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New England News

A blue sign with a map of ski trails sits in front of a wooded hillside.
Josh Landes / WAMC

This spring, the private investment group Mill Town Capital announced that it had acquired the Bousquet Mountain ski resort in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. After promising a revamp of the 85-year-old outdoor recreation facility, a new general manager was named last month. WAMC spoke with Kevin McMillan – formerly the GM of Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort in Charlemont – about what he hopes to bring to Bousquet, as well as the local ski hero he’ll be working with.

Scott Milne (left) and Molly Gray are the major party candidates for Vermont Lieutenant Governor
Milne for Vermont - HopsonRoad/Stephen Flanders Molly Gray for Vermont/Facebook

The closest race in Vermont’s general election is for Lieutenant Governor.  VPR/Vermont PBS hosted a debate Tuesday between Democrat Molly Gray and Republican Scott Milne during which the two major party candidates expressed distinct differences of opinion on what policies the state should implement.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont Governor Phil Scott says maintaining vigilance and following prevention guidelines are key to keeping control of the coronavirus in the state.

A long brick building sits beyond a green lawn and trees with a rotunda with a gold spire rising above it
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts public schools are planning for a return to in-person learning later this fall.

Passenger rail platform at Union Station
Trains In The Valley (

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced three final options for passenger rail service between Pittsfield and Boston.

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

On October 15th, North Adams, Massachusetts will hold an auction for 10 city properties. The outdoor event will be held at Joe Wolfe Field, with seven residential properties, two business properties, and one zoned for urban renewal up for bid. The most expensive asset on the list is a 7-unit apartment building on Union Street, valued at over $108,000, while the least expensive is a $7,000 lot on Church Street. Mayor Tom Bernard tells WAMC that the move is part of a larger distribution strategy to move city-owned properties into private hands – and back onto the tax rolls.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott (left) and Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman will run against each other in the 2020 gubernatorial race
File photos Pat Bradley/WAMC

The major party candidates vying for Vermont governor met at the Mad River Barn in Waitsfield Tuesday evening for an in-person COVID-compliant debate.

Springfield City Hall at night
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

   A years-long standoff between the executive and legislative branches of government in the largest city in western Massachusetts is heading to court.

This is a picture of Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Berkshire County cultural organizations are responding to news that Massachusetts is relaxing some COVID-19 restrictions in parts of the state.

Anti-biomass rally
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

Environmental activists fear a climate bill in the Massachusetts legislature will breathe new life into a long-proposed biomass power plant in Springfield.

Daguerrotype of Alexander Twilight
Collection of the Orleans County Grammar Schools / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The Vermont Statehouse is going to be getting a portrait of the man who is thought to have been the first Black state lawmaker in the country.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott is praising the state's lawmakers for putting politics aside during the extended legislative session to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

There has been a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases detected in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Spirit of Springfield

At least one traditional event is not being cancelled this year because of the pandemic.

It was announced this week that Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield will be held.

The massive holiday light display will go on for a 26th year.  

There will be public health safety measures observed that will require some changes.

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Judy Matt, president of Spirit of Springfield, the organization that produces Bright Nights.

A system to provide child care to Vermont children during the COVID-19 pandemic so parents can return to work on days their children aren't in school is continuing to expand.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger announces new policing initiatives
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The mayor of Burlington, Vermont announced a series of initiatives Friday aimed at transforming policing in the city.

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

Berkshire County restaurant owners are adjusting after Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker relaxed COVID-19 related indoor seating limits.

The Holyoke Soldier's Home
Mass.Dept of Veterans Services

         Criminal charges were announced today stemming from the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

A flyer for the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's Voices For Recovery 2020: Days Of Hope events
Northern Berkshire Community Coalition

On Saturday, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition holds a self-guided Recovery Walk as part of a week-long event called Voices for Recovery acknowledging the end of National Recovery Month. The event acknowledges community members celebrating recovery from substance misuse, as well as those lost to it. Susan Cross is the NBCC’s coordinator for the Beacon Recovery Community Center, which has held virtual and limited in-person meetings in North Adams to guide people looking for support. She tells WAMC that this year’s walk comes at a time when the recovery community has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a picture of an Amtrak train

    A major development is expected next week in the long running effort to expand passenger rail service in western Massachusetts.

A heavyset man with long grey hair stands behind a camera.
Photograph by Christopher Peterson /

Next week, a Berkshire County affordable housing nonprofit is holding a fundraiser featuring a documentary on the work of photographer Gregory Crewdson.

Tree trunks litter the ground with a stand of trees far in the background
Chris Matera / Massachusetts Forest Watch

Environmental activist Chris Matera is sounding the alarm over how Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s administration is handling the state’s forests. The founder of Massachusetts Forest Watch, Matera says the rising value of trees is leading to economic interests trumping ecological ones in the commonwealth – with dangerous consequences.

Middlebury College (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Middlebury College says 22 students were sanctioned and barred from campus this past weekend due to significant COVID-19 conduct violations.

Picture of marijuana plant
US Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The Vermont Legislature has approved a bill that would set up a system for the legal sale and taxation of marijuana in the state.

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
NRC/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel held its fourth meeting of the year this week. Conducted virtually, it attracted a number of comments due to the meeting’s focus on the plant’s spent fuel and where it can be stored.

A crushed stone path runs along a wooden fence in the woods.
Jason Todd Saldaña / Great Barrington Land Conservancy

A land conservancy in Great Barrington, Massachusetts is preparing to open a new trail next week.

Paul Tuthill, WAMC

A program that repairs homes so that low-income people can age in place has been welcomed to another city in western Massachusetts. 

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont Governor Phil Scott and members of his administration provided a COVID-19 update Tuesday. Among the key topics was the next step schools are taking in the reopening process.

A stone building with a colonnade lit by lights sits in front of a brick churck and a street lamp
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council approved an $8.5 million borrowing plan at Tuesday night’s meeting. The meeting also featured a councilor sparring with the mayor.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont's top education official says the state's schools are moving to the next stage of reopening.