FRANKLIN COUNTY

Coverage of Franklin County, Massachusetts.

Pioneer Valley Transit Authority buses at Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts.
NEWFLYER504 / CREATIVE COMMONS

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will start offering free bus travel to seniors on Tuesdays starting in July.

Duende Winds performs at Hampshire College at a Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares concert in December 2018.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Nearly seven years ago, jazz concert producer Glenn Siegel found he was saying “no” more than he wanted to say “yes.” He said that’s because more great musicians wanted to perform in the Pioneer Valley than there were venues. So he hatched an idea.

Poets in western Massachusetts contributed to the book "Compass Roads." Clockwise from top left, Forrest Proper, Marian Kent, editor Jane Yolen, and Diana Gordon.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

I stood in a field of dirt beside the Connecticut River on a very cold but sunny day, considering what about this setting might inspire a person to write poetry.

At Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Mass., one support person is allowed to attend a birth as long as they do not leave the patient's room before discharge.
Paul Franz / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

A judge has ruled that Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts, violated federal labor laws.

A sign in front of St. Anne Church in Chicopee, Massachusetts, announcing the day of prayer.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

Some Catholics in western Massachusetts heeded the call of their bishop Monday and headed to church to pray for victims of clergy abuse and their families.

Massachusetts Route 8A northbound entering Heath, Massachusetts.
John Phelan / Creative Commons

Residents of Heath, Massachusetts, chose not to sell an empty school building to a cannabis company this week. 

Outgoing Chicopee, Massachusetts, Mayor Richard Kos.
John Suchocki / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Chicopee, Massachusetts, Mayor Richard Kos said he's not running for re-election. This creates at least the second race for an open mayoral seat in western Mass. this year. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Topping the short list of news this week is Springfield police commissioner John Barbieri's retirement from the post. The move comes amid fresh accussations of police brutality and several officers facing state and federal charges. 

Massachusetts State Sen. Jo Comerford at Greenfield Community College on January 21, 2019.
Paul Franz / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Massachusetts State Senator Jo Comerford, who represents more than 20 cities and towns in Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester counties, wants the state to explore rail service between Boston and North Adams.

Massachusetts State Sen. Eric Lesser introduced a bill that would pay people to move to western Massachusetts.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

A bill introduced in the Massachusetts state Senate would create a financial incentive for people to relocate to the state's western region.

A building on Deerfield Academy's campus.
Rex Hammock / Creative Commons/https://flic.kr/p/8YsUv

Deerfield Academy had an all-male student body until about three decades ago. Questions linger about how female students, and even faculty members, are treated at the private western Massachusetts boarding school. 

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

In 2007, Springfield, Massachusetts, set out a plan to end long-term homelessness within 10 years. The following year, officials and advocates from Hamden, Hampshire and Franklin counties came together to craft a similar plan.

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
William Zhang / Creative Commons

Tuesday on Beacon Hill, the Massachusetts House bid farewell to 18 lawmakers who are leaving office at the end of the year. Among them: two veteran legislators from western Massachusetts.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette newsroom in April 2018.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Updated at 5 p.m.

Staff at the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Valley Advocate are taking steps to form a labor union. It'll be called the Pioneer Valley NewsGuild.

Creative Commons

Town officials in Deerfield, Massachusetts, are reaching out to UMass Amherst after residents complained about spraying at a grass research farm owned by the university.

John Adams Courthouse, home of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Joe Difazio / WBUR

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Monday took up the definitions of farming and agriculture. 

Solitary standing cornstalks in a field in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Martha Ackmann noticed many fields had a handful of stalks that hadn't been cut down, and wondered why.
Martha Ackmann / Courtesy Martha Ackmann

 


You’ve seen them, no doubt.  Those solitary corn stalks standing alone in a field. 

An early voting sign in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Early voting has been underway in Massachusetts for the past week. Several local officials who oversee the process in the western part of the state said they're seeing a positive response.

A polling place in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, on primary election day in March 2016.
Dave Roback / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

There are important contested races in western Massachusetts. Here’s what you need to know as we head toward the general election on November 6.

Reclaiming The American Flag

Oct 12, 2018
Bruce Watson in his Montague Center attic.
Paul Franz / The Greenfield Recorder / recorder.com

Shortly after the Fourth of July, I began flying the American flag from my front porch. Ever since, a 3-by-5 foot flag has waved on my street in Montague, Massachusetts. 

Drew Lopenzina wrote about William Apess, a 19th-century Pequot minister. Lopenzina is pictured at the Griswold Memorial Library in Colrain, Massachusetts, near where a historical marker is being placed to honor Apess.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

The first Native American to write and publish book-length memoirs of his life and experiences was born in Colrain, Massachusetts, in 1798. His name was William Apess.

The Connecticut River seen in Sunderland, Massachusetts.
Tom Walsh / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/wmass

Thousands of volunteers helped collect an estimated 50 tons of trash from the Connecticut River and its tributaries in four states last week.

Drone.
freeegooo / Creative Commons / pixabay.com/en/users/freeegooo-1631378

The city of Greenfield, Massachusetts, is launching a drone program to assist its police and fire departments.

A polling place in western Massachusetts.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Primary election day is over in Massachusetts. Here are the results focusing on the western part of the state, from The Associated Press.

The seven Democratic candidates for the 1st Franklin District in the Massachusetts House met for a debate at Deerfield Academy on August 7, 2018.
Screen Shot / FCATMedia / fcat.tv

Rural western Massachusetts versus Beacon Hill: that's the theme in the crowded Democratic primary to replace state Rep. Steve Kulik. The district includes 10 communities in Franklin County, as well as some hill towns to the south.

A polling place in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

There are important contested races in western Massachusetts. Here’s what you need to know as we head toward the state's primary election on September 4.

Farmer Norm Davenport in Shelburne, Massachusetts, can't find enough customers to purchase his hay.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

In recent years, milk prices have dropped. And dairy farms -- including some in western Massachusetts -- have sold off their cows. Some say their hay customers are disappearing along with the animals.

The Shutesbury Fire Department building in Shutesbury, Massachusetts.
Luis Fieldman / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

The volunteer fire department in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, will not be going off the job after all, now that its chief got the pay raise he was looking for.

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

Updated Monday, July 30 at 4:55 p.m. 

The head of the Greenfield, Massachusetts, Town Council said she believes the mayor fired the finance director for being the bearer of bad news.

Prolific New England author Stephen King’s creepy storytelling is fueling a new streaming series that debuts Wednesday on Hulu. “Castle Rock” is set in Maine, but it was largely shot in the central Massachusetts town of Orange and in Devens at the region’s only film production studio with sound stages.

Folks in Orange are hoping for more than big scares with the arrival of this high-profile thriller. Some see the new series as a game-changer for the community, and the state’s film industry.

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