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New England News

Buildings, sidewalks and trees lie alongside a road through rolling green hills.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Residents of Williamstown, Massachusetts who criticized the police are reacting to the revelation that the town’s police department responded by illegally accessing their records.

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced a loosening of gathering restrictions during his COVID-19 briefing Friday.

A cannabis plant.
By Skalle-Per Hedenhös - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts will soon decide how to spend the millions of dollars in retail marijuana revenues it has banked since 2019. Before the annual town meeting in June that will determine the fiscal year 2022 budget, residents will be able to share their thoughts in a virtual public hearing on the matter March 30th. WAMC spoke to selectboard member Ed Abrahams to learn more about how much Great Barrington has made from legal weed sales — and how town leaders think it should be spent.

A brick building with white columns sits under a blue sky
Josh Landes / WAMC

WAMC has learned that the Williamstown, Massachusetts police department illegally used the Criminal Justice Information Services database to search the names and motor vehicle records of its critics in the community.

Raymond A Jordan Senior Center exterior

     The Baker administration has approved a plan for neighborhood coronavirus vaccination sites in the largest city in western Massachusetts.

Vermont Dept. of Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker
WAMC screen capture

The Vermont Department of Corrections says 10 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the state prison in Newport.

This is a rendering of wayfaring signs North Adams unveiled in October 2015.
Facebook: North Adams Chamber of Commerce

A North Adams, Massachusetts city councilor is pushing the city to establish a Grants and Communications Coordinator in the fiscal year 2022 budget.

health care workers stand outside a hospital
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

    The one-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic is being marked in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Signs are taped to the inside of a glass facade telling customers that they must wear masks and remain six feet apart inside the restaurant
Josh Landes / WAMC

The city of Pittsfield’s state COVID-19 transmission categorization is improving as infection numbers continue to drop.

Burlington City Hall in early evening (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

With Vermont Town Meeting Day in the rearview mirror, the Burlington City Council met this week with a light agenda including an initial review of a rental housing standard and a report on property reassessments.

A stone building with a colonnade sits below a grey sky amid snowdrifts.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council is creating a new grants administrator role for the city’s police department.

Photo of Vermont Statehouse in winter
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Chamber is hosting a virtual policy series this month bringing together business and legislative leaders to discuss policy issues. This week the leaders of the Vermont House and Senate addressed the group.

Amy Baxter speaks in front of microphones
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

   Legislation is being proposed in Massachusetts to regulate dog boarding kennels and pet day care businesses.

A North Adams fire hydrant
Josh Landes / WAMC

The city council in North Adams, Massachusetts has approved a $300,000 borrowing request from Mayor Tom Bernard to fix about 55 fire hydrants. 

Vermont Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray
Molly Gray for Vermont/Facebook

The United Nations theme for International Women’s Day this week is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.”  A discussion on the economic well-being of Vermont women looked at data and policy changes experts say are needed to bridge disparities between genders.

a sign for Riverfront Park

     Thanks to successful fund raising and a government loan, a nonprofit that provides reactional access to the Connecticut River in Springfield, Massachusetts has announced plans to reopen.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Congressman Peter Welch met virtually Monday with two different Vermont groups to discuss the latest COVID relief package that is expected to receive final approval in the House this week and then move to President Biden’s desk.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s regular Tuesday coronavirus briefing included discussions over vaccination protocols as the state accelerates its schedule.

An open lot sits beneath a pair of industrial buildings past a road under a blue sky with puffy white clouds.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Pittsfield, Massachusetts is receiving almost $900,000 in funding from the state’s MassDevelopment Site Readiness Grant Program to redevelop a vacant industrial site.

Gumersindo Gomez on Zoom
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

   A father will replace his son on the City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Connecticut River Conservancy tomorrow is hosting the first of three scheduled public discussions about the re-licensing of five hydropower facilities.

A gas station in Colonie, New York
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Gas prices have risen in all three northern New England states in the past week.

People wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the University at Albany
Jesse King / WAMC

Vermont is now in its next phase of vaccine distribution, with people ages 55 and above with certain high-risk health conditions eligible to sign up for the shots.

NASA Meteor Watch says a meteor was spotted just before 5:40 Sunday afternoon in the Vermont skies.

UVM Medical Center main entrance
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Nearly one year after diagnosing its first COVID-19 patient, the UVM Health Network is reporting a budget shortfall.

Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris with a chart
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

  Approaching the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus public health emergency in Massachusetts on Wednesday, there is optimism as new COVID-19 cases fall and vaccinations increase.  

A tent with signs in front of a large brick complex
Josh Landes / WAMC

On Monday, the staff of the sprawling modern art museum MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts declared their intent to form a union. A press release detailed concerns around equity, compensation, job security and a round of layoffs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum employs around 130 people. The Local 2110 UAW estimates around 100 of them would be eligible to be part of the union. Staff spokesperson and Associate Director of Education Amanda Tobin – a seven-year veteran of the museum – spoke to WAMC about what led to the unionization effort.

A man sits in a chair wearing a suit and bow tie in an office with wooden walls
Josh Landes / WAMC

North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard is presenting a new plan to deal with broken fire hydrants to the city council Tuesday night. It comes after two  recent fires underscored safety infrastructure problems. Bernard spoke with WAMC about the plan, as well as his opposition to the state’s plan to return to in-person education this spring.

A school bus drives past a barren former industrial lot under a cloudy sky.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Massachusetts and the city of Pittsfield are set to announce Tuesday a step forward in redeveloping a former industrial site through the MassDevelopment Site Readiness Program.

Vermont state lawmakers are introducing for the third time a bill designed to require polluters to pay for medical monitoring expenses for residents affected by toxic contamination.