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Western Mass. Mayoral Campaigns Raising Cash, But 'Too Early To Tell' Who Voters Favor

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

In Holyoke, as many as eight candidates are vying for the open seat, and so far they've accumulated more than $150,000 in campaign cash.The preliminary election to pair down the field to two finalists is September 21. The seat opened earlier this year when former Mayor Alex Morse resigned to become the town manager of Provincetown. 

Panelist Natalia Muñoz cautioned against reading too much into the money race.

"It may give you the sense that these are the frontrunners. We don't know who the frontrunners are, really," she said. "Yeah, in terms of raising money, we do know now. But in terms of who the voting public wants to support, it's too early to tell."

Meanwhile, in North Adams, which also has an open seat for mayor, the field of candidates recently shrunk from 5 to 4. Joshua Vallieres, a 21-year-old college student opted to instead run for school committee.

Panelist Larry Parnass noted that, early in the campaign, Vallieres said he planned to stay in college if elected mayor.

"Well, there are finally a couple of pretty viable candidates who have resumes that speak to their ability to do municipal leadership," Parnass said. "It was a little sketchy at the beginning."

Staying in the Berkshires, the state announced $6.5 million in funding for the Greylock Glen project. The money will bring a recreation center to Adams, which supporters say will help make it the "hub of outdoor recreation in the Berkshires." The project, in one form or another, has been in the works since the mid-1970s.

"We will do all we can to make sure this gets done well, and gets done on time, and gets done consistently with people's expectations," Governor Charlie Baker said while visiting the site. "But most importantly of all, we're going to make sure it gets done, period."

Baker also touted his proposal to spend $100 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds on state parks and outdoor recreation areas.

And in Springfield, another project that's been proposed for decades could be getting underway later this year. The plan is to bring more than 70 apartments to a historic building on Court Square in the city's downtown, along with a large restaurant.

And Massachusetts' first vaccine lottery drawing is less than two weeks away. The contest, which provides prizes of $1 million to adults, and $300,000 scholarships to younger people, is designed to increase vaccination rates in the state. But a recent study by Boston University looked at a similar program in Ohio, and concluded it didn't have much of an impact.

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