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williamstown

Buildings, sidewalks and trees lie alongside a road through rolling green hills.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Jeffrey Johnson and Wade Hasty will take seats on the Williamstown, Massachusetts select board after Tuesday’s high turnout municipal election.

A smiling white man in a white button down shirt looks into the camera in front of a wood framed house.
Albert Cummings / https://www.facebook.com/Albert-Cummings-Candidate-for-Williamstown-Select-Board-101385048718240/

As Williamstown, Massachusetts voters head to the polls Tuesday, select board candidate Albert Cummings says the town’s character is being maligned in local debate. The election comes amid tense conversations about systemic discrimination following last year’s Black Lives Matter protests and a series of scandals including alleged racist behavior within the Williamstown Police Department. Cummings, a contractor and musician, says he’s a rationally-minded local running to defend Williamstown against what he describes as a destructive debate. Cummings spoke with WAMC in the last part of our four-story series on the select board candidates.

A white man in a blue shirt and red tie wears a cowboy hat in a Zoom chat window
WilliNet / https://vimeo.com/536880231

Almost a year after a federal lawsuit against the town police department set off a chain of scandals and resignations, Williamstown, Massachusetts municipal elections are coming up Tuesday. WAMC has the third of our select board candidate profiles.

A white man with a beard and glasses in a blue flannel sits at a table
WilliNet / https://vimeo.com/532000421

Almost a year after a federal lawsuit against the town police department set off a chain of scandals and resignations, Williamstown, Massachusetts municipal elections are coming up May 11th. WAMC has the second part of our series of candidate profiles.

Six people in a Zoom meeting.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Charles Blanchard is the new interim town manager for Williamstown, Massachusetts. After Jason Hoch resigned due to a series of scandals related to police department misconduct, the select board tapped Blanchard to steer Williamstown’s day-to-day operations while it searches for a new permanent manager. WAMC spoke with Blanchard about his philosophy on town management, and how he envisions his role in the community during a fraught period in Williamstown.

A bald man with glasses and a beard in a blue shirt stands in front of a white wall
Jeffrey Johnson / https://www.facebook.com/JeffJohnson4SelectBoard-111745710962381

Almost a year after a federal lawsuit against the town police department set off a chain of scandals and resignations, Williamstown, Massachusetts municipal elections are coming up May 11th. WAMC speaks with one of the candidates for select board in the first part of a series on the election.

Six people in a Zoom meeting.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The candidate chosen by Williamstown, Massachusetts to serve as interim town manager has accepted the position.

Six people in a Zoom meeting.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Williamstown, Massachusetts select board has chosen a candidate for interim town manager.

The ACLU Massachusetts logo
ACLU of Massachusetts / www.aclum.org

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is seeking an independent investigation into the latest Williamstown, Massachusetts police department scandal.

Buildings, sidewalks and trees lie alongside a road through rolling green hills.
Josh Landes / WAMC

At two listening sessions Wednesday, the Williamstown, Massachusetts select board heard from community members and answered questions about the most recent scandal to rock the town’s police department.

A crowd of people with American flags and Trump signs stand in front of the capitol.
BRENT STIRTON / GETTY IMAGES

The First Congregational Church of Williamstown and the Berkshire County progressive citizens’ group the Four Freedoms Coalition are cosponsoring an interfaith panel discussion Thursday called “Christian Nationalism: How it Harms Us All.” WAMC spoke with attorney Sherwood Guernsey – who represents both the church and the coalition – about the panel, and why the chaotic events in Washington on January 6th inspired it.

A brick building with white columns sits under a blue sky
Josh Landes / WAMC

After the newest scandal to rock the Williamstown, Massachusetts police department, the town’s select board is holding two virtual listening sessions Wednesday. 

A brick building with white columns sits under a blue sky
Josh Landes / WAMC

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is calling for an independent investigation into the Williamstown Police Department after it admitted officers illegally searched the names and records of local police reform advocates. 

Buildings, sidewalks and trees lie alongside a road through rolling green hills.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Residents of Williamstown, Massachusetts who criticized the police are reacting to the revelation that the town’s police department responded by illegally accessing their records.

A brick building with white columns sits under a blue sky
Josh Landes / WAMC

WAMC has learned that the Williamstown, Massachusetts police department illegally used the Criminal Justice Information Services database to search the names and motor vehicle records of its critics in the community.

A row of people carrying Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality signs march down a street with a car in it on a sunny summer day.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The national reckoning with racial justice and police brutality has led to a conversation about the role of law enforcement in New England communities.

