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New England News

Vermont Governor Phil Scott
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Phil Scott has announced that all people will be required to wear masks or cloth face coverings in public places in the state.

USCIS Furloughs Delayed

Jul 24, 2020

Vermont’s senior U.S. Senator announced Friday that planned U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services furloughs have been postponed.

Massachusetts Issues New Traveler Rules

Jul 24, 2020

Hoping to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has announced new travel rules that go into effect on August 1. 

Andrea Harrington stands at a podium in a law library flanked by law enforcement officials (file photo)
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington opposes a clause in the police reform bill before the Massachusetts House.

The joint statement from the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association and the Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus.
The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and The Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association

The Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association has released a joint statement with the state legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus calling for reforms aimed at ending systemic racism among law enforcement. From establishing a Use of Force Review Board and banning chokeholds to enhancing training on de-escalation and racial bias, the document calls for a collaborative approach to pursuing racial justice. WAMC spoke with caucus chair Carlos Gonzalez, the Democratic State Representative from the 10th Hampden district, about the statement.

The seal of the the city of North Adams, Massachusetts
North Adams

The Black Lives Matter organization in North Adams, Massachusetts says it will protest city council meetings until a member who called the movement a terrorist organization steps down.

WAMC

      The attorney for suspended Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh Thursday asserted he is being wrongly blamed for the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run long term care facility.

A uniformed officer stands in front of the American flag
Pittsfield Police Department

As three police reform bills make their way through the Massachusetts legislature, state law enforcement officials have voiced their dissatisfaction with the process. On Tuesday, chiefs from around the commonwealth gathered in Framingham to decry efforts to instate more oversight over police and dial back their legal protections. WAMC spoke with Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn about his opposition to the current reform efforts, and his thoughts on the idea that law enforcement is under attack in America.

The press release from the Northern Berkshire EMS about Robert Moulton's resignation.
Nothern Berkshire EMS

After calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization and diminishing the danger of COVID-19, North Adams, Massachusetts city councilor Robert Moulton is no longer the president of the Northern Berkshire EMS board of directors.

Jay Peak Ski Resort says the last of the remaining foreign ski workers who have been stranded at resort during the coronavirus pandemic are on their way home to Peru.

Burlington's CityPlace remains undeveloped in this September 2019 photo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The mayor of Vermont’s largest city says officials learned last week that the developer of a proposed redevelopment for downtown Burlington is planning to pull out of the project.

An envelope leans against a wall on a table with a blue tablecloth.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Residents in Berkshire County’s largest community have begun to receive documents on how to vote by mail in the state and federal elections in September and November. WAMC spoke with Pittsfield, Massachusetts City Clerk Michele Benjamin about the mail-in voting process amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congressman Peter Welch discusses pending furloughs at the nearby USCIS service center in St. Albans
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Earlier this year the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to furlough over 13,000 employees at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices nationwide. In Vermont more than 1,100 jobs are at risk. Congressman Peter Welch was in St. Albans Wednesday to call on federal authorities to stop the planned job cuts and explain how the Vermont Congressional delegation is trying to avoid them.

WAMC

 

      The city of Springfield, Massachusetts is planning to erase a Black Lives Matter mural.

A still from the Northern Berkshire Community Television "Let's Talk About It." Two men sit at a table in front of a green curtain.
Northern Berkshire Community Television

A North Adams, Massachusetts city councilor claimed on a public access show Tuesday that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization intent on destroying the American family, and described the COVID-19 pandemic as minuscule.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

    The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is holding a remote public hearing tonight on a new master plan for waste disposal.

WAMC

     Plans are in the works to build a $43 million standalone psychiatric hospital in western Massachusetts. 

Vermont Governor Phil Scott  (file photo)
WAMC/Pat Bradley

During his regular pandemic update on Tuesday, Vermont Governor Phil Scott indicated he may change his mind regarding a state mask mandate.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos
photo provided

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos has issued the formal rules for voting in the 2020 November general election. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports the directive includes safety measures made in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A white, brown-haired woman in a blue blazer stands with a microphone before her in a room lined with purple curtains
Josh Landes / WAMC

There has been outcry in Pittsfield, Massachusetts following the closure of an emergency housing shelter set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. ServiceNet, the mental health and human services group running the shelter at the former St. Joseph Central High School, shuttered the operation on July 13th. Subsequently, there have been reports of new encampments for unhoused residents forming in city parks, prompting dismay from the community. WAMC spoke with Mayor Linda Tyer about the shelter’s closure and the city’s Police Advisory and Review Board’s first annual report.

WAMC

   Like everything else, farmers’ markets have made changes for the sake of health and safety.

The six story building in Springfield's Court Square known as 31 Elm Street
WAMC

   A major urban renewal project is moving forward in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.

A white police officer smiles
Frankfort, Indiana Police Department

The town of Adams, Massachusetts has a new interim police chief. In June, the select board unanimously chose Troy Bacon – formerly of the Frankfort, Indiana Police Department – to lead the Adams Police Department for a six-month trial period before choosing whether to apply for the permanent job. He fills the role vacated by Richard Tarsa Jr., who retired in late June after almost four decades working for the department – 7 of which he spent as chief. WAMC spoke with Bacon this week.

WAMC

The number of new COVID-19 cases occurring day-to-day remains low in the largest city in western Massachusetts.  But, Springfield’s top health official is sounding an alarm.

A flyer for Saturday's voter registration and membership rally.
NAACP-Berkshire County Branch

This Saturday, the Berkshire County chapter of the NAACP is holding a voter registration and membership rally at The Common in Pittsfield, Massachusetts with Berkshire Pride and other county groups. The event will feature a youth musical protest in honor of Elijah McClain, the African American man who died after an encounter with police in Aurora, Colorado in August 2019. WAMC spoke with Brooke Bridges of the Berkshire County NAACP about what inspired the rally.

A historic brick building sits at the end of a path through a grassy lawn.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Pittsfield, Massachusetts police are investigating vandalism that caused extensive damage to a city art center that they say occurred between July 10th and July 13th. The Whitney Center for the Arts, which has been in operation since 2012, sits in a historic building just outside of downtown Pittsfield on Wendell Avenue. While the investigation continues, WAMC spoke with Executive Director Ghazi Kazmi to find out more about the damage and why he thinks it was a targeted move.

The Black Lives Matter flag flies in front of Burlington City Hall
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Burlington City Council had a number of items on its agenda this week including whether to ask voters to approve a ranked choice voting system for the city.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says the state's schools should be able to reopen safely this fall with at least part-time, in-person, learning, but school will not be the way it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mass.Dept of Veterans Services

      A lawsuit has been filed over the deadly coronavirus outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ home.

The Great Barrington Town Seal
Town Of Great Barrington

The Great Barrington, Massachusetts selectboard has approved a measure that calls on the town to actively confront systemic racism and reassess its policing practices.

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