FRANKLIN COUNTY

Coverage of Franklin County, Massachusetts.

Anna Dellarosa, at left, is raising her three great-nieces in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Gretchen Emond is co-director of The Support Network, which assists families in navigating the mental health care system.
Ben James / NEPM

Gretchen Emond and Anna Dellarosa have a relationship forged from years of common experience.

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

Jodi is a mom who lives in Franklin County, Massachusetts. Her daughter started experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression about five years ago at age 13. Those symptoms, along with a serious problem with alcohol abuse, spiked during the pandemic.

Nurses talk to a patient at the COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

New numbers from the state show Hampden County now trails all other Massachusetts counties in the percentage of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
Rusty Clark / Creative Commons/www.flickr.com/photos/rusty_clark/5998391489/in/photostream/

More than $2 billion in federal aid from the recent COVID-19 relief bill could be flowing to Massachusetts cities and towns. There are a lot of unknowns, but Springfield stands to get a chunk of it.

Jack Kelley at right, with his father John Kelley, of Hadley, Massachusetts.
Submitted Photo

High school senior Jack Kelley of Hadley, Massachusetts, has observed a milestone few other teens could claim. Inspired by a videogame he played as a preteen, Jack began to visit fire towers, or fire lookouts. 

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.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts.
File Photo / Daily Hamphire Gazette

At least one western Massachusetts hospital is no longer scheduling appointments for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — for now. That's after the state said it's focusing its limited supply on other sites like the Eastfield Mall in Springfield.

Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts
Don Treeger / The Republican / Masslive

The top doctor at a Springfield, Massachusetts, medical facility said the region has enough capacity to treat patients for COVID-19 and other illnesses — at least for now.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette is based in Northampton, Mass.
File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Five more employees have been laid off at the Daily Hampshire Gazette, based in Northampton, Massachusetts. The job reductions are again being blamed on the pandemic.

The office of the bishop of the Springfield Catholic Diocese.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese said it will expand which clergy accused of sexual abuse it lists on its website.

The incoming bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield, Massachusetts, William Byrne, appeared at an introductory press conference in October 2020.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

On Monday, the Rev. Bill Byrne will be installed as bishop of the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese. He succeeds Mitchell Rozanski, who left this summer to become archbishop of St. Louis.

A health care worker places a cotton swab into a vile after taking a sample from someone being tested for COVID-19 last month at a drive-through testing area at Somerville Hospital.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced on Monday an expansion of free COVID-19 testing in the western part of the state.

An inmate is tested for COVID-19 at the Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow, Massachusetts.
Mark Murray / Hampden County Sheriff's Office

Earlier this week, the sheriff of Hampden County announced that 10% of inmates in the department's Ludlow, Massachusetts, jail had tested positive for COVID-19.  But the sheriffs of the other three counties in western Massachusetts said they see no need to test all their inmates.

The Bridge of Names, in Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts, after storm damage.
Karen Brown / NEPM

A walking bridge in western Massachusetts was badly damaged in an autumn storm, but the town doesn’t own the land under it. So residents have banded together to take on the project — for its practical and historical value.

RN Alyssa Anderson administers a COVID-19 test at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford in March 2020.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public / NENC

With virus rates rising across the state and the holidays looming, western Massachusetts residents who want to get a COVID test are often waiting in hours-long lines, if they can get one at all.

Christina "Smiles" Remmes is a Northampton, Massachusetts, resident experiencing homelessness.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

When someone gets diagnosed with COVID-19, they must separate from others — maybe hole up in a room, or the basement — in order to not spread the virus to others. But for folks without homes in western Massachusetts, that's nothing like what they may have to go through this winter.

A file photo of the town office in Hawley, Massachusetts.
Paul Franz / Greenfield Recorder / recorder.com

On Tuesday I worked the afternoon and evening shift — from 2 p.m. until 10:45, when all of the votes had been counted and recounted and checked once more.

