Coverage of Hampden County, Massachusetts.

Lesser Sees Senate As Ready To Tackle Sports Betting: 'It's Time For Mass. To Do This'

Jul 22, 2021
A photograph taken at a Wynn sports betting facility in Nevada.
Jonathan Cutrer / Creative Commons / flickr.com / photos / joncutrer

With the House looking like it will overwhelmingly pass a sports betting bill Thursday afternoon, the senator handling the issue said he thinks his more reluctant branch is "ready to do this -- if it's done the right way."

A PVTA bus.
Mark M. Murray / The Republican / MassLive

State lawmakers from the western part of Massachusetts disagrees with Governor Charlie Baker's veto of funding requested for regional bus systems — like the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority.

Massachusetts state senator Adam Gomez wants you to know that he is just like you. In this full version conversation, you'll hear how the proud afro-latino came from humble beginnings - experiencing homelessness to being arrested - and the moment he decided to get his life back on track. Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder will dive into his policies of supporting the millionaire's tax, infrastructure and how to get folks back to work.

The former Court Square Hotel at 31 Elm St. in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

A long-awaited project to bring more than 70 apartments to Court Square in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, could get underway in earnest this fall.

A lengthy handwritten message was found at the end of June, taped to two political campaign signs in Holyoke, Mass. The writer casts blame on the "minorities" of Holyoke for the city's blight and a decades-long economic downturn.
Submitted photo / Garcia Campaign

A pair of political campaign signs on a Holyoke, Massachusetts, street were recently defaced with racist comments. The signs belonged to  Joshua Garcia and Israel Rivera, who are running in separate municipal races in the November election.

Three Biz Groups Take Sides in Debate Over App-Based Drivers, Benefits In Massachusetts

Jul 9, 2021
Nancy Creed delivers a speech at a Springfield Regional Chamber's annual meeting.
File photo / MassLive / masslive.com

A trio of regional business organizations in Massachusetts threw their support behind gig economy giants in the growing debate over pay and benefits for the state's more than 200,000 app-based drivers.

A 2019 protest in Springfield, Massachusetts, against the Palmer wood-burning plant.
Courtesy of Rene Theberge / via WBUR

A new report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America finds that Springfield, Massachusetts, now ranks No. 12 on the list of the worst places in the country to live with asthma — an improvement from past years. 

Holyoke, Massachusetts, Acting Mayor Terry Murphy.
File Photo / The Republican / Masslive

The acting mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, has announced he's creating a new Community Police Relations Board.

The Springfield Armory in June 2018.
Don Treeger / The Republican / Masslive

The Springfield Armory National Historic Site will reopen to visitors on Friday, July 2, after being closed for more than a year.

In 2019, the Big E at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts, attracted more than a million visitors. It didn't take place in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Courtesy of The Big E

Several Massachusetts entertainment venues have announced they will be in full swing this summer. The Big E in West Springfield, one of the largest annual agricultural fairs in the country, is among them.

Bishop William Byrne is installed as the 10th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, in December 2020.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting this week on a range of issues. Among the newer faces at the virtual conference will be William Byrne of the Springfield Diocese.

A security camera hangs near the entrance of the William DeBerry Elementary School on Union Street in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com

The school department in Springfield, Massachusetts, is entering into an agreement that gives police access to surveillance camera footage recorded inside and outside of public school buildings.

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston, Massachusetts.
File Photo / The Republican / Masslive

The Massachusetts Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management held the first of a series of statewide listening sessions on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Activists assemble for a rally at City Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on June 9, 2021, to call for Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood's removal.
Karen Brown / NEPM

This week, a group of seniors gathered in downtown Springfield t0 renew their call for Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood to be removed from her job.

In this file photo, Kevin Rhodes conducts the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.
File photo / The Republican / masslive.com

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra board and its musicians are waging a public debate over union contracts, including the length of the upcoming season.

