New England News | WAMC

New England News

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.


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.


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.

Weeks of Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council stalemate ended with a conclusive vote on the city’s tax rates Tuesday night. 

Vermont State Police say a Bristol man shot and killed his wife and then turned the weapon on himself.

Police in Vermont have arrested a second suspect in an alleged home invasion in Swanton.

Burlington City Hall
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington City Councilors have given initial approval to a measure that could change the city charter to allow Ranked Choice Voting.

Leah Reed is the Minority Engagement Ambassador for Dementia Friendly Massachusetts, an initiative of the state’s council on aging that works to make communities more aware of dementia inclusivity. She’s moderating a free webinar today to discuss bridging the gap between African Americans and the care that could alleviate the strains of dementia in Berkshire County. The webinar – which includes speakers from the faith and clinical communities – begins at 2 p.m. Reed spoke with WAMC about Dementia Friendly Massachusetts and how it’s working to overcome systemic barriers to care.

401(K) 2012/Flickr

     With the tax bill for the average single family home in Springfield, Massachusetts going up next year by $165, some homeowners will be looking for ways to reduce their bill. 

    A regional bicycle sharing service in western Massachusetts has finished its second season.

    There are plans to expand ValleyBike Share by roughly 30 percent next year when the program will be available in three more communities.

   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Wayne Feiden, Director of Planning and Sustainability for the City of Northampton and project manager for ValleyBike Share.

An organization that focuses on international water issues between the United States and Canada is recommending that the state of Vermont and province of Quebec work together to prevent algae blooms in Lake Memphremagog, which straddles the border.

Let's Talk Cannabis logo
Vermont Department of Health

The Vermont Health Department is offering a new resource to help individuals about how cannabis affects peoples’ bodies, minds and health.

Police in Vermont are searching for a second suspect in a Swanton home invasion in which two teenage boys broke into a home and attacked a woman and her grandson.

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

Hoping to end an impasse with the city council, the mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts is agreeing to spend $1 million in unused tax revenue.


   With the toy-shopping season underway, both in stores and online, a consumer watchdog has issued an annual report about toy safety. 

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Beryl Jolly has been Executive Director of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts since it was first created as a nonprofit in 2005. Now, the center will see its first major leadership transition as Jolly prepares to depart from the role at the end of 2019. Janis Martinson, the Mahaiwe’s Director of Advancement, will serve as Acting Executive Director starting in 2020. She sat down with WAMC to talk about what the change means for the Mahaiwe and for her.


Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker continues to call for passage of an initiative he says will help address the state’s housing shortage.

First proposed by Baker in 2017, the bill would allow local zoning changes to be made by a simple majority rather than the two-thirds vote current law demands.

The idea is to make it easier to build typically more affordable multi-family housing.


A Berkshire County economic development agency is holding an event to promote youth entrepreneurship on Tuesday.

A housing advocacy organization has sued Massachusetts health officials over the state’s lead paint law.  

The Berkshire Humane Society is undertaking its seventh annual 100 Cats For Christmas campaign, where it attempts to spay and neuter a hundred felines around the county by the end of the year. WAMC spoke with John Perreault, the Pittsfield-based shelter’s executive director, who says it’s vital to control the cat population.

Councilors sit in behind the city hall rostrum
Josh Landes / WAMC

A Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council stalemate extended into a second consecutive meeting Tuesday.

The marquee of the The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts has named an acting executive director.

People standing around a table with seated people.
Josh Landes / WAMC

On November 5th, Pittsfield, Massachusetts voters sent Mayor Linda Tyer to a second term. But losing candidate Melissa Mazzeo has pressed on – calling for a recount held Monday that affirmed the result. Now, emails from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office reviewed by WAMC have shed new light on Mazzeo’s claims.

Spirit of Springfield

    The largest holiday light show in the Northeast marks a milestone tonight.