A bald white man dressed in a police uniform and a white haired man in a dress shirt and khakis stand outside of a blue building with white detailing.
Josh Landes / WAMC

As WAMC News first reported today, Embattled Williamstown, Massachusetts town manager Jason Hoch announced his resignation after months of controversy around a scandal at the police department. Hoch had faced calls to resign ever since a lawsuit from a town police officer accused the town and police department of maintaining an atmosphere of sexual harassment and racism. Hoch, who will step down in 60 days while the town identifies an interim town manager, follows former police chief Kyle Johnson, who resigned in December. The town manager had received criticism for initially standing by Johnson despite community outcry at the revelations in the lawsuit. Hoch spoke today with WAMC.

The Williamstown Town seal
Town of Williamstown

At Monday’s Williamstown, Massachusetts Select Board meeting, the town reported that a complaint leveled at town staffers has led to resignations. The town also detailed further steps it’s taking as it deals with the fallout of a lawsuit alleging sexual assault and racism in its police department.

A uniformed police officer and a man in a button down shirt and khakis stand outside a blue building with white highlights
Josh Landes / WAMC

The town government in Williamstown, Massachusetts has reiterated its support for an independent investigation of its police department following allegations of racism, sexual assault and the resignation of the police chief.

The Williamstown Town seal
Town of Williamstown

The Williamstown, Massachusetts board of health is requiring a town motel to close after a slow response to code violations.

A uniformed police officer and a man in a button down shirt and khakis stand outside a blue building with white highlights
Josh Landes / WAMC

The Williamstown, Massachusetts police chief has resigned following months of outcry after allegations of racism and sexual misconduct in his department rocked the community this summer.

Analia Saban b. Buenos Aires, 1980; lives and works in Los Angeles  Teaching a Cow How to Draw 2020 Cedarwood Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
Sarah LaDuke / WAMC

The Clark Art Museum is currently presenting its first outdoor exhibition on the museum’s extensive and bucolic grounds in Williamstown, Massachusetts. “Ground/work” features site-responsive sculptural creations by six different contemporary artists placed around The Clark’s 140 acre campus.

Organized by the Clark, under the leadership of guest curators Molly Epstein and Abigail Ross Goodman, Ground/work is free and open to the public and will be on view into October of 2021.

In a collaboration devised to meet the challenges posed by the global health pandemic, the 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will be the first-ever complete theatre season released by Audible, the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks.

The 2020 WTF Season on Audible is being produced in an audio-only format safe to elevate, entertain, and transform audiences from the comfort of their homes. While this season is different, it is being made with the spirit of invention that has long been a hallmark of the Festival.

The new work looks to transport you into the world of Blanche DuBois in 1940s New Orleans, into a hotel in Thailand where Kina prepares for gender confirmation surgery, onto Tori McClure’s rowboat as she rows solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and so much more.

To tell us about it – we welcome Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director of WTF.

A uniformed police officer and a man in a button down shirt and khakis stand outside a blue building with white detailing
Josh Landes / WAMC

After a lawsuit alleging racism and sexual assault in the Williamstown, Massachusetts police department was filed in federal court last week, a protest march is planned for Friday evening.

The Williamstown Town seal
Town of Williamstown

Residents of Williamstown, Massachusetts gathered at Williams College's Weston Field for a socially distanced annual town meeting Tuesday.

This week, Sergeant Scott McGowan filed a complaint in U.S. district court against the town of Williamstown, Massachusetts. In the lawsuit, he alleges that Williamstown Police Chief Kyle Johnson maintained a racist atmosphere, sexually assaulted members of the police department staff, and more. Johnson told WAMC he could not comment on advice of counsel, but added there are “two sides to every story.” Town manager Jason Hoch, who is also named in the lawsuit, said the town doesn’t comment on pending litigation. WAMC spoke with McGowan’s Boston-based attorney, David A. Russcol, about the complaint.

A group of people with colorful signs stand at a rotary
Josh Landes / WAMC

Williamstown, Massachusetts community groups have united to put on a weekly anti-racism vigil.

People lie in a roadway with signs
Josh Landes / WAMC

Protests against police brutality brought out thousands of demonstrators across the Northeast this weekend. WAMC was in northern Berkshire County Friday night.

A person wearing a mask holds up a fist while speaking into a mic in front of a crowd of hundreds on a lawn below some steps
Josh Landes / WAMC

Following protests in Williamstown and North Adams Friday evening, hundreds gathered in Great Barrington Saturday afternoon for an NAACP sponsored Black Lives Matter rally.

The Williamstown Commons logo
https://williamstowncommons.org/

A nursing and rehabilitation center in Williamstown, Massachusetts has seen cases of COVID-19 among residents skyrocket from one on Tuesday to 14 by Friday.

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