HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

Coverage of Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

As the coronavirus continues to ravage links in the supply chain, food banks across the state are struggling to feed hungry families while keeping staff and volunteers safe. But a new partnership between the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and local farmers promises to increase access to fresh, organic produce at a time when it’s needed most.

In western Massachusetts, North Hadley Congregational Church, like other houses of worship, is trying to keep people connected.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

As people of Jewish faith observe Passover this week on Zoom, for Christians it is Holy Week, ending with Easter Sunday. Music is at the core of many religious rituals.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, congregants at one western Massachusetts church haven’t been singing in the same room over the past few weeks. But their voices are still being heard in unison.

Falasha Paul of Springfield, Massachusetts, after the home birth of her daughter in January 2020.
Submitted / Jharna Harvey-Ahmei

COVID-19 is upending many aspects of life, including the beginning of it.

Storrow Drive in Boston, Massachusetts.
Phil Roeder / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/tabor-roeder

Massachusetts drivers caught with cellphones in their hands are supposed to start getting tickets Wednesday, but police say the new coronavirus could afffect how strictly a new law is enforced.

Danilo Ferro assists a student in his eighth-grade special education math class at Amherst Regional Middle School.
Ben James / NEPR

Depending on their district and available technology, students find themselves with varying levels of daily work to do from home while schools are closed. The disruption in western Massachusetts has no doubt complicated efforts to address a major inequity.

Amina Meckel-Sam, at left, and Pearl Shread are juniors at Northampton High School. They co-lead the Students of Color Alliance.
Ben James / NEPR

Many educators want Massachusetts public schools — closed for now to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus — to be a leveling force, improving outcomes for students of color. But inequities in school services can be a barrier to student success.

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

The COVID-19 outbreak is taking its toll on some newspapers in New England. Already-sagging advertising revenues have dipped even more. That’s led to layoffs and other cuts.

Days before Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker ordered all non-essential businesses in the state to close, some already had.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered non-essential businesses in the state to shut their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic. But what is considered “essential” by the state could change.

Norman Pacheco is a special education teacher at Holyoke STEM Academy. "We need more teachers of color. We need more administrators of color. We need kids of color to see that there is a future beyond the ends of their noses," he says.
Ben James / NEPR

Public schools in Massachusetts are closed for at least the next two weeks, very likely longer. But when they do reopen, one persistent problem will remain: a shortage of teachers and administrators of color.

Homemade masks sewn by Northampton, Mass., clothing-maker Caitlin Carvalho, who is donating them to hospitals and other organizations.
Courtesy of Caitlin Carvalho

As President Trump has resisted using the full range of his executive powers to address the shortage in medical supplies like masks, regular citizens across the country are offering to hand-sew them at home and donate them to hospitals and other institutions. 

The Williamsburg Market has had twice the amount of business than usual. Sean Mallari and Steve Smith, who just bought the business this month, unpack a recent delivery that was much bigger than usual.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

While the goal of closing schools and businesses is to slow the spread of COVID-19, the impact on employment has been swift in Massachusetts.  

Edwin Nartowicz, 96, shoots pool at the senior center in Northampton, Massachusetts, last Friday before it closed because of the coronavirus. Nartowicz also likes to go to the YMCA, but it also closed.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Most people are limiting their contact with others to protect against the virus that causes COVID-19. This is considered especially important for senior citizens, whose immune systems may have more trouble fighting it. 

Northampton High School.
John Suchocki / Masslive / masslive.com/photos

Updated at 11:24 p.m.

Most students in western Massachusetts won't be going to school on Monday after districts decided to close because of the new coronavirus.

Amherst College in Amherst, Mass.
Wikimedia Commons / via MassLive / MassLive.com/photos

As the new coronavirus continues to spread across the country, Amherst College is telling students not to come back after spring break. Other nearby schools, including Smith College in Northampton and Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, followed suit.

