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New England News

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

The Vermont Legislature hopes to give final approval this week to a state budget for the first quarter of the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Officials say an incoming inmate at the Vermont women's prison has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

A hub for non-profit community groups in Pittsfield, Massachusetts will reopen next month.

Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative logo
Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative

While Massachusetts is reporting a decrease in opioid-related overdose deaths statewide in 2019, the western half of the state is still seeing those numbers rise. Jennifer Kimball of the Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative says there are difficulties in tracking overdose deaths in smaller communities. She spoke with WAMC Berkshire Bureau Chief Josh Landes about why rural portions of the state struggle more than urban areas, and how better data collection can inform efforts to prevent the state’s 2,000 yearly deaths from opioid-related incidents.

Springfield Health and Human Services Dept

   With closely watched health data about the coronavirus, including the percentage of positive cases and hospitalization rates, all trending in the right direction, Massachusetts took another step in reopening Monday. 

Tonight’s annual town meeting in Great Barrington, Massachusetts will have a unique format: drive-in style.

a farm field and a tractor

Free COVID-19 testing is being offered for farm workers in western Massachusetts.

This is a picture of the campus of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The Massachusetts State Universities on Thursday said the system intends to welcome students back to its nine campuses, beginning in September, and for on-campus classes and residence life offerings for the fall semester. 

A stone building with a colonnade lit by lights sits in front of a brick churck and a street lamp
Josh Landes / WAMC

In a 6-4 vote, the Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council voted to send the proposed 2021 school department budget back to committee.

An Asian-American man in a suit smiles and holds a microphone
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia

Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor Alex Morse’s Congressional campaign has been endorsed by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

A black man with a face mask on, a hat, and an NAACP sign kneels in a sun-dappled grassy park surrounded by other masked people
Josh Landes / WAMC

The head of the Berkshire County Chapter of the NAACP wants to see Juneteenth celebrated as a national holiday.

Holyoke Soldiers' Home

A campaign has been launched to persuade Massachusetts state officials to fund major upgrades to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where 76 residents have died from COVID-19

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In March, Vermont Governor Phil Scott dismissed all in-person pre-K through grade 12 classes for the remainder of the academic year.  On June 10th he announced that data and tracking of the coronavirus in the state indicated it is safe to reopen in person teaching in the fall. The Vermont-NEA held a virtual town hall this week with Vermont’s sole Congressman and the state Senate President to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the state’s schools and teachers.

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

By a 5-4 margin, the Supreme Court has blocked an effort from the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The program was created by the Obama administration in 2012, and allows some immigrants who entered the country as children – regardless of the legality of their immigration – to remain in the country without threat of deportation for a renewable two-year period. It also makes them eligible for work permits in the United States. WAMC spoke with Berkshire Immigrant Center Executive Director Michelle Lopez about the program and today’s ruling.

Vermont maple syrup jugs
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont is continuing to lead the nation in the production of maple syrup.

One of the first moves Vermont officials took when COVID-19 hit the state was to close senior and residential care facilities to outside visitors.  During his Wednesday briefing Governor Phil Scott announced that visitors will be allowed back with restrictions.

After months of grappling with the coronavirus, municipalities across the country are running out of money. The Vermont Mayors Coalition recently outlined their pandemic recovery priorities to keep their cities financially viable.


    Amid the national debate over policing, elected officials in the largest city in western Massachusetts may be going to court over who should run the police department. 

A woman in a blue suit stands in front of a set of stone stairs
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington says two arrests have been made in relation to a phone scam that netted the suspects at least $300,000.

With personal protective equipment in high demand and in short supply during the coronavirus pandemic, some hospitals have been reusing face masks.

Marlboro College, which is merging with Emerson College in Boston and closing its Vermont campus, is sending its archives and special collections to the University of Vermont in Burlington.

A row of people in red shirts with signs stand in a park
Josh Landes / WAMC

Teachers from around Berkshire County demonstrated against budget cuts in Pittsfield, Massachusetts Monday afternoon.

Springfield Police Department Headquarters on Pearl Street

     The mayor of the largest city in western Massachusetts has announced several steps to improve race relations.  


       A virtual roundtable was held Monday evening on policing and race in the largest city in western Massachusetts.  Some invited participants boycotted the discussion. 

Burlington City Hall
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger presented his proposed 2021 city budget Monday. His presentations focused on changes to the city Police Department budget and enhancing racial justice financing at a time when city revenues will be sharply lower.

A screenshot of a Zoom conference with dozens of participants

Monday night, the Pittsfield City Council approved an amended police spending plan for 2021, along with accepting the city’s fire and emergency management budgets unaltered.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A Vermont school principal has been placed on paid administrative leave for a post on social media about the Black Lives Matter movement that “uniformly appalled” the school board.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has extended for another month the state of emergency imposed to help the state cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tanglewood logo
Boston Symphony Orchestra

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is outlining the Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival. 


      A week into the second phase of gradual reopening and officials in the largest city in western Massachusetts say the health data continues in the right direction.