

two dirt bikes
Springfield Police Dept

With days getting longer and the weather warming, dirt bikes are back on city streets.  Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts are making another attempt to crack down on the illegal use of these off-road vehicles.

A black haired Asian American woman is on one side of a split portrait; on the other, a white woman in a blue pants suit stands at a podium covered in microphones.
City Of Pittsfield / Josh Landes WAMC

In a WAMC News exclusive, a Pittsfield, Massachusetts city councilor is opening up about her time working for Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington – and what led to her exit.

   The police department in Springfield, Massachusetts and the city’s health department are looking to share information they hope could prevent opioid deaths. 

Some Burlington High School students were back in class on Thursday inside a former downtown department store.

Placard on Vermont statehood
Vermont Governor's Office

Vermont Governor Phil Scott is tweeting birthday wishes: to the state.

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

Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Berkshires native Ben Downing spoke and took questions at a meeting of the county’s NAACP chapter Wednesday night.

Picture of marijuana plant
US Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

More than 20 Vermont communities have approved allowing retail marijuana businesses within their borders.

Vermont Dept. of Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker
WAMC screen capture

The Commissioner of Vermont’s Department of Corrections says it’s all hands on deck as a COVID-19 outbreak has infected more than 100 inmates and 10 staffers at the state prison in Newport. It is the largest outbreak at a Vermont correctional facility since the start of the pandemic.

Vermont Town Meeting Day graphic
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Town Meeting Day is traditionally when Vermonters gather to debate and decide local elections, budgets and community issues in town halls and auditoriums.  Voters assessed a number of items during non-traditional meetings this year.

Under a photo of a protest with sign-holding attendees and next to the town seal, it says "Fiscal 2022 Municipal Budget July 1st, 2021 - June 30th, 2022"
Town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts

The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts is preparing its fiscal year 2022 budget ahead of a public hearing later this month.

A man in a blue suit, red tie, white shirt and sunglasses smiles and waves to a crowd.
Earl Persip III Councilor At-Large / https://www.facebook.com/persip4pittsfield

At-large Pittsfield, Massachusetts city councilor Earl Persip says he’ll seek a third two-year term. 

Springfield City Hall at night
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

    City Councilors in Springfield, Massachusetts next week will attempt to fill a vacancy among their ranks. 

Mayor Miro Weinberger wins a fourth term on Town Meeting Day 2021
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger won re-election Tuesday to a fourth three-year term in his closest race yet for the city’s top seat.

three people at a press conference
WAMC

Government funds have helped people in western Massachusetts stay in their homes as jobs were lost and income shrank during the pandemic. 

Last June, the city of Springfield announced a $2 million emergency housing fund to help people pay rent, mortgage, and utility bills.  All but $140,000 has now been claimed.

Photo of Vermont Statehouse in winter
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Phil Scott held his latest COVID-19 briefing Tuesday.  The governor and administration officials discussed how the rollout of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine could impact the state's vaccination program.

A white man smiles in a blue button-down shirt and a blue blazer with a pin shaped like Massachusetts with the American flag over it on his lapel
Ben Mancino

An exchange in a North Adams, Massachusetts community Facebook page has led to allegations of misconduct against city council vice president and likely mayoral candidate Jason LaForest.

a school building
WAMC

        The largest public school district in western Massachusetts will seek a waiver if the state orders a return next month to in-person learning five days a week.

The feet of two people are visible standing behind voting booths in a hallway
Josh Landes / WAMC

The U.S. House is set to begin debating H.R. 1 this week. The For the People Act is intended to expand voting rights. On Monday, Vermont at-large Congressman Peter Welch held a virtual roundtable with the Green Mountain state’s election officials and civic advocates to discuss the implications of the bill.

money in a wallet
WAMC file photo

   Reflecting the impact of the pandemic on family finances, there was a surge in complaints last year to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – the government agency set up to protect people from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices by financial companies.

Pie chart of Vermont's top scams of 2020
Vermont Attorney General's office

Vermont’s Attorney General has released the top scams reported in the state last year.

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