north adams | WAMC

north adams

A brick building with a metal sculpture of a tree with hebrew letters in its boughs
Josh Landes / WAMC

Even if they can’t gather for services, spiritual leaders across Berkshire County are tending to their congregants in the anxious era of the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts entered a new phase of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak with an order from Governor Charlie Baker to shutter all non-essential businesses. In North Adams, the city of 13,000 continues to develop its own measures to provide vital services while maintaining the curve-flattening social distancing experts have called for. WAMC spoke with Mayor Tom Bernard.

An SUV is parked on the street in front of a brick building with "Pittsfield Police" on its doors
Josh Landes / WAMC

Police departments around Berkshire County are adapting their service as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies.

A man sits in a chair wearing a suit and bow tie in an office with wooden walls
Josh Landes / WAMC

The city of North Adams, with 13,000 residents in the Northwestern corner of Massachusetts, has closed municipal offices today, and is preparing for the three-week ban on all on-site service in state restaurants and bars that starts tomorrow. North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard spoke today with WAMC about how schoolchildren will receive the food they rely on while public schools are closed for three weeks, and more.

A man in a blue suit holds a plaque with two men standing on either side of him. One of them men wears an ornamental necklace.
Emily Schiavoni

On Tuesday, the North Adams Elks Lodge gave Drury High School band director Christopher Caproni its Citizen Of The Year Award. The award is intended to recognize a community member who has shown leadership, volunteered, and has gone above and beyond to prove themselves both helpful and reliable. Caproni, who has directed the Drury band for over a decade, spoke with WAMC.

A white man smiles in a blue button-down shirt and a blue blazer with a pin shaped like Massachusetts with the American flag over it on his lapel
Ben Mancino

The Vice President of the North Adams, Massachusetts City Council is quarantined after being tested for exposure to COVID-19 and "developing mild symptoms" Tuesday afternoon. While Jason LaForest awaits the results of those tests, he will remain home until March 24th. He tells WAMC that members of his family have also been tested, and that he must maintain a six-foot distance from them while under quarantine. LaForest spoke to WAMC about the circumstances that led to his possible exposure, and what it’s like to be caught up in the emerging story.

Communities are responding to the first reported case of COVID-19 in Berkshire County.

The city of North Adams, Massachusetts is moving to draft short-term rental regulations.

Is it possible that a man is in prison for the murder of his wife -- when an owl actually committed the crime? What is a very special bourbon going for on the black market -- and why? How does a seemingly typical person get roped into counterfeiting money by their boyfriend? “Criminal” is an award-winning true-crime podcast, distributed by PRX and Radiotopia, with episodes devoted to these stories and many others.

On Saturday, February 22 “Criminal” will be in The Hunter Center at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. “Criminal” launched January of 2014 and is hosted by Phoebe Judge, who co-created the show with Lauren Spohrer. Judge attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, her work has won multiple Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards. Previously, she was a host at WUNC North Carolina Public Radio, a producer for The Story with Dick Gordon, and a reporter based in the gulf coast of Mississippi. She covered the BP oil spill and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for Mississippi Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio.

A man at a podium looks at a row of seated people at a series of tables. They sit before a wood panelled wall in a room lit with long flourescent lights.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Two and a half years after MASS MoCA abruptly painted over public art made by children in North Adams, Massachusetts, city leaders are calling for answers.

Alleged behind the scenes maneuverings involving the North Adams, Massachusetts city council has created discontent over how its new president was selected.

In November, North Adams, Massachusetts city councilor Paul Hopkins was elected to a second two-year term. This week, as the city of almost 13,000 swore in its elected officials for the new term, Hopkins was also voted in as president of the nine-member council. Hopkins spoke with WAMC about his relationship with Mayor Tom Bernard and why he thinks the city should reexamine how it manages its solid waste – as well as what he sees as the largest challenges North Adams faces.

Josh Landes / WAMC

In November’s municipal election, Jess Sweeney was the only newcomer elected to the nine-person North Adams, Massachusetts city council. Sweeney is the creative director of Common Folk, an artist collective with a store and studio on Main Street. She spoke with WAMC about what led her to seek public office, and what her priorities are for 2020 and beyond.

Hoosic River Revival

Last fall, Jason LaForest became the Executive Director of Hoosic River Revival, a nonprofit advocating for the transformation of the waterway in North Adams, Massachusetts. LaForest – who is also a nurse and a city councilor – sat down with WAMC to explain the work HRR has done for the last 11 years, and what its vision would mean for northern Berkshire County.

