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New England News

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

About $2,000 has been anonymously donated to pay off student lunch debt at a Vermont elementary school.

A Vermont environmental regulator is seeking public comment on a plan to hire an independent contractor to monitor odor at the state's only operating landfill.

A Vermont judge says a man charged with killing his wife with a meat cleaver is not competent to stand trial.

The door of the Berkshire District Attorney's office.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Berkshire County District Attorney’s office announced Friday that it has secured a conviction of a New York man for two attempted rapes.

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    New Hampshire this week became the second New England state, after Rhode Island, to offer sports betting.  The Granite State is encouraging people in Massachusetts to come across the state line to place wagers.

In November, North Adams, Massachusetts city councilor Paul Hopkins was elected to a second two-year term. This week, as the city of almost 13,000 swore in its elected officials for the new term, Hopkins was also voted in as president of the nine-member council. Hopkins spoke with WAMC about his relationship with Mayor Tom Bernard and why he thinks the city should reexamine how it manages its solid waste – as well as what he sees as the largest challenges North Adams faces.

On Monday morning, Pittsfield, Massachusetts will hold an inauguration ceremony for the municipal leaders who prevailed in November’s elections.

JD Allen / WAMC

John Barrett is the state representative for the 1st Berkshire District of Massachusetts, located in the northwestern corner of the Commonwealth. He first won a special election in 2017 to fill the seat of the late Gailanne Cariddi, and was re-elected in 2018. Between 1984 and 2009, the Democrat was mayor of North Adams, the largest community in his district with a population of around 13,000. He spoke with WAMC this week about his goals for the 2020 session on Beacon Hill, his concerns about local preparedness for the coming national census, and what he thought the biggest legislative accomplishment of 2019 was.  

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With the arrival of a new year, the Williamstown, Massachusetts town manager says he’s focused on broadband internet access, replacing the town fire station, and expanding recreational opportunities. WAMC spoke with Jason Hoch about what he’s eyeing for the Northern Berkshire County community of about 8,000 in 2020. 

Dina Guiel Lampiasi was elected to the city council in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in November. The chief of operations for the Berkshire County District Attorney, she’ll represent the city’s 6th Ward for the next two years after besting former councilor Joe Nichols at the polls. Councilor John Krol, who held the seat for the past decade, did not run for reelection in 2019. Guiel Lampiasi sat down with WAMC to talk about the city’s finances and what she learned during the campaign.

Dr. Stephen Leffler
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont's largest health care system has named a veteran physician as its new president and chief operating officer.

Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts says a series of alleged racist incidents on campus may have been staged.

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      There will be an historic inauguration next week in the largest city in western Massachusetts.

Senator Bernie Sanders at Our Revolution launch
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, released letters from three physicians on Monday that say he is fit to serve in the nation’s highest office.

A Vermont utility company wants to invest $15.5 million to upgrade transmission lines and build a new substation to help reduce the strain on the power grid.

A plastic bag
Josh Landes / WAMC

New Year’s Day is ringing in a new plastic bag ban in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. As of January 1st, businesses won’t be allowed to offer thin film plastic bags at checkout in Berkshire County’s largest community – unless the bags are biodegradable. The city council passed the ordinance in March after a version of the ban existed in limbo as a petition for almost six years. WAMC spoke with Pittsfield’s Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager Jim McGrath about how the restriction will be implemented.

A Vermont legal services coalition says it plans to ask lawmakers for $1 million to help cover civil legal costs for low-income people.

A former top federal prosecutor in Vermont has been chosen to lead an investigation into conditions at the state's women's prison in South Burlington and other prisons in the state.

A former Pittsfield, Massachusetts police chief and city councilor died Christmas Day.

A Berkshire County group is holding a Kwanzaa celebration Saturday.

In 2020, communities across Western Massachusetts will have to pay for recycling costs for the first time. Ricardo Morales is the Acting Commissioner of Public Services and Utilities in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the seat of Berkshire County. He says the sudden spike in municipal costs – which could be as high as $168,000 a year – is the direct result of national tariff policy changes. Morales spoke with WAMC about why the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility – also known as the “MRF” – is changing its decades-old contract with Pittsfield and the rest of Western Massachusetts.

Vermont Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe
Vermont Legislature

The Vermont Legislature will begin the second half of its biennium on January 7th.  When it gavels into session, the Democratically controlled chambers will take up vetoes that Republican Governor Phil Scott penned along with other measures that the House or Senate failed to complete before adjourning in May.  Vermont Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe of Chittenden County tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that the theme for the upcoming session is similar to the last one.

A weathered storefront on a street with cars parked in front of it
Josh Landes / WAMC

In the coming months, downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts staple Jim’s House of Shoes will close its doors after decades in business. The North Street business dates back to the 1940’s and has had multiple locations around the city. Owner Marc Abecassis – who was born in Morocco and grew up in Israel – spoke with WAMC about why he’s closing the store now, and what it was like when he first started working at the shop in 1972.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy discusses issues out of Washington as he returns to Vermont
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy spoke to reporters Thursday at the Burlington International Airport as he returned to Vermont from Washington.  Most of the discussion focused on the recently passed 2020 appropriations agreement and the pending impeachment trial.

Vermont National Guard logo
US Air Force/Public Domain

The Vermont National Guard says the defense budget signed by the president includes funds for a new mountaineering training facility in Jericho, Vermont.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Three Vermont school districts will soon be using electric buses.

The entrance sign at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Becket, Massachusetts dance center Jacob’s Pillow is preparing for its winter and spring programming.

Josh Landes / WAMC

In January, Patrick Kavey will be sworn in as one of the youngest city councilors in Pittsfield, Massachusetts history. The 27-year-old is operations manager for Main Street Hospitality, which manages hotels like Hotel on North in Pittsfield and the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. Kavey beat long-time former councilor Jonathon Lothrop in the 2019 election to represent the city’s fifth ward. Kavey sat down with WAMC to talk about how he plans to navigate Pittsfield’s often contentious politics, his stance on managing the city’s finances, and how he’s preparing for his new role.

Mayor Miro Weinberger speaks at the annual Burlington Police Award Luncheon
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger will name a new interim chief to head the Vermont city’s police force following the resignation of Chief Brandon del Pozo and the placement of the department’s deputy chief on administrative leave, over their social media usage.

Josh Landes / WAMC

Next month, the Bennington Museum in southern Vermont and its 40,000 piece collection will have a new Executive Director. Joshua Campbell Torrance, who begins January 20th, spoke with WAMC about his life in the museum world, and about his vision for the Bennington Museum.

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