Aging infrastructure increases risk of major flooding in area

Oct 5, 2021
The view from the Meriden, Connecticut, green after the area was flooded from Hurricane Ida.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

The remnants of Hurricane Ida brought up to eight inches of rain and caused major flooding damage in parts of Connecticut in early September, while moderate flooding was reported in parts of western Massachusetts. Those were small events compared to some of the truly devastating floods in the Connecticut River valley.

Northampton, Massachusetts, author and illustrator Jeff Mack holds his book "Just a Story."
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

When Northampton, Massachusetts, children's book author Jeff Mack was a kid, sometimes he'd read books that were a little too scary for him. Mack said his picture book, "Just a Story," is meant to empower and reassure his readers.

Audrey Helen Weber wrote and illustrated the children's  picture book, "On The Day the Horse Got Out."
Submitted Photo

"On the Day the Horse Got Out" is a rhyming picture book written and illustrated by Hampshire College graduate and Greenfield resident, Audrey Helen Weber. Weber said she has created "a lot of little self-published books" throughout the years, but this is her first “official book.”

Kate Messner's novel "Chirp" is set on a cricket farm. Messner said she visited cricket farms in Vermont and Texas for research.

“Chirp” by Kate Messner is a story about friendship, the joys of summer — and how to make yourself heard if an adult acts in a way that makes you uncomfortable. 

Author Crystal Maldonado.

"Fat Chance, Charlie Vega" is the first novel by Crystal Maldonado. It's a young adult rom-com about a smart high school girl named Charlie who struggles with her body image. She's long lived in the shadow of her beautiful best friend — that is, until Charlie gets the chance to be the star of her own love story.

"Survivor Tree," a new book from Marcie Colleen and Aaron Becker, tells a story of the 9/11 attacks through the lens of a tree planted at ground zero.

"Survivor Tree" is a children's book written by Marcie Colleen and illustrator Aaron Becker of Amherst, Massachusetts. It tells the story of a growing pear tree found beneath the ruins of the Twin Towers. Today, the tree thrives and is planted at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. 

West Hartford, Connecticut, author Ethan Rutherford.
Lou Russo / Courtesy of the author

West Hartford, Connecticut, author Ethan Rutherford says his latest collection of short stories, “Farthest South,” is about “the fever dream of parenthood,” in the form of “bedtime stories for the end of the world.”

Vermont author Thomas Henry Pope pictured with his latest novel, "Imperfect Burials."
Gail Meyer / Submitted Photo

Bennington County, Vermont, is home to novelist Thomas Henry Pope. His latest novel is a spy thriller featuring a journalist on a quest for truth, surrounded by political intrigue.

The writer Callum Angus received his MFA from UMass Amherst.
Submitted / Ebenezer Galluzzo

In "A Natural History of Transition," author Callum Angus writes a collection of short stories about transgender experiences through a magical realism lens.

Poet Carol Edelstein's new book is called "Past Repair."
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

"Past Repair" is a new collection of poetry by Northampton, Massachusetts, resident Carol Edelstein. It's her third book, with more than 80 poems that span a 13-year period.

Writer Kaitlyn Greenidge's most recent novel is a work of historical fiction called "Libertie."
Submitted / Syreeta McFadden

When writer Kaitlyn Greenidge heard about a 19th century woman who became one of the first Black female doctors in New York state, she knew she wanted to write about her.

A photo from 2012 in Belfast, Maine.
Doug Kerr / Creative Commons /

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

A photograph of a garden at Bill Noble's property in Norwich, Vermont. Bill Noble's personal garden is included in the Smithsonian Institution's Archive of American Gardens.
Image used with author's permission

Garden designer and author Bill Noble says gardening is about feeling connected and getting familiar with your chosen piece of earth.

Interior of Red Cross House and U.S. General Hospital No. 16 in New Haven, Connecticut, during the influenza epidemic in 1918 or 1919. The beds are isolated by curtains.
American National Red Cross photograph collection / Library of Congress / LC-DIG-anrc-02679

When an epidemic — or pandemic — strikes, the media becomes the frame for the public's understanding. These news narratives also serve as essential pieces of the historical record.

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.

Statues of Dr. Seuss and The Cat In The Hat in Springfield, Massachusetts.
elefanterosado / Creative Commons /

Six Dr. Seuss titles — including a well-known children's book set on Mulberry Street in Springfield, Massachusetts — will no longer be published.

