HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

For their daughters and themselves, Mustafa and BeckyJean Thompson said they're relieved there's now more structure to the West Springfield, Mass., online school day.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Most Massachusetts public schools began classes this week after a delay due to the coronavirus. Districts,  independently of one another, developed their plans and many schools are teaching remotely. That means parents and caregivers are again juggling their work schedules while also acting as teacher helpers.

Diners enjoy outdoor dining with service on the patio at Johnny's Bar and Grille in South Hadley, Massachusetts, in June.
Don Treeger / The Republican / Masslive.com/photos

Some chambers of commerce across western Massachusetts said they've seen some restaurant closures due to the pandemic. And there's concern about what fall and winter might bring.

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

The head of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority said ridership is down significantly because of the coronavirus, but that the agency is surviving with the help of federal aid.

From "How To Be A Person" by Catherine Newman.
Karen Brown / NEPM

"How to Be A Person" takes readers through dozens of basic skills they should learn before they’re grown up – from doing the laundry and tying knots, to writing thank-you notes and managing money. 

Joanna Jaracz of Cummington, Massachusetts, after winning a blue ribbon for showmanship on September 7, 2020.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

Because of COVID-19, this year's Three County Fair was far different than in past years. There was no demolition derby, carnival rides, games — or the public. The fair was limited to arts and crafts exhibits and youth livestock competitions.

Results: Contested Primaries in Western Mass.

Sep 1, 2020
At a polling place in Williamsburg, Mass., every other voting stall was taped off to ensure social distancing.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

The polls are closed in the 2020 Massachusetts state primary. This campaign season has brought serious challenges to a sitting U.S. senator and the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. There are also contested primaries in a handful of state legislative districts in Hampden County.

A ballot drop box in Shelburne, Massachusetts.
Carrie Healy / NEPM

The 2020 Massachusetts primary on Sept. 1 will whittle down the candidates and offer a major test to the state's mail-in voting system.

For many cities and towns, Tuesday's primary is the first voting in a new coronavirus world. 

2020 Voter Guide: Contested Primaries In Western Mass.

Aug 26, 2020
Terry Yusteo (center) places ballots between Abigail Stone (left) and Adeline Rogers, so they can check in early and mail-in ballots to be counted on Tuesday, September 1, in Northampton, Mass.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com/photos

Updated Aug. 30 

Voters across western Massachusetts will have an opportunity to vote on September 1 in the state primary  — if they haven't already taken advantage of early voting or the expanded mail-in option.

Ted Lee is founder of Feeding Tube Records, now located in Florence, Massachusetts.
John Voci / NEPM

In a former industrial building in Florence, Massachusetts — near jewelry designers, a T-shirt maker and a school devoted to archery — is Feeding Tube Records, a record store and label specializing in what the owners characterize as “weird music.”

Ann Becker of UMass gives direction on how to administer a COVID-19 test at the Mullins Center.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Carly O'Connell is excited to go back to UMass as a sophomore in legal studies. She'll be among about a thousand students allowed to live on campus — some are taking hands-on classes, and others, like O’Connell, got special permission for personal reasons.

In this photo from March 2020, Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane talked about measures to reduce exposure to the new coronavirus at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com/photos

The Hampshire County jail hasn’t reported any covid-19 cases since May, but the sheriff said he’s concerned about possible new cases when normal court activity resumes.

The Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction in Northampton, Massachusetts.
File Photo / The Republican / Masslive.com/photos

The Hampshire County Sheriff's Office in Northampton, Massachusetts, will furlough 77 staff members to comply with state budget cuts.

Author Andrea Hairston.
Micala Sidora / Courtesy Andrea Hairston

In her creative life, Andrea Hairston covers a lot of ground. She teaches theater and Africana studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She’s a playwright, theater director, screenwriter and novelist. 

Hairston’s forthcoming book, "Master of Poisons," is a fantasy novel about a world facing destruction. 

