Coverage of Franklin County, Massachusetts.

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 /

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.

Jimmie / Creative Commons /

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

The 2020 U.S. Census form.
Ɱ / Creative Commons

Census workers are expected to start going door-to-door in western Massachusetts to collect information this week. But an official with the U.S. Census said it’s already had a strong response from households in the region.

Mitchell Rozanski during a press conference introducing him as archbishop of St. Louis.
screenshot / Archdiocese of St. Louis

An advocate for clergy sexual abuse survivors said he's filed a complaint against the Springfield Roman Catholic bishop, accusing Mitchell Rozanski of trying to cover up allegations against priests.

Turners Falls, Massachusetts.
File Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

Some residents of Turners Falls, Massachusetts, want to change the name of their village to one they consider more respectful.

Turners Falls was named after Captain William Turner, thought to have led a 17th century battle that killed more than 100 members of the Nipmuc Nation tribe.

Leavitt Family Jewish Home in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, reported 66 deaths so far from the coronavirus.
The Republican /

More than half the people who have died from COVID-19 in Massachusetts caught the virus in nursing homes, according to new data from the state. 

The Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese is forming a new panel tasked with looking at how the church deals with clergy sexual abuse.

Inside The Recorder office in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 2017.
Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo. Recorder Staff / The Recorder /

Richie Davis has more than four decades of stories behind him reporting for The Recorder newspaper in Franklin County, Massachusetts. He's now retired and has a new book out, a compilation of newspaper stories called "Inner Landscapes: True Tales From Extraordinary Lives."

In the play "This Is Your Captain," an airplane wing catches fire and elicits strong feelings among the passengers. It's being rehearsed and performed online.
ruifo / Creative Commons /

Actors and directors are finding ways to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic by producing theater online. Among the plays in rehearsal in western Massachusetts is a 10-minute piece, "This Is Your Captain."

Even though school is closed, on a given day there are about a dozen cars lined up in the parking lot of Sanderson Academy in Ashfield with people using the school’s WiFi.

Natalie Szewczyk is one of them. The 18-year-old has turned her Toyota Corolla into a mobile work station.

“I stay in my driver’s seat. I push my seat all the way back,” she explained. “And then I prop my Chromebook on the steering wheel with my work on the passenger seat.”

Her sister, who is in 10th grade, usually takes the back seat.

Saint Michael's is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic  Diocese of Springfield. It is the city's oldest Catholic church.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese and three western Massachusetts prosecutors have reached a deal on how the church will report sexual abuse allegations.

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

Western Massachusetts health care providers say they have much better access to COVID-19 testing than a month ago, but ideally, they would like even more.

Art hangs in a window at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Paul Franz / Greenfield Recorder /

A new survey indicates Massachusetts cultural businesses have lost more than $250,000,000 in revenue since mid-March. 

A N95 respirator mask.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR

Massachusetts has more than 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections as of Thursday, one of the highest state totals in the country, as Gov. Charlie Baker said the peak demand on hospitals is approaching fast.

The COVID-19 drive-through testing station at Lawrence General Hospital.
Robbin Lubbock / WBUR

A researcher at MIT projects three counties in western Massachusetts have seen the peak in daily new cases of the novel coronavirus, while a fourth will see the top in about a week.

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 /

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 /

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 with her father and brother behind the counter at their restaurant Brad's Place in Greenfield, Massachusetts, on March 18, 2020.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

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 /

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 /

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


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 /

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 /

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 /

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.