Coverage of Hampden County, Massachusetts.

A doctor at a hospital in Italy during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Alberto Giuliani / Creative Commons

Merriam-Webster has released its list of the most looked-up words of 2020, and it’s no surprise that words related to virus and disease figure prominently.

Police cruisers in Springfield, Massachusetts.
File photo / The Republican / masslive.com

Updated at 4:45 p.m. 

Public defenders in Massachusetts are suing Springfield's mayor and city clerk over a public records request for police discipline reports.

Employee Matt Pizii stands behind a counter at Liberty Springfield in Springfield, Massachusetts, on November 20, 2020.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

Two years after recreational marijuana became available for legal sale in Massachusetts, the first adult-use pot store has opened in Springfield.

RN Alyssa Anderson administers a COVID-19 test at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford in March 2020.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public / NENC

With virus rates rising across the state and the holidays looming, western Massachusetts residents who want to get a COVID test are often waiting in hours-long lines, if they can get one at all.

Mildred Stopa, at front, was 66 years old when she retired in December 1989. Behind Stopa at her retirement party, from left to right: daughter Sheila Pelczarski, granddaughter Julia, and daughter Christina Moriarty.
Submitted photo

Massachusetts recently passed a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: the deaths of more than 10,000 residents.

Springfield City Council President Justin Hurst on the steps of City Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on June 9, 2020.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

The Springfield City Council has rejected a new contract with police sergeants, lieutenants and captains.

Trump Lost In Massachusetts, But Built Latino Support In Gateway Cities

Nov 16, 2020

For the last several months, Julio Perez has been driving a bus across the country, emblazoned with a decal on the side that read “Stop the separation of families.”

He started in California, part of a caravan of immigration activists that toured the country to help turn out Latino voters. When Joe Biden was declared the winner, Perez said they celebrated.

Christina "Smiles" Remmes is a Northampton, Massachusetts, resident experiencing homelessness.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

When someone gets diagnosed with COVID-19, they must separate from others — maybe hole up in a room, or the basement — in order to not spread the virus to others. But for folks without homes in western Massachusetts, that's nothing like what they may have to go through this winter.

Roy Saigo is interim president at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com

Westfield State University has spent years in leadership crises.

Republican James "Chip" Harrington, at left, and Democrat Jake Oliveira were on the ballot in Massachusetts' 7th Hampden House District.
The Republican / masslive.com

The race for the 7th Hampden District seat in the Massachusetts House is headed toward a recount. Democrat Jake Oliveira leads Republican Chip Harrington by a little more than 100 votes.

Two former top officials at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home pleaded not guilty to criminal charges related to their handling of one of the country’s deadliest coronavirus outbreaks at a long-term care facility during their arraignment Thursday.

Voters at the high school in Ludlow, Massachusetts, cast their ballots on Election Day 2020.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

It's still unclear who won the state representative seat in Massachusetts 7th Hampden District.

Melissa and Robert Croteau, with their daughter, at a polling place in Montague, Massachusetts, on November 3, 2020.
Karen Brown / NEPM

Well over 3 million voters cast ballots this election in Massachusetts — a tally Secretary of State Bill Galvin expected will set a record turnout when all are counted.

An "I voted" sticker.
Daniel Morrison / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/danielmorrison/291582376

In Tuesday's election, three candidates are on the ballot for the 4th Hampden District in the Massachusetts House, representing Westfield. And a write-in candidate has emerged.

The elf display at the 2019 Bright Nights at Forest Park event, one of the projects that traditionally uses inmate labor.
Hoang (Leon) Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department said it may pause its practice of lending out inmates for community labor if COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Talbert Swan, president of the Springfield NAACP.
Douglas Hook / MassLive

Two community groups in Springfield, Massachusetts, are renewing calls for the mayor to fire the city police commissioner, following a scathing federal report last summer. 

A subway car at the CRRC factory in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

The pandemic has disrupted virtually all sectors of the Massachusetts economy, including manufacturing. CRRC, the Chinese company making trains for the MBTA, said the pandemic will further delay delivery of new trains for its two busiest lines.

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.
File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Campaign finance records show a political action committee representing the owners of a Springfield, Massachusetts, televsion station made a donation to U.S. Rep. Richard Neal — who beat Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse in last month's Democratic primary for the state's 1st Congressional District.

The donation came right before a debate WWLP hosted.

A socially distanced polling place in Springfield, Massachusetts, on the primary election September 1, 2020.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

For the first time in more than three decades, the 7th Hampden District seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives is up for grabs.

Mass. Lawmakers Hear Heartbreaking Stories About Holyoke Home Outbreak

Oct 20, 2020
Flags outside of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home.
Miriam Wasser / WBUR

On one day in early March, Susan Kenney had been on the phone with her father's case manager at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, trying to set up a Zoom call with her dad, a 78-year-old veteran of the Air Force.

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

Early in-person voting starts Saturday in Massachusetts. Some communities deemed "high risk" for COVID-19 are saying they're ready.

The incoming bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield, Massachusetts, William Byrne, appeared at an introductory press conference in October 2020.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

Reverend William Byrne, a priest with the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., will be the new bishop of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Roman Catholic diocese. He replaces Mitchell Rozanski, who became the Archbishop of St. Louis in August.

The office of the bishop of the Springfield Catholic Diocese.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

As the Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield, Massachusetts, continues to address the problem of sexual abuse in its churches, congregants and others are being asked to fill out an online survey by October 19.

Rollerskating at Interskate 91 in Hadley, Massachusetts.
File photo / Masslive / masslive.com/photos

Some additional types of Massachusetts businesses are allowed to reopen starting this week, as long as the COVID-19 rates in the communities they're located in are low.

Mayor Domenic Sarno in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Republican / masslive.com/photos

The City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts, has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Domenic Sarno as it tries to bring back the city's police commission. 

Darryl Moss was fired by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno for violating a social media policy.
Douglas Hook / Masslive / masslive.com/photos

Longtime Springfield, Massachusetts, City Hall staff member Darryl Moss was fired this week. Mayor Domenic Sarno said in a press release Moss violated the city's social media policy. But Black community leaders and elected officials disagree with the mayor and are saying Moss, who is Black, was targeted.

Police cruisers in Springfield, Massachusetts.
File photo / The Republican / masslive.com

Updated at 2:00 p.m.

The Springfield City Council is officially suing Mayor Domenic Sarno, as it seeks to reestablish the city's police commission.

Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey is bringing criminal charges against the former superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, Bennett Walsh, and the facility’s former medical director, Dr. David Clinton, for their roles in the deadly COVID-19 outbreak that swept through the facility earlier this spring and killed 76 veterans.

Baystate Health CEO Mark Keroack.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Massachusetts officials report the rate of COVID-19 infections in the state has been relatively steady in recent days. But the head of Baystate Health Systems says the number of patients admitted to his hospital has increased slightly during the same period.

About 15 years ago, Zee Johnson opened what is one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in Massachusetts. She still does outreach work in the city for Springfield's Department of Elder Affairs.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Walking into Olive Tree Books-n-Voices on Hancock Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, is like walking into someone’s home. It's one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in the state.