Melissa and Robert Croteau, with their daughter, at a polling place in Montague, Massachusetts, on November 3, 2020.
Karen Brown / NEPM

Well over 3 million voters cast ballots this election in Massachusetts — a tally Secretary of State Bill Galvin expected will set a record turnout when all are counted.

Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, at left, and Republican challenger Tracy Lovvorn.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR // Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

In Massachusetts' 2nd Congressional District, there's a rematch on the ballot from two years ago.

Last time, incumbent Democrat Jim McGovern defeated Republican challenger Tracy Lovvorn by about a two-to-one margin.

"The Spinner" statue in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, was removed this spring for the park's renovation. Artist Nina Rossi saw an opportunity for a "pedestal takeover." Peggy Hart, a weaver, is shown here.
Groundspeak Inc. (dba Geocaching) / Nina Rossi


A few months ago, during a renovation of Spinner Park in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, a statue in the small brick streetscape was temporarily removed from its pedestal for its own restoration.

"The Spinner" had been erected 35 years ago in honor of women who worked in the area's long-gone textile mills. A local artist saw the empty platform as a way to stage a new tribute to women and their tools.

Dana Nestor and Nina Fernandes at their new Northampton, Massachusetts, house.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Home buying and selling slowed down in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, but realtors in western Massachusetts say the market has picked up. 

Mohawk Trail Regional School in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Some western Massachusetts school districts — in areas deemed by the state to be "low-risk" for COVID-19 — are responding to a push to return to in-person learning.

AJAY SURESH / CREATIVE COMMONS / FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/AJAY_SURESH

A western Massachusetts group focused on opioid abuse is offering this week the first in a series of online trainings on administering an opioid overdose reversal drug.

Joanna Jaracz of Cummington, Massachusetts, after winning a blue ribbon for showmanship on September 7, 2020.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

Because of COVID-19, this year's Three County Fair was far different than in past years. There was no demolition derby, carnival rides, games — or the public. The fair was limited to arts and crafts exhibits and youth livestock competitions.

Results: Contested Primaries in Western Mass.

Sep 1, 2020
At a polling place in Williamsburg, Mass., every other voting stall was taped off to ensure social distancing.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

The polls are closed in the 2020 Massachusetts state primary. This campaign season has brought serious challenges to a sitting U.S. senator and the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. There are also contested primaries in a handful of state legislative districts in Hampden County.

A ballot drop box in Shelburne, Massachusetts.
Carrie Healy / NEPM

The 2020 Massachusetts primary on Sept. 1 will whittle down the candidates and offer a major test to the state's mail-in voting system.

For many cities and towns, Tuesday's primary is the first voting in a new coronavirus world. 

2020 Voter Guide: Contested Primaries In Western Mass.

Aug 26, 2020
Terry Yusteo (center) places ballots between Abigail Stone (left) and Adeline Rogers, so they can check in early and mail-in ballots to be counted on Tuesday, September 1, in Northampton, Mass.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com/photos

Updated Aug. 30 

Voters across western Massachusetts will have an opportunity to vote on September 1 in the state primary  — if they haven't already taken advantage of early voting or the expanded mail-in option.

A crowd of people on V-J Day, August 14, 1945, in New York City's Times Square as Japan formally surrendered to the Allies in World War II.
Dick DeMarsico / World-Telegram / U.S. Library of Congress

Two million revelers gathered in downtown Manhattan on the evening of V-J Day, 75 years ago this week. They filled Times Square — waving flags, dancing, and shrieking with joy.

The Mtali Banda Oneness Project was the opening band at the Makaya McCraven concert at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on June 4, 2019.
Ed Cohen / MassLive / masslive.com

It’s been five months since live music venues and DJ clubs shut their doors to dancing crowds, and in Massachusetts they won’t be able to open in full until a COVID-19 vaccine or a proven treatment is available. If they make it that long.

Schoolwork.
Jimmie / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/jimmiehomeschoolmom

As school districts in Massachusetts submit their fall proposals to the state, many parents are coming up with their own contingency plans. 

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