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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A polling place sign.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Tuesday was preliminary election day in a few western Massachusetts communities. In the race for Holyoke mayor, City Councilor Michael Sullivan and Joshua Garcia, who's the town administrator in Blandford, advanced to November's general election.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / CDC

Calling the spike "alarming and scary," Mayor Domenic Sarno said there were more then 250 new cases of COVID-19 in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Tuesday and Wednesday combined.

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi in Springfield, Massachusetts, in a file photo.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

Despite what officials have called extensive mold cleanup and environmental testing at the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield, Massachusetts, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi this week said he believes the courthouse still isn't safe. He's refusing to send people in his department's custody there.

A mask mandate has remained in effect at airports across the country, including Bradley Airport in Connecticut.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

This week, some health officials in western Massachusetts issued mask mandates or advisories amid rising COVID-19 rates. 

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered at Baystate Medical Center.
Baystate Health / MassLive /

This week, the Centers for Disease Control recommended people go back to wearing masks indoors in places where the delta variant of COVID-19 is surging — including those who have been vaccinated.

A vial with a swab test for COVID-19.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

COVID-19 case rates have been on the rise over the last few weeks in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

The polling place at St. Elizabeth Parish Center in North Adams, Massachusetts, on Sept. 19, 2017.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

You might be thinking about your vacation plans or backyard barbecues, but there are several mayoral races heating up across western Massachusetts. 

There are some 20,000 cannabis plants growing at any one time under the 15,000 square feet of indoor canopy at the Holistic Industries cultivation and manufacture facility in Monson, Massachusetts.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

On Thursday, possession of marijuana became legal for recreational use in Connecticut. That's after the General Assembly and Governor Ned Lamont signed off on the legislation last month.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
Craig F. Walker / Boston Globe / Pool / State House News Service

This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a COVID-19 vaccine lottery, designed to encourage people to continue to get their shots.

Activists assemble for a rally at City Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on June 9, 2021, to call for Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood's removal.
Karen Brown / NEPM

This week, a group of seniors gathered in downtown Springfield t0 renew their call for Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood to be removed from her job.

Residents begin cleanup work on Beech Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, after a deadly tornado ripped through the city on June 1, 2011.
Michael S. Gordon / The Republican /

This week marks 10 years since a devastating tornado ripped through a swath of western Massachusetts. Three people were killed and 200 injured, and it caused more than $200 million in damages.

A bus, shown here in Chicopee, Massachusetts, has been converted into a mobile vaccination site. The seats on the bus were removed to make room for four vaccination wells, where nurses give the shots.
Karen Brown / NEPM

This weekend, nearly all COVID-19 safety restrictions will be lifted in Massachusetts. That includes mask requirements — at least for people who are vaccinated.

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.