A man sits in a chair wearing a suit and bow tie in an office with wooden walls
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.

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.

North Adams, Massachusetts City Council President Keith Bona will enter his 10th term with his successful re-election bid Tuesday. He’ll return to the chambers alongside five other incumbents, two former councilors, and one newcomer in an election that saw only about a quarter of the city’s registered voters go to the polls. Bona spoke to WAMC about the council’s makeup heading in to 2020, its relationship with Mayor Tom Bernard as he enters his second term, and what big ticket items are on the horizon.

Garnering almost 1,800 of the 2,100 votes cast in Tuesday’s North Adams, Massachusetts mayoral election, Tom Bernard has coasted to a second term over challenger Rachel Branch. Bernard spoke today with WAMC about the victory, and what he hopes to accomplish in his next two years at the helm of Northern Berkshire County’s largest community.

A voting machine

After months of campaigning, debating, and rallies, the Pittsfield mayoral election is down to its final hours.

A voting machine

Voters will pick two Berkshire County mayors on Tuesday.

Trenton Doyle Hancock and Frank Oz at MASS MoCA
Sarah LaDuke

It is the final two weeks to visit and inhabit artist Trenton Doyle Hancock’s world of characters seen in drawings, paintings, and installations at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Hancock has transformed his childhood love of comic books, toys, and superhero culture into his own creation myth. That mythology and the multimedia iterations that it has sparked are on display in the exhibition "Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass." The exhibition is curated at MASS MoCA by Denise Markonish.

Hancock tells the story of the Mounds protected by Torpedo Boy, and their enemies, the Vegans. These narratives explore good and evil, authority, race, moral relativism, and religion, all while creating a truly unique body of visual art.

Josh Landes / WAMC

Community activist Rachel Branch is the sole challenger to North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard, who is seeking a second term in November. Branch’s family has a long political history in the city. She says her step great-great grandfather was its first mayor, her great uncle held the seat in the 1920s, and her father was city council president. Branch sat down with WAMC to talk about why she’s running, what issues are close to her heart, and her personal history in northern Berkshire County’s largest community.

Josh Landes / WAMC

Mark Barden’s son Daniel was 7 when he lost his life in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. Barden was in Berkshire County on Monday with state Attorney General Maura Healey, speaking with students about Sandy Hook Promise, the nonprofit he co-founded in 2013. It offers violence prevention and mental health training programs. Barden spoke with WAMC about the nonprofit’s collaboration with the attorney general, as well as what it’s like to speak with students about what they experience in the school system.

FreshGrass At MASS MoCA

Sep 19, 2019

This year’s FreshGrass Music Festival takes place this Friday through Sunday in North Adams, Massachusetts. The festival is produced in partnership by MASS MoCA, the FreshGrass Foundation, and No Depression and is a family-friendly festival, featuring established, acclaimed, and new talent on four stages and in MASS MoCA’s galleries.

The line-up includes Mavis Staples, Greensky Bluegrass, Steep Canyon Rangers, Calexico and Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, Sam Amidon, Amy Helm, Alison, Brown, The Mammals, Tony Trischka and Bruce Molsky, Johnny Irion & Friends, Jade Bird, The Gibson Brothers, Tinariwen, inaugural Artist-in-Residence Aoife O’Donovan, and more!

We are joined by MASS MoCA’s Performing Arts Director Sue Killam and Communications Director Jodi Joseph.

The Dirt Farmer Festival 2019 will have shows at Levon Helm Studios on September 6 and 7, bringing Dirt Farmer Fest artists, food, and craft vendors to Woodstock for two great nights! Amy Helm – Levon’s daughter – joins us this morning to tell us more.

Amy Helm will also be at FreshGrass at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA on Friday, September 20.

The official seal of the North Adams Police Department.
North Adams Police Department

The victim of a vandalism incident in North Adams, which she and others say was racially motivated, says it’s not the first time she and her family have experienced such abuse. 

With municipal elections coming this fall, the six city councilors running for reelection in North Adams, Massachusetts are touting their accomplishments.

The city of North Adams, Massachusetts is preparing cooling stations for this weekend’s heat.

A uniformed police officer sits behind a desk with blue curtains behind him
Josh Landes / WAMC

North Adams Police Chief Jason Wood is now two months into his job as top cop in the second-largest community in Berkshire County. He recently sat down with WAMC to discuss his priorities, police body cameras, and the department’s current staffing levels.

The city council in North Adams, Massachusetts voted to approve its fiscal year 2020 budget Tuesday night, but one cut prompted protest.