James Gallagher of LA Metro speaks at an unveiling ceremony at CRRC's Springfield factory. The train behind him is the first of 64 to be built for LA Metro.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

A top official with a Los Angeles-area transit agency said he's "completely confident" in rail cars made by a company in Springfield, Massachusetts. That's after several issues with similar train cars made for Boston.

Residents begin cleanup work on Beech Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, after a deadly tornado ripped through the city on June 1, 2011.
Michael S. Gordon / The Republican / masslive.com

This week marks 10 years since a devastating tornado ripped through a swath of western Massachusetts. Three people were killed and 200 injured, and it caused more than $200 million in damages.

Springfield, Massachusetts, Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood takes the oath from District Court Judge John Payne during her swearing-in ceremony, in October 2019.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

A group of seniors in Springfield, Massachusetts, are calling for the removal of the city's police commissioner for what they say is her resistance to police reform.

Interior of St. Michael's Cathedral in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Farragutful / Creative Commons

Updated at 4:09 p.m. 

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, has expanded a list of clergy and lay employees credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the diocese. Some of the findings date back decades, as the diocese has expanded its criteria for disclosure.

Lucio Perez, at a ceremony marking his departure from sanctuary in an Amherst, Massachusetts, church, on March 13, 2021.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Advocates for a Guatemalan man, who was in sanctuary for more than three years in western Massachusetts, say a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision could help him stay in the country.

A building in Springfield, Massachusetts, damaged by the tornado on June 1, 2011.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

Ten years ago this Tuesday, multiple tornadoes tore through western Massachusetts, killing three people, injuring 200, and causing more than $200 million in damages.

A bus, shown here in Chicopee, Massachusetts, has been converted into a mobile vaccination site. The seats on the bus were removed to make room for four vaccination wells, where nurses give the shots.
Karen Brown / NEPM

This weekend, nearly all COVID-19 safety restrictions will be lifted in Massachusetts. That includes mask requirements — at least for people who are vaccinated.

Holyoke, Massachusetts, Acting Mayor Terry Murphy.
File Photo / The Republican / Masslive

Terry Murphy, the acting mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, is taking heat after he canceled an executive order declaring racism and police violence as public health concerns.

Workers, including Clarivel Amy (right), at a mobile vaccination site organized by Holyoke Health Center try to convince people to pull into the parking lot outside the Boys and Girls Club in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Karen Brown / NEPM

Although Massachusetts has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country, Hampden County has the lowest rate in the state — with major racial and ethnic disparities among who is getting the shot.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni speaks about the case against defrocked priest Richard Lavigne on Monday, May 24, 2021.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com

Hampden County's top prosecutor said investigators were preparing to seek an arrest warrant for a defrocked Roman Catholic priest long considered a suspect in the 1972 killing of a western Massachusetts altar boy shortly before his death last week.

The Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Miriam Wasser / WBUR

The Massachusetts Legislature should require the Holyoke Soldiers' Home superintendent to be a licensed nursing home administrator, elevate the secretary of veterans' services to the Cabinet, create a paid ombudsman position at both state-run soldiers' homes, and impose a raft of chain of command protocols and training requirements, a panel of lawmakers concluded after reviewing the deadly COVID-19 outbreak that struck the facility last year.

Western New England University in Springfield awarded 581 bachelor degrees during its commencement ceremony in 2015.
File Photo / MassLive

Starting in the fall of 2022, new students attending Western New England University's law school will have to pass a course covering anti-racism or cultural competency in order to graduate.

Springfield, Massachusetts, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris speaking at City Hall on Monday, May, 17, 2021.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

Springfield's top public health official said it's good news Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will lift the state's COVID-19 restrictions soon, but urged the city's residents to exercise caution.

Graduates of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Police Academy recite their oaths during their graduation ceremony at Symphony Hall on April 2, 2021.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com

Western Massachusetts police departments under court order to diversify are making progress, but police supervisors continue to be overwhelmingly white.

City Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
cmh2315fl / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/21953562@N07

The president of the City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts, said an open process will be used to fill the position of city clerk.