HAMPDEN COUNTY

Coverage of Hampden County, Massachusetts.

A large banner saying "Refugees Welcome" means solidarity for all. Photo taken in November, 2015.
Rasande Tyskar / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/rasande/

Some western Massachusetts mayors say they are pondering what an executive order from President Trump will mean for refugee resettlement in their communities. 

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, a Democrat, speaks at an apperance in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Tuesday.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield said the House Ways and Means Committee is looking to interview a whistleblower who alleges "inappropriate attempts to influence" a tax audit of President Trump. 

Construction of the MGM casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, as of June 2018.
Patrick Johnson / The Republican / Masslive.com/photos

Updated at 10:31 a.m. on September 30, 2019 

A new report says the construction of MGM Springfield added more than half a billion dollars to the economy of Massachusetts. 

Mike Mathis.
Carmen Baskauf / Connecticut Public Radio

MGM Springfield says it had slightly more than 2,000 employees at the end of June. That's according to the company's latest report to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

The Connecticut River in autumn from the French King Bridge.
Kimon Berlin / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/81943113@N00

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. 

Mark Schand scoops ice cream at his Sweetwater smoothie cafe in New Britain, Connecticut.
Karen Brown / NEPR

A Connecticut man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years said he’s delighted by the verdict in his lawsuit against four Springfield, Massachusetts, police officers — but not for the reason you might think.

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.

East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, author Christina Uss, and her debut novel.
Joyce Skowyra / New England Public Radio

Our back-to-school-book series continues with "The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle." This middle grade book is about a 12-year-old girl's quest to make a friend. But it's not quite as simple as that. 

Challenging Bhutan's Boast About Itself

Sep 20, 2019
Bhutan, a small nation in South Asia, claims to have achieved universal happiness among its citizens.
Adam Singer / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/77437968@N00

The truth is that in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Bhutanese regime, in its quest to become the happiest kingdom on the earth, adopted a "One Nation, One People" policy

Lisa Black manages the retail space at INSA in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Springfield, Massachusetts, City Council on Monday night approved host community agreements for what would be the first non-medical marijuana shops in the city.

A U.S. Air Force plane that carries out aerial spraying awaits main engine startup in Ohio in 2017.
Sgt. Carlin Leslie / U.S. Air Force

For the first time ever in Hampshire and Hampden Counties, the state of Massachusetts is spraying to prevent the mosquito-borne illness known as EEE.

A sign at MGM Springfield's casino.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Gambling revenue at MGM Springfield was up 2.7% in August from the previous month. That's according to figures released by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Monday. But after completing its first year in business, the casino has fallen well below projections.

U.S. Senator Ed Markey addresses Democrats gathered in Springfield, Massachusetts, for their convention on September 14, 2019.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Massachusetts lawmakers end their summer recess and head back to Beacon Hill this week. But on Saturday, about 4,000 Democrats were in Springfield for the state party's political convention.

A polling place in Springfield, Massachusetts, on September 10, 2019. The preliminary election drew less than 8% of the city's registered voters.
Karen Brown / NEPR

As we review the news of the week, the turnout for Springfield's preliminary election Tuesday was 7.6%, continuing a trend of few voters taking part in city elections. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno addresses a press conference regarding a "physical interaction" between a police officer and student at a city middle school.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Massachusetts Democrats are gathering in Springfield on Saturday for their annual convention. And there's at least one Democrat who was not invited to speak. 

A voting sign.
Shannon McGee / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/shan213

As we review news of the week, we look ahead to the local election season in western Massachusetts.

The armored vehicle being purchased for the Chicopee Police Department.
Submitted / City of Chicopee, Massachusetts

The police department in Chicopee, Massachusetts, said a new armored vehicle it's getting is more civilian than military. 

Classroom chairs.
maxpixel.net / Creative Commons

As Massachusetts lawmakers continue to debate how to change a 26-year-old school funding formula, one local parent feels there is no time to sit and wait.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has placed ads about problem gambling on buses and social media.
Karen Brown / NEPR

The 2011 casino law in Massachusetts required the state to help address problem gambling. About a year after MGM Springfield opened, health leaders say programs are rolling out.

People lined Sheridan Street in Chicopee, Mass., to honor Master Sergeant Luis DeLeon-Figueroa, as a motorcade carrying his remains drove to a funeral home. He died in combat in Afghanistan in August 2019.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The remains of Army Master Sergeant Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa were flown to Westover Air Reserve Base on Monday morning. The Green Beret, who was from Chicopee, Massachusetts, died last month during combat in Afghanistan.

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.

Massachusetts U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy III visited Springfield in August 2019.
Don Treeger / The Republican / Masslive.com/photos

In Springfield Wednesday, Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III said he continues to weigh a possible 2020 run against incumbent U.S. Senator Ed Markey. 

A gambler plays a slot machine at MGM Springfield.
Don Treeger / The Republican / Masslive.com/photos

As MGM executives celebrated the first anniversary of their casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, this month, they touted visitor numbers, jobs for city residents and the big investment downtown. But it’s been hard to brag about gambling revenue.

U.S. Special Forces Master Sgt. Luis F. Deleon-Figueroa of Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Courtesy U.S. Army Special Operations Command

Updated 3:26 p.m.

A U.S. Army Special Forces soldier from Chicopee, Massachusetts, was killed in combat while serving in Afghanistan.

Scott Lively speaks at the 2018 Massachusetts Republican Convention in Worcester.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Scott Lively — an anti-gay pastor in Springfield, Massachusetts, who tried to unseat Governor Charlie Baker — has announced he's leaving the state to open a bible college.

Tim Brennan.
Jerrey Roberts / The Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

The agency tasked with thinking big about transportatoin, environment and other challenges in the Pioneer Valley will soon undergo a leadership change. After more than four decades, Tim Brennan is retiring from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission at the end of September.

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.

MGM Springfield President and COO Mike Mathis during casino construction.
Sarah Crosby / The Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

The head of MGM Springfield said the city is in better shape than it was before it opened as the casino approaches its one-year anniversary on August 24. 

Michealann Bewsee, the former director and co-founder of Arise for Social Justice
Don Treeger / The Republican/ Masslive.com / photos

Michaelann Bewsee, who co-founded Arise for Social Justice in 1985, has died.

The  Catholic Diocese in Springfield, Mass. is one of seven New England dioceses, that have started a confidential, third-party system to report misconduct by bishops.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Springfield Catholic Diocese and six others in New England are offering a confidential reporting system, operated by a third party, for filing sexual abuse and other misconduct allegations against bishops.

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