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New England News

The Williams Record Logo
The Williams Record

The Williams Record is the independent student newspaper at Williams College, the private liberal arts college in northwest  Massachusetts. This week, it published a report analyzing the demographic trends in college data on fall enrollment, which indicates that more students of color are opting to not return to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. WAMC spoke with Editor-In-Chief and rising senior Jeongyoon Han about what the disparities mean for the college community.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger leads community declaration that racism is a public health crisis
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont’s mayor was joined by leaders of the city’s Black community this morning to declare racism a public health crisis.

a black and white photo of Carlos Vega
Special Collections UMass Amherst Libraries

Several organizations in western Massachusetts will benefit this year from a fund created to help carry on the legacy of a renowned advocate for civil rights, housing, education and social justice.

A screenshot of an email.
The City Of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts Police Advisory and Review Board presented its first annual report this week.

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

North Adams, Massachusetts city officials say an arrest was made Wednesday in connection with a non-fatal shooting Tuesday evening. 

A large barn-like building.
Megan Cunningham / The Pass

A new adult use cannabis retailer is opening in Berkshire County Friday. The Pass is a locally-owned and operated vertical provider, growing and selling its own marijuana products. Located in Sheffield, Massachusetts, it bills itself as the store closest to New York City. WAMC spoke with co-founder and president Michael Cohen.

View of Lake Champlain

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Vermont is behind schedule on a plan to develop a key pollution permit program to help clean up Lake Champlain.


    Inmates at correctional institutions across the country are producing face masks and other protective equipment to combat the coronavirus pandemic.   There is a PPE production program at a county jail in western Massachusetts. 

A screenshot of Pittsfield, MA City Councilor Earl Persip's response to fellow councilor Christopher Connell's post of an article about the false narrative of Irish slavery.
Josh Landes / WAMC

At-Large Pittsfield, Massachusetts City Councilor Earl Persip is chiding long-serving Ward 4 City Councilor Christopher Connell for posting a link to  an article about the oft-debunked narrative of Irish slavery on Facebook. Persip says the post is an attack on the Black Lives Matter movement often deployed by racists online. Connell has openly voiced skepticism of the Black Lives Matter movement at city council meetings. He declined to comment about the now-deleted post when reached by WAMC News. WAMC spoke with Persip, the council’s only African American member, about why he chose to speak out against Connell.

State Senator Adam Hinds holds a microphone at an outdoor event.
Becki Joppru Connolly

Early Tuesday morning, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a sweeping new police oversight bill after hours of debate. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts applauds the measure, while the state’s largest police union has criticized one of its key elements. Republican Governor Charlie Baker has also proposed his own police oversight bill, which remains in committee. WAMC spoke with Democratic State Senator Adam Hinds of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden district about the legislation’s reforms, and why rolling back legal protections for police officers prompted the session to run over 17 hours.

The Vermont Health Department is reporting 30 possible cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 among people who were tested at a clinic in Manchester.

University of Vermont Waterman Administration building
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The University of Vermont’s board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to divest from fossil fuels.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott and administration officials announced today that grants are being made available from the state’s federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to create health care and dairy assistance programs.

City of Springfield, Mayor's Office

     As the coronavirus rages out of control in parts of the country, destination venues in Massachusetts are welcoming visitors under Phase 3 of the state’s staged reopening plan.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos
photo provided

Vermont’s top election official says preparations for the state’s August primary include a new vote-by-mail option.


Massachusetts has lifted a temporary order that had prohibited people from bringing reusable shopping bags to the grocery store.

Vermont Interim Corrections Commissioner James Baker says investigations are underway into the death of an African American inmate in December who died as a result of an undiagnosed tumor in his airway.

The state of Vermont is suing the Department of Homeland Security to block a rule that would require foreign students to leave the country if their school only provides classes online this fall.

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

Pittsfield, Massachusetts Mayor Linda Tyer says the city has had just seven new COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks. Now, the city is undertaking a new effort to monitor its sewage for evidence of the virus spreading. Tyer spoke today with WAMC.

COVID-19 Diagram
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s latest effort to expand testing for COVID-19 is drawing criticism in western Massachusetts. 

The Environmental Protection Agency logo
The Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting public feedback on modifications to its landmark plan to clean up the Housatonic River in Berkshire County.

President Donald Trump has canceled a weekend rally in New Hampshire because a tropical storm is threatening the area.

Statistics show that the average age of people becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 is declining in Vermont.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott and administration officials today announced a series of housing assistance programs to help landlords, renters and low-income homeowners who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Becket, Massachusetts is a rural Berkshire community of just under 2,000 in the wooded hills of the county’s eastern edge. This week, WAMC spoke with select board vice chair Michael Lavery about how the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn is affecting the town. Dance center Jacob’s Pillow, one of Becket’s biggest cultural landmarks, canceled its summer festival for the first time in its 88-year history. Last month, Lavery was re-elected to a second term.

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

After months of closure, North Adams, Massachusetts art museum MASS MoCA is reopening its doors to visitors Saturday.

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Legislature adjourned on June 26th and plans to return at the end of August.  The leader of the Senate and its finance committee chairs recently discussed the Legislature’s distribution of federal Coronavirus Relief Funds allocated to the state, and the work to be completed when they return.

Champlain College
Nightspark / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

A new partnership agreement has been announced between the city of Burlington, Vermont and Champlain College that will allow city residents to take online courses at reduced cost.

An image that says "Berkshire County Outdoor Recreation Plan 2020"
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and Mill Town Capital

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and private investment group Mill Town Capital have released a new plan to develop the region’s outdoor recreation resources. It comes at a time when many of us are turning to outdoor recreation to get through the pandemic.

The Berkshire County town of Cheshire, Massachusetts is a bedroom community of about 600 people some 10 miles north of the county seat, Pittsfield. WAMC spoke with Town Administrator Ed St. John to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic downturn has impacted one of the region’s smallest municipalities.