HAMPDEN COUNTY

Coverage of Hampden County, Massachusetts.

Blandford Ski Area in Blandford, Mass.
Dave Roback / The Republican

The future appears uncertain for the Blandford Ski Area in western Hampden County. And the non-profit club that owns it is blaming Mother Nature for some of its woes.

In a statement, officials for Blandford Ski Area sAid they are exploring all options to stay open, but also concede that selling the property could be an option.

Springfield Signs 'Treaty' For Migratory Birds

May 7, 2017
A little blue heron at Springfield Plaza on Liberty Street in August 2014.
Greg Saulmon / The Republican

Springfield, Massachusetts, has adopted an Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds.

The city's science museum is introducing a new wildlife garden and residents will be encouraged to help create a network of neighborhood habitats.

Roxanne Bogart of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Springfield and the Connecticut River are important stops for birds migrating between South America and the Arctic.

Candace Neilson (left), tenor; Angie Clark, coach; Pia Kroes, lead; Mary Blewitt, baritone; Lin Robinson, bass, is not pictured.
Tema Silk / NEPR

On Friday, women Barbershop singers from all over New England and some parts of Canada will descend on Springfield. They're competing for a spot in the international competition taking place in Las Vegas this fall.

Dr. Nettie Maria Stevens
Carnegie Institution of Washington / Creative Commons

A pivotal but unheralded scientist is getting a building named after her at Westfield State University on Friday.

More than a hundred years ago, Westfield alum Nettie Stevens was studying beetle chromosomes when she noticed a critical difference between males and females.

"She noticed that one chromosome was smaller than the other, and because of that research, we were able to then apply that to the human genome as well," said Westfield biology professor Jennifer Hanselman.

Haymarket Cafe in Northampton, which is closing for part of May 1, 2017, to support workers and immigrants.
Jim Kinney / The Republican

The first day of May — May Day — is also known as International Workers Day. In honor of it, roughly 20 businesses and organizations in the Pioneer Valley are closing their doors for the day.

It's part of a nationwide effort, and immigrants are a key part of the focus.

WGBY headquarters In downtown Springfield, Mass.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

At a recent FCC auction, the broadcast frequency for WGBY in Springfield sold for $57 million.

The station will move to a different channel. The license for the current frequency is owned by WGBH in Boston, and the money will go into its endowment, with annual disbursements to WGBY.

"We will probably increase local content, education services -- things that we've been doing for a long time, but things that we haven't been able to enhance and grow because of financial reasons," said Lynn Page, the station's acting general manager.

The Hampden County Hall of Justice.
File Photo / The Republican

Springfield-area lawyers are frustrated that the Hampden County Courthouse did not make the state's priority list for renovations or replacement.

The Trial Court of Massachusetts released a master plan summary this week that put several courthouses, including in Northampton, Pittsfield, and Boston, into a first phase of repair, scheduled to take place through 2022.

Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.
Screen shot from mascot video / Amherst College

Our panel of journalists looks at the big stories in the news.

What made The Short List this week?

Herman Paul Cumby, one of the four men who say a group of off-duty Springfield police officers attacked them on April 8, 2015.
Dan Glaun / MassLive

New details were made public this week in a case in Springfield in an alleged fight between several city residents and a group of off-duty police officers outside a bar in 2015.

An internal investigation by the Springfield Police was obtained by MassLive reporter Dan Glaun. 

RELATED: Report reveals missing video, contradictory testimony in case of alleged Springfield police beating

Fire quickly consumed the building at 106 North East Street in Holyoke on Jan. 1, 2017.
Dave Canton / The Republican

A fire on New Years' Day in Holyoke left three dead. Some survivors have filed a lawsuit, saying negligence was involved.

State fire safety investigators determined that faulty wiring was the cause of the blaze, which destroyed a four-story apartment building. And they found that the alarm was not connected to a monitoring company, which could have alerted the Holyoke Fire Department.

Gary Cloutier (right), at his auto body shop in Westfield, Mass.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Although the Republicans pulled their healthcare bill last week, they are preparing for another push to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And since the Congressional Budget Office predicted the recent GOP plan would take health insurance away from up to 24 million people, many of the newly insured are worried. 

On March 29, 2017, Holyoke welcomed home the remains of U.S. Army Cpl. Jules Hauterman Jr. who was killed 67 years ago in the Korean War. This was the scene as the casket arrived at the Farrell Funeral Home on Northampton Street.
Don Treeger / The Republican

The remains of an Army medic missing in action and declared dead during the Korean War finally returned home to Western Massachusetts on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people, from school children to seniors, lined a procession waving American flags as a motorcade escorting the remains of Cpl. Jules Hauterman Jr. arrived in Holyoke after nearly seven decades.

File photos / MassLive

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said he hopes a phone conversation with two Trump administration officials on Wednesday will prompt a reconsideration of a proposed budget cut.

President Trump has proposed eliminating Community Block Development Grants [CDBG] Sarno said he pressed special assistants William Kirkland and Justin Clark on why Trump would cut funds he said are critical for the city's economic development projects.

The campus of UMass Amherst.
File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Hate groups are on the rise in the U.S. and they increasingly see college campuses as prime recruiting ground.

UMass Amherst and Holyoke Community College are just two of dozens of college campuses to have been targeted by white nationalist propaganda in recent months. But finding the right way to respond to these groups can present a challenge to college administrators.

Springfield Sting owner Zach Baru of Longmeadow.
Dave Roback / The Republican

The Springfield Sting, the local entry in the minor league American Basketball Association, is in the midst of a playoff run.

The Sting won their first-ever playoff game last weekend and will play again Saturday against the New Jersey Express, whom the Sting have defeated three times this season.

A win there would give them the league’s Northeast Division title, and just two more wins would send them to Baltimore and the ABA’s Final Eight.

Henry Epp / NEPR

Over the next few months, workers at the Springfield Armory will be digging a lot of dirt. They’re restructuring parts of the armory’s grounds to recreate the landscape of the National Historic Site to what it looked like in the 1950s. They’ll even plant specific trees to match that era, which was the last time the armory was really in business. It built and developed weapons for the U.S. military.

At the Armory grounds, Superintendent James Woolsey explained how crews have begun turning a field into a sloping hill.

Gary Campbell is a senior at Springfield High School for Science and Technology and a participant in NEPR's Media Lab project.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

A recent graduate from New England Public Radio’s Media Lab program wrote this piece about his father, who no longer lives at home with him.

Eileen Crosby
Raquel Obregon / NEPR

Tertulia’s guest on September 18, 2016 was Eileen Crosby, Archivist of Local History Collection at Holyoke Public Library. She spoke about the project Nuestros Senderos y Nuestras Vidas en Holyoke, Our Journeys and Our Lives in Holyoke, a Community Digitization Day on September 24 at Enlace de Familias, Holyoke. The aim of the event is to begin to build a community archives documenting the origins and history of Puerto Rican life in Holyoke, and more broadly, the development of local Latino Culture.

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