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New England News

A voting machine

      The city of Springfield’s Election Office is looking to buy a new vote tabulation system and more than 70 new voting machines for local polling places.

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont is ending the suspension on the work search requirement for those on unemployment. That was a key topic during the governor’s regular COVID briefing today.

a hoopless basketball backboard
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

Plans are in the works to reopen swimming pools and summer camps in Springfield, Massachusetts, but not outdoor basketball courts.

A brick building sits behind a green lawn.

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.

dirt bikes
Springfield Police Dept

     There is a proposal in Springfield, Massachusetts to combat the problem of illegal dirt bikes by shutting off the fuel supply. 

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos
photo provided

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos will perform a post-election audit of the 2020 Vermont General Election results this week.

Vials of COVID-19 vaccine
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

The state of Vermont will resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Vials of COVID-19 vaccine
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

  The city of Springfield is pushing to convince more young adults to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

A bald man with glasses and a beard in a blue shirt stands in front of a white wall
Jeffrey Johnson /

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.

The owner of an unpermitted firearms training center in the southern Vermont town of Pawlet says he won’t comply with a judge’s order to dismantle much of the facility he built in the woods near the New York border.

Vermont National Guard logo
U.S. Air Force

The Vermont Army National Guard is planning to build a live-fire demolition and explosive facility at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Bolton, Jericho and Underhill.

The state of Vermont has won an appeal with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that allows the continued operation of the state office that manages foreign business investment through a federal program that grants U.S. residency to people who help create jobs.

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont’s regular Friday COVID briefing included discussion on how the state will respond to a pending federal decision regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause. Later in the day, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced after a panel of experts voted that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, and its benefits outweigh the known risks.

skyline of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts

  A project will get underway later this year to monitor the air quality in Springfield, Massachusetts – once dubbed the “asthma capital” of the United States. 

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

The mayor of Burlington, Vermont held a periodic briefing on the impact of the COVID pandemic on the city this week.  It included an update on wastewater monitoring for the virus.

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.

      Efforts to combat climate change and to improve health equity in the largest city in western Massachusetts are getting a boost from a private philanthropy.

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.

Snowplow (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

State police are reporting numerous crashes across Vermont after a late-season snowstorm slickened highways.

Vermont welcome sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont’s tourism industry is down an estimated $700 million to date more than a year into the coronavirus pandemic.

Vermont maple syrup jugs
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Seventy-degree weather and low sugar content in tree sap have resulted in one of the shortest maple seasons in over a decade for Vermont producers.

Barn silos
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray has been holding a series of themed roundtables to bring attention to what she says are critical issues for the state.  Her latest “Seat at the Table” featured a panel discussion on climate change and sustainable food systems.

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.

Prescription drop box
Vermont State Police

Vermonters are urged to get rid of their unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.

Vermont's Northern State Correctional Facility has been declared free of COVID-19.

screenshot of Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff visiting Community Health Centers of Burlington

The Second Gentleman of the United States, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, was in Burlington, Vermont on Wednesday.  Douglas Emhoff is helping the Biden Administration spread the word about the importance of vaccinations against COVID-19 especially in underserved and minority communities.

Mayor Domenic Sarno and Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood

         Amid calls nationwide for police reforms, a court ruling could put a civilian board in charge of the Police Department in Springfield, Massachusetts.

U.S. Canada border crossing at Champlain-LaColle
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has extended until May 21st restrictions that prevent non-essential travel across the U.S. and Canadian border.

Vermont officials discussed the rate and the willingness of residents to be vaccinated during the governor’s regular COVID-19 update on Tuesday.