New England News

WAMC

Stakeholders in the food system are advocating for several bills in the Massachusetts legislature.

WAMC

The largest fire department in western Massachusetts is putting more life-saving technology on the front lines.

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It has been a significant week for Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer.

WAMC

Volunteers on Saturday in Springfield, Massachusetts will once again help repair homes in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. 

A brunette woman with a lime green jacket smiles in front of a grey background
City of Pittsfield

A Pittsfield, Massachusetts city councilor will challenge first-term Mayor Linda Tyer in this fall’s municipal election.

A man stands at a podium in front of a rostrum of seated politicians in a wood paneled room
Josh Landes / WAMC

At this week’s City Council meeting, Mayor Linda Tyer’s “At Home In Pittsfield” program was narrowly voted down after a bitter debate.

The Vermont House gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would raise the legal age to purchase and use tobacco products in the state to 21.

Ted Rosenthal is a jazz pianist, educator, and as of late, a composer of operas. He has a rich history in the Berkshires, from childhood visits to Tanglewood and Jacob’s Pillow to regular appearances as a professional musician over the last few decades. Rosenthal is back in town Saturday at the Berkshire Museum for a program put together by Berkshires Jazz and the museum for the Massachusetts ArtWeek. In the latter half of the show, the pianist and his trio will be joined by local youth from the Kids 4 Harmony program. Rosenthal tells WAMC about what to expect from the performance, what it’s like to teach young people jazz today, and the story behind his debut opera.

The state Senate in Vermont — the first state to abolish adult slavery — has given preliminary approval to a proposal to amend the state constitution to remove references to slavery.

plastic bag
Josh Landes / WAMC

The town of Middlebury could become the next Vermont community to ban single-use plastic bags.

Sterling College
Sterling College/Flickr

An agricultural training program targeting veterans will be held for the first time in Vermont this summer.  As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, the application deadline is in a week and a half.

A row of storefronts with people and a bunch of balloon in front of it
Josh Landes / WAMC

The first recreational marijuana retailer in northern Berkshire County opened today.

The Vermont House Committee on Energy and Technology held a hearing Tuesday evening on three bills related to fossil fuel infrastructure in the state.  Most of those commenting during the hearing urged the lawmakers to approve the bills and move them to the House floor.

Today, Silver Therapeutics in Williamstown, Massachusetts becomes Northern Berkshire County's first recreational marijuana retailer. It's the fourth store of its kind in the county. Down in Great Barrington, the county's first such store — Theory Wellness — is making a new move of its own. CEO Brandon Pollock says the company is launching a social equity program that will sponsor people trying to get into the marijuana business after being “disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest and incarceration for cannabis-related crimes," specifically, Black and Latino populations. It's part of a larger undertaking by the state's Cannabis Control Commission, which has made building social equity a part of its mission. Pollock spoke with WAMC about what inspired the move and how much money Theory will be investing in the program.

WAMC

Municipalities in Massachusetts are being urged to review their ordinances that regulate signs.

plastic shopping bags in a shopping cart
wikipedia

     The largest city in western Massachusetts is poised to join a growing list of municipalities banning single-use plastic shopping bags. 

Northern Berkshire County’s first recreational marijuana store opens Wednesday morning.

A number of Vermont communities will share nearly $2.2 million in federal grants that are designed to manage stormwater.

Picture of solar panels
WAMC

A new report ranks Burlington, Vermont one of the top cities in the country for solar capacity.

The Berkshire County Branch of the NAACP and Berkshire Community College are holding an event this week to highlight local residents’ experiences with identity, inequality, and activism.

WAMC

     No more “mystery meats” or muffins laden with chemical preservatives will be on the menus in the cafeterias of the largest public school system in western Massachusetts. 

Unionized employees are heading back to work at Northeast grocery store chain Stop & Shop. 

WAMC

  There is a new superintendent at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site in Massachusetts.

Vermont's public utility regulators plan to review the net metering rule for renewable energy programs.

Burt Lum

Vermont's Labor Department says the state's unemployment rate is the lowest it's ever been since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics started its online monthly records in 1976.

Painting of Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo
Wikimedia/Public Domain

Vermont is close to legally renaming Columbus Day.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont.  In an interview with WAMC Thursday, staff attorneys explained that the group is arguing that the Burlington Police Department has violated the state’s Public Records Act by requiring a city resident to pay a fee to access body cam video of an incident he witnessed. The ACLU claims government agencies are barred from charging for inspection of public records.  Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo had written a letter outlining fees that are authorized. He tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley they also followed the ACLU’s body cam policy recommendations.

This is a picture of a Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus
Wikipedia Commons

A teenager working with the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts on public transportation in Southern Berkshire County is holding a series of public forums this weekend.

The Pittsfield Suns logo and a photo of Michael Lieberman
Pittsfield Suns

Pittsfield, Massachusetts’ collegiate summer baseball team, the Pittsfield Suns, is welcoming a new leader this season. Drawn from Division I, II, and III teams, the Suns call historic Wahconah Park home. They compete against eight other teams in the Future Collegiate Baseball League of New England. This week, Michael Lieberman – an 11-year veteran of summer college ball  – will take over as General Manager. Lieberman talked with WAMC about his life in baseball, and what to expect on and off the field at Wahconah this year.

Debate over reproductive rights in Vermont has moved from the state Senate to the House. The House Committee on Human Services held a public hearing on Proposition 5 Wednesday evening. The two-hour session to take comment on a proposed change to the state constitution comes two weeks after the state Senate gave initial approval to the measure.

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