Jill Kaufman

Reporter/Producer/Host

Jill Kaufman has been reporting and hosting at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent almost 10 years in the news department at WBUR in Boston, five of them at The Connection with Christopher Lydon. In the months leading up to the 2000 New Hampshire primary Jill hosted NHPR’s call in talk show The Exchange. During the 2000 South Carolina Primary she hosted NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered. Right before coming to NEPM, Jill was an editor at PRI's The World

Shipworms are saltwater mollusks known for consuming wood, causing extensive damage to ships and piers. They may also offer a key to new types of biofuel.
Reuben Shipway / UMass Amherst

Researchers at UMass Amherst say they've solved at least one mystery about a destructive saltwater mollusk known as the shipworm.

A photo from 2012 in Belfast, Maine.
Doug Kerr / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/dougtone

The writer Gregory Brown describes his novel "The Lowering Days" as a love letter to where he grew up in Maine. 

A lengthy handwritten message was found at the end of June, taped to two political campaign signs in Holyoke, Mass. The writer casts blame on the "minorities" of Holyoke for the city's blight and a decades-long economic downturn.
Submitted photo / Garcia Campaign

A pair of political campaign signs on a Holyoke, Massachusetts, street were recently defaced with racist comments. The signs belonged to  Joshua Garcia and Israel Rivera, who are running in separate municipal races in the November election.

A pre-pandemic scene in the lobby of Amherst Cinema in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Now free of government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions, most movie theaters in New England have reopened in full. But after months of streaming movies and selling tickets in a limited capacity, several area arthouse cinemas are choosing to stay half-empty.

Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons

Massachusetts lawmakers and arts industry leaders are recommending $575 million in new federal money go to the state's arts and culture sector, to help it rebound after being economically devastated by the pandemic. 

The Ted Shawn Theatre, named after the founder of Jacob's Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts.
Courtesy Jacob's Pillow

Jacob’s Pillow, the long-running dance festival in Becket, Massachusetts, has had a lot thrown at it this past year. The COVID-19 pandemic shut the venue down in 2020 for the first time in almost 90 years. Then last November, a fire gutted one of its dance theaters.

In 2019, the Big E at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts, attracted more than a million visitors. It didn't take place in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Courtesy of The Big E

Several Massachusetts entertainment venues have announced they will be in full swing this summer. The Big E in West Springfield, one of the largest annual agricultural fairs in the country, is among them.

In this file photo, Kevin Rhodes conducts the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.
File photo / The Republican / masslive.com

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra board and its musicians are waging a public debate over union contracts, including the length of the upcoming season.

The biographical exhibit, "The Story of Eric Carle," at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Illustrator and author Eric Carle is being remembered for his many children’s books, including “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” — and the museum of picture book art he founded with his wife.

Conductor Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops at Tanglewood in 2018, when crowds were not a threat to public health.
Hillary Scott / BSO Press Office

People are dreaming of a less sequestered summer, and with COVID-19 restrictions easing, the Berkshires will be a destination for many.

Business owners count on tourists coming to this relatively small region, rich in live music, theater and museums. For them, last summer was brutal. This year, it could almost feel like the old days.

Comedian Zul Manzi of Springfield, Massachusetts, has a new animated series called "The Matumbila's."
Courtesy / Zul Manzi

A cartoon sitcom about a Tanzanian family living in a fictional western Massachusetts town has just wrapped up its first season.

A view of MASS MoCA in downtown North Adams, Massachusetts.
Shannon Young / The Republican / masslive.com

Employees at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams have voted overwhelmingly to unionize.

Massachusetts state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, at left, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, with House Speaker Ronald Mariano on April 14, 2021.
State House News Service

The smoky back room where political deals used to get made has been replaced by a Zoom meeting from a Massachusetts lawmaker's home office.

CLARK / Creative Commons / FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/PHOTOS_BY_CLARK

Banjo camps and academic discussions of the centuries-old instrument have been taking place for years, according to Greenfield, Massachusetts, musician Michael Nix. But there are not many events that showcase how the picking and playing of the banjo has evolved.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church on fire in Springfield, Massachusetts, on December 28, 2020.
Springfield Fire Department / MassLive / MassLive.com

A man from Houlton, Maine, faces federal hate crime charges for allegedly setting a December 2020 fire that destroyed a Springfield, Massachusetts, church.

A view of MASS MoCA in downtown North Adams, Massachusetts.
Shannon Young / The Republican / masslive.com

About 100 eligible employees at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams can now begin to cast mail-in ballots, voting on whether to form a union.