A new book sheds light on one of history’s most memorable art heists — and the woman behind it.

“The Woman Who Stole Vermeer” explores the life of Rose Dugdale — an aristocrat-turned-revolutionary. She became the first and only woman to pull off a major art heist.

WBUR’s Morning Edition spoke with Anthony Amore, the book’s author and director of security and chief investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum about the infamous art thief and Amore’s quest to recover the items stolen in the Boston’s museum’s own unsolved heist.

Joe Gratz / Creative Commons /

For Efrem Sigel, serving on a jury was life-changing — and eye-opening. Sigel was one of 12 who sat in the jury box in 2017 and ultimately convicted Abraham Cucuta.

Hurricane Sandy demolished the Funtown Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, sending the Star Jet roller coaster and other amusements plunging into the surf.
Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen, U.S. Air Force

As a kid, author Eric Jay Dolin wanted to become the next Jacque Cousteau when he grew up. Today the Marblehead, Massachusetts, historian lives about a quarter of a mile from the sea, and said he still has that strong connection to the ocean.

Annye Anderson visits the site of her family home in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lived with Robert Johnson.
Preston Lauterbach / Used with permission

The first thing to know about Annye Anderson is unless you’re older than she is — and fat chance of that; she’s 94 — you better just call her Mrs. Anderson." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

“People say, ‘Don't you have a first name?’” Anderson said from the couch in her living room in Amherst, Massachusetts. “I say, ‘Yes, I do.’ And they wait for it. But I tell them, ‘Mrs. Anderson will do just fine.’”

From "The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come" by Sue Macy.
Stacy Innerst / Simon and Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books 2019

The story of how thousands of rescued Yiddish books became the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, has been told a few times. Now, it’s an illustrated children's book. 

Author and law professor Jennifer Taub of Northampton, Massachusetts.
Jill Greenberg / Courtesy Jennifer Taub

Unchecked crime and corruption, weak laws and ineffective enforcement are at the heart of a new release from Jennifer Taub.  

Northampton, Massachusetts, author Tiffany Jewell wrote "This Book Is Anti-Racist."
James Azar Salam / Submitted Photo

Northampton, Massachusetts, author Tiffany Jewell’s activity-driven book, "This Book Is Anti-Racist," lays out the work kids need to do before a lifetime of bias is instilled in them.

About 15 years ago, Zee Johnson opened what is one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in Massachusetts. She still does outreach work in the city for Springfield's Department of Elder Affairs.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Walking into Olive Tree Books-n-Voices on Hancock Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, is like walking into someone’s home. It's one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in the state.

From "How To Be A Person" by Catherine Newman.
Karen Brown / NEPM

"How to Be A Person" takes readers through dozens of basic skills they should learn before they’re grown up – from doing the laundry and tying knots, to writing thank-you notes and managing money. 

Southborough, Massachusetts, author Jennifer De Leon.
Submitted Photo

The next selection in our Books For Young People series is "Don't Ask Me Where I'm From," a novel that is for and about high-schoolers. 

A children's book by Shirley Jackson Whitaker focuses on building confidence in girls who are Black.
Shirley Jackson Whitaker / Courtesy

Shirley Jackson Whitaker says her recent children's book, "I Did Not Ask To Be Born Black. I Just Got Lucky," is a way to help little girls who are Black have positive self-images. And it's a way to celebrate their beauty. 

Author Andrea Hairston.
Micala Sidora / Courtesy Andrea Hairston

In her creative life, Andrea Hairston covers a lot of ground. She teaches theater and Africana studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She’s a playwright, theater director, screenwriter and novelist. 

Hairston’s forthcoming book, "Master of Poisons," is a fantasy novel about a world facing destruction. 

Writer Tochi Onyebuchi of New Haven in 2017.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPM

In "Riot Baby" — a new novel from New Haven writer Tochi Onyebuchi — a young Black girl named Ella discovers she has powers that can help rid the world of police brutality and structural racism. 

Debra Jo Immergut just published her third novel, "You Again."
Joseph Marks / Courtesy Debra Jo Immergut

Author Debra Jo Immergut describes her third novel, "You Again," as part mystery, part thriller, part literary fiction.