New England News | WAMC

New England News

AMHERST, MA – The Darfur region of Sudan has been beset by violence since February 2003 as non-Arab rebels have fought government forces backed by militias. The UN estimates at least 180,000 people have died and at least 2 million people have been displaced in the crisis. Now, led by a student group, Amherst College has publicly divested its holdings in companies it says are aiding the government's military campaign-and it's pushing the state government and fund managers to do the same.

Pittsfield, MA – Pittsfield, Massachusetts is returning to an event from its past as a way to celebrate the city's increasing ethnic diversity. WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief, Carrie Saldo spoke with Pittsfield's Director of Cultural Development, Meghan Whilden;

Londonderry, VT – Nineteen proposed windmills on Vermont's Glebe Mountain in Londonderry would generate 47-and-a-half megawatts of electricity. One of the questions that local residents have asked is who will get the power and therefore benefit from its operation? The developer says there is a Vermont buyer for the power, and that means the energy will stay in the state, to be used by Vermonters. WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has more.

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Union leaders in Springfield, Massachusetts are criticizing the city for hiring dozens of new staff while existing workers have had a pay freeze for years.

WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Dan Bobkoff reports.

Great Barrington, MA – Among the great debates in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in recent years has been how to acknowledge it as the birth place of civil rights leader and founder of the N.A.A.C.P., W.E.B. DuBois. That debate was laid to rest this weekend.

Great Barrington, MA – Food pantries in Massachusetts could lose 38 million dollars under President Bush's proposed fiscal 2007 budget. WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief, Carrie Saldo spoke with Berkshire Community Action Council Director Don Atwater about the potential ramifications for the county;

AMHERST, MA – University of Massachusetts student fees have gone up every year since 2001, and now the UMASS system wants to raise them again. Students, as expected, are not pleased.

WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Dan Bobkoff has the story.

Pittsfield, MA – Excavation work unrelated to the cleanup of GE PCBs from the Housatonic River in Pittsfield unearthed a previously undiscovered General Electric PCB dump site. Some clean-up work was conducted then and now, Massachusetts state and federal agencies are set to oversee a second clean-up round at the site.

Montpelier, VT – Vermont's Attorney General has filed suit against International Paper and the state of New York over I-P's plan to conduct a test burn of tire-derived fuel at its Ticonderoga paper mill. WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has more.

SPRINGFIELD, MA – In recent years, Springfield has been perhaps known more for crime than anything else. Now the city is trying to turn things around with the appointment of the city's first police commissioner. But many in the police department oppose the selection of Edward Flynn.

As WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Dan Bobkoff reports, the new top cop has his work cut out for him.

Williamstown, MA – Representatives from over 40 visual and performing arts institutions worldwide are heading to western Massachusetts this weekend. More from

Great Barrington. MA – An upstart publication based in the Berkshires recently celebrated its first anniversary. Our Berkshire Bureau Chief, Carrie Saldo reports on the effort to launch a glossy regional monthly at a time when most fledgling magazines fail within several years:

Vergennes, VT – Vermont is the latest state to receive discounted and free heating fuel oil from CITGO, an oil company owned by Venezuela. Vermonters and officials from Venezuela gathered in front of the John W. Graham Emergency Shelter in Vergennes, Vermont on Tuesday for the official announcement. WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has more.

Montpelier, VT – A committee of the Vermont Senate is trying to encourage development of high-speed broadband internet computer service to rural areas of the state. State officials estimate eighty-three percent of Vermonters now have broadband service and are working towards a goal of ninety percent service within the state by next year. WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has more.

AMHERST, MA – While avian flu and mad cow disease continue to capture attention, there are dozens of other ailments that affect the animals in the food supply. Now the University of Massachusetts Amherst is spearheading a new effort to combat many of these diseases.

WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Dan Bobkoff reports from UMASS's Hadley Farm.

St. Albans, VT – A group of farmers in northwestern Vermont has started an alliance to make sure legislators in Montpelier understand their concerns over pollution regulations. The group also wants to educate the public that it's everyone, and not just the agricultural industry, that's contributing to pollution run-off into Lake Champlain. WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has more.

Great Barrington, MA – The First annual Berkshire International Film Festival is gearing up to hit Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Our Berkshire Bureau Chief, Carrie Saldo spoke with the Berkshire County native Mike Haley who will be honored when the festival kicks off in May.

Lenox, MA – Plans for the restoration and re-use of a former Berkshire Cottage - as the county's great Gilded Ages estates were called - were unveiled in Lenox, Massachusetts Thursday night.

Montpelier, VT – Vermont Governor James Douglas says the state faces a dilemma regarding illegal immigrants on its dairy farms. It has been a low priority for Vermont law enforcement to check for undocumented immigrants and refer them to federal authorities, but the feds may be cracking down. The Governor's comments highlight what the Farm Bureau notes has been a long known problem - a labor shortage on the state's dairy farms. WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has more.

Lenox, MA – The decision process on a three-story, 92-room hotel project proposed in the Berkshires has been delayed.

North Adams, MA – The state's longest serving mayor said he isn't surprised that Massachusetts Attorney General and potential Democratic candidate for governor Thomas Reilly has decided to go without a running mate. Reilly's choice, State Representative Marie St. Fleur, withdrew from the contest late yesterday because of her financial problems disclosed by news media yesterday. Details from WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief, Carrie Saldo;

Essex Junction, VT – Some Vermont schools are trying to save money by turning down the heat, in some cases dropping the thermostat to 65 degrees. But they've had to turn the temperatures back up after finding they've run afoul of regulations setting a minimum temperature. WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has more.

Great Barrington, MA – During his State of the Union speech Tuesday night President Bush outlined initiatives for health care, education, improving fuel efficiency and decreasing this country's dependence on foreign oil. Carrie Saldo has reaction from state and federal law makers.

Great Barrington, MA – Over the past two decades, average incomes among the highest earning families in Massachusetts have grown almost five times as fast as those for low income families, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. As our Berkshire Bureau Chief, Carrie Saldo reports, while there have been similar trends across the country, the gap between upper- and lower-income families has grown more in Massachusetts than in forty seven other states.

Pittsfield, MA – A Louisiana family has relocated to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to be with friends and family and to figure out where to call home in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

North Adams, MA – In the face of mostly bad news about school funding cuts, state charter schools heard some good news yesterday when US education officials awarded a $6 million dollar grant. It could affect a controversial Berkshires school set to open next year, as WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief Kelly Wilkinson reports.

North Adams, MA – Plans for the new Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School are moving forward in anticipation of its opening in September 2004. Berkshire Bureau Chief Arlen Cellana sat down with some of the school's board members to find out where they are in the planning stages.