Coverage of Franklin County, Massachusetts.

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.

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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. 

Author Joan Livingston of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, is also the editor-in-chief at the Greenfield Recorder newspaper.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

Joan Livingston of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, has mashed up her actual profession with a measure of fiction and come up with her latest book. 

In this photo from January 1997, Michael Kittredge II stood beside a Porsche Speedster owned by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. It was on display in the Yankee Candle Car Museum.
File photo / The Republican /

Michael Kittredge II, the founder of Yankee Candle Company in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, has died after several years of failing health.

Springfield's Union Station and the Union Station Parking Garage on March 23, 2017.
David Molnar / The Republican /

Rail passengers in western Massachusetts looking to travel north or south may be able to ride more frequent trains as soon as next month. But that depends on whether a pilot program between Springfield and Greenfield takes off on time.

Sherry Patch, town administrator in Sunderland, Massachusetts, stands on a deck that looks out over the Connecticut River. It's part of a new trail in the town.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

This weekend is the official opening of new trail on the Connecticut River in Sunderland, Massachusetts.

Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Paul Franz / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

Baystate Health plans to shut down mental health units in three of its community hospitals in favor of opening a single facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Pickled herring, among other food.
Blondinrikard Fröberg / Creative Commons /

Improbably, one of the triggers that brings my father to mind is herring. 

A bottle of oxycodone painkillers.
Cindy Shebley / Creative Commons /

A man from South Deerfield, Massachusetts, has been indicted for selling potentially deadly, counterfeit painkillers in Kansas.

Crews on the set of the Hulu series "Castle Rock" as it films its second season.
Tim Jones / MassLive /

The Hulu series "Castle Rock" recently resumed filming in Orange and other central Massachusetts locations. Productions like this are drawn to the state, in part, because of a tax credit for filmmakers. 

Farmington River Regional School in Otis, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Just like a fire drill, students and teachers routinely practice what to do if an armed intruder enters their school.

This Christmas Fern is toxic to deer, according to author Lynn Levine.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

At a certain point during mud season in New England, you can go to any number of restaurants and find fiddleheads on the menu.

Matt Lorenz, aka The Suitcase Junket, plays in his home in Leverett, Massachusetts.
Karen Brown / NEPR

The Suitcase Junket is a one-man band that defies neat categorization.

A visitor examines personal artifacts in the interactive exhibit "Memory in a Void," filled with Joe Dulude II's childhood memories.
Matthew Cavanaugh

A recent immersive exhibit in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, included the option to eat potato chips and watch TV — and it was all part of the art.

A mural at Mohawk Trail School.
Contributed Photo / The Greenfield Recorder /

The Mohawk Trail regional school committee in western Massachusetts is the latest to take on the controversial issue of Native American imagery at its meeting on May 9.

A train sitting on the platform at Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Expanded rail service between Springfield and Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield should begin by late summer. That's the latest estimate from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.