The Mtali Banda Oneness Project was the opening band at the Makaya McCraven concert at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on June 4, 2019.
Ed Cohen / MassLive / masslive.com/photosMassMass

It’s been five months since live music venues and DJ clubs shut their doors to dancing crowds, and in Massachusetts they won’t be able to open in full until a COVID-19 vaccine or a proven treatment is available. If they make it that long.

The campus of UMass Amherst.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Updated 4:25 p.m.

UMass Amherst has reversed its plans to allow students to decide whether to return to campus housing.

The gates of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
File Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette

Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, had planned to bring a reduced number of students back to campus for the fall semester, and give faculty the choice of teaching online or in person. In a reversal, the college now says it will offer only distance learning.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette headquarters in Northampton.
File Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

The owner of The Daily Hampshire Gazette is putting its 45,000-square-foot headquarters in Northampton, Massachusetts, up for sale. But it plans to keep the paper based in the city.

Schoolwork.
Jimmie / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/jimmiehomeschoolmom

As school districts in Massachusetts submit their fall proposals to the state, many parents are coming up with their own contingency plans. 

The 2020 U.S. Census form.
Ɱ / Creative Commons

Census workers are expected to start going door-to-door in western Massachusetts to collect information this week. But an official with the U.S. Census said it’s already had a strong response from households in the region.

Chris Dostal at Eye Physicians of Northampton in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Courtesy of Chris Dostal

Massachusetts had the highest rate of unemployment in the country in June, at 17.4%. That’s according to data released late last week by the federal government. One reason could be the decision to reopen Massachusetts businesses more slowly than some other states.

Rich Hall at Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.
Wilbraham and Monson Library / Creative Commons

Some private schools in western Massachusetts say the uncertainty over how public schools will operate this fall has led to a significant jump in inquiries from prospective parents.

Mitchell Rozanski during a press conference introducing him as archbishop of St. Louis.
screenshot / Archdiocese of St. Louis

An advocate for clergy sexual abuse survivors said he's filed a complaint against the Springfield Roman Catholic bishop, accusing Mitchell Rozanski of trying to cover up allegations against priests.

The UMass Amherst campus.
Rhobite / Creative Commons / en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Rhobite

The town manager for Amherst warns that the influx of UMass students in the fall could spread COVID-19 in a town that, up until now, has had relatively few cases. He's asking the university to change its reopening plan to avoid making things worse.

The UMass Amherst campus in a file photo.
UMass Amherst / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

New England professors are among about 30,000 academics from around the U.S. to sign an open letter condemning a new federal policy regarding international college students. The Trump administration is barring those students from staying in the U.S. if they only take online classes this fall.

Author Jennifer Rosner of Northampton, Massachusetts.
Elizabeth Solaka / Courtesy Jennifer Rosner

Kicking off our annual summer ficiton series: a novel about a mother-daughter connection and the role of creativity and beauty in human survival. 

A crew from Archaeological and Historical Services Inc. works at one of two dig sites near North King Street in Northampton on Oct. 2, 2019.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

A Native American tribe is calling out opponents to a traffic roundabout in western Massachusetts for being "misleading."

Naomi London of Northampton, Massachusetts, survived a serious case of COVID-19.
Courtesy of Naomi London

While some parts of the country are seeing surges in COVID-19, cases in Massachusetts are down — but not gone. So, with the governor's reopening plan underway, early survivors of the virus are hoping their experience will convince others to be cautious.

A sign at UMass Amherst.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Some UMass Amherst students say they have concerns about the reopening plan announced this week for the fall semester as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

A sign on the door of Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Hadley, Mass., asks customers to wear masks.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

An employee of a Hadley, Massachusetts, hamburger shop said she lost her job after telling customers they needed to wear masks because of the coronavirus.

Nicole M. Young in Northampton, Mass.
Courtesy of Nicole M. Young / Samm Smith Design & Photography

Black Writers Read, live and online June 19th, is the brainchild of several western Massachusetts writers. The event began as a response to a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, originally scheduled for the same day. June 19 is Juneteenth, a day that marks the end of slavery in the U.S. 

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