New England News | WAMC

New England News

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A day after the words "Black Lives Matter" were painted on the street outside the Vermont state capitol building in Montpelier, the painting was found vandalized Sunday morning. 


An open meeting to discuss policing and race is scheduled Monday in the largest city in western Massachusetts.

Preliminary concept plan for Black Lives Matter street mural in Montpelier
Montpelier City Council

Amid protests nationwide sparked by the death of George Floyd, officials in Vermont’s capital city unanimously approved painting the phrase Black Lives Matter on State Street directly in front of the state’s capital.

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

The Burlington Police Commission met twice this week to consider updated Use-of-Force directives for city police department.  No decision on the document was made.

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

At a long and inconclusive city council meeting, the civic leaders of Pittsfield, Massachusetts debated the school committee’s proposed budget for 2021.

A black and white hand reach for each other against a maroon backdrop
Multicultural BRIDGE

Sunday is Race Amity Day in Massachusetts, and two Berkshire nonprofits are holding events to celebrate it.

A group of people with colorful signs stand at a rotary
Josh Landes / WAMC

Williamstown, Massachusetts community groups have united to put on a weekly anti-racism vigil.


With concern Massachusetts could be heading for a housing crisis, the city of Springfield has announced an assistance program. 

a hand puts an envelope with a ballot into a collection box

The Vermont House is poised to give final approval to a bill that would allow mail-in voting for this fall's presidential election.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

The Pittsfield Public Schools will be laying off at least 140 employees as it anticipates a sharp cut in state funding.

A woman in a suit jacket stands against a brick wall
Alexis Hoag

This week, Pittsfield, Massachusetts Police Chief Michael Wynn said his department is reviewing its use of force policy to make sure it’s "consistent with federal standards and best practices." WAMC spoke with Alexis Hoag, Practitioner in Residence at Columbia University's Eric Holder Initiative for Civil & Political Rights civil rights lawyer and lecturer at Columbia Law School, about the department’s current policies and federal standards.

Pittsfield Police Department

As Pittsfield, Massachusetts sets its 2021 spending plan, its police force is one of the few departments to see an increase in Mayor Linda Tyer’s proposed budget. With conversations about defunding police abounding, Police Chief Michael Wynn tells WAMC that he opposes the idea. He also explained why his department is seeing a nearly 5% spending increase to an almost $11.5 million yearly budget.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Students will be back in the classroom this fall in Vermont. State officials announced Wednesday that schools will reopen for in-person instruction after the coronavirus derailed the second half of the 2020 school year.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Education Secretary Dan French says Vermont will be able to safely open pre-K through 12 schools to in-person instruction in the fall.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council is amending its sewer and drain codes to save the city money on a state loan.


A quarter of a million Roman Catholics in western Massachusetts will be getting a new spiritual leader. 


     After a week that saw massive marches, protest rallies, and vigils in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts following the death of George Floyd, elected officials are pledging policy changes.

A black woman with glasses stands in front of a white wall smiling
Josh Landes / WAMC

Gwendolyn VanSant is the CEO and founding director of Multicultural BRIDGE, a minority and women run Berkshire County cultural competency training organization that focuses on racial justice and equity. VanSant spoke with WAMC about how communities can combat structural racism – and how municipal budgets play an outsized role in that conversation.

Bennington officials are considering hiring a consultant to help make community policing changes within the police department after a review found the department’s practices have created deep mistrust in parts of the community.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott is seeking applicants for a new task force designed to promote racial, ethnic and cultural equity in the state.

COVID-19 Diagram
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Members of an immigrant community say a spike in coronavirus cases in a Vermont city hit their tightly knit communities because a language barrier may have prevented some from knowing how to prevent the spread or getting tested.

Burlington City Hall
Pat Bradley/WAMC

During their most recent meeting, Burlington city councilors postponed a vote on a resolution calling for charter changes to balance inequalities among residents of the city.

As Massachusetts gradually reopens its economy, environmental activists are calling for a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Vermont Democratic Congressman Peter Welch recently held a virtual roundtable with the mayors and town managers of Vermont’s cities to discuss their expectations and needs for federal pandemic relief.

As Vermont’s bars and restaurants opened, with restrictions, to inside diners Monday Governor Phil Scott announced that the next step in the state’s gradual reopening will be allowing some low contact sports to begin.

Winooski building facade
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont health officials say an outbreak of COVID-19 that began in the city of Winooski has grown to 62 cases. The additional positive 38 adults and 16 children now include residents of Burlington and other communities.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council is scheduled to vote on an update to its municipal sewer codes Tuesday night.

People lie in a roadway with signs
Josh Landes / WAMC

Protests against police brutality brought out thousands of demonstrators across the Northeast this weekend. WAMC was in northern Berkshire County Friday night.


  As Massachusetts starts the next major step in its gradual reopening, the number of new COVID-19 cases detected daily in Springfield remains on a downward trajectory.

A crowd of people holding signs
Josh Landes / WAMC

Hundreds gathered in downtown Great Barrington, Massachusetts Saturday for a NAACP-sponsored rally against racism and police brutality.