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New England News

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.

While the U.S. House Rules Committee worked Tuesday to prepare for Wednesday’s floor vote on the articles of impeachment, House members were determining how they will vote. Vermont Congressman Peter Welch will support the impeachment of President Trump. The Democrat held a telephone Town Hall Monday evening to explain why and take questions from constituents.

A nonprofit focused on developing economic opportunity in Pittsfield, Massachusetts has received a grant to continue its work. 

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

This week, the Berkshire County District Attorney’s office announced two convictions related to human trafficking and rape.

WAMC

        The state-appointed superintendent of the public schools in Holyoke, Massachusetts plans to leave at the end of this school year.  

Rcsprinter123 / Wikimedia

Sunday morning, three buildings were burned to the ground in Mount Washington, Massachusetts, a small, remote Berkshire town in the state’s southwest  corner between New York and Connecticut. Brian Tobin serves as select board member, director of emergency management, and acting police chief in the community of around 160. He spoke to WAMC about the fires, their impact on the people of Mount Washington, and what authorities are doing to respond.

WAMC

    A new public library is open in western Massachusetts. 

Thirty years ago, a group of advocates recognized that housing discrimination was causing homelessness in western Massachusetts and they created The Massachusetts Fair Housing Center.

Josh Landes / WAMC

In November’s municipal election, Jess Sweeney was the only newcomer elected to the nine-person North Adams, Massachusetts city council. Sweeney is the creative director of Common Folk, an artist collective with a store and studio on Main Street. She spoke with WAMC about what led her to seek public office, and what her priorities are for 2020 and beyond.

An Essex Junction man is Vermont's new commissioner of the Department of Taxes.

The commissioner of the Vermont Department of Corrections has resigned amid scrutiny of the department that began with a media report about problems at the women's prison in South Burlington.

WAMC

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts said the city will refuse any additional refugees for resettlement.  It puts him at odds, again, with the City Council on an immigration issue. 

Burlington City Hall
WAMC Photo

The Burlington City Council met for the last time in 2019 on Monday and debated whether three proposed charter changes should appear on March’s Town Meeting Day ballot.

        A Chinese-owned rail car factory in Springfield, Massachusetts will stay in business despite attempts by some in Washington to shut it down.

Josh Landes / WAMC

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts police department is adopting new technology to assist vulnerable community members.

A change in zoning laws has been approved that could lead to a marijuana cultivation business in a large shopping mall in western Massachusetts.

A man and a woman stand in front of a white house with black shutters
Josh Landes / WAMC

As the use of short-term rentals like Airbnb grows in Berkshire County, so are efforts to regulate their use around the region.

  Buried under by complaints about the plowing of city streets during a 19-inch snow storm in early December, officials in Springfield, Massachusetts have made changes and are contemplating more.

photo of Burlington Police logo on a podium
Photo - Pat Bradley/WAMC

The city of Burlington had three police chiefs on Monday. After appointing an interim chief at noon, the mayor announced hours later he replaced that officer too. It all comes down to social media.

City of Springfield

  A $ 1 million improvement plan has been unveiled for an urban park in western Massachusetts.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The police chief in Vermont's largest city has resigned after admitting he used an anonymous Twitter account to respond to a critic in July

Hoosic River Revival

Last fall, Jason LaForest became the Executive Director of Hoosic River Revival, a nonprofit advocating for the transformation of the waterway in North Adams, Massachusetts. LaForest – who is also a nurse and a city councilor – sat down with WAMC to explain the work HRR has done for the last 11 years, and what its vision would mean for northern Berkshire County.

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