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New England News

two dirt bikes
Springfield Police Dept

With days getting longer and the weather warming, dirt bikes are back on city streets.  Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts are making another attempt to crack down on the illegal use of these off-road vehicles.

A black haired Asian American woman is on one side of a split portrait; on the other, a white woman in a blue pants suit stands at a podium covered in microphones.
City Of Pittsfield / Josh Landes WAMC

In a WAMC News exclusive, a Pittsfield, Massachusetts city councilor is opening up about her time working for Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington – and what led to her exit.

   The police department in Springfield, Massachusetts and the city’s health department are looking to share information they hope could prevent opioid deaths. 

Some Burlington High School students were back in class on Thursday inside a former downtown department store.

Placard on Vermont statehood
Vermont Governor's Office

Vermont Governor Phil Scott is tweeting birthday wishes: to the state.

A bald white man in a button down shirt gestures with his hands in front of a wall with framed pictures and a banner.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Berkshires native Ben Downing spoke and took questions at a meeting of the county’s NAACP chapter Wednesday night.

Picture of marijuana plant
US Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

More than 20 Vermont communities have approved allowing retail marijuana businesses within their borders.

Vermont Dept. of Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker
WAMC screen capture

The Commissioner of Vermont’s Department of Corrections says it’s all hands on deck as a COVID-19 outbreak has infected more than 100 inmates and 10 staffers at the state prison in Newport. It is the largest outbreak at a Vermont correctional facility since the start of the pandemic.

Vermont Town Meeting Day graphic
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Town Meeting Day is traditionally when Vermonters gather to debate and decide local elections, budgets and community issues in town halls and auditoriums.  Voters assessed a number of items during non-traditional meetings this year.

Under a photo of a protest with sign-holding attendees and next to the town seal, it says "Fiscal 2022 Municipal Budget July 1st, 2021 - June 30th, 2022"
Town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts

The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts is preparing its fiscal year 2022 budget ahead of a public hearing later this month.

A man in a blue suit, red tie, white shirt and sunglasses smiles and waves to a crowd.
Earl Persip III Councilor At-Large /

At-large Pittsfield, Massachusetts city councilor Earl Persip says he’ll seek a third two-year term. 

Springfield City Hall at night
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

    City Councilors in Springfield, Massachusetts next week will attempt to fill a vacancy among their ranks. 

Mayor Miro Weinberger wins a fourth term on Town Meeting Day 2021
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger won re-election Tuesday to a fourth three-year term in his closest race yet for the city’s top seat.

three people at a press conference

Government funds have helped people in western Massachusetts stay in their homes as jobs were lost and income shrank during the pandemic. 

Last June, the city of Springfield announced a $2 million emergency housing fund to help people pay rent, mortgage, and utility bills.  All but $140,000 has now been claimed.

Photo of Vermont Statehouse in winter
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Phil Scott held his latest COVID-19 briefing Tuesday.  The governor and administration officials discussed how the rollout of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine could impact the state's vaccination program.

A white man smiles in a blue button-down shirt and a blue blazer with a pin shaped like Massachusetts with the American flag over it on his lapel
Ben Mancino

An exchange in a North Adams, Massachusetts community Facebook page has led to allegations of misconduct against city council vice president and likely mayoral candidate Jason LaForest.

a school building

        The largest public school district in western Massachusetts will seek a waiver if the state orders a return next month to in-person learning five days a week.

The feet of two people are visible standing behind voting booths in a hallway
Josh Landes / WAMC

The U.S. House is set to begin debating H.R. 1 this week. The For the People Act is intended to expand voting rights. On Monday, Vermont at-large Congressman Peter Welch held a virtual roundtable with the Green Mountain state’s election officials and civic advocates to discuss the implications of the bill.

money in a wallet
WAMC file photo

   Reflecting the impact of the pandemic on family finances, there was a surge in complaints last year to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – the government agency set up to protect people from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices by financial companies.

Pie chart of Vermont's top scams of 2020
Vermont Attorney General's office

Vermont’s Attorney General has released the top scams reported in the state last year.

Congressman Peter Welch

Vermont’s Congressman held a roundtable with Vermont advocates and election officials Monday to discuss a House bill to revise U.S. election law that will be debated this week.

A stately house with columns surrounding its entrance sits on a lawn with trees around it.
Jeongyoon Han

A party thrown by students on the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts Friday has raised concerns about COVID-19 spread and violations of public health measures.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno

     The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts continues to lobby the Baker administration to authorize neighborhood coronavirus vaccine clinics. 

State Senator Adam Hinds holds a microphone at an outdoor event.
Becki Joppru Connolly

As Massachusetts carries out its troubled vaccine rollout and pushes to reopen businesses after a disastrous year of the COVID-19 pandemic, state legislators are working on carrying out their agendas on Beacon Hill. For Democratic State Senator Adam Hinds of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden district, that includes a focus on the fragile economy, increasing funding for schools and childcare, and climate change. Hinds spoke with WAMC.

A row of people carrying Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality signs march down a street with a car in it on a sunny summer day.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The national reckoning with racial justice and police brutality has led to a conversation about the role of law enforcement in New England communities.

A casualty of the coronavirus pandemic could be the centuries-old tradition of the New England town meeting.

Gov. Phil Scott says Vermont is much closer than many other states in getting kids fully back to in-person learning amid the pandemic but even with improvements to remote learning and some in-person instruction many students are struggling.

Vermont Town Meeting Day graphic
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Many Vermont communities will decide issues through Australian ballot rather than floor discussion and voice votes on Town Meeting Day Tuesday due to the pandemic.  This year questions range from land purchase approvals to cannabis sales.

Congressman Peter Welch at St. Albans food shelf
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Our region’s congressional representatives are discussing key provisions of the American Rescue Plan – the latest COVID relief bill that’s expected to be voted on in the U.S. House this week.

a woman sits in front of computer monitors
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

   The largest city in western Massachusetts has finished a project to improve its response to emergencies.