FRANKLIN COUNTY

Coverage of Franklin County, Massachusetts.

As the coronavirus continues to ravage links in the supply chain, food banks across the state are struggling to feed hungry families while keeping staff and volunteers safe. But a new partnership between the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and local farmers promises to increase access to fresh, organic produce at a time when it’s needed most.

Falasha Paul of Springfield, Massachusetts, after the home birth of her daughter in January 2020.
Submitted / Jharna Harvey-Ahmei

COVID-19 is upending many aspects of life, including the beginning of it.

Firefighter gear on a table at a volunteer fair in Georgia, as a local volunteer firefighter explains the job.
Airman 1st Class Ceaira Tinsley / U.S. Air Force

For a number of years, small communities across Massachusetts have been struggling to staff their volunteer fire departments. But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs that's changing in Franklin County.

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

The COVID-19 outbreak is taking its toll on some newspapers in New England. Already-sagging advertising revenues have dipped even more. That’s led to layoffs and other cuts.

The RECOVER Project on Federal Street in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Paul Franz / The Recorder / recorder.com

A lot of recovery programs happen in person — meetings for people who are trying to overcome addictions of all kinds. That sort of in-person interaction is now limited by social distancing guidelines meant to control the spread of the new coronavirus. 

Sarah Devine, along with her father and brother, is behind the counter at their restaurant, Brad's Place, in Greenfield, Massachusetts, Tuesday, March 18, 2020, was the first day of no tableside service because of the coronavirus.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

As the effort to stem the coronavirus pandemic continues, many waitstaff, cooks and bartenders in Massachusetts lost their jobs almost overnight this week, as Governor Charlie Baker ordered restaurants to close their dining rooms.

Some are shutting down completely, but others are trying to survive through takeout and delivery.

A voting sign.
Keith Ivey / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/kcivey

The voter registration deadline for the March 3rd Massachusetts presidential primary is this Wednesday. And a new state law is causing some people to be registered more than once. 

UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
Rob Carlin / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

Some western and central Massachusetts hospitals say they've checked out people for coronavirus, but so far, there's been no positive cases.

MAXPIXEL.NET / CREATIVE COMMONS

A lawsuit alleging inadequate education funding in Massachusetts has been dropped after the legislature passed new money for public schools. 

A rendering of a possible Green Fields Market in the Wilson's Department Store building in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Franklin Community Co-op

Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield, Massachusetts, could become the new home of the food co-op in Franklin County. 

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner of Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

When Roxann Wedegartner takes office January 2 as the mayor of Greenfield, Massachusetts, it won’t be as a newcomer to city government.

Downtown Athol, Massachusetts.
Domenic Poli / Greenfield Recorder / recorder.com

In western Massachusetts this week, the Athol Daily News shut its office in town. The paper will still be published, but will be based some 25 miles away in Greenfield. 

A stack of newspapers.
Jeff Eaton / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/jeffeaton

The Daily News in Athol, Massachusetts, will no longer have an office in the North Quabbin town. The cost-cutting move for parent company Newspapers of New England means seven positions have been eliminated, according to the publisher.

Items for purchase during a liquidation sale at Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield, Massachusetts, is shutting its doors after 137 years, once everything is sold — including the mannequins. For many, the family-owned store has been a fixture both on Main Street and in their own families' lives. 

The Rev. Thomas Lisowski of St. Patrick's Church in Northfield, Massachusetts.
Paul Franz / The Greenfield Recorder / recorder.com

Updated at 10:57 a.m. on November 29, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, said it's decided to put in place a "temporary pastoral team" to step in for a Northfield pastor who's on leave pending a criminal investigation.

Wilson's in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Andrew Varnon / NEPR

After almost 140 years as a downtown department store, Wilson's in Greenfield, Massachusetts, announced it is closing.

Outgoing Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin, at left, talks with Mayor-elect Roxann Wedegartner on election night.
Paul Franz / The Greenfield Recorder / recorder.com

Contested mayoral elections took place in a half dozen western Massachusetts cities this week. Two of the closest races were in Westfield and Greenfield.

Rep. Neal: East-West Rail Should Be 'Price' Of Boston-Area Rail Investments

Nov 7, 2019
Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.
File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

If Massachusetts is going to invest in fixing the Boston-area MBTA transit agency, as it appears leading lawmakers intend to, then state officials also need to invest in an east-west rail connection, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal told business leaders in Boston. 

A polling place sign in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Updated at 1:25 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2019

Election results are in for the six western Massachusetts cities with a mayoral contest this year.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, at left, and City Councilor Melissa Mazzeo at right.
Tyer: Rosanne Frieri / Tyer for Mayor Facebook / Melissa Mazzeo for Mayor Facebook

With election day next Tuesday, the mayor's race in Pittsfield is proving to be the most expensive of a half-dozen contests across western Massachusetts.

Homes in Holyoke, Massachusetts, including a for-sale sign.
Simtropolitan / Creative Commons / creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

Home sale prices across Massachusetts are up this year. And two of the counties with the biggest jump were in the western part of the state.

Greenfield holds its local elections at the high school.
MELINA BOURDEAU / The Recorder / recorder.com

Voters in a half dozen communities in the four western counties of Massachusetts have some big decisions to make on November 5. Chicopee, Greenfield, North Adams, Pittsfield, Springfield and Westfield each have contested races for mayor.

From left, candidatFrom left, candidates Brickett Allis, Sheila Gilmour and Roxann Wedegartner at a mayoral forum broadcast on Greenfield Community Television es Brickett Allis, Sheila Gilmour and Roxann Wedegartner at a mayoral forum broadcast in August.
Dan Little / The Greenfield Recorder / recorder.com

There's an open seat for mayor up for grabs on November 5 in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Longtime incumbent Bill Martin is not seeking re-election.

Town hall in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
File Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

In our look back at news of the week, we check in on the mayoral race in Greenfield, Massachusetts. There's an open seat after the incumbent, Bill Martin, decided not to run for another term.

A birthday cake with candles.
Andy Eick / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/andreweick

Tears flooded my pillow on the eve of my fifth birthday.

The Connecticut River in autumn from the French King Bridge.
Kimon Berlin / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/81943113@N00

There's no single, quick protocol to make sure the public knows when untreated sewage or wastewater makes its way into rivers in Massachusetts. But a bill to create a timely, uniform notification process is sitting in a legislative committee. 

A mosquito.
Volkmar Becher / Public Domain

Updated 3:40 p.m.

A third Massachusetts resident has died of the mosquito-borne illness Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.

Homeless shelter beds in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Heather Brandon / NEPR

Communities in Franklin County and the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, will get federal money to try innovative approaches to reducing and eliminating youth homelessness.

An Amtrak passenger shuttle passes the Birnie Road and Tina Lane crossing in Longmeadow. The crossing has been the site of five fatal collosions since 1975.
Greg Saulmon / The Republican

With more train service coming as soon as this month between Springfield and Greenfield, Massachusetts, railroad officials are trying to increase awareness about safety along the route.

The entrance to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Jeff Brown / Masslive / masslive.com/photos

A rural jail in western Massachusetts is set to become the first correctional facility in the state to dispense methadone to inmates for opioid addiction treatment. 

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