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New England News

State Senator Eric Lesser holding a microphone

    With complaints rising about a slow and uneven rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in Massachusetts, the state legislature is planning to step up oversight.

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

Four city councilors in Pittsfield, Massachusetts have confirmed plans to seek re-election this fall. 

A white woman with glasses a flower shirt and a blazer smiles into the camera
Berkshire Gas

Berkshire Gas is a Pittsfield, Massachusetts energy company with more than 40,000 customers across 20 communities in Western Massachusetts. In January, industry veteran Sue Kristjansson took over as company president from Frank Reynolds. Kristjansson spoke with WAMC.

Two hands embrace under a rose over a red backdrop with "Berkshires Democratic Socialists Of America" in a ring around them.
Berkshires Democratic Socialists of America

The Berkshire County Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is carrying out a countywide drive to collect items like warm clothing and toiletries for those in need. DSA member Michael Lavery – also a Becket, Massachusetts select board member – tells WAMC that the effort is focused at filling gaps in the American social safety net.

A University of Pittsburgh geriatric medical expert is giving a virtual talk for Berkshire Community College today. She says the elderly face outsized inequities in the American healthcare system.

Health Care Group Sued

Feb 3, 2021

Vermont’s Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against an accountable care organization, alleging breach of contract.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Phil Scott is taking action to address thousands of tax forms mailed in error by the state Labor Department.

The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance recently announced the legislative agenda it plans to advocate for in Montpelier.

A bald white man wears a police uniform in front of a brick house
Town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts

At a virtual coffee hour today, the new Great Barrington, Massachusetts police chief introduced himself to the community.

A red fire hydrant sits in a lawn.
By Xiaopihar - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

After a fire at a public housing complex last week, the Vice President of the North Adams, Massachusetts city council says the municipality is falling behind on maintaining its safety infrastructure. Jason LaForest tells WAMC that up to a quarter of the fire hydrants in the community are out of order, and that the city has been putting off repairing them for long enough.

An exterior view of the Massachusetts State House in Boston

      Massachusetts now has a law that bans chemicals used as flame retardants in many consumer products.

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Phil Scott arrived late to his COVID briefing today after finishing a call with other governors and federal officials on vaccine distribution. Scott says he got good news on the call.

Ruth Loving in an undated photo

   The city of Springfield, Massachusetts kicked off Black History Month with an annual observance. 

Burlington Electric headquarters
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont has sourced 100% of its energy from renewables since 2014.  In 2018, the city implemented a Net Zero Energy Plan to eliminate all fossil fuel use in its heating and ground transportation by 2030.  A program that provides incentives for residents and businesses to switch to such renewable energy technologies has been extended.

Vermont officials say vaccination sites will be open on Tuesday even though most of the state is expected to get a half- to a foot of snow.

New Hampshire National Guard logo
New Hampshire National Guard

New Hampshire National Guard members, who have helped manage food banks and administer COVID-19 tests and vaccines during the pandemic, are preparing for at least a nine-month deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

The Eastfield Mall sign
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

   Massachusetts moved today to phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout with people age 75 and older now eligible.

A woman in a blue dress stands behind a podium in front of a row of people and a trio of local, state, and federal flags
Josh Landes / WAMC

Pittsfield, Massachusetts Mayor Linda Tyer delivered her 2021 state of the city address today.

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

Last week, the Pittsfield, Massachusetts school committee unanimously voted for a phased return to in-person education to begin today — the first time since COVID-19 concerns forced a move to remote learning in November. But United Educators of Pittsfield, the city’s teachers’ union, says the decision came out of nowhere and was not made in consultation with school district employees. Union President Melissa Campbell tells WAMC that the move violates an agreement with the city’s teachers signed in November. She says vital safeguards from COVID-19 are still not in place.

Mary Lane Outpatient Center
Baystate Health

  Much to the consternation of local officials, a rural healthcare center east of Springfield, Massachusetts is facing closure.

the front door of Springfield Police Headquarters

        Frustrated by what they see as a lack of progress in reforming the police department, activists in Springfield, Massachusetts want the U.S. Department of Justice to step back in. 

Leydi Lopez
Vermont State Police

Updated at 5:40 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2021: Vermont State Police say an Underhill woman last seen Wednesday has been found safe out of state. Police say 18-year-old Leydi Lopez talked with investigators and said she left Vermont voluntarily and wanted to remain out of state. Police say members of the federal Homeland Security Investigations located her and that no criminal behavior is associated with her disappearance.

U.S. Representative Peter Welch
Pat Bradley / WAMC

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch recently met virtually with leaders from the state’s Northeast Kingdom to discuss a recovery plan for that region.

A playground full of children lies in front of the Conte Community School's concrete facade
Pittsfield Public Schools

The Pittsfield School Committee has voted unanimously to begin the transition back to hybrid/in-person education.

A white man stands in front of a large stone building
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts is undertaking a $3.5 million improvement and redesign plan using money raised by a controversial art sale in 2018.

A white woman with brown hair sits in an arm chair before a desk strewn with papers and a coffee mug
Josh Landes / WAMC

The mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts will deliver her state of the city address at noon on Monday.

Burlington City Hall
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont voters will be asked on Town Meeting Day March 2nd whether Ranked Choice Voting should be used to select city councilors. The charter change question is controversial as advocates say it’s a fairer way to choose city leaders.  But opponents point out the system has been used in the city in the past and discarded.

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting with five participants
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Great Barrington, Massachusetts selectboard says it’s considering purchasing fairgrounds that have sat rotting and unused for years just south of town center.

A bespectacled man in a suit and tie stands in front of a podium on a small monitor
Josh Landes / WAMC

The North Adams, Massachusetts city council heard updates Tuesday from Mayor Tom Bernard about the COVID-19 vaccination effort and news of a bank closure.

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

   A grassroots coalition is lobbying for more beds in a proposed replacement to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home – the long term care facility where at least 76 veterans died in a COVID-19 outbreak.