Bags that carry ballots to polling places in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Northampton, Massachusetts, officials have decided not to redo the city’s override vote, despite a ballot shortage in one precinct.

Croix Paquette, pictured at right, is in recovery and works with the DART program.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Croix Paquette is a Tennessee native and a natural storyteller. One story he often tells is about the last day he used drugs.

Police officers attend a Drug Addiction and Recovery Team kickoff event for Hampden County cities and towns.
Karen Brown / NEPR

A program in Massachusetts that offers help to drug users, as an alternative to arrests, started in Hampshire County. The Drug Addiction and Recovery Team (DART) is now moving into Hampden County. But police in Springfield aren’t taking part, and there’s little information about what they are doing for overdose survivors.

Croix Paquette, at left, is in recovery from drug addiction. He works with Sheryl Holmes, at right, who lost her son to an overdose.
Karen Brown / NEPR

You might not expect Sheryl Holmes to be among those who consider the Drug Addiction and Recovery Team (DART) a success. Less than a month after a DART officer with the Belchertown police first made contact with her family, her son Caleb, 18, died of an overdose.

DART recovery coach Susan Daley, at left, with DART client Charlie Lopez.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Charlie Lopez and Susan Daley meet most Wednesday evenings at the Nest, a recovery meeting room in Belchertown, Massachusetts.

Emily Ligawiec at a recovery center in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where she's been living.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Emily Ligawiec, 29, has to sign visitors in to her recovery program in a grand Victorian house run by the Gandara Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Even on one of the coldest days of winter, there's a lot of bare flesh on display at Oxbow Tattoo in Easthampton, Mass. It's where artist Eric Talbot, who's been drawing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the franchise since the late 1980s is about to ink his first full-color Ninja Turtle tattoo.

"I have two greens that I'm considering," Talbot says as he follows a stencil outline on his client's arm. "But I'm not going to just have a flat color. "I'm working colors together like I do with my traditional art."

UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
Rob Carlin / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

Some western and central Massachusetts hospitals say they've checked out people for coronavirus, but so far, there's been no positive cases.

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Between presidential primaries, impeachment hearings in Washington, D.C., and the Super Bowl, Massachusetts lawmakers are still getting stuff done in Boston. 

A PVTA bus in April 2019.
MTA3306 / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/87549811@N03

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority says Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's budget proposal came up several million dollars short in funding for transit agencies outside the Boston area.

Many items from Lisa Unger Baskin's collection document the history of the women's suffrage movement.
Nell Lake / NEPR

The historical contributions of men fill most major museums and archives. Women are usually sidelined. One collector from western Massachusetts, Lisa Unger Baskin of Northampton, has spent a lifetime addressing the imbalance.

The Pioneer Valley Gay Men's Chorus in 2016.
Tynan Power

The Pioneer Valley Gay Men's Chorus said the Springfield Catholic Diocese canceled a scheduled perfomance at a South Hadley church over the holidays. 

In the woods.
Pxhere / Creative Commons


Each Sunday, The New York Times Book Review asks an author what three writers she would like to invite for dinner. And each Sunday I wonder: Does it have to be dinner? Can’t it be a walk instead?

Casino gambling chips.
Jamie Adams / Creative Commons / flickr.com/people/74159937@N00

The city of Springfield announced it has hired two community health workers to help address problem gambling, nearly a year and a half after the MGM casino opened. 

The Pioneer Valley Gay Men's Chorus in 2016.
Tynan Power

The Pioneer Valley Gay Men's Chorus is crying foul after it says it was told it couldn't sing at a church holiday concert on orders from the Catholic bishop in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Congolese refugee Guylain, left, is greeted by his Catholic Charities caseworker, Jowel Iranzi, on April 5, 2017 at Bradley Airport. Guylain and his brother resettled in Northampton, Mass
Sarah Crosby / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said he will not be granting permission for any more refugees to be resettled in his city. That's after the City Council this week passed a resolution supporting refugees.

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