HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette is based in Northampton, Mass.
File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Updated at 10:59 a.m.

As one of western Massachusetts' major newspapers operates on bare bones, its staff hosted a public forum this week.

UMass Amherst Lockdown Taking Mental, Financial Toll On Students

Feb 16, 2021

A sharp rise in COVID-19 cases at UMass Amherst has left students stuck in place after the university ordered a two-week lockdown.

The lockdown requires students to shelter in their dorms except to get food and attend essential appointments and also bans all student gatherings and outdoor exercise through next Sunday.

For a first-person account of how students are handling this, WBUR’s Morning Edition spoke with Sara McKenna, a UMass senior and secretary of University Policy with UMass Amherst’s Student Government Association.

Freshman Massachusetts state Senator Joanne Comerford sponsored the gender-neutral ID bill and gave her maiden speech on the subject during Thursday's session.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Three state lawmakers from western Massachusetts have been chosen to lead new committees in the new session on Beacon Hill.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts.
File Photo / Daily Hamphire Gazette

At least one western Massachusetts hospital is no longer scheduling appointments for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — for now. That's after the state said it's focusing its limited supply on other sites like the Eastfield Mall in Springfield.

Students are allowed to go to the COVID-19 testing site at UMass Amherst's Mullins Center, but the university is warning of possible sanctions for those who continue working off-campus jobs.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

As UMass Amherst tries to beat back a major COVID-19 outbreak, some students are frustrated by at least one new restriction.

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

UMass Amherst students were ordered to sequester this week after a spike of COVID-19 cases on campus. As of Friday morning, there were more than 600 active cases.

Cases Of COVID-19 Continue To Rise At UMass Amherst

Feb 11, 2021
The UMass Amherst campus.
Rhobite / Creative Commons

UMass Amherst now has 541 active COVID-19 cases amid a major outbreak that prompted the near-shutdown of campus.

A sign upon entering Amherst, Massachusetts.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / Masslive / Masslive.com

Updated at 5:44 p.m. 

The town of Amherst, Massachusetts, will keep in place capacity limits and a business curfew — both of which were set to loosen on Monday — as part of efforts to contain a COVID-19 outbreak at its flagship University of Massachusetts campus.

Razor wire on top of the perimeter fence at the Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow, Massachsuetts.
File Photo / The Republican / Masslive

The sheriffs of Hampshire and Hampden counties say a growing number of inmates in their jails are getting vaccinated, despite some initial hesitation.

An emerald ash borer.
Judy Gallagher / Creative Commons

The U.S. government has lifted a quarantine on an invasive insect, the emerald ash borer, that's killed many trees in Massachusetts and Connecticut. But critics of the change have been more vocal outside those states.

Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts
Don Treeger / The Republican / Masslive

The top doctor at a Springfield, Massachusetts, medical facility said the region has enough capacity to treat patients for COVID-19 and other illnesses — at least for now.

Holyoke, Massachusetts, City Councilor Rebecca Lisi attends a meeting on Jan. 6, 2020. Lisi has announced she will be a candidate for mayor in 2021.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Two members of city government of Holyoke, Massachusetts, have announced they're running to replace Mayor Alex Morse.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette is based in Northampton, Mass.
File photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Five more employees have been laid off at the Daily Hampshire Gazette, based in Northampton, Massachusetts. The job reductions are again being blamed on the pandemic.

Courtesy of Springfield No One Leaves

 

The pandemic has taken a crisis of housing affordability and made it worse. In western Massachusetts and elsewhere, growing numbers of people are falling behind on rent and are in danger of being evicted, even with well-funded assistance programs.

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

The Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese said it will expand which clergy accused of sexual abuse it lists on its website.

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

On Monday, the Rev. Bill Byrne will be installed as bishop of the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese. He succeeds Mitchell Rozanski, who left this summer to become archbishop of St. Louis.

A health care worker places a cotton swab into a vile after taking a sample from someone being tested for COVID-19 last month at a drive-through testing area at Somerville Hospital.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced on Monday an expansion of free COVID-19 testing in the western part of the state.

An inmate is tested for COVID-19 at the Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow, Massachusetts.
Mark Murray / Hampden County Sheriff's Office

Earlier this week, the sheriff of Hampden County announced that 10% of inmates in the department's Ludlow, Massachusetts, jail had tested positive for COVID-19.  But the sheriffs of the other three counties in western Massachusetts said they see no need to test all their inmates.

Christopher Stetson, an infant and toddler teacher in Northampton, Mass., retired earlier than planned, after the school where he taught for 20 years shut down in mid-March.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

During the pandemic, a lot of people have lost work. In Massachusetts, more than 1.6 million residents have applied for unemployment since mid-March.

In this file photo, Tapestry Health employees provide free COVID-19 testing in Springfield and Agawam, Massachusetts.
Douglas Hook / MassLive / MassLive.com/photos

State legislators in western Massachusetts are turning up the pressure for more COVID-19 testing, but they don’t all necessarily agree on how that should be done.

Annye Anderson visits the site of her family home in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lived with Robert Johnson.
Preston Lauterbach / Used with permission

The first thing to know about Annye Anderson is unless you’re older than she is — and fat chance of that; she’s 94 — you better just call her Mrs. Anderson." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

“People say, ‘Don't you have a first name?’” Anderson said from the couch in her living room in Amherst, Massachusetts. “I say, ‘Yes, I do.’ And they wait for it. But I tell them, ‘Mrs. Anderson will do just fine.’”

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.

Heavily redacted paragraphs are shown as part of a sponsored research agreement between the UMass Amherst and Raytheon in 2015. This document and 10 others like it were redacted by the university.
Screen Shot / UMass Amherst / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

The Daily Hampshire Gazette has been trying to get its hands on all the agreements UMass Amherst signs with private businesses to conduct many millions of dollars in sponsored research.

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.

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.

Supporters of President Trump and counterprotesters confronted each other in Northampton, Massachusetts, on Nov. 1, 2020.
Ben James / NEPM

Updated Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. 

Dozens of supporters of President Trump clashed with a larger group of counterprotesters holding Black Lives Matter signs Sunday in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, at left, and Republican challenger Tracy Lovvorn.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR // Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

In Massachusetts' 2nd Congressional District, there's a rematch on the ballot from two years ago.

Last time, incumbent Democrat Jim McGovern defeated Republican challenger Tracy Lovvorn by about a two-to-one margin.

Hassan Aden, at right, of Enfield, Connecticut, in May 2020 with family members, in the field he farms in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Ben James / NEPM

I first met Hassan Aden last spring. My farm in Northampton, Massachusetts, sits right next to the half-acre plot that Aden and his family began working in May.

Some Additional Students To Return To UMass Amherst In Spring

Oct 23, 2020
The campus of UMass Amherst.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

UMass Amherst plans to expand its campus population in the spring, announcing Friday that first-year and transfer students will be invited to campus next semester after learning remotely throughout the fall.

Northampton, Massachusetts, City Clerk Pam Powers.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hamphire Gazette / gazettenet.com

The city clerk of Northampton, Massachusetts, said her office mailed ballots to some voters with the wrong address to send them back.

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