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New England News

University of Vermont Waterman Administration building
Pat Bradley/WAMC

After Burlington’s mayor expressed concerns about the University of Vermont’s plans for returning students to campus this fall, the college’s president responded Monday — expressing confidence that students’ return to campus will not lead to a surge in cases of COVID-19.

Norwich University sign
Bill Taroli/Flickr

Norwich University, a private military college in Vermont, says as the first group of students arrived on campus this past weekend some failed to follow the coronavirus-related safety guidelines.

A white man in a fleece sits in front of a microphone
Josh Landes / WAMC

In an exclusive interview with WAMC Monday evening, Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor and Democratic congressional primary candidate Alex Morse responded to questions about alleged misconduct with students from his time teaching at UMass Amherst. 

The seal of the the city of North Adams, Massachusetts
North Adams

Seven North Adams, Massachusetts residents are in the running to fill a vacant seat on the city council.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Former Pittsfield, Massachusetts mayor Gerald Doyle has died, according to city hall.

Alex Morse is vowing to stay in the race for Congress in western Massachusetts as he defends himself against allegations of sexual misconduct with college students.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse stands in front of microphones

As Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor and congressional candidate Alex Morse responds to allegations of sexual misconduct, his supporters in Berkshire County are responding as well.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch held a virtual meeting with municipal leaders across the state this week to discuss concerns about the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and what actions Congress should take to help.

The word "Williams" in purple
Williams College

Williams College has released strict new guidelines for students who plan to return to campus for the fall semester.

A white man in a suit smiles in front of a grey backdrop
City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

A citizen’s petition on Tuesday’s Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council meeting agenda calls into question the residency of a sitting councilor. 

The Berkshrie Hills Regional School District logo
Berkshrie Hills Regional School District

The Berkshire Hills Regional School District will not begin the school year with a full return to in-person classes.

A bearded white man speaks at a podium
Pittsfield Public Schools

The superintendent of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts public schools is leaving for another job in Berkshire County. 

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

At a time of uncertainty in education, the Pittsfield, Massachusetts public schools will receive level funding from the state for at least the beginning of the coming school year – with a bump to accommodate for inflation.


It will be a fully remote start to the school year in the largest school district in western Massachusetts.

COVID-19 Diagram
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A testing program for the coronavirus in Massachusetts communities with higher infection rates is starting in Springfield, but its effectiveness is being questioned.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

As the fall semester approaches, school districts across the region are under scrutiny as they release re-opening plans. But the districts are also raising concerns as they work to integrate state mandates into their plans.

A map of Massachusetts with various municipalities in different colors.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Thousands are still without power in Berkshire County in the wake of Hurricane Isaias.

Burlington street sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger took a brief break from his regular COVID-19 updates in July but returned on Wednesday. He covered several issues including concerns about college students returning to the city for in-person classes during the pandemic.

A wide river is flanked by banks covered in grass and trees
Josh Landes / WAMC

In February, the EPA announced a major new cleanup plan for the Housatonic River – Berkshire County’s main waterway, which was polluted by General Electric at a Pittsfield, Massachusetts plant in the mid-1900s. The deal was mediated between the corporation and communities along the river. It calls for a 13 -year, over $500 million effort to remove toxic waste from the Housatonic. The plan is open for public comment until August 28th, with a virtual public hearing set for August 26th. WAMC spoke with Director of the EPA Superfund Program for New England Bryan OIson about the project as proposed.

An image that says "The Berkshire COVID Collecting Project: You are living in historic times.  Here’s a chance to be a part of the historical record."
The Berkshire Museum

Three Berkshire County institutions are collaborating on a new project to document life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

a large maple tree on its side in a yard.

Tropical Storm Isaias caused extensive tree damage in the largest city in western Massachusetts.

A long brick building sits beyond a green lawn and trees with a rotunda with a gold spire rising above it
Josh Landes / WAMC

School districts around Massachusetts are racing to assemble plans for the fall semester to meet the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s August 10th deadline. They’ve been asked to establish three plans – one for a full return, one for full remote learning, and one hybrid of the two. Already, the largest community in Berkshire County, Pittsfield, has taken a full return off the table. WAMC spoke with school committee chair Katherine Yon about how union demands, safety concerns and simple logistics informed the decision. Yon says the state’s move to allow school to start in mid-September has taken a little of the pressure off. She also discusses the newest wrinkle to fall preparations: word that superintendent Jake McCandless intends to leave Pittsfield to take over the neighboring Mount Greylock Regional School District.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott delivered his latest update on the state’s progress during the pandemic today. Funding for a hazard pay program was announced and officials were questioned about the state’s contract with an out of state prison where Vermont inmates tested positive for COVID-19.

      Springfield City Councilors want to pick up the pace of police reforms in the wake of a scathing report from the U.S. Department of Justice. 

A brick building sits off of a paved road
Courtesy Shaker Museum.

The Shaker Museum announced Monday that it has acquired a four-floor, 30,000-square foot building in downtown Chatham, New York. The museum owns and manages the Shaker Village at Mount Lebanon. Now, it will have its first space to display 18,000 archival pieces that explore life inside the utopian Protestant community that existed at the village from 1787 to 1947. WAMC spoke to Museum Director Lacy Schultz about the $15 million project at 5 Austerlitz Street, which is expected to break ground in 2021.

     The first day of school in Springfield, Massachusetts has been pushed back two weeks to September 15th.

The annual review of Vermont’s non-profit hospital budget requests has begun.

Vote Buttons
WikiMedia Commons

Secretary of State Jim Condos says Vermonters who are voting by mail in the Aug. 11 statewide primary should get their ballots in the mailbox by Tuesday, at the very latest.

The Bard College at Simon's Rock logo

Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts says its fall semester will offer in-person, socially distanced learning.


  The largest teachers’ union in Massachusetts held a rally in Springfield Monday as the organization campaigns for remote-only learning to start the new school year.