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New England News

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In Vermont and around the globe, the biggest story of 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic.  But there were other events that will have lasting implications for state policy and residents.  It was a major election year for key statewide offices as candidates had to find ways to campaign in the midst of a pandemic that limited personal interactions.

The Vermont Health Department is urging anyone who gathered with people outside their households over the holidays to get tested for the virus that causes COVID-19 seven days after the get-together.

The Vermont-based New England Culinary Institute is going to be closing its doors after 40 years.

The Berkshire Healthcare logo
Berkshire Healthcare / https://www.berkshirehealthcare.org/

Two Berkshire County nursing homes hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks this fall and winter are seeing deaths and cases level off as residents begin to receive vaccines.

Fire fighters and a fire truck are in front of a burning wooden building
Monterey Fire Department

Last month, the Berkshire arts community was shocked by the sudden fire that incinerated the Doris Duke Theatre on the campus of Becket, Massachusetts dance center Jacob’s Pillow. WAMC checked in with Executive and Artistic Director Pamela Tatge about how the Pillow is recovering, its plans for 2021, and the investigation into the fire.

A roadside sign reads "Egremont Mass."
Town Of Egremont, Massachusetts / https://www.egremont-ma.gov/

The town of Egremont, Massachusetts has been recognized on the state level for its commitment to reducing the cost and environmental impact of energy. The municipality in southern Berkshire County was one of eight recipients of the state’s 14th Leading by Example Awards in 2020. Town Select Board Chair George McGurn spoke with WAMC about the recognition – and why the community trash compactor is the place to be for gossip.

Berkshire Health Systems logo
Berkshire Health Systems

Heading into the holidays, Berkshire Health Systems has ended the first round of its staff COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The text "Women Of Color" circle a map of Berkshire County with drawings of smiling women
Women of Color Giving Circle / https://www.facebook.com/wocgc1/

The Women of Color Giving Circle of the Berkshires is holding a community celebration of Kwanzaa next week.

A group gathered for a press conference
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

Berkshire County state representatives are reacting to signs that long-serving Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo is preparing to step down after over a decade.

Fireworks
Twitter

Since 1985, large crowds of people have gathered in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts for First Night – the family-friendly New Year’s Eve festival.

WikiMedia Commons

     Environmentalists and elected officials in the largest city in western Massachusetts are monitoring the progress to repair hundreds of small natural gas leaks.

The Vermont Department of Public Safety says a Blue Alert drill planned for earlier this month has been rescheduled to next week.

photo of Burlington Police logo on a podium
Photo - Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington’s interim police chief has asked city officials to increase the cap on sworn officers before cuts to the department are implemented.

At his COVID-19 update today, Vermont Governor Phil Scott was joined by the state’s at-large Congressman to review the new federal coronavirus relief package.

A blue awning that reads "Otto's Breakfast & Deli" stretches over a brick building with windows and a snowy sidewalk
Josh Landes / WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker again rolled back the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan on Tuesday, instating a 25 percent capacity limit on restaurants, gyms, houses of worship and more starting Saturday. For business owners like Luke Marion, of downtown Pittsfield eatery Otto’s, the news is another blow in a brutal year. WAMC asked Marion what Baker’s new orders mean for him, his business and his staff.

Springfield City Hall at night
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

    The City Council in the largest city in western Massachusetts has chosen new leadership for 2021.  

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Public schools in Vermont’s largest city have switched to remote learning this week ahead of the holiday break.

Operation Santa's Convoy map
Vermont Army National Guard

The Vermont Army National Guard is planning a lighted convoy in western Vermont Tuesday evening.

The Southern Berkshire Regional School District logo
Southern Berkshire Regional School District

Last week, the Southern Berkshire Regional School District sent out an alert that one of its community members had tested positive for COVID-19. The district represents the towns of Sheffield, New Marlborough, Egremont, Monterey, and Alford, Massachusetts. WAMC asked superintendent Beth Regulbuto about how the district is responding to the situation, and what preparations she’s taking before the holiday and the possibility of further community spread.

    The largest hospital network in western Massachusetts ran through its initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine in just five days. 

The Berkshire Healthcare logo
Berkshire Healthcare / https://www.berkshirehealthcare.org/

Two nursing homes managed by Berkshire Healthcare are reporting 56 deaths related to COVID-19.

A police SUV is parked outside of signs for Theory Wellness that declare it open for business.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The likely legalization of recreational marijuana in New York and Connecticut in 2021 has the Berkshire County cannabis industry bracing for a sea change.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The mayor of Vermont’s largest city is voluntarily quarantining after a possible exposure to COVID-19.

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Governor Phil Scott says the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed across Vermont, but not at the rate he had expected.

a student learns remotely
SPS

The largest public school district in western Massachusetts will remain fully remote through the winter. 

The Berkshire Healthcare logo
Berkshire Healthcare / https://www.berkshirehealthcare.org/

Impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt in Berkshire County. 

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

A Berkshire County environmentalist group says it plans to appeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to remediate the polluted Housatonic River.

The main sign outside of Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Josh Landes / WAMC

The first COVID-19 vaccinations in Berkshire County were given Thursday at Berkshire Health Systems locations in Pittsfield, North Adams and Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Vermont officials have used federal coronavirus relief funds to help around 200 people fix or replace above-ground fuel tanks so they could get home heating fuel delivered this winter.

A white man in a white shirt and khakis stands behind a podium in a park in front of a large campaign bus and a woman in a dress
Josh Landes / WAMC

Democratic Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey says additional federal coronavirus relief funding is needed for the state and cities.

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