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A relief fund set up by a nonprofit organization is helping hundreds of undocumented immigrants in western Massachusetts who are not eligible for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits.

A sign that says "Crane" stands outside of a brick building
Josh Landes / WAMC

Starting Monday, North Adams, Massachusetts is fining the Crane Stationery Plant a thousand dollars a day for operating against city orders.

WAMC

       In an order issued in late April, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reiterated that farmers’ markets are considered an essential business, and just like grocery stores, should be permitted to open with precautions.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott is planning a further easing of pandemic lockdown rules to begin next week. Retailers will be able to open but must follow strict guidelines.

A small outbreak of coronavirus has been reported at the Bennington School for Girls in Vermont, a residential treatment center for girls with special needs.

Governor Phil Scott says retail stores in Vermont will be allowed to open next week at 25% capacity and must abide by health and safety requirements.

A sign that says "Crane" stands outside of a brick building
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Crane Stationery Plant in North Adams, Massachusetts is continuing to operate against the orders of Mayor Tom Bernard.

A framework has been announced for reopening the Massachusetts economy.

https://www.covid19sim.org/

Two Boston-area medical institutions have launched a COVID-19 simulator that offers models of the pandemic’s trajectory and guidance on how reopening the country could affect its spread. Jag Chhatwal is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a senior scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He spoke with WAMC about the simulator, what data it uses, and how its creators hope it will influence public policy.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Pittsfield, Massachusetts police are investigating a shooting following a car accident Thursday night. 

A white man with glasses sits behind a wooden desk in an office
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bowler has recovered from COVID-19 and is back at work in the House of Corrections.

The police commissioner in Springfield, Massachusetts continues to defend the reinstatement of five officers while criminal charges against them are still pending. 

A sign that says "Crane" stands outside of a brick building
Josh Landes / WAMC

Just over a week after announcing sweeping layoffs, the 220-year-old Crane Stationery Plant in North Adams, Massachusetts resumed operations today for the first time since March 18th. But North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard says the move violates an order he issued Sunday, which stipulates that the plant can only reopen if it solely works on essential business related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plant owner Mohawk Paper has not responded to interview requests from WAMC this week. Mayor Bernard spoke with WAMC Friday morning about the latest developments, and his message to the plant’s 229 workers.

A white woman with glasses stands behind a podium smiling
Massachusetts / www.mass.gov/news/auditor-bump-highlights-the-work-of-the-division-of-local-mandates

  

Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne Bump says an audit of the Department of Early Education and Care found a number of shortcomings in the agency — from inconsistent investigation and reporting of child abuse to a failure to properly conduct background checks on its staff. Bump’s audit – which ran from 2016 to 2018 – has produced a number of recommendations to the EEC. WAMC spoke with Bump about her investigation, as well as her department’s past examinations of the soldiers’ homes in Chelsea and Holyoke. The horror has garnered national headlines, with more than 100 coronavirus-related deaths at the state-run nursing facilities for veterans in Massachusetts since March. Bump says audits in 2016 and 2017 indicated issues with the facilities years before the pandemic.

The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts has received a $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up dry-cleaning chemicals from underneath a shuttered business. 

A yellow banner on a telephone pole that reads "downtown Bennington" against a blue sky.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Although cases have been far lower in the state than in neighboring New York and Massachusetts, Vermont’s economy has essentially shut down due to the coronavirus, and schools are closed for the rest of the year. Stuart Hurd is the Town Manager of Bennington, the largest community in southwestern Vermont. WAMC spoke with Hurd about how the pandemic has affected the town of about 16,000 residents.

WAMC

There is a new agreement between the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese and prosecutors about the procedures for reporting sex abuse allegations against church employees.

The Pittsfield city seal
The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into the foreseeable future, the question of how to safely begin reopening nonessential businesses looms over municipal leaders. WAMC spoke with Pittsfield, Massachusetts Mayor Linda Tyer Tuesday about how the pandemic is affecting the community.

WAMC

As unemployment numbers have surged over the past few weeks, so has demand for social services including emergency food assistance.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, red ink is mounting for cities and towns.

The Downtown Pittsfield Inc. logo
Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

 

On Friday, Jesse Cook-Dubin ended his four-year term as president of Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. The nonprofit entity has worked to promote and develop the Western Massachusetts city’s core since 1983. The corporate lawyer spoke with WAMC about the challenges and successes he faced while at the head of DPI, what his successor will need to prepare for moving forward, and more.

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

               A Massachusetts agency has approved plans for a major urban renewal project in downtown Springfield.  

WAMC

     When a mandatory face covering directive takes effect in Massachusetts on Wednesday, the emphasis in Springfield will be on education, not enforcement.

A sign that says "Crane" stands outside of a brick building
Josh Landes / WAMC

The mayor of North Adams, Massachusetts has issued a list of conditions required for a paper company to reopen its plant in the city, just days after it announced sweeping layoffs next month.

Bennington Police

Officials in Bennington, Vermont will take questions from the public on a report that examined community-police relations following racially-based complaints.

A white man with glasses sits behind a wooden desk in an office
Josh Landes / WAMC

After battling COVID-19, Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bowler says he’s back at work.

Door to the MGM Springfield casino
WAMC

     Massachusetts gambling regulators have further extended the shutdown of the state’s casinos and slots parlor, but are starting to look at how the businesses can safely reopen.

The NORAD Mill's lobby sign has a list of businesses on each floor of the building
Josh Landes / WAMC

With COVID-19 related shutdowns leading to a sharp spike in national unemployment claims and a steep economic downturn, most are pessimistic about the nature of business during the pandemic. But Berkshire County businessman David Moresi – President and CEO of North Adams-based Moresi and Associates – sees opportunity in the crisis. Between his ventures in restaurants, construction, and real estate – including the NORAD Mill business complex that Moresi renovated and leased himself – he employs a staff of around 100. Speaking with WAMC, he explains how the Great Recession of 2008  helped form his approach to business, as well as why he thinks Northern Berkshire County is due for a post-pandemic demographic shift.

Barrington Stage Company and Berkshire Theatre Group

With cancellation after cancellation looming over Berkshire County’s lucrative summer season, two Pittsfield, Massachusetts theatre companies say they’ll attempt to mount productions despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beta Technologies' Kyle Clark (bottom) discusses plans during e-meeting with Mayor Miro Weinberger (top left) and Burlington Airport Manager Gene Richards (top right)
Zoom screenshot

As many businesses struggle during the coronavirus pandemic, one aviation company in Burlington went before the city council this week seeking approval of a building lease at the Burlington International Airport.  Beta Technologies expects significant expansion of its work designing and building EV aircraft.

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