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New England News

Photo of Vermont Statehouse in winter
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A group of Vermont lawmakers plans to push ahead with legislation in the next session to reduce Vermont's carbon emissions.

Vermont State Police are investigating who pointed a laser at an aircraft in Charlotte.

Burlington City Council President Kurt Wright
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington City Council President Kurt Wright has been in politics for 25 years and is currently the only Republican on the 12 member panel. But he will not run for reelection. Wright tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley he made his decision despite reservations about the direction of the council.

A backhoe sits on a snowy concrete ledge over a riverbed under a train overpass
Josh Landes / WAMC

An almost $4 million plan to remove a centuries-old dam in Pittsfield, Massachusetts was announced this week.

WAMC

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

A auditorium filled with seated people facing a stage with people on it
Josh Landes / WAMC

As the town debates how to approach the possible return of horse racing to the Berkshires, voters in Great Barrington, Massachusetts adopted a home rule petition at special town meeting Wednesday night.

A second person has died as a result of a structure fire in Great Barrington, Massachusetts Monday.

Vaping
WAMC file photo

      A ban on the sale of all nicotine vaping products in Massachusetts was lifted today.  But there are tough new restrictions. 

City councilors sit around a long desk on a rostrum in a wood paneled room
Josh Landes / WAMC

Before a major shakeup in the new year, the Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council met for the last time this year Tuesday night.

  After the first snowstorm of the season, snow removal is in the spotlight in the largest city in western Massachusetts.  People came to City Hall to complain and the mayor apologized.

Josh Landes / WAMC

Last week, a citizen driven data collection group called Berkshire County CourtWatch issued a preliminary report on criminal justice trends as observed by volunteers over around 300 hearings at the Southern Berkshires District Court in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Now, District Attorney Andrea Harrington is sharing her perspective on the findings, including a sharp uptick in pretrial dangerousness hearings. Harrington, who made transparency a key part of her 2018 campaign, spoke with WAMC about what discrepancies she says she found in the CourtWatch report, and the system she inherited back in January.

Josh Landes / WAMC

Tom Bernard is the newly re-elected Mayor of North Adams, Massachusetts. As he prepares for his second term in Berkshire County’s second city, he tells WAMC that he’s keeping an eye on a few key issues – infrastructure, the city’s finances, and how to best invest the city’s money.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
WAMC

   Plans for major improvements to a downtrodden neighborhood in the city of Holyoke have received a big financial boost from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

A white man with a neat goatee stands at a podium
John Courtmanche / Hampshire College

Documentarian Ken Burns made his first film as a student at Hampshire College in 1975. He’s gone on to make dozens of critically acclaimed examinations of American history, ranging from jazz and baseball to the Vietnam War and country music. Now, Burns has attached his name to his alma mater’s new fundraising effort, which he says is vital to its survival. Burns spoke with WAMC about the experimental college’s attempt to raise $60 million over the next five years, and his experience at Hampshire.

WAMC

     With the retail sector changing as more and more shopping is done online, urban malls are closing and in some places being torn down too.   A once bustling shopping mall in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts is undergoing a transformation.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

Vermont state officials will be on hand in the Bennington area this week to answer questions about ongoing remediation efforts for PFAS contamination.

WAMC

Legislation is advancing on Beacon Hill that would expand access to school breakfast in Massachusetts.

WAMC

Once a bustling shopping mall in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, Tower Square is welcoming new types of tenants. 

Vermont Air Guard F-35 does a fly-over before landing at Burlington
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Air National Guard has taken delivery of three more F-35 fighter jets.

Burlington City Council President Kurt Wright
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Burlington, Vermont city council president has announced that he will be retiring after 25 years in local politics.

The AFFIRM logo
AFFIRM

Monday night, a nonprofit focused on solving what it describes as the country’s “gun violence epidemic” is holding an event at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. “Reframe: Changing the Approach to Firearm Injuries in America” is cosponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and will address rising suicide rates in the region and their relationship to guns. Dr. Christopher Barsotti is an emergency medical physician at BMC and the founding CEO of the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine. He spoke to WAMC about the underlying causes of the spike in suicides, and ways the community can attempt to address it.

Alarmed by a sharp rise in opioid deaths last year in the third largest city in Massachusetts, officials have taken steps to try to lower the fatality rate.

cannabis
wikipedia.org

In January 2018, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed a bill to legalize limited marijuana possession by adults — one ounce or less and two or fewer mature and four or fewer immature pot plants. But the state did not craft a law to regulate a commercial cannabis market.  The legislature is expected to act on such legislation during the upcoming session. Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan held panel discussion in Burlington Thursday evening that included panelists from Maine and Massachusetts to discuss their experiences with a regulated market.

Roger Peet / justseeds

A citizen-driven data collection organization is attempting to track changes in the Berkshire County criminal justice system. Beginning this summer, Berkshire County CourtWatch sent volunteers to observe around 300 hearings held in the Southern Berkshires District Court in Great Barrington. This week, it released a preliminary analysis of the information it gathered from those appearances. Peggy Kern is the head of Berkshire County CourtWatch. She spoke with WAMC about that report on Wednesday, and how the group is trying to track the campaign promises of Berkshire DA Andrea Harrington.

The phrase "A Grief Sublime" and the name "Beth Robbins" on a white backdrop
Keats & Company Publishers

On Saturday, a Great Barrington, Massachusetts author will release a book written in the aftermath of her husband’s death.

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

The Berkshire County District Attorney says a North Adams, Massachusetts woman has died from injuries sustained in a brutal attack by her husband over the summer.

WAMC

In the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts there are more than 100 precision machine shops that produce parts and equipment for a variety of manufacturing sectors.

This is a picture of the inside of the Pittsfield Police station
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts police department says a potentially deadly batch of heroin has hit the streets.

The Pittsfield Prospers logo.
Pittsfield Prospers

Back in February, WAMC reported on the creation of the Pittsfield Prospers initiative. Driven by former social psychologist and Pittsfield native Virginia O’Leary, the group’s goal is to rehabilitate the story of the community since the closure of the General Electric facilities that employed thousands in the city. On Thursday, Pittsfield Prospers will hold an Intergenerational Meet Up at Berkshire Community College to bring together city residents of all ages to talk about their relationship with Pittsfield. O’Leary sat down with WAMC to talk about what she’s learned from meeting with residents, starting with Generation Zers.

    The Trump administration Wednesday tightened the work requirements for food stamp benefits.

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