The Short List

Podcast, released Fridays

A rotating panel of journalists from western New England discuss the big stories of the week.

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Hailey R. Staker / U.S. Air Force

Massachusetts public health officials announced this week opioid overdose deaths climbed by 5% in the state last year.

A regional vaccination site opened on April 20, 2021, at The Big E grounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

Massachusetts announced changes this week to its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy. More shots will be provided to regional sites, mobile clinics and doctor's offices.

Roller coasters at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts.
Jeremy Thompson / Creative Commons /

This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a further rollback of the state's COVID-19 restrictions.

Springfield, Massachusetts, Mayor Domenic Sarno in a file photo. Behind him stands Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

A Massachusetts superior court judge has largely sided with the Springfield City Council in its lawsuit against Mayor Domenic Sarno over a 2018 ordinance seeking to establish a police commission.

A new psychiatric hospital called MiraVista, operated by Health Partners New England, is scheduled to open April 21, 2021, at the site of the former Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Ben James / NEPM

This week on The Short List: Many children in western Massachusetts in a mental health crisis are struggling to get services they need.

As Springfield, Massachusetts, schools get ready to open for in-school learning, Rebecca Johnson School custodian Frederick Mogilka Jr. shows a cart of classroom cleaning products to Mayor Domenic Sarno and Superintendent Daniel Warwick.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

Many Massachusetts schools will open for full, in-person learning on April 5. Others, including Springfield, will start with a hybrid model, and bring back younger students first.

Richard Bodo of Auburn, Massachusetts, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on February 1, 2021.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

This week Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker was grilled by a legislative oversight committee looking into his administration's COVID-19 response.

Minister Bernard Smith of Bethlehem Baptist Community Church addresses the crowd in Holyoke, Mass., on June 2, 2020, while march organizers confer among themselves.
Ben James / NEPR

There was stunning news this week of a series of murders in the Atlanta area, where a white man killed eight people including six Asian women.

The man charged has reportedly confessed to the killings but said he was not motivated by racism. This has sparked renewed discussion around updating and clarifying hate crime laws in Massachusetts.

A model of the coronavirus in a doctor's gloved hand. March 11, 2021, marks one year since the World Health Organization declared a global COVID-19 pandemic.
Daniel Foster / Creative Commons

As we look back at this week's top stories, our guests reflect on the impact of the past year. Thursday, March 11, marks one year since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic because of COVID-19.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker tours the COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the Natick Mall on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, with Bill Haas of LabCorp.
Matt Stone / Boston Herald / Pool / State House News Service

This week, a Massachusetts legislative oversight committee grilled Governor Charlie Baker over his administration's COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The campus of UMass Amherst.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican /

UMass Amherst students were ordered to sequester this week after a spike of COVID-19 cases on campus. As of Friday morning, there were more than 600 active cases.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on January 21, 2021.
State House News Service

Starting Monday, businesses in Massachusetts like restaurants, casinos and liquor stores will be allowed to stay open past 9:30 p.m., although a 25% capacity limit will still be in place.

Springfield, Massachusetts, Mayor Domenic Sarno in a file photo. Behind him stands Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Next week, a lawsuit filed by the Springfield, Massachusetts, City Council against Mayor Domenic Sarno goes before a judge.

The conference table U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's office said staff used as a barricade in Room H-208 of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, as pro-Trump extremists breached the building.
Submitted / U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's office

This week, U.S. House members, senators and even Republican governors from across New England called for the removal of President Donald Trump from office.

Soldiers from the Massachusetts National Guard walk down one of the halls of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on April 1, 2020.
Army Spc. Samuel D. Keenan / Massachusetts National Guard

While the COVID-19 pandemic dominated headlines around the globe this year, in western Massachusetts, one of the biggest related stories was the deadly outbreak at the state-run Holyoke Soldiers' Home.

Massachusetts state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Sen. Will Brownsberger delivered their committee's compromise policing reform bill to Senate Clerk Michael Hurley on Nov. 30, 2020.
Sam Doran / SHNS

Looking back at news of the week, the Massachusetts House and Senate passed a long-awaited policing reform bill. The compromise legislation would, for the first time, create an independent, civilian-led commission to standardize the certification, training and decertification of police officers.

The Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk is the largest medium security level facility in Massachusetts.
Michael P. Norton / State House News Service

This week, federal authorities released the results of an investigation on Massachusetts state prisons, and said conditions violate the constitutional rights of inmates.

Gov. Charlie Baker visited a second-grade classroom in Carlisle, Massachusetts, where students were learning about bats, on November 12, 2020.
Lane Turner / Boston Globe / Pool

As the number of COVID-19 cases remains on the rise, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is continuing his push to keep schools open as much as possible.

Election Day in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.
Karen Brown / NEPM

All eyes have been on the presidential election this November, but Massachusetts voters also had two ballot questions before them, with mixed results.

"I voted" stickers.
Creative Commons

Besides the presidential election, there are several contested Massachusetts legislative races in Hampden County on the ballot this year.

Auto repair.
Ryan Doka / Pixabay / Creative Commons

On the Massachusetts ballot, Question 1 would give independent auto repair shops access to more diagnostic information. Supporters have received sizable campaign donations from auto parts makers and stores from out-of-state.

An ice cream shop in summer 2020 at Look Park in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

Concern is growing in parts of New England about the potential for another spike in COVID-19 cases.

Mayor Domenic Sarno in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Republican /

The City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts, has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Domenic Sarno as it tries to bring back the city's police commission. 

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse speaks at a press conference in the final days of his 2020 Democratic primary campaign for Congress.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican /

This week, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield, Massachusetts, defeated Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse for the Democratic nomination in the state's 1st Congressional District. With no competition on the ballot in November, Neal is all but assured a 17th term in office.

Mayor Alex Morse of Holyoke, Massachusetts, on July 14, 2020.
Jeanette DeForge / The Republican /

Over the last week, the Democratic primary for the First Congressional District of Massachusetts took an unexpected turn. The challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, has pushed back strongly against allegations of inappropriate conduct. 

Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
Greg Saulmon / The Republican /

Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood in Springfield, Massachusetts, said this week her department has not changed its use-of-force policy, despite a scathing federal report and suggestions from the City Council.

The Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford.
Photo Phiend / Creative Commons /

This week, the Connecticut Senate passed a police accountability bill, which its colleagues in the House passed last week. It changes how misconduct cases are investigated, clarifies when deadly force can be used, and bans chokeholds in most cases.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse at the Holyoke Elks Lodge in January 2012.
File photo / The Republican /

This week, the heat was turned up a bit in the Democratic race for Massachusetts' 1st Congressional District. The challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, sent out mailers and unveiled a TV commercial, highlighting his late brother's struggles with opioid addiction.

Rev. Rashaan Hall speaks outside the Massachusetts Statehouse Friday, July 17, 2020. Hall is the racial justice program director at ACLU Massachusetts, and said qualified immunity has allowed police officers to escape civil liability.
Chris Van Buskirk / State House News Service

The Massachusetts Senate passed police reform legislation this week that looks to ban chokeholds, create a certification process for police, and limit the use of tear gas, among other things. The bill now moves on the House.

Flags outside of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home.
Miriam Wasser / WBUR

An independent report looking into the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home was released this week. It said the facility's management, under superintendent Bennett Walsh, made "substantial errors," which led to the death toll rising.