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New England News

Communities are responding to the first reported case of COVID-19 in Berkshire County.

WAMC

Regulations have been drafted in the largest city in western Massachusetts to govern short-term housing rentals like those offered through online booking agents.

Massachusetts State House
wikipedia.org

   The largest business association in western Massachusetts has announced its legislative agenda for 2020.

official photo

The largest business association in western Massachusetts held its largest annual event Friday. The Springfield Regional Chamber’s Outlook 2020 luncheon was attended by about 500 business and community leaders and elected officials. 

People hold colorful signs while sitting in rows of auditorium seats
Josh Landes / WAMC

Last night, a meeting in Pittsfield about the Environmental Protection Agency-mediated Rest Of River agreement for the cleanup of the Housatonic River devolved into chaos.

The city of North Adams, Massachusetts is moving to draft short-term rental regulations.

A man stands a podium in an atrium with a brick column and a vase with flowers in front of a blue ribbon
Josh Landes / WAMC

Defense contractor General Dynamics held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday morning for its expansion into a new building in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Hundreds attend the 2020 Vermont Dairy Producers Association conference
Vermont Dairy Producers Association

Several hundred dairy farmers and producers met in Burlington recently for an annual conference that targets keeping the industry viable throughout the region.

Josh Landes / WAMC

Stephen Murray has worked as a first responder in Berkshire County for the past seven years. Today, he’s a paramedic supervisor at Northern Berkshire EMS, which covers 265 square miles of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. A bill introduced in 2019 calling for supervised consumption sites is working its way through the the Massachusetts statehouse with a reporting date now set for April 15th. Back in western Massachusetts, Murray is drawing on his experiences both as a professional on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and his own past struggles with addiction to endorse the bill as a valuable new approach to confronting the disease. He sat down with WAMC to explain why he believes that the model already used in places like Portugal and Canada could save lives in Berkshire County.

Tuesday was Town Meeting Day and Vermont voters had a number of local ballot items to decide.  In the state’s largest city, there will be changes on the Burlington City Council after two incumbents lost their reelection bids.

The mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts says Berkshire County’s largest community is developing a coronavirus preparedness plan.

People sit at desks, stand in booths, and wait in line in a fire station with fire engines and red carpets over the concrete floor
Josh Landes / WAMC

Thousands went to the polls in the Berkshires on Super Tuesday as former Vice President Joe Biden unexpectedly won Massachusetts. WAMC spent the day speaking to voters across the county, starting in its largest community – Pittsfield.

Bernie Sanders speaks at Super Tuesday rally in Vermont
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders held a Super Tuesday rally in his home state, but overall the elections were a mixed result for the presidential hopeful. The Champlain Valley Expo, one of the largest indoor venues in the state, was filled with supporters hoping he maintained his frontrunner status after 14 states and American Samoa voted in primaries.

The Pittsfield Community Television logo
Pittsfield Community Television

Pittsfield Community Television is launching a new talk show – and its first episode features the mayor discussing school resource officers in the city’s schools.

WAMC

   A 9-11 monument built with private funds and put in a public park has been turned over to the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Molly Gray
Molly Gray for Vermont/Facebook

In mid-January, Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, a Progressive, began a run for governor. That resulted in several Democrats announcing their campaigns for lieutenant governor. Assistant Attorney General Molly Gray made her announcement in late January, and the Democrat traveled across the state last week to officially kick off her campaign.  Gray tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley her goal is to reinvigorate rural communities and protect Vermont’s land and environment.

A neon yellow cone with "Voting" spraypainted on it sits outside of a school
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County residents are hitting the polls today for Super Tuesday. WAMC spoke to some of them this morning in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

A woman stands behind a podium while a row of people look on
Josh Landes / WAMC

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito was in Pittsfield on Friday, announcing over $900,000 in grant allocations for youth programming aimed at building healthy relationships.

WAMC

     The MGM Springfield casino did not have a major impact on overall crime during its first full year in operation, according to research reported to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

City of Springfield, Office of the Mayor

     Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is continuing to campaign for a housing bill. He is hoping to get it across the finish line in this legislative session.

Josh Landes / WAMC

On Friday, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey announced that he brokered a deal with Charter Communications that will bring Massachusetts news back to the dial in Berkshire County. The Democrat says Springfield NBC affiliate WWLP will return to Charter subscribers’ channel lineup for the first time in three years. Markey spoke with WAMC about the deal, and his expectations for Super Tuesday.

A white man in a suit smiles in front of a wall with framed photos on it
Josh Landes / WAMC

U.S. Senator Ed Markey said Friday that he has brokered a deal that will return a Western Massachusetts news station back to the dial in the Berkshires.

A group of dignitaries stand behind a ceremonial ribbon on a staircase
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Berkshire Innovation Center is now open after more than a decade of planning. WAMC was at the grand opening.

Mayor Linda Tyer holds a "Tyer For Mayor" sign in front of a brick wall
Josh Landes / WAMC

The mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts is moving to re-introduce a loan program for home improvements after the last city council voted it down in 2019.

The first recreational marijuana store in Berkshire County is opening a second retail location in the Pioneer Valley on Saturday, and it will be stocked with weed grown in the Berkshires. 

The six story building in Springfield's Court Square known as 31 Elm Street
WAMC

With the blessing of Massachusetts casino regulators, MGM can now fulfill a long overdue obligation to develop housing in downtown Springfield.

A slate blue building with large glassy windows
Josh Landes / WAMC

Friday is the grand opening for the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts after years of waiting. WAMC got a preview.

MGMSpringfield

     There was a 12 percent increase last year in drunk driving car crashes in the cities and towns around the MGM Springfield casino.

United States Census 2020 logo
census.gov

Groups in Berkshire County are working to make sure the westernmost region of Massachusetts is ready to be counted in this year’s federal census. Mark Maloy of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission oversees the Berkshire County Complete Count Committee, an organization of around 50 communities around the Berkshires. He spoke to WAMC about what’s at stake in the 2020 census for the county, and how the committee is working to turn out the most accurate count possible.

On Friday, drag queens will flock to Sheffield, Massachusetts to compete in The 2020 Mx. Nogood Berkshire Drag Pageant.

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