Jill Kaufman


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

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, at left, with Connecticut artist George-Ann Gowan at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv in 2017.
U.S. Embassy, Kyiv, Ukraine / U.S. Department of State

New England art is well represented in U.S. embassies around the world. And at least until recently, art from the region was hanging in the embassy at the center of President Trump's impeachment.

From left, Springfield state Rep. Jose Tosado and Holyoke Rep. Aaron Vega in a 2014 interview at The Republican.
Greg Saulmon / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Western Massachusetts representation is experiencing another round of change this year. Holyoke state Rep. Aaron Vega said this week he'll leave the House at the end of this term, and Springfield state Rep. Jose Tosado also announced plans to retire. 

The MGM Springfield casino.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

MGM Springfield's Mike Mathis is out. He's been in the mix from just about the beginning, but after the casino posted its worst revenue numbers since opening in August 2018, MGM this week said it's sending him back to Las Vegas.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker delivering a State of the Commonwealth address on Jan. 23, 2018.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker lifts the curtain on his budget plan this week. Some tough decisions are expected this time around, with a slowdown in the forecast for tax revenues and big spending on pensions and schools.

"Waiting" by Carl Joe Williams is painted on a twin mattress.
Carl Joe Williams, "Waiting," 2016. Mixed media on mattress. Copyright Carl Joe Williams. 79.5 x 59.5 x 7.5 in. (201.9 x 151.1 x 19.1 cm). / The Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art, Asbury, NJ PFF 338

"Afrocosmologies: American Reflections," at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, is an exhibit of more than 100 paintings and sculptures that weave a historic, generational story of black American art.

Downtown Athol, Massachusetts.
Domenic Poli / Greenfield Recorder / recorder.com

In western Massachusetts this week, the Athol Daily News shut its office in town. The paper will still be published, but will be based some 25 miles away in Greenfield. 

A silhouetted figure in a window.
Andrea Belvedere / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/scieck

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is the pronoun “they.” 

Items for purchase during a liquidation sale at Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield, Massachusetts, is shutting its doors after 137 years, once everything is sold — including the mannequins. For many, the family-owned store has been a fixture both on Main Street and in their own families' lives. 

Wilson's in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Andrew Varnon / NEPR

After almost 140 years as a downtown department store, Wilson's in Greenfield, Massachusetts, announced it is closing.

Acclaimed jazz bassist Avery Sharpe.
Steven Sussman

Historians still debate when groups of Africans were first taken by Europeans and brought against their will to the Americas. Many say 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the start of slavery in the U.S. 

French software developer Assaf Urieli.
Courtesy of the Yiddish Book Center

New software for searching words in digitized Yiddish books — many originally written in the 19th and early 20th centuries — is about to be unveiled.

A detail from the sculpture "Conflict," a work by Beckie Kravetz on display in a summer show at the Barn Gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

From her studio in western Massachusetts, regardless of material or scale, Beckie Kravetz sculpts remarkably human faces, even when they're abstract.

Ocean Vuong lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, and teaches at UMass Amherst.
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Writer Ocean Vuong, 30, who teaches at UMass Amherst and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, is among the two dozen recipients of the 2019 MacArthur "genius" awards.

Daniel Ellsberg.
Courtesy UMass Amherst

Updated at 3:55 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2019 

UMass Amherst has purchased the historic papers of Daniel Ellsberg, one of the most well known opponents to the Vietnam War.

U.S. Senator Ed Markey addresses Democrats gathered in Springfield, Massachusetts, for their convention on September 14, 2019.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Massachusetts lawmakers end their summer recess and head back to Beacon Hill this week. But on Saturday, about 4,000 Democrats were in Springfield for the state party's political convention.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt writes novels for middle schoolers. Her most recent book, "Shouting at the Rain," is part of New England Public Radio's back-to-school book series.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

The young adult novel "Shouting at the Rain" deals with some dark issues, like addiction and being abandoned by a parent. 

Massachusetts U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy III visited Springfield in August 2019.
Don Treeger / The Republican / Masslive.com/photos

In Springfield Wednesday, Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III said he continues to weigh a possible 2020 run against incumbent U.S. Senator Ed Markey. 

 City officials have issued a 'no recreation' advisory at the Nashawannuck Pond in Easthampton, Massachusetts,  pictured here, and the Lower Mill Pond, after some kind of bloom appeared last week.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hampshire Gazette/gazettenet.com

Officials in Easthampton, Massachusetts, are still advising residents to stay away from two ponds in the city that have been, in part, covered with an algae bloom. 

Marijuana plants.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The magazine High Times has been going strong since 1974, when it would have been hard to imagine the current swing toward marijuana legalization.

Now there's an enormous amount of cannabis information online, and even specific apps to locate pot shops. But there’s also a new crop of old-fashioned print publications, including some based in New England.

A highway merge sign nudges traffic to the right while paving work is underway in Oregon.
Oregon Department of Transportation

Wherever you may be driving this summer, there will likely be lane closures for road construction and the need to merge. Traffic engineers have been espousing the "zipper merge" in high-volume construction areas for years. 

The UMass Amherst campus.
Rhobite / Creative Commons

In our look back at news of the week, UMass trustees have announced a 2.5% tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students.

Jennifer Acker's first novel, "The Limits of the World," takes place in India, Africa and the U.S.
Courtesy Jennifer Acker

Under British rule starting in the late 19th century, many thousands crossed the sea to Kenya from India. This history is central to Amherst, Massachusetts, writer Jennifer Acker's novel, "The Limits of the World."

Emily Schacht (at left) is a former U.S. Cadet Nurse during World War II. She's pictured with her daughter, Eileen Degaetano, at their home in Waterford, Connecticut.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

From the very start of World War II, an acute nurse shortage hampered health care overseas and at home. Congress created and funded the United States Cadet Nurse Corps in 1943 as a way to quickly train more than 100,000 new nurses. 

 The poet January Gill O'Neil teaches at Salem State University and is head of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Her most recent collection is called "Rewilding."
John Andrews / Courtesy January Gill O'Neil

The poet January Gill O'Neil writes a lot about life after her divorce. That includes what she calls the ordinary, boring stuff. But her poems about a trip to the hardware store or a night roller-skating with her kids feel universal. 

Sherry Patch, town administrator in Sunderland, Massachusetts, stands on a deck that looks out over the Connecticut River. It's part of a new trail in the town.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

This weekend is the official opening of new trail on the Connecticut River in Sunderland, Massachusetts.

The new Linde Center for Music and Learning is home to the Tanglewood Learning Institute. It launches its first season of music, lectures and cultural events this summer, and will offer events year-round, a first for Tanglewood.
Winslow Townson / Boston Symphony Orchestra

The summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Lenox, Massachusetts, is about to become a year-round destination. Tanglewood's all-season complex opens this weekend, with a new series of lectures and events.

Mary Kay Place as the title role in Kent Jones's "Diane."
IFC Films

The film "Diane," set in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is about the mundane and extremely generous measures a woman takes to help her friends and family. 

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

The longtime director of MASS MoCA, Joe Thompson, will be arraigned Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of motor vehicle homicide in connection with a fatal collision in North Adams, Massachusetts, last July.

The bell rings and students hustle to get to class at Holyoke High School.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Starting next year, every student in Springfield, Massachusetts, public schools will receive art and music instruction.

Hayley Singleton from the Beneski Museum of Natural History indicates a dinosaur track on a slab of stone poached from Gill, Massachusetts, in 2004.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Evidence from a western Massachusetts crime is now in the custody of the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College.