A funeral service for Black Americans lynched and never buried was held in 2016 at a church in Springfield, Massachusetts. The story of Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker and why she produced the funeral is featured in the documentary "Ashes to Ashes."
Ben Moon / benmoon.com

Updated at 3:59 p.m. on March 31 

The documentary "Ashes to Ashes" tells the story of a friendship between an Amherst, Massachusetts, doctor and a New Haven, Connecticut, man who became an artist decades after he survived being lynched. In the film, their story coincides with a funeral service held for thousands of Black Americans who didn’t survive.

Pynchon Terrace and Edgewater Apartments on Lowell Street in Springfield, Mass.
File photo / MassLive / masslive.com

A property management company that runs a 612-unit apartment complex in Springfield, Massachusetts, has settled a claim with the state that it denied housing to prospective tenants who are deaf.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which owns and operates Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, has announced it will hold live in-person concerts this summer, for the first time since COVID-19 shut down arts events and venues worldwide.
BSO Press Office

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which owns and operates Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, has announced it will hold live in-person concerts this summer. The BSO hasn't performed a live concert since March 2020, when COVID-19 triggered cancellations of arts events worldwide. 

Lucio Perez, at a ceremony marking his departure from sanctuary in an Amherst, Massachusetts, church, on March 13, 2021.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

After more than three years, a Springfield, Massachusetts, man who faced deportation and found sanctuary in a church has reunited with his family.

Norton Juster, who wrote "The Phantom Tollbooth," has died at 91.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPM

The well-known children's book author Norton Juster has died at age 91. Juster started out as a New Yorker, but spent the last few decades of his life in western Massachusetts.

A view of MASS MoCA in downtown North Adams, Massachusetts.
Shannon Young / The Republican / masslive.com

Updated at 11:43 a.m. on March 9 

Staff at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Massachusetts, announced Monday they're taking steps toward forming a union, citing reasons like inequitable working conditions and low salaries.

An empty classroom.
Violet Jiang / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/124094550@N02

Updated at 4:45 p.m. on March 1 

Some Massachusetts parents disagree with Governor Charlie Baker's plan to get students back in classrooms by the end of the school year.

While some districts have already begun teaching in buildings, others like the Springfield Public Schools have been fully remote since the pandemic began.

Parent Rose Webster-Smith has a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old who attend Duggan Academy.

Like many households, Webster-Smith’s includes an older family member — someone with COPD, she said, and pandemic or not, kids will be kids.

Bilgesu Sümer and Laura Fattaruso dated online for a month during the pandemic, before they decided to meet in person.
Submitted photo

The pandemic — and a partially shut down economy — hasn’t stopped Valentine's Day or dating, in general.

"Landscape With Rainbow" by 19th century painter Robert Duncanson was shown during a ceremony at the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
Gift of Leonard and Paula Granoff / Smithsonian American Art Museum

A presentation of art was among the many moments in Washington during Wednesday’s presidential inauguration.

The Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts, is one of several venues owned by Iron Horse Entertainment Group. The company is rescheduling shows for later in 2021 and 2022.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

In the last 10 months, New England’s rich arts scene has been hit hard.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, center top, presided over the House chamber when it recessed during the lockdown. On the left, staff members motion for lawmakers to stay seated.
Screen shot / C-SPAN

Updated at 9:25 p.m. 

As pro-Trump extremists breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts was presiding over the House.

In past years, hundreds showed up for the Three Kings Day celebrations at Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. Because of COVID-19, Grisel Delgado and her daughter are producing a scaled-back event.
Courtesy / Grisel's Privare Dance School for the Performing Arts

Many Christians celebrate Epiphany on January 6, also known as Three Kings Day. In Puerto Rico, it’s an official holiday and for Puerto Ricans living in western Massachusetts, the community celebrations are usually huge, but not in the era of COVID-19.

Courtesy of Springfield No One Leaves

 

The pandemic has taken a crisis of housing affordability and made it worse. In western Massachusetts and elsewhere, growing numbers of people are falling behind on rent and are in danger of being evicted, even with well-funded assistance programs.

Holyoke Community College is the location for one of Massachusetts' "Stop The Spread" COVID-19 testing sites. With waits up to three hours long, the state opened several new free testing sites this week.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

To help alleviate the long lines at free COVID-19 test sites, Massachusetts public health officials opened several new centers this week — including in western Massachusetts.

But it’s been a frustrating few months trying to get tested, especially for those without symptoms who had little choice about where